We've just returned from Milton Keynes for the annual trade-only Icebike show, put on by distributor Madison to show off its huge range of bikes and products. We had a good rummage around the stands and unearthed some new and interesting bits and bobs, a lot of this stuff will be appearing in your local bike shop very soon.
A new brand launched last year by the same people that produce Genesis, Saracen and Ridgeback bikes, Rapide have a really good looking range of UK designed road bikes, stemming all the way from kids’ and entry-level bikes up to high-end carbon fibre race bikes, priced from £649 up to £2,999.
As we all know, disc brakes are very much in fashion at the moment, and Rapide, perhaps surprisingly for such a young brand, showed this RL Disc It’s still in prototype stage at the moment, but what it is is a gravel bike with space for big tyres and the sort of geometry that works on a multitude of terrain and surfaces.
The frame is aluminium, the fork carbon fibre, and there are quick release axles at both ends. There are plans for three models with a frameset option as well, with a Tiagra, Sora and 105 build. The 105 bike will use hydraulic disc brakes, while the two cheaper bikes will use mechanical TRP Spyre callipers.
There are mudguard mounts and the sort of versatility many customers for this sort of bike expect. There will be mudguard mounts on the production fork - this prototype fork was missing the mounts as you can see. Tyres up to 42mm wide can be fitted, with plans to spec the Continental SportContact tyre.
Got to say, it's a great looking bike, and most people we chatted to were in agreement that the sparkly orange paint job was a well judged decision. What do you think? Orange is pretty much in fashion at the moment, if you look around a few bike and clothing brands.
Rapide are looking at July delivery on this new bike.
As well as this gravel bike, there are apparently plans in the pipeline for a disc-equipped road bikes at some strange, to take inspiration from their road bike model. It should have space for up to 28mm tyres and be offered in three builds with a Shimano Ultegra hydrualic disc brake option. Will be interested to see how that looks. They also mentioned there might be a carbon version of the RL Disc too.
Want to hear about Ridley’s new line of cyclocross bikes? Course you do.
This is the X-Night SL Disc. It's essentially last year's X-Night Disc, but with the introduction of the cheaper X-Night Disc into range this year, which is made using the same mould but with a lower grade carbon fibre, the bike from last year has been upgraded to the X-Night SL Disc in the lineup. The new X-Night Disc carries just a 170g weight penalty. Back to the range-topping X-Night SL Disc, and it'll be available with two builds costing £3,799 and £4,299, with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.
The frame has a press-fit 30 bottom bracket, a tapered head tube and all hoses and cables are internally routed. There’s a new fork in development that will be coming out in the summer which will uses a 15mm thru-axle.
Note the metal plate on the inside leg, designed to prevent damaged to the fork when conducting speedy wheel changes. More details on the new fork when they're made available.
This is the X-Night 30 Disc, which is essentially the same as the SL - it comes out of there same mould but uses a lower grade carbon fibre. Final specs have yet to be finalised but, bikes will either use Shimano hydraulic disc brakes or TRP Spryre mechanical discs, with Shimano drivetrains across the board. The bike pictured here has a Shimano Ultegra mechanical build with hydro disc brakes and costs £2,799.
While Ridley have been busy with their carbon fibre cyclocross race bikes, their aluminium models are also worthy of a mention. This X-Ride 20 Disc uses an aluminium frame with a carbon fibre fork and is specced with a Shimano 105 mechanical groupset and hydraulic disc brakes, and costs £1,499. It's a classy looking bike and a good package for the money.
Looks like the ideal option for anybody looking to get into cyclocross racing and keen on the idea of disc brakes.
Another bike that caught our attention is the X-Bow 20 Disc Allroad. Take a regular ‘cross bike and dress it up with commuter parts including full-length mudguards and paint it a nice subdued colour.
This is the X-Bow 10 Disc, with a Shimano 105 mechanical drivetrain and TRP Spyre brakes,a and a £1,099 price tag.
If disc brakes aren’t your cup of tea, Ridley also offers a regular cantilever version of each model in the range.
Thule have launched new bags, panniers and updated bike racks for 2015. Not a brand new product as such, but a new black colour option this year, is the Wingbar.
It’s an evolution of the original Aero cross bar and this new version is claimed to decrease the impact on fuel economy by as much as 55%. It’s also said to be much quieter as well, thanks largely to the rubber strip that smooths the central gap. It’s now available in this black colour.
This is the Wingbar Edge. The cross bar is available in five widths and is integrated with the foot bracket, creating a much cleaner appearance on the car than the regular crossbars, which can jut out at the sides. It’s not as accommodating of different car sizes though, but with five widths most cars should be careered for. It’s not a brand new product, but this black colour is new.
Here’s the new Velo Compact 926, a replacement for Thule’s 921 G2 towball mount rack. It’s a 3-bike carrier and, which with an optional extra, can accommodate 4-bikes. It’s capable of transporting a combined 60kg.
The main aim for the new rack design was to make it more user friendly. A new Hercules coupling with a self-stabilising mechanism makes it easier to mount onto the towball without the entire rack flopping down. The wheel holders are more easily adjustable with one hand, and improved bike grippers make the job of securing the bicycles to it far simpler. It’s available now and costs £549.99.
Thule don’t just do car racks, not these days, they have been branching out into other segments and two years ago launched the Pack 'n Pedal system. To address some concerns that the panniers were quite costly, they have introduced this new Shield Pannier. It costs £85, which the tell us is cheaper than similar offerings from other notable brands. Available in two sizes and three colours, the Shield is on sale now. The panniers have a welded construction and roll top closure to keep the contents dry.
If you prefer a backpack for lugging a laptop and spare clothes to the office, Thule have your needs covered: they’ve added a line of backpacks for 2015. This is the Commuter backpack, it uses a rolltop design and has plenty of pockets for all your gubbins, even a place for your laptop. It has a padded back panel with vents for cooling, an integrated rain cover that can be remove for washing, and neat heat moulded crush zones for protecting values like glasses. Cost? £125.
Another new bag is the Paramount, available in 24, 27 and 29 litre sizes. The bag is made from a DWR treated material with a roll top design on the smaller bag, and a more conventional opening on the bigger bags, and there’s a side handle for carrying it off the bike. They're priced £99, £115 and £125.
Each bag is designed to be tough to withstand the abuse of daily commuter. There are easy access pockets when you need to quickly retrieve your Oyster card or wallet, and a protective slip pocket for your tablet. You can see the full range of bikes here.
The last new thing from Thule is this GoPro case, the Legend. It’s available in two sizes - £35 for the single, £50 for the double - and is designed, obviously, to protect your GoPro. The internal padded filler can be removed and it can be washed, in case mud finds its way into the case if you’re filming in bad weather.
Not a bike you can buy, this Ridley Noah FAST, used by Sam Pilgrim to perform some gravity defying stunts in Road Bike Party 3 last year, was a highlight on the Ridley stand. Hard to miss it with its lemon and lime paint job. If you missed the film, where have you been? Don’t worry, here’s a link in case you did miss it.
The bike looks mostly stock save for the Vision Metron wheels fitted with some Continental Commuter tyres, presumably for the extra toughness they provide over 200g racing tyres. The main and most obvious change appears to be simply flipping the stem over to raise the height of the handlebars.
You can watch a video charting the building of the special bike here
You’re nobody unless you offer a GoPro mount these days. K-Edge have released the new Combo Mount, which combines a Garmin Edge 1000 compatible mount on top with a GoPro mount underneath.
It’s actually based on the same XL mount that Dave reviewed back along, and uses the existing bolts underneath (which allows the Garmin to be orientated in a landscape position) to attach a GoPro mount.
The GoPro mount can be retrofitted to an XL mount, handy if you already happen to have one of those.
Madison have expanded their range of saddles, with lots of choice to meet the demands of most road cyclists.
They’re offering a range of widths, and generally the racier the saddle, the narrower it is. This top-end Road Race Carbon is 128mm across. It has carbon fibre rails and base, weighs just 120g and costs £150.
Quite lot of money, but it’s quite a lot less than other big brand saddles of a similar weight.
Moving down the saddle range, this Road Race has a 126mm width and uses titanium rails with a nylon fibre base, for a 218g weight. It costs £59.99.
This is the £34.99 Sportive model, the widest road saddle in the range with a 137mm width. It’s built with chromoly rails, a double density base material and super light foam padding, and weighs 248g. Something for everyone then.
That's your lot for now. More from the Icebike show soo
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.