For Charge the top-end remains largely unchanged, but where entry level is concerned a few new options are now open to dealers.
For just £330, dealers can now offer a singlespeed specific Plug or Grater, the main difference being the choice of a flat or bullhorn style bar. The head turner for many will have been the introduction of a £850 fat bike, making the category finally affordable to some of those waiting for a sub £1,000 bike to land. Last year’s higher-spec model is one of many to benefit from a price drop, dipping £150 to £1,099.
Coming in at £1,399, the Plug 5 now carries SRAM hydraulic discs, while the label has also introduced a singlespeed version of the Cooker, retailing at £650.
At the very top of the pile, the £3,000 Cooker 5 titanium is now specced with 1×11 gearing and comes kitted out with Avid’s new Guide brakes.
On the mountain bike front, everything now carries 29-inch wheels.
Another label to benefit from favourable currency changes is GT, where this year you’ll find all off-road going models now sporting 650b wheels.
The big news from GT is the launch of the Grade line, touted as “an adventure road” series. With all frames taking at least a 35c tyre, the bikes are extremely capable on light off-road sections and towpaths. For the top two models in the Grade line, Stans specifically made a rim for the application that’ll accommodate up to 125 psi. Each model, of which there are five aluminium frames and two carbon, is specced with disc brakes.
The range topper is something worth a look for any casual or training cyclist spending semi serious money. At £2,000 the Grade carbon interestingly has no rider weight limit, despite a frame weight of just 963 grams. There’s a clever little removable mudguard fender, which is just one of a few things this frame beats the competition too.
GT’s Patrick Kaye told BikeBiz: “We wanted to create something for the regular sportive or fondo rider with geometry that supports endurance. Through two years of development and seven revisions we’ve come up with a frame that uses high modulus carbon where it matters, but long strand glass fibre cores for the seatstays. The result is a combination of comfort and performance. There’s a large downtube running into a Praxis adapter specced PF30 BB, which irons out any concerns of premature bearing wear. The combination of material grades has allowed us to fine tune the torsional rigidity too.”
Elsewhere the new UK orientated Helion is one to recommend to the customer who can’t make their mind up if they prefer light cross country or something a bit more aggressive. With 110mm of front and rear travel, the £1,699 build is built to withstand trail use.
Another noteworthy change is that the Sensor line now starts at just £1,500 with a revamped lighter back end on the frame.
With design influence coming from the World Cup courses, Cannondale’s new FSI Carbon 2 joins the catalogue, retailing at £2,999. Capable on the short aggressive climbs and dicey descents, the rider’s weight has been moved further over the rear wheel thanks to 429mm chainstays. Despite the geometry, mud clearance is generous, making it ideally suited to the UK based enduro rider.
The Jekyll continues to evolve with four models available, spanning £2,699 to £5,299.
Built around the Fox developed DYAD RT2 rear shock, the frame offers 95mm of active short travel, as well as the full 160mm all with the flick of a switch. Another perk is the adjusted geometry, which makes it extremely simple to alter the chances of ascending or descending the next incline comfortably. The top tier two come specced with Cannondale’s SuperMax Lefty fork, which boasts similar rigidity to some of the market’s dual crown forks but at a much reduced weight.
The Jekyll’s little brother, the Trigger again uses the Fox RT2 platform, offering both 85mm and 140mm travel options. For money’s no object customers, the £7,000 Black Inc is well worth a look.
First catching our eye in a promotional video, Sugoi’s Zap jacket is as headturning as the marketing spiel may have you believe.
At £99 and in black, red or hi-vis yellow, the jacket looks like a fairly standard cycling jacket in plain light, but hit it with a flash of headlights and it lights up like a pixelated Christmas tree. In fact, the only part that doesn’t reflect light is the zip, so this is a sure fire way to be seen this winter. Spec wise, there’s internal mesh, a dropped tail and much more packed in.
CSG did suggest that on the back of demonstrations, this is one of Sugoi’s best performing pre-sellers ever, so get your orders in now to avoid disappointment.
There’s Zap shoe covers too at £54.99, which this year remove the zip from the rear, choosing to make it more accessible on the outer side.
Commuter items aside, the RSX suspension short will be of interest to many, combining a trail short with a five-point adjustable bib and BOA dial adjustable waist, all for £129.99.
The RSX jersey is another trail garment that’s expected to do well during the summer months. Using Icefil fabrics woven with the same cooling Xylotol found in toothpaste, the cooling properties of the jersey are said to reduce body temperature by up to four degrees.
Everyone loves a Spoon. We’re talking about the saddle, of course, and we’re not alone, with OEM customers calling on Charge to make it available for their bikes.
That’s where Fabric comes in, with a specific pot of funds to develop its saddle technology. To begin with there’s a choice of the 134mm wide Line, 142mm wide Scoop and 155mm wide Cell saddle. Each has a very specific role, with fluctuations in certain curves tailored to certain stances.
The Line is the narrow option, designed for a slim body type and carrying a pressure relief channel. The Scoop’s role caters for the average body types among us, while the Cell better suits those of us with wide hips.
There’s more too, however, with the ALM providing an ultra light, Airbus engineered saddle that combines 3D printing techniques with alternative carbon lay up techniques. Those behind Fabric describe it as a world first in saddle technology, with even the saddle’s rails tapered for comfort and flexibility.
There’s a selection of (Rip) bar tape and (Lite) grips set to land with CSG in the near future too.
With Dorel having made what it calls a strategic investment in Guru’s bike fitting system, CSG UK accounts now have access to the Guru Fit Experience.
Paired with software that allows measurements to be taken in motion, the algorithm can quickly pair a customer to an ideal bike based on an extensive database of bikes. The dealer will be trained to adjust riding positions, while the built in power meter records the rises and dips in power output and other variables while the customer happily pedals away. Motion and video capture is also available and dealers will be able to offer a basic and premium fit package.
First on the minds of many who attended was to find out what Mongoose has for the independent bike dealer now Halfords has access to the brand. Well the answer is a range spanning £199 through to £299, providing dealers with the entry level BMX bikes.
Into the mid-range and CSG UK has added the Hoffman bikes catalogue, which for 2015 will start at £180 for an 18-inch wheel Imprint and hit various price points right up to the signature Ben Hennon bike, retailing at £339.
20-inch wheels start at £239.99 with the Immersion. Specced with a three-piece crank it’s not a bad build for the beginner. Things really advance from the £300 Crucible, which upgrades the frame with a chromoly front end and fork legs, as well as a tyre upgrade. Integrated headsets feature on all bikes over £250.
For the BMX rider after a freecoaster clad bike, WeThePeople has specced a switchable hub on the £499 Crysis.
At the very top, the £899 Envy is an eye catcher, built with components from Eclat, including the new Stevie Chuchill signature Fireball tyres, as well as Eclat’s Blind freecoaster.
For those looking for an aftermarket freecoaster hub, CSG are not expected to take stock of the new Helix until February next year, though the Blind hub will land in October and cost in the region of £160.
In trend news, Oil slick finishes have now moved away from the premium Eclat components line and trickled down to WeThePeople and Salt Plus parts only.
Introduced for MY15, toddlers can now have their very own WeThePeople, thanks to the inclusion of a 12-inch wheeled model, dubbed the Prime. Corners are not cut with a semi-sealed cassette specced to the bike.