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Carbon forks and wide tyres for the Equilibrium. Saracen and Ridgeback road and touring bikes too. And a fat bike...

We've just got back from iceBike, the annual trade and dealer show of distributor Madison, where we've been checking out the latest products from Genesis, Ridgeback and Saracen. We'll have more highlights from the show soon.

Genesis Equilibrium gets new carbon fork and wider tyres

Lots of changes for Genesis for 2015, the brand revealing this week that all Equilibrium non-disc road bikes will be fitted as standard with 28mm tyres, while the Equilibrium Disc will come with a new carbon fibre fork. 

The entire Equilibrium range, that's the 00, 10, 20 and titanium version, will come with a new carbon fibre fork developed to accommodate 28mm tyres and clearance for mudguards. The new fork has a 10mm taller axle-to-crown height to allow the necessary space for fitting mudguards. Previously the Equilibrium’s have been shod with 25mm tyres. As for the tyres they’ll be using, they’ve plumped for Continental’s newly developed Contactsport 28.

The Equilibrium Disc also gets a new carbon fibre fork for 2015. Launched last year, the first disc flavoured Equilibrium steel fork heavily divided opinion, so the latest version will gets a carbon one. There’s less clearance space with this fork so it’ll take 25mm tyres rather than the 28s spec'd on the other Equilibriums. That switch from the retro steel fork to the beefier carbon fork will no doubt shed a bit of weight, one of the concerns voiced by many commenters on Dave's review of the bike. Both forks are still in development, these are pre-production samples they were showing us. 

Other rolling changes across the range is a switch to wider 23mm rims, so they’ll work better with the 28mm tyres. They’ll also be fitted the new TRP Spyre C disc brakes, a new more affordable version of the regular Spyre mechanical disc brake - basically it's the same brake as the standard Sypre but with a plainer finish. They’ve also upgraded to compression-less brake cables across the range which should further enhance the braking performance of mechanical discs.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding the increased popularity of wider tyres, it’s generally accepted that they roll faster with only a marginal weight and aero penalty. A few years ago I conducted some coast down tyre testing and the 25mm tyres did indeed prove to be faster, about time I conducted that test again… German TOUR magazine recently conducted a test of tyre width, and found a 28mm tyres faster with lower rolling resistance than both the 23mm and 25mm tyres they tested, with the difference between the slowest and fastest tyres a claimed 9.5 watts, a margin not to be sniffed at.

We had an interesting chat with Continental’s Shelley Childs, and it seems that as you would expect sales of wider tyres are lagging some way behind the hype. 23mm tyres still outsell 25mm tyres at the moment at but there has definitely been a shift and it is one that is continuing Shelley told us - he estimates that this year sales of 25mm tyres will pull level with 23s.

Continental is also getting increased demand for 28mm - it seems some people are skipping straight past 25 to 28, with the latest endurance bikes like the Synapse and Infinito designed with wide tyres in mind - and have a Grand Sport Extra tyre available in 23, 25 and 28mm and a 28mm version of the GP 4000 S II due to demand. More on those soon.

Prototype Fugio with 1x10 groupset breaks cover

Here’s a really interesting bike. To demonstrate the versatility of the Fugio, a Reynolds 853 tubed cyclo-cross bike with an oversized 44mm head tube and tapered carbon fork, Genesis brand manager Albert Steward built up this test mule with a 1x10 groupset. He’s paired SRAM Apex shifters and a mountain bike derived SRAM X7 rear mech with a clutch system to keep the chain tensioned, a 42t single ring and a Shimano 11-36t cassette. A square tapered bottom bracket is used to get the desired 47.5mm chainline to keep the gears running sweet.

It’s still very much in development and is currently being testing, hence the slightly grubby appearance and hotpotch build, but they expect to put it into production, and would go by the name of the CdA, replacing the Vapour, and be available at two price points. Looks like a fun bike for gravel or bridleway riding, with provision for racks and mudguards so it’s properly versatile if you want to use it for light touring or daily commuting.

Anticipating snow? This is the bike f​or such conditions

From the their mountain bike range is this madcap Caribou, a fat tyred version of the Fortitude. Fat bikes are all the rage in some small circles at the moment, where they’ve spread from essential for riding over snow in events like the Iditarod, to being used on British trails.

Some mad fools are even using them for 24-hour solo mountain bike races. All that said, it does look sort of appealing for the go-anywhere-extreme-adventure sort of riding, with all the luggage capacity you would possibly need from the Alpkit frame, bar and post bags. Those 4in - yes, 4in - tyres aren’t likely to be fazed by much at all. More at www.genesisbikes.co.uk

Saracen road and urban bikes

This Saracen Urban Studio 74 caught our eye. Well, it’s not like you can walk past a paintjob like that and not stop and take notice. It’s an urban/commuter bike based on a mountain bike frame with fat slick tyres and an Shimano Acera M390 Rapid Fire 9x3 groupset, wide upright riser handlebar and Tektro HDC-300 hydraulic disc brakes, so you can stop on a dime, as the Americans like to say. It costs £539.99.

Saracen also do a couple of nice road bikes. Like this £749.99 Tenet 2 for example. Hydroformed 6061 alloy frame, carbon bladed fork (alloy steerer), Shimano Sora ST-3500 9-speed groupset and 25mm Schwalbe Lugano tyres complete the spec. More at www.saracen.co.uk

Ridgeback touring bikes with 26in and 700c wheelsizes

Did you know that Genesis Bikes was born from the Ridgeback range many years ago? They make some very nice bikes, and in particular their touring bikes we really like the look of. Like this a £949.99 chromoly framed touring bike with mudguards and racks, and bar-end shifters, from the World range. While most of the World range are built with 700c wheels, this one uses mountain bike inspired 26in wheels, fitted with 1.75in wide Schwalbe Marathon Reflex tyres. You get almost the same outside diameter as a 700c wheel with a skinny tyre, but you benefit from the much larger volume of the 1.75in tyre so comfort is increased, with minimal impact probably on rolling resistance. 

There are four bikes in this line-up, priced from £599 to £1,249. This is the £799 model, the Voyage it's called. It's a Reynolds 520 frame available in seven sizes and built with a mix of Shimano Deore/Claris/Alivio components. Talking of Alivio, Shimano have just updated that groupset. 

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.