By Nigel Wynn
British bike brand Planet X launched its 2012 model range at a special event in Sheffield last weekend, attended by Ag2r professional Nicolas Roche.
Planet X used the occasion to unveil its new N2a and Exocet 2 models - although the bikes themselves nearly didn't make the launch. The models only arrived on Saturday morning, giving the Planet X team only a couple of hours to build them up to launch spec before the guests arrived at midday.
Roche was on hand to chat to guests and sign copies of his new book, Inside the Peloton, which recently won 'best sports book' at the 2011 Irish Book Awards.
Roche then joined 80 Planet X staff, friends and customers for a Sunday trip around the lanes of Yorkshire.
Planet X 2012 bikes
The N2a is Planet X's new range-topper and is the brand's first aero road bike. The high-modulus carbon fibre frame weighs in at a claimed 950g. Frame, fork and seatpost will retail as a package for £699 with complete bikes starting at £1,499. A model built up with SRAM Red components and Planet X Pro Carbon 50 wheels will drop in at £2,799.
As the missile-inspired name implies, the Exocet 2 time trial-specific machine is a bike built for speed. Planet X head designer Brant Richards even goes so far as to say "it's the quickest bike we've ever made. If you can't go fast on this you might as well take up flower-arranging."
The Exocet 2 frameset will cost £799.
Also on the cards is a lightweight, made-to-measure frameset called Team Guru Special Edition. the frames will be made by Italian manufacturer Sarto to Planet X's specification. Weight is claimed at just 600g, and will cost £2,000.
Video: Watch Planet X head designer Brant Richards and custom bike specialist Frank Campbell talk about the N2a
Nicolas Roche meets fans and signs copies of his book
Planet X N2a
N2a head tube
Planet X Exocet 2
Exocet 2 head tube detail
N2a headtube and internal cable routing
N2a bottom bracket
Sunday's foggy 'Ride with Roche'
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