The Cycle & Leisure Exhibition at the NEC is a Trade Exhibition, and is only open to the public on the Saturday (although due to poor publicity and the fact that there are no retailers selling products there, apparently few members of the public turned up). I visited the exhibition on the Monday, when it was very quiet indeed, although I'm told that Sunday had been quite busy.
As might be expected, the emphasis was on mountain bikes and components for them. Only Brompton of the major manufacturers of folders and separables was present, but was putting on an excellent display. There were a number of items of potential interest on display, and we'll show these below under the headings Moulton, Brompton, other folders and odds and ends.
Apologies for the size of the file and the time taken to download, but pictures are really essential for an article of this kind, and they have been compressed as far as seems acceptable while maintaining a reasonable level of reproduction.
neither Pashley nor Moulton were at the exhibition, this Moulton was
spotted there. We think it was a Shimano test bike, as it bore the unusual
model designation (on the frame kingpin) "FX4". It had automatic
electronically controlled gearing, apparently with a means to adjust the
gear change point to suit the rider, and also a manual (electrically
controlled) over-ride for selecting the gear of the rider's choice.
This close up shot shows the rear hub gear and control unit.
This is the handlebar control - electrical connections to the hub, with a
large auto/manual switch and push buttons for manual down or up changes.
Brompton had an impressive stand, with examples of every model in every
current colour. The less standard ivory, yellow and blue/silver are now
only £12.50 more than the standard colours. The blue/silver
combination will only be available in 1999 - a new 'colour of the year'
will replace it next year, and will change every year.
Several prototype bags were on display on the stand, although design
has not been finalised, so don't expect to see them in the shops
immediately. The first is this larger front bag, with a transparent map
pocket and lots of useful compartments.
This is a second new bag, in the form of a saddle bag, vaguely along the
lines of the extremely useful Moulton day bag. This is a very preliminary
design, and the size and shape have yet to be finalised. To fold the bike
and lower the seat pillar it is only necessary to release the 2 Velcro
straps, the bag remaining hanging from the saddle.
Also on display was a large carry bag which can be used when
transporting the bike by air. It is fairly large when opened out, and
padded rather than rigid, but this has the advantage that it can be folded
into a reasonably compact form, as demonstrated here by Nicola. The bag is
also very thoughtfully provided with well positioned handles and shoulder
strap for carrying. This picture shows the bag folded ....
...and this one shows it opened (right) out (Hilary Stone looks on with
Overheard on the stand: The Brompton range is likely to be extended at both the top and bottom of the range. A 7-speed Brompton with a Sturmey-Archer hub is expected, plus a light single speed model (light means the elimination of the hub gears and other non-essential components, rather than any fundamental change to the design or materials). No date was mentioned, but I suspect that the new models are not imminent.
A Birdy Red was spotted parked by one of the lounges. In terms of folders on display on stands, we saw a few examples which are pictured below.
fairly basic folder was seen on the Concept Cycling Ltd stand near the
entrance. The price label reads £58 (which may be a trade rather than
retail price, but is still rather remarkable even for such a basic
A more serious new folder is the new Dawes Metropolis is mentioned in
the latest issue of A to B. It is apparently a Dahon made specifically for
This modestly priced machine was on offer from Pegasus Cycles, priced
at £110.90. The gentleman on the stand was quite apologetic about his
lack of expertise in folding it, and also commented, quite unprompted,
that it was not a serious machine like the Brompton. But then, it's a lot
This impressive piece of engineering is the Rohloff hub gear. Although
Rohloff have talked to folder manufacturers we don't think anyone is
planning to adopt it in the immediate future.
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Last updated: 21 March 1999