With the day dawning bright AND with solid blue skies, it was time to fire up the van again and head east for the third trade show of the year. Destination Milton Keynes and the MK Dons stadium for Madison’s Icebike show, this year open to the trade and the public.
With the sun shining, it felt like the first day of spring and it was tempting to hit the trails instead, but we knew there was new products to check out and trade talk on new developments ahead.
First up, the Japanese component giants. With the latest eleven speed XT transmission gaining popularity and their brakes a very reliable choice we were keen to see any new developments.
Nothing new on the hardware front but traditionally we would expect new products to be launched at the US Sea Otter festival in the spring. We’ll have to wait until then, but with Shimano quickly trickling their developments down the groupsets and the recent arrival of Sram’s NX drivetrain, we would expect a refresh or redesign to the mid range groupsets very soon. We love Shimano’s Zee groupset and it features in this year’s Dirt 100, maybe this is due a revamp? Maybe the SLX kit? One thing is certain, we would love to see a new DX flat pedal and a DX clipless model too.
Launched last autumn, Madison had the new AM range of shoes on display. The old faithful black and white skate style sneakers have had a complete re-working with both SPD and flat pedal options as before.
The AM9 SPD model sells at £99.99 and the Vibram soled flat AM7 a tenner less. A cheaper SPD option with lace/strap retention comes in olive or black at £69.99. They all look as weatherproof and robust as the models they replace.
Shimano Europe’s hardware and accessory brand is growing steadily with their bar and stem options becoming a well regarded choice. You may be familiar with the Atherton range, but Pro had the new Tharsis Trail models on display.
The 800mm carbon bar (£129.99) along with the 35-65mm trail stem (£89.99) are designed as a system allowing Shimano’s Di2 electronic transmission to be fully integrated. The battery sits below the top cap in the stem and the wiring is routed internally through the bar. Just for the pro’s? Maybe, but it’s great to see slick design detail on production parts. Who knows, we may well see electronic shifting moving down in price, just like 1×11 transmissions?