Many of you will be familiar with Madison, the UK distribution giant. Every winter around February time they put on an event at their main HQ in Milton Keynes called iceBike for the press and the retail trade. Well, they decided once a year wasn’t enough to show off all their shiny new products, so they created iceBike Winter (which oddly enough is in the summer!).

Firstly, news about all the changes to the Commencal range. They brought along a brand new park bike, the Supreme 8, which looks like it is based on the bike created for the Athertons at last year’s World Champs in Canberra, Australia. It’s essentially a simplified version of the Supreme DH: it has no adjustable dropouts and no adjustable head angle, saving a fair bit of weight. It’s running 180mm Bomber 66’s up front, and a Fox Van R shock giving 200mm at the rear.

Notice any gussets? They will be internal to neaten it up.
Supreme 8 Head Tube

For 2011 production bikes they’ve made the gussets around the head tube internal to neaten it up, and increased the strength and rigidity to make it a veritable freeride bike: easier to manoeuvre than the Supreme DH thanks to the single crown forks, more capable than the Supreme 6 and lighter than the DH, with quoted weight of only 17kg. And we love the look of the paint job and graphics.

New freeride offering from Commencal
Supreme 8

Commencal also brought along the entire Absolut range, along with a brand new (so new it’s still prototype) Absolut BMX bike.

The Absolut MaxMax is a dedicated dirt jump bike: running singlespeed and a rigid fork up front. New for this year, it’s got new forks and tyres, and now disc brakes (and a disc compatible front wheel) instead of V brakes for added stopping power when it all goes wrong.

now running disc brakes.
Commencal MaxMax

The Absolut AL is basically a more versatile version of the MaxMax: running a 100mm fork up front, it can be used as a street bike in the week and an all–out dirt jump bike on the weekend.

in its CRMO form.
Commencal AL

Brand new in the Absolut range is the Absolut BMX. It seems Commencal is returning to the BMX market after leaving it several years ago. They’re still only prototypes, but the production model will be likely to be around the £400 mark. The frame and fork will be made out of CRMO 4130, with a 20.75" top tube and 13.5" chainstay. The headset and bottom bracket will have integrated sealed bearings, and it will run a Tektro U brake at the back.

Surprise come-back? its been a while since the last Commencal BMX.
Commencal Absolut BMX

Giro turned out in force, displaying its brand new Xar helmet and an interesting advance in protective technology.

The Xar helmet has been widely reported, and we finally saw it in the flesh yesterday. It was described as “the evolution of the Xen, not a replacement" and is much better vented than the Xen. It uses exstatic padding, which is claimed to reduce smell, and the new fit system (RocLoc 5) is easy to use and offers a wide range of adjustment.

RocLoc5 and Ex-static: evolution of the Xen.
Giro Xar

Another new helmet this year, the Surface, is aimed at the leisure market. Developed along the lines of snowboarding helmets, it has a small peak at the front. It weighs about 475 grams and comes in several different colours.

Giro Surface Helmet
Giro Surface Helmet

The Remedy glove is also a brand new product. The gloves have pads on the side of the hand which contain Poron XRD, a foam similar to d3o. It will be released to the market in spring 2011, and retail for £39.99. The representatives had all sorts of tests on show to prove the Poron really works, including a ‘ball drop test’, shown in a video below. The grey square is standard protective foam used in pads, the orange is d3o and the yellow is Poron XRD. MPORA Action Sports >>

Poron XRD pads at the bottom right of the glove.
Giro Remedy Glove

Hydrapak have recently made some UK specific hydration backpacks in new colourways: the Reyes and the Big Sur. Both packs have a 3 litre reservoir and insulated compartments for them. The Reyes has 5.3l storage space, room for pads and a pocket to keep keys and a wallet in. It will be available in red and orange, and lime and green, priced at £54.99.

UK specific backpacks
Hydrapak Reyes

The Big Sur also gets a UK facelift: along side the 3l bladder, it has 7.3l of storage space. It has more pockets than the Reyes, a dedicated tool compartment, a fleece lined MP3 or phone pouch, however it does not have pad staps. It will retail at £64.99.

Bigger brother of the Reyes
Hydrapak Big Sur

words: Alasdair Todd (new and improved tea maker and editorial whipping boy)

Part 2 to follow soon.