Falling toward the end of the show calendar, Madison’s iceBike* drew crowds like never before. Mark Sutton did the rounds. From product through seminars and special guests, it’s all here…
Madison’s new POS for its clothing line drew flocks of retailers curious about the eyecatching backlit panels, debuting at the show.
Commitment tiers are yet to be confirmed, though Madison clothing brand manager Chris Whitaker told BikeBiz: “Dealers have responded very well throughout the show. This has been the most positive response we’ve had to both the POS and clothing.”
Plenty of new flouro gear made an appearance, bulking up the brand’s commuter catalogue with gillets, jackets and jerseys. Madison’s also experimenting with new fibres, introducing bamboo undershorts among other goods. In a men’s and women’s cut, the undershorts are backed with Madison’s limited lifetime warranty. With strong thermal properties, the anti-bacterial fabric quickly wicks moisture to the surface, making it ideal for long jaunts in the saddle or triathlons.
Before telling us about a bundle of new chain locks, Kryptonite pointed us to two new brackets designed to hold d-locks in transit. The first is the H-bar carrier, designed to fit handlebars as small as 22mm, to 32mm in thickness. What’s more, this bracket will carry the majority of u-locks on the market. Hook and loop straps keep the unit firm and free from rattle. A frame-mounted version, costing £12.99 is also available.
New to the range and due in stock end of April are new chains in various lengths hitting each level of Sold Secure. Weighing in with a Gold Sold Secure rating are the Evolution chains, available in short, standard and long lengths at £44.99, £64.99 and £89.99, respectively.
Landing with Madison late March, a spokesperson told BikeBiz: “The shorter versions act as a flexible u-lock and the chain locks into the head with a dead bolt effect, so it’s a real solid unit.” Retailers should also look out for the ‘Keeper’ chain, coming in with a Silver rating and comprising 7mm four sided chain links made from 3T manganese steel.
A hidden delight of the Hydrapak stand came from a not so typical water bottle, the brand’s Gel Bot. This unit has a separate internal tube to hold gel, which is released when you push the nozzle down and squeeze. While the nozzle is pulled open only water can be released.
Another unique variation on the water bottle came in the form of the ‘Soft Flask’, a £12.99 collapsable flask with patented bite valve. A Hydrapak spokesman told BikeBiz: “Many of our components are compatible with product from Dakine, Soloman and even Camelbak, including our reservoirs, themselves unique thanks to our ‘Shapeshift’ spine ziploc system – in a nutshell, this eliminates the side to side sloshing of liquid while in the saddle.”
It was prototypes galore on the Saracen booth, which also hosted the team launch as the final day of show came to a close. The three builds shown were a 100mm Kili 29er, a 120mm Zen 29er and a new cyclocross rig.
Five builds of the Kili 29er are planned, spanning £550 through £1,500, while the Zen rides much like the 140mm Ariel, according to brand manager Simon Wild. He told BikeBiz: “You’ll really notice the rolling resistance lessens with these bikes, they make you feel fit. The 120mm Zen is trail friendly, light and fast enough for long rides.”
Of the cyclocross rig, Wild said: “This is the mountain bikers cyclocross bike. It’s carrying a shorter stem, is more upright and has rack mounts should anyone want to use it as a workhorse. What’s more, it’ll take a 30.9 gravity post, for quick saddle height adjustment.”
Guideline prices for this model weigh in at £800 for a dual mechanical disc spec, or for SRAM RED, £1,300. Both will be available around September time.
Science in Sport
Nutrition giant Science in Sport has introduced the ‘Intropack’ for dealers struggling to make inroads in sports nutrition.
At £13.50, the box packs in £19 worth of gels, powders, energy and recovery bars and a water bottle. This pack will include the soon to be rebranded Go and Rego product, undergoing a design makeover for April launch.
Gamut introduced a new single ring bashguard and chain guide to supersede the P20 and P40.
Largely revamped, the design carries an aluminium insert and redesigned, reduced weight backplate. There’s no lower roller either, with Gamut opting for an O-ring design, which chains simply slide over with no noise and little friction. O-ring spares are supplied in the box, though can also be obtained from most hardware stores.
The new model lands with Madison in April, comes in 100-grams lighter than the P30 and is 34 and 36-tooth compatible.
Now boasting 163 gear hanger replacements having added another for the new Cervelo s5, Wheels Manufacturing continues to provide dealers a one stop shop for frame spare parts.
The firm is, however, diversifying its offering, introducing converters for BB30 and press fit, to Shimano compatible, as well as adaptors for Campagnolo and BBright frames. UK prices are to be confirmed, though the BB30 and press fit adapters will cost between 30 and 50 dollars and the BBright, around 50 dollars.
Hangars for Giants TCR line, Willier’s latest bikes and the Merckx EMX5/7 are now available.
Taking pride of place on the Blackburn stand was the new line of luggage, from saddlebags, through full size panniers.
The new Barrier, perhaps the highlight of the bunch is Blackburns 100 per cent waterproof welded seam 29-litre pannier – costing just £59.99 at retail. As with all Blackburn luggage, the Click Fix system features, tying it to the brand’s pannier rack product. Reflective accents adorn the front panel, while either side of the bag features a cut out for clipping rear lights.
The Barrier saddlebags cost £14.99 and £19.99.
It was new products galore on the Park Tool stand, which was manned by brand expert Roger Olsen, flown in from the US for iceBike*.
A total of 15 new products join the catalogue, including Campagnolo Power Torque adaptor sets, new crown race cutting adaptors, steel core tyre levers, DT Swiss and Mavic compatible spoke wrenches, thru axle adaptors for truing jigs and much more.
The highlight for workshops has to be one of the simpler products in the catalogue, however. Park has upgraded its Nitrile workshop gloves and, as demonstrated by Olson, these will stretch as far as the elbow without disintegrating, as is often the case when working with budget counterparts from most hardware stores. All new tools are backed by Park Tools’ limited lifetime warranty.
Seminars and cyclefitting
Some familiar faces were back again this year, along with fresh additions. iceBike* veteran Jay Townley returned to give a talk on what he calls ‘digital Darwinism’.
In short, Townley’s speeches centred around ensuring your business isn’t left behind by society and technology, as together both seemingly jump light years into the future with the help of new gadgets and services, be it social media, or QR scanners linking customers up to price comparison websites.
Townley told BikeBiz: “It’s not a good idea to bury your head in the sand with these things. We’re in a part of history where online is experiencing a big transitional change and those that embrace advances can do good business, or at least raise their profile. Others who don’t, I fear, will drop off the face of the earth as time ticks on. There are now four generations using Facebook, not just the younger generations, a common misconception. With an up to date website, keeping tabs on social media activity, offering handheld device compatible services and selling a package that can’t be found online, retailers can stay ahead of the game.”
Making a debut appearance at iceBike* and drawing crowds of intrigued retailers, Gait analysis specialists from MAR Systems were demonstrating the art of precision bike fitting.
Jonathan Hedges of Mar told BikeBiz: “Bike fitting is an excellent way to get the upper hand over the big boys online. Independent retail can give a personal fitting with our software package from as little as £85 per month. This online software takes into account the customer’s measurements and delivers the best base bike solutions in an easy to understand traffic light system. We can bike fit for comfort, sport or competition use, as well as alleviate most aches and pains using analysis.”
Hedges also explained the benefits in terms of SEO, for those using video to assist in bike fitting. He added: “We have a direct upload to YouTube function and since search engines are hot on video and PDF content, stores assisting their customers via video analysis can make big gains online with just a few links.”
For more information on MAR, see www.mar-systems.co.uk.