Hardtail hero Ace Woodley came out of hibernation for the annual Madison ICEBIKE show in Milton Keynes.
Words and photos: Ace Woodley.
Show time, now being in the system I get to visit another trade only show, Madison are one of the biggest bike and parts groups in the UK and lay on a show for the independent bike shops in the UK to come down and a look about (and fill orders out for the shops) they are also the agent for Shimano in the UK and not just the bike side of Shimano.
As it can get real busy, it not always possible to talk to everyone you want, not being trade I don’t get access to price lists, so until I go looking on Maddy’s web site I don’t know prices. In-house brands are Saracen and Genesis, and as Shimano do thier own big international press camps…and I didn’t get to handle anything because it was locked up in cabinets, I get to kinda skip over that and take an interest in other things.
Let’s start with Saracen then, as they have a world cup team and bike, then filter down to less downhilly side of things later on.
Team Issue, and above the shocking pink linkage production Myst Team £4899.99 a cheaper spec but sharing the same frame Myst Pro with boxxer RC forks in black&yellow is £2999.99 both share the carbon fibre rear triangle, a frame only with kashima DHX RC4 will set you back £1749.99 haven’t ridden one and they were bolted down so couldn’t perform a car park squish test on one.
Hopefully I’ll see them in action at round 1 of the Halo BDS at Combe Sydenham in several weeks time, maybe Si Paton will turn a blind eye and let me roll (cartwheel into a tree) one down the track, or maybe not.
The Ariel bikes have had new a tubing change to 6066 and spec upgrades over last year. The 162 tops out at £3399.99 and 143 is £3249.99. I got a thing for blue bikes so I like the colour scheme on the Ariel 143, again bolted down, it is possible to get them unbolted unless someones free and you have time, sounds like a moan, it’s the nature of the show, it’s busy for 3 days.
When I have managed to get to thier summer show, a mini version of this one, it’s quieter and I have had a ride around the car park on some, and some you can’t photo or talk about.
Then it happened…an unattended bike…not bolted down…:)
Nothing matches it in the catalogue, I picked it up (just had a flick through looking while typing this up), some lad reckons it’s slopestyle, I wondered if maybe it’s a 4x play-bike, gave it a quick bounce, fairly firm suspension, I was game to ride it down the stairs, perhaps a touch short in the top tube for me, but I would race that, it just screams fun and thrash me. I assume it was a work in progress protobike, so I carefully propped it back up before I got told off.
Juan from Gamut was over again, this is the thing, the people that make the gear come over to chat with bike shop staffers, and also gain from feedback from them. Always nice to see Juan, been trying to wreck a Gamut P30 since 2009, I’ve only got around 37 race runs and maybe another 30+ practice laps down Fort William on it, stacks of racing, bit battered but still running strong.
The dualie has been updated with the lower slider over a roller, also the chain rings have been bumped up to 4mm thick. These are only the proto pre-production ones here with Juan at the show. I did ask about Gwins move to Spesh as I have seen the photo floating around of the new Demo 8, as he’s running SRAM gear and they have their own chain devices Gwin is running those now. But I did wonder if it was a Spesh product as they do their own bits, but they also spec Gamut devices on a lot of bikes as well. So sadly changes all round, but that’s the nature of racing. I offered to take his place but don’t have a race licence or passport so that wasn’t to be…don’t think they allow hardtails either in the WC.
Gamut are up to things and new things and some changes are in the pipeline, so new things to come. I did slip a guide onto the scales and checked out Gregg’s signature device (limited edition).
Bit of rubber action, I know a couple of people who have these already, but hadn’t seen the profile until this show, the new Continental Atherton tyre the Der Kaiser Projekt, faster rolling than the Kaiser and with a more lean over type of traction. I am not a fan of the lean over lose grip and slip then regain it tyres, some can drift round corners, some of us drift wrap around a tree instead. Tread pattern is very different and also down to a 2.4″ over the Kaiser 2.5″
Tucked behind that was the SpeedKing, an xc race tyre, a very light race tyre, that Rob from Conti was a bit excitied over as he has been running them on a dirt jumper. Pumped right up they are scary fast but don’t expect to see dirt jumpers in lycra just yet down the jumps. I liked the 700c mountain king in the foreground, that’ll fit my 29er that will, on that front the 29er Rubber Queen has been beefed up a bit as well.
Linky time, www.forcefieldbodyarmour.com I was aware of the name, but have never seen the armour, new into the Madison lineup this year. Big thank you to Stuart for talking me through the range, I was very interested in this and could do a blog on it’s own here. They’re not a new company but new to mountain biking. The range is fairly uni-sex but the stand alone back protectors are scaled for male/female fit. I like armour a lot and run a mish mash from Raceface/661/Axo but that’s all the neoprene and hard shell types, it works, but it’s getting on.
I pointed out that I was a nutter that blags his way in to the show and not like a proper paid journalist. I spent quite some time going through things with Stuart. I even went looking to find out how much this gear is.
In very simple terms (it’s a more technical material than I make out) it’s a honeycomb of Nitrex Evo and other laminates to make up the padding that absorbs and dissipate impacts. Feels like soft rubber, very light, very airy, so not as hot and sweaty as more traditional armour, the jackets are made from Be-Cool fabric and wick away mositure. The seperate back protectors come in CE level 1 £94 or level 2 £119 rating. The grey colour Pro jacket on the display dummy, shirt has an intergrated back plate thats CE level 2 rated, pads can be removed the grey jacket is £189, there is an Action shirt with no back plate for £149 the shorts are £89, Knee pads £74, Elbow pads £69.
One of the perks of racing in hardtail is we get chucked down the track early, sometimes before the women, sometimes after. Because I don’t take the piss, or try and chat them up (normally a large boyfriend lurking somewhere anyway) and do wash my armour so it doesn’t smell like a road kill deer thats been lying in a ditch for a few weeks in summer. Do a mini bus uplift in summer if you want to smell what I mean, could by why races use cattle trucks. Anyway you get chatting with the senior&master ladies.
Things I have learnt about girls and body armour: They hate the colour pink, they hate standing next to whiffy blokes, a bit more choice would be nice (things have improved for them lots). Fit is important, tales of hard plate chest plates riding up over boobs and getting in the way is something I have heard a few times, you get the idea.
As the Forcefield armour sort of moulds itself around you, more so when it warms up, it tends to shape to you and fit better, so good for blokes as well, so it should fit and stay in place much much better than hard shell gear. Hopefully that makes sense, granted this is high end gear, but well worth looking into, light weight, breathable and for you neck brace types will work with them.
Yep, like that gear lots, does it show?
Anyone doing Saas Fee next year? Go aero.
And back down in price, I didn’t grab anyone to talk to and haven’t checked the website yet, these caught my my eye and very wallet friendly from www.mygearup.com small paddock stand and the easy to carry simple work stand, the Simpleman rock and roll in white £39.99 the paddock stand was £29.99
Albert Steward wasn’t for sale but is a bit of a media legend, he has been off doing other things and is back again under the Genesis banner this time, top bloke.
Another new one to Madison, Life Venture’s range of first aid and travel/survival kit. With Enduro racing getting big now over here and certain kit has to be carried, like survival blankets and first aid kits etc etc. I am already sold here as I already use Lifeventure kit. My waterproof medi kit is also brake fluid proof, had a good soaking, good gear been using it for years already, if I had it here with me would do a piccy, a future blog, always good to know some basic first aid because outside of races you don’t have a medical team on standby when it goes wrong.
Staying on survival but not so much Dirt ground, adventure biking is taking off. Genesis sprung a surprise Fatbike on everyone (which now appears to be the next big thing as other brands are planning them) I had seen photos all over the net before I got to the show of this fatboy. The hip flasked one is the prototype Caribou, the cream one is production, compelete bike is £1499.99 and if you think DH tyres are pricey, fat tyres are around £70-£150 each. And yes I would race that prototype.
I’ll finish off with Wheels Manufacturing. Un-sung heroes of bike mechanics, I’m sure Dan said they were up to 171 different rear mech hangers being made now. I remember when they only made 110, mainly workshop spares kits, BBs and their new PF30 BB with enduro bearings and seals.
As normal missed loads, saw some bits that can’t be had yet, good show, glad I crawled out of hibernation, nice to catch up with old faces.