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IceBike 2019: the great and the good

Distributors Madison had its house show this week. There was plenty see and we’ve picked out the best bits

Sam Challis
22 Feb 2019

Similar to how the sun is big enough to support the solar system, UK distributor Madison is big enough to support its own trade show, made up exclusively of the brands it brings in to the UK.

Madison said the show would serve as the launchpad for 250 new products this year so wandered the aisles to see what the 70+ brands on show had to offer.

Lazer’s lids

Lazer was front and centre at the show this year - rightly so because this year the Belgian helmet brand is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Alongside its entire product range, the brand had on show several one-off collaborations and special helmets.

Tom Boonen’s signed Lazer Genesis from the 2007 Tour de France, where he won the Green Jersey, was on display next to the lid Johan Museeuw won several of his Spring Classics in.

Mathieu van der Poel’s Lazer Z1 was on the stand too - the display did a good job of reminding everyone of the calibre of riders who have raced and continue to race and win in Lazer helmets.

The company’s newest designs - the Century and the Bullet 2.0 - were in evidence in several colourways. The Century has a detachable, reversible panel that, depending on its orientation, will prioritise ventilation or aerodynamics and comes in at a keen price point: £129.99.

Lazer claims the Bullet 2.0 has an improved retention system and ventilation over its predecessor, and now comes with an integrated visor, which attaches via magnets to the front of the helmet.

Shimano S-Phyre Aurora

The design of Shimano’s S-Phyre top-end road shoes was refreshed for 2019 and the brand has just released a very limited edition version of the new shoes in an ‘Aurora’ colourway.

The shoes’ colour shifts from turquoise, blue to purple depending on your perspective and even with our accomplished photographer in tow, couldn’t really capture the effect in all its glory.

The colourway would undoubtedly be popular but the run is extremely limited, with just 30 pairs being made available in the UK.

If you do manage to snag a pair, Shimano has produced kit and sunglasses to match as part of a concerted effort to improve its soft goods offering over the last year or two.

Fashion and technology from Pearl Izumi

While functionally very good, until recently Pearl Izumi’s clothing rarely scored highly in the style stakes. This shortcoming was recognised by the brand and recent seasons have seen Pearl Izumi focus on the visual appeal of its kit as well as its performance.

Pearl Izumi now employs a ‘t-shirt and jeans’ concept, which means any of it bottoms should look good with any of its tops. It also has a number of patterned garments in its range now whose design were originally hand-drawn, so no two lines or symbols are the same.

On the technical side of things - historically its strong suit - Pearl Izumi continues to impress. It continues to roll out its PI Dry technology, to which it has exclusive rights to use for at least another 18 months.

PI Dry is a weatherproof technology that is breathable - like a DWR treatment, it water beads off the fabric. Unlike DWR, which is sprayed on and eventually washes off, PI Dry coats each individual fibre so gets woven into the fabric.

Pearl Izumi says this means the technology can be used in summer garments without affecting breathability and even after 100 wash cycles it will still be 80% effective, whereas DWR needs to reapplying after roughly 20 wash cycles.

New tools from Park Tool

The superior braking performance of disc brakes over rim brakes isn’t in dispute but they are definitely more finicky to set up. Park Tool’s latest tool looks sure to improve disc brakes’ ease of setup though - a plier action accurately cuts brake hoses, and the same action at the top end of the tool inserts hose barbs. Genius.

Park Tool has also redesigned its chain tool to accommodate 12-speed chains.

More shades from 100%

Peter Sagan’s sunglasses of choice continue to gain popularity in the road market and 100%’s newest releases are unlikely to do anything but strengthen the brand's uber-cool reputation.

The S3s take elements from three previous 100% designs - the lense coverage of the massive Glendales, the nosepiece design of the Speedcraft and the exposed lower edge of the S2s. We personally think they’ve combined the features rather well and can’t wait to try them although the design won’t be on sale for a couple of months yet, so expect to see a full review of the new design in the summer.

Dynaplug comes to the UK

A certain Madison brand manager - some say he is a bit of a visionary - has been instrumental in bringing this innovative brand to UK shores, which is a move that tubeless tyre users should be very excited about.

Dynaplug manufactures tubeless tyre plug solutions - on the very rare occasion that a tubeless tyre picks up a cut or hole that is too big for sealant to repair, a plug can be used to repair the tyre, meaning there should never be an occasion when a rider would need to resort to installing an inner tube ever again.

The plug is comprised of a metal bullet tip and a flexible tail. The Dynaplug body serves as the installation tool - push the plug into the hole, pull back on the body and the plug is left in the tyre, working with the sealant to block and seal the hole. The tail can then be cut down or will wear away after a period of riding.

Dynaplug has a range of products to meet the needs of tubeless users - its ‘Megapill’ houses the largest number of plugs, while the ‘Racer’ is slimline and lightweight. There’s even an ‘Air’ whose body integrates a Co2 canister for quick reinflation after a hole has been plugged.

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