After Interbike, Eurobike, Cycle 2010, The London Bike Show, Core Bike and countless others, we're nearing the end of trade show season. So iceBike, hosted by UK distributors Madison, is one of the final chances to see this year's shiny new bike bits before they hit the shops.
This year's show saw the launch of the new Madison Saracen downhill squad, a development team headed by Manon Carpenter and Harry Malloy, and the unveiling of a load of new and revised models from Genesis, including a great-looking £500 hardtail. Here's a round-up of the best of the rest...
Pride of place on Commencal's stand went to the new Supreme DHv3 downhill bike. Its predecessor, the Supreme DH, is a hard act to follow, having been piloted to World Championship and World Cup glory by the Athertons. But the new bike sits lower to the ground, for improved cornering, and uses a revised version of the Andorran company's Contact System suspension platform, called Contact System Evo.
Commencal's new Supreme DHv3 has a refined suspension design and lower centre of gravity
Made from triple-butted 7005 aluminium, the DHv3 has 200mm (7.9in) of rear travel, a three-position adjustable head tube (-1, 0, +1°) up front, a press-fit bottom bracket and internal cable and brake hose routing. There's also an adjustable wheelbase version that uses replaceable inserts at the rear axle to lengthen or shorten the bike's back end (437mm/444.5mm/452mm).
The DHv3 is available as a frame only (without shock, unusually – you'll have to supply your own 241x76mm unit) in three sizes for £1,599.99, or as a complete bike. The standard full build is £3,499.99 while the Atherton spec seen here is £6,499.99. For that price you get a wishlist spec including a Fox 40 RC2 FIT fork and RC4 shock, Shimano Saint kit, PRO Atherton Series components, an e*thirteen SRS chainguide, Mavic EX 721 rims and Maxxis Minion tyres.
The Supreme DHv3 has internal cable/hose routing and an adjustable head angle
Profile are best known for their aero bars, and they do have a couple of new models for 2011. However, the big story is their new wheel range, which has been in development for the past two years. On show at iceBike were two carbon fibre models – the Altair 52 and Altair 80.
As the names suggest, the difference between the two wheels is rim depth – 52mm and 80mm (actually 80.5mm), respectively. The rims are manufactured using a proprietary carbon layup and high temperature resin, and the wheels are then hand built. Both come with the same CNC machined, sealed cartridge bearing alloy hubs and Sapim CX Sprint spokes with hidden nipples (20, radial front; 24, two-cross rear).
Profile's Altair 52 semi-carbon wheel subs in an alloy braking surface
Both Altair models are available in three versions – full-carbon clincher, full-carbon tubular or semi-carbon clincher. (The semi-carbon wheels have aluminium beads and braking surfaces.) The wheels are supplied with a 'goody bag' containing quick-release skewers, brake pads, valve extenders, a spoke tool, plus some spare spokes and nipples. Each comes with a two-year worldwide warranty
Prices and claimed weights (without QR) are as follows: Altair 52 tubular, £1,100, 1,443g; 52 full-carbon clincher, £1,200, 1,683g; 52 semi-carbon clincher, £1,000, 1,756g; Altair 80 tubular, £1,200, 1,624g; 80 full-carbon clincher, £1,300, 1,906g; 80 semi-carbon clincher, £1,100, 2,088g. Profile also have a range of Armada aluminium wheels.
The full-carbon Profile Altair 80 is available in clincher and tubular versions
Those of you continually frustrated in your attempts to open gel sachets while riding at speed would be well advised to have a look at Hydrapak’s Gel-Bot. It’s been on the market for a while now, but the new clear design makes it easier to keep a close watch on carb intake during your rides.
For those not familiar with the way it works, prior to setting off on a ride, you empty your gel into a chamber contained within the bottle, plug it into the lid and then fill the rest of the bottle with water. To drink water, the cap pulls up as with any standard bottle. But if you leave the cap closed and instead suck and squeeze the bottle, the water pressure drives up a piston within the chamber and squirts gel into your mouth.
Hydrapak's Gel-Bot is worth a look if you don't like stopping to eat during rides
There's enough room in the chamber for two servings of gel, while the bottle holds 711ml of water. The cap and chamber are compatible with any Specialized water bottle, which may interest those unwilling to part with their trusty bottle.
The Gel-Bot's main downfall is that the piston is much easier to drive up using water pressure than using air pressure – so if you drink too much of the water before deciding to have some gel it doesn't work as well. Still, we think it's a product that will certainly have fans. RRP is £20.
Water pressure is used to push a piston that squirts energy gel into your mouth
German brand SKS had some effective looking mudguards and neat side- and top-access bottle mounts on their stand, but it was the Diago pump that caught our eye. Pumps aren't generally things of beauty but the Diago's sleek lines give it a really classy look and would blend in well on any bike. It's just won an iF product design award.
At 109g and 24cm in length the Diago is certainly a lightweight piece of kit, but it also packs a punch to reach a maximum pressure of 144psi with its Presta/Schrader valve combo. RRP is £24.99. It's available in black or white.
The SKS Diago pump won an iF design award, and we can see why
Blackburn had several new lights on display, including the tiny Flea 2.0 USB front light which offers computer charging via its USB connector. With four LEDs and a 40-lumen output, it weighs just 17g. Claimed run time is three hours on steady and five hours on flash, and it has a brighter overdrive mode too. The backlit on button doubles as a charge indicator. A solar charge option is available separately. RRP is £24.99.
The company were also showing off Mars and Voyager LEDs in a massive range of colours, plus new seatpacks with carbon-friendly rubber seatpost straps. However, the standout product was probably the new 17-function Toolmanator 3 multi-tool. Along with the usual Allen and Torx keys, screwdrivers and chain tool, this also packs in a tiny shock pump. Blackburn admit you're unlikely to get more than a couple of psi out of it, but that could be enough if all you want to do is remove a little sag. RRP TBC.
Blackburn's Toolmanator 3 is the first multi-tool we've come across that packs in a mini shock pump
Light & Motion
We showed you Light & Motion's first foray into the commuter market, the Vis 360 integrated lightset, late last year. Well, the company are also now selling a standalone rear light, the Vis 180. This combines a super-bright 35-lumen main beam with flashing amber side lights for improved night-time visibility.
Claimed run time is 2.5-24 hours depending on mode. Claimed weight is 131g and it can be mounted on your helmet or seatpost using the supplied lockable mount. The Li-ion battery can be charged in 4.5 hours from your computer via a micro-USB cable. RRP is £100/US$99.
Light & Motion reckon the Vis 180 is the most powerful tail light on the market; Hope beg to differ
Light & Motion were also displaying a prototype front commuter light, the Urban. Due out in August, this self contained (ie. there's no separate battery pack) lamp will come in 150- (£100) and 250-lumen (£130) versions.
Again, charging will be via a micro-USB cable and there'll be amber side lights and flashing modes in addition to the full beam. In other L&M news, the Stella 400 D is to get a boost in power from 400 to 600 lumens for 2011, and the Seca 700 will go from 700 to 800 lumens.
This prototype Urban front light is due out in August