We've spent the day at iceBike, which is the trade show of Madison, the UK's biggest cycling distributor. It's always a good day out with lots of stuff to see and we're all sitting in the lounge trying to get some news to you before they start serving dinner and the Kraftwerk tribute band strike up. We're not kidding about that. Anyway there's plenty to talk about, more on the product side that the bikes themselves as the new ranges normally get rolled out in the Summer. Here's some of the stuff we saw...
Genesis were busy doing their thing: we've covered their bikes in detail on the site before and this time there was only one new bike, but it was a nice-looking one. The Day One has been a popular bike over the last couple of years in its many guises and now there's another guise: the new bike is a disc-equipped singlespeed, essentially it's the Alfine bike with the Alfine hub stripped out and a singlespeed one in its place. Avid BB5 discs are specced (they're the road ones rather than the slightly more powerful MTB ones) and the bike looks like a cracking bet for heavy duty commuting duties. The minimal branding - nothing on the top tube - was a mistake at the factory, but James at Genesis was quite taken with the look, and we agree: less is more sometimes.
On the subject of Alfine we were very interested to hear that there's already a part number for the Versa 11-speed STI shifter in the latest Versa communications. No-one's actually seen one yet, but they're imminent, apparently, which is good news for anyone looking longingly at the Alfine 11 as a touring hub. Jtek are also planning to do a bar-end shifter, the 8 speed version of that was in evidence on Vin Cox's record breaking round-the-world Croix de Fer whic was running a standard Alfine 8 wheelset with a dyno hub up front. They're not really wheels designed for that kind of abuse but luckily when the rear rim did give out in the far east, it did it almost within sight of the Shimano factory, so it was a quick swap and away.
Commencal's Acid prototype fixer singlespeed was one of our bikes of the show at last year's Eurobike so we were more than happy to see it pop up here at IceBike. Derided by some as the world's first rideable towel rail loved by others, as a quirky work of cycling art… and damn what it might or might not ride like, we hope to find out on that score very soon especially as there's always a hell of a lot of kit that needs drying in the road.cc office.
There's good news and bad new for those wanting to throw their leg over an Acid any time soon, the good news is that it should be a 2012 production bike, the bad - Madison are stopping distrution of Commencal this summer. Given their reputation in the mountain bike world we'd be very surprised if someone else didn't pick it up though.
Apart from that there isn't really much to report on the Acid - this looks to be exactly the same prototype bike we saw at Eurobike, plus the dust of a winter in a Andorran warehouse and minus the inevitable scrape of paint that a prototype is inevitably going to suffer. We do know that the guys at Commencal were looking to tweak the geometry on a future production model and we'll happily give them our feedback once we get to throw a leg over it.
DT Swiss have moved the Tricon technology down from their 1450 wheelset. The new wheelset is called the 1700, and they're pretty predictable with their naming strategy, so we'll assume that the new wheels are about 1700g a pair. Anyway, they bring the Tricon spoke technology to a more affordable level; the wheels will retail for not much over £500 a pair and they're built with the same shell structure in the hub which isolates the the spoke tension forces from the bearings and allows higher tension spokes for greater stiffness.
Park Tool had a new reamer on their stand, 59.5mm we think it was. Interested? No, us neither. But we were interested in their Carbon hacksaw blade, which is just the ticket for trimming the integrated seatpost on your new Look 695. It has an industrial diamond cutting surface and won't fray or delaminate the Carbon as it cuts; it's only a tenner and you don't want to spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar now, do you?
Park have re-released their CT6 folding chain tool, now that the price of stainless steel has fallen back to a sensible level, it'll cost you £20 and is probably the best portable chain tool you can get. They've also introduced some lighter weight versions of their I-beam tools which look very shiny, and an 11 speed chain whip for the Campag aficionados among you.
They've also been taking some heat for discontinuing the toliet roll holder, and they're considering re-introducing it. Just so you know.
Elite have a new low-end bottle which comes in three sizes and costs £3.99 to £5.99 depending on which one you go for. It features the pop-off top which Elite use on their higher end bottles; basically if you drop your bottle on a club run and your friend runs over it, then the top will fly off and the bottle will flatten, rather than pitching you over the bars. We tried it out by jumping on it, whereupon the lid flew off at high speed and nearly took out a tea boy. So it works.
They also have a new stainless vacuum flask, the Deboyo, which will keep your post-ride coffee hot in the car for up to 12hrs. If you want to take it with you, you can swap the insulated lid for a bottle lid and have your hot drink on the go. The flask is a standard size so it'll clip firmly into any bottle cage (it's designed to work seamlessly with the Elite ones), and at £24.99 it's not cheap but it'll certainly have some takers if the response to the Biologic flask we featured on road.cc is anything to go by.
Selle San Marco had plenty of interesting stuff on their stand, the most interesting of all being a crazy fore-aft adjustable Concor saddle that they developed for an hour record attempt in 1993. The position was controlled by a bar mounted lever and the back of the saddle was massively scooped to keep the rider in exactly the right position. Needless to say, the UCI banned it straight away...
Selle San Marco's vintage range has been going great guns in the last year, with the Concor re-released to great acclaim. The vintage Regal has been well received too, and that's now available in both a tan leather finish and with a perforated leather cover, which is also available on the Rolls. Just what your (my) 80s project bike needs...
The Aspide Superleggera was also on display which, at a claimed 103g, is apparently the lightest saddle in the world without a rider weight limit. It's certainly a fine looking beast, though we're guessing that if you weigh 120kg then shaving a few grams from your saddle isn't going to be the most cost effective way of cutting your combined rider and bike weight...
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.