iceBike 2013: Elite, Giro, San Marco, Saracen, Garmin and Ridgeback
New VR rollers, aero helmet, urban shoes, disc-equipped urban bikes and coloured Garmin cases
Here's our second roundup of new products from Madison's iceBike show. If you missed the first article, it's here.
Giro's Republic road touring shoe is a bit of a new departure for them on the road front. It's a lightweight leather lace-up shoe with a fairly traditional look and a 2-bolt SPD fitting.
One neat feature of the shoe is that the rubber bumpers on the bottom that give you grip when you're off your bike. They can be replaced when they wear down. It's just a case of undoing a couple of bolts and slotting in a new one. The Republic costs £99.99.
The Giro Air Attack was proudly positioned on a table emblazoned with graphs and figures to help you understand just how great an idea it is. Certainly, we've been seeing more and more of them in the peloton. The helmet without shield is now in stock, with the shield version coming soon. The visor attaches with a series of magnets and can be flipped up out of the way when not in use. Team Madison Genesis have been using the Air Attack a lot. In fact, they've used it in every race so far except the hilliest bits of the Tour of Mallorca. It's getting quite a lot of fans on the track too.
Let's have a look at the claims then. One of the most interesting is how the helmet ranks in terms of cooling. With fewer vents than usual, the Air Attack has to work a bit harder to generate the airflow over your head; what Giro have done is position the vents such that the air moving into the front vents creates a pressure differential that sucks air up channels in the front lip of the helmet and over the top of the head.
The retention system is floating so the helmet sits a couple of millimetres above the surface of the head, helping airflow. The result is that at peloton speeds the cooling of the head surface is almost identical to what it would be if your head was bare. In terms of airfow, it's not as good as the Aeon (or, presumably, heavily vented lids from other manufacturers) but it's miles better than Giro's Selector TT lid, for example.
The aero gain over a standard helmet is over half what you'd get from a full-on TT helmet, according to Giro's figures. Based on a 40km time trial at 400W (we can all dream, eh?) you're reducing your drag by 49g, as opposed to 88g for a Selector. That equates to a 17-second faster run. You have to be riding at above about 18mph to be able to see any measurable benefit, according to Giro.
Also interesting was Giro's crunching of the figures based on the run into Cervere on stage 13 on last year's Giro d'Italia. Based on Bernie Eisel's logged data for the sprint lead out and the 49g drag reduction figure, Giro have calculated the difference between wearing a normal helmet and an Air Attack as two bike lengths, which is pretty significant. Or, put another way, Eisel would be able to do the same lead out for 12W less energy expenditure.
Elite have been busy taking some of their technology from their turbo trainers and squeezing it into rollers. We're suckers for rollers over here in the UK, apparently. While rollers make up about 10% of sales for Elite globally, in Blighty it's more like 40%. Their new baby is the Real E-Motion roller system, which is (we think) the first variable resistance, virtual reality roller unit.
The resistance unit is electromagnetic, so you need to plug it in, and it communicates with the (PC only) software via ANT+. It's capable of simulating a gradient of up to 6.5%. Because the bike isn't attached to the rollers like it is to a turbo, higher levels of resistance can cause the wheels to slip. The system can monitor your cadence and, if it feels that you're flagging a bit, it can automatically reduce the resistance.
There are various ways of using the software. You can buy video-based courses for the rollers, or download GPS tracks and replay them. You can also use Google maps to create a route. The Elite software also comes with a bunch of benchmark tests that you can complete to measure your change in performance over time. There's also the option to set up a live web race against someone else using the software. The software includes a training scheduler that will draw up a one-month training schedule for you based on your goals and your current fitness; you can repeat that process as many times as you like.
The Real E-Motion rollers share the same basic build as the non-VR version. The rollers sit in a sprung frame that can move backwards and forwards for a move realistic ride, and the rollers are convex with the front roller also featuring guide wheels to stop you falling off the edge. Elite reckon that the Real E-Motion is the closest thing to riding on the road that's possible indoors; we're going to try and get hold of one to give it a go.
Also on Elite's stand was this new Skekane rear mounting system for triathlon, which can hold up to three bottles as well as a spare tube, a pump or other essentials. It retails for £34.90.
Madison’s Ridgeback brand spawned the now very popular Genesis Bikes range. The Genesis was originally a flat-bar road bike model in the Ridgeback range and was pulled out to create a complete separate brand of bikes. Ridgeback filled that void with the Flight, a flat-barred disc-equipped road bike. For 2013 they have four aluminium-framed disc braked city/urban bikes.
The Flight range consists of four bikes, with prices ranging from £599 to £999. They each use aluminium frames, a 6061 tubeset on the entry-level model and a posher ALX9 triple butted frame on the top models. We’ve actually tested the £899 FLight 04 in the past and found it a high quality low maintenance bike for town riding.
They’re really nicely finished bikes with good attention to detail and very good build kits for the prices. At the top-end you can choose between a Shimano Deore transmission with a triple chainset and 10-speed cassette, or for the same price you can have a Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub gear, possibly the better option for the lack of maintenance it requires.
Both have Shimano M446 hydraulic disc brakes, with 160mm rotors, and roll on 28mm Continental Contact tyres.
Saracen may be better known as a mountain bike brand but they have two very neat looking disc-equipped urban bikes in their range for 2013. These two Hack models cost £899 and £1,149. They each use the same frame, made from 6061 aluminium with the flex stays borrowed from their mountain bikes, designed to offer some degree of comfort when you’re barrelling along the rough roads of the city.
The Hack was originally conceived as a cyclocross bike but at the last minute Saracen designed to slap some fat, slick tyres on it and found it was well suited to the demands of commuting. The £899 Hack 1 has a carbon fibre fork with a tapered steerer tube and Shimano Sora 9-speed transmission. It comes with Promax cable disc brakes with 160mm rotors at both ends. The £1,149 Hack 2 gets an upgrade to Tiagra 10-speed gears.
Oddly, while there are mudguard mounts on the rear of the frame, there are none evident on the fork. A bike designed for commuting needs to offer the provision for mudguards, really. There’s not a huge demand, at the moment, for carbon forks with clearance and mounts for mudguards, but there’s a few coming onto the market.
San Marco saddle and Ass Saver
San Marco don’t have anything new (yet) on their road line, but they did show us this new Concor Protex. The Concor is a classic saddle, and they’ve added their new Protex technology - a silicone treatment to the sides. This, San Marco told us, is aimed at mountain bikers who want a bit more grip between the legs then they’re manoeuvring around on the saddle.
This is intended to provide a bit of grip when you’re dropping into steep trails and hanging off the back of the saddle. Not much use to road riders, but how about if they applied this treatment to the top of the saddle (in a similar fashion to Prologo’s new saddle)? That could be an interesting development. With carbon rains, the Concor weighs just 162g.
This is the saddle favoured by André Greipel and the Regale Racing Team. Interestingly, Greipel apparently prefers this titanium railed model over the carbon rails because it’s stiffer - and sprinters can’t get enough stiffness out of their bikes. And with most bikes easily well under the UCI’s 6.8kg weight limit, saving a few grams with carbon rails is a bit pointless really. It’s no heavyweight though, at 228g. The carbon version is 193g.
This is new. It is San Marco’s Ass Saver, a tiny mudguard designed for racing cyclists who don’t want to fit a set of mudguards to their svelte road machine. It was developed by a Swedish company and San Marco are selling them for £12 a pop. It’s plastic, folds in half when not needed, and simply clips to the saddle rails. The length can be trimmed depending on your saddle.
Okay, so it’s not going to keep you as protected from wet roads as proper full-length mudguards, but it’s still going to keep some of the spray churned up by the rear wheel off your butt. How much difference it makes remains to be seen. I’ve got one here so, seeing as it’s raining today, I’ll pop out at lunchtime and see how it performs.
Garmin Silicone case in colours
As well as releasing the new Edge 810 and 510 GPS computers, Garmin have also expanded their range of silicone cases. Originally only available in black, they’re not available in a rainbow of colours, include these three.
Not sure who is going to buy the pink ones? One for Rapha fans to match the pink details on their jerseys perhaps? As well as customising the colour of your Edge computer, they also provide a bit more protection in bad weather, keeping mud and crap off.
Nuun, electrolyte tablets packaged in a plastic tube, are now being distributed by Madison. They’ve got a huge range of flavours, and we’re told there’s some interesting new additions in the pipeline.
Thule have a new foldable rack called the 932 EasyFold. It’s tow ball mounted and well-named: you just pull a lever and fold the sides up to the centre when you don’t want to mount a bike on there. That allows you to store it easily in your house or garage, or even in the boot of your car.
The rack will take two bikes weighing up to 30kg each – so it’s a good option for electric bikes and mountain bikes as well as road bikes. The arms are lockable, adding a degree of security.
The 932 EasyFold comes fully assembled and costs £495. It weighs 16.9kg so it’s quite hefty, although an aftermarket bag for easier carriage should be available soon for £25.