Sportline bike launch 2014 report - BikeBiz

Sportline bike launch 2014 report

Genesis, Ridgeback, Ridley and Saracen...as well as the brand new Rapide
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Rapide
You may have spied a few samples at The Sportline Show earlier this year, but Sportline’s summer bike launch saw Rapide unveiled in full for the first time. Coming from the designers behind Ridgeback (and using a former Ridgeback brand name), the line-up has been two years in development and initially features nine bikes; two for juniors (both at £400), with seven road bikes filling out the remainder of the line-up.

So why the creation of a new brand? The bikes weren’t felt to fit into the Ridgeback family, the brand told BikeBiz.

The adult bikes are split into the RL and RC series. Three bikes make up the RL line, with a frame using in-house geometry and coming in with six sizes, focused on a endurance/all-day riding style.

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As with Ridgeback, Shimano features on the bikes, which range from £649 to £899 in the RL series. That RL line-up led to the creation of the carbon bikes in the range (RC series). The RC1 hits the £1,200 price point, is Di2 ready (as with the whole range), while the RC3 is the flagship of the line-up and will feature on the primary marketing for Rapide. At the top end, the RC4 has a full Di2 set up and hits £2,999.99. Like Ridgeback, there’s a lifetime warranty on all the frames and a focus on affordability.

Naturally the range will extend beyond the nine bikes over time and there will be first samples of a broader line-up at the next Sportline Show. Dealers have reportedly reacted well to first sight of the range, with the junior bikes apparently causing the biggest stir thus far.

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Ridgeback
You’d think that after launching Rapide, the Ridgeback design team would be putting it’s feet up, but there’s been no such luck for them as the Ridgeback line-up has undergone some significant changes this year, not least with Tradition – a range of ‘Dutch-style’ step through bikes. A long-held ambition for Ridgeback, the colour coded range features Schwalbe tyres, a custom fork and an eye-catching price tag – £349 – putting it in direct competition with a number of brands including Bobbin. Set to be available at the end of September, the range comes in three colours and will be tweaked again before production.

Advance has seen one of the biggest changes in the Ridgeback range, not least in look, with both new graphics and colours. The freshened up range now sports CX tyres and lengthened head tubes. The Flight line-up has been tightened to three models (five last year), with some price savings made in the range and a move away from the black, silver and grey of last year (though there are still muted colours for security conscious London customers). The brighter range has garned good feedback, BikeBiz was told.

Last year the boys Dimension bikes sold out. Keen to follow up on that, Ridgeback has developed the junior range with a complete redesign, focusing on keeping weight low and on everyday use.

Elsewhere, Ridgeback has refined some of its lines. Naturally the Rapide is no more (it has now incorporated into the Metro range). Avenida now includes the World Panoramic Deluxe, which has gone down well with UK and French dealers in particular, we hear.

Onto Scoot, which has been a Ridgeback stalwart since 2007. The popular learner bike range is huge in North America in particular and this year sees the range available in nine eye-catching colours.
Sticking with juniors, further refinements see the Dual Track and Track merged, so now only the Dual Track name is being used.

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Genesis
Genesis’ fat bike, the Caribou, has lost weight…from its price tag. The 2015 version of the ‘proper fat bike’ is £300 cheaper, down to £1,199. There’s also an eye catching junior version this year.

The Longitude is a new addition for Genesis. This fully rigid 29 compatible bike is based around the same idea as the Adventure line, pitched at the touring/expedition market. This ‘ready for anything’ bike is £999.99.

Croix De Fer has been expanded, now with a complete range with an easy to understand line-up that starts from £849. The black and white paint job has returned (on the 20) due to popular demand, while a limited orange and grey paint job is also in the range mix.

Equilibrium was Genesis’ foray into a road disc bike last year and having easily sold out the team has launched a dedicated range around the genre, topping out at £2,999 for the Equilibrium Ti (disc titanium). Mudguard compatible, £1,099 is now the entry level for the range, putting disc brakes into the price range of more consumers. Away from discs, Equilibrium now features Campagnolo for the first time (in the 30 and 20 models – though Shimano options are available).

Popping up in the Genesis line-up this year are some new materials, probably most notably KVA MS3 – a more affordable alternative to Reynolds 931, cheaper because it is produced in larger quantities and used in other industries.

Also new this year is CDA. This drop bar alloy range has the same look as the Croix De Fer and boasts bigger and bolder tyre specs, with a simple and clean, practical look.

What else? The Volant has similar colour trends to last year, with prices aimed at those who have been inspired by the likes of Froome and Wiggins but don’t necessarily have the knowledge of bikes to go with that enthusiasm. RRPs start from £599 (Volant 10) and rise to £799.99 (Volant 30). All feature carbon forks and have fitments for mudguards and racks.

Not content with all that, Genesis has also launched the Bridge sub-brand, an urban and accessible line pitched at those new or newish to cycling. Then there’s Volare, which was new last year, and this time ‘round the range sports wider rims to accommodate the trend for a wider tyre. And all that’s just for starters. 

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Ridley
With Eurobike only a few weeks away, Ridley was wisely waiting for the uber bike show to reveal most of its new launches to the cycle world. The brand did, however, choose to show off its not inconsiderable 13-bike strong CX range at the Sportline Show. For 2015, disc brakes feature strongly, including for its ‘do all’ bike, the X-Bow AllRoad 20 Disc. Pitched as a chic commuter with colour matched mudguards and brown faux-leather bar tape and saddle, this bike nips under the all-important £1,000 cycle to work watershed.

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Saracen
Onto Saracen, which has now been with Madison, or rather Sportline, since 2009, with re-establishing the brand with the IBD remaining the priority.

The successful Saracen team riders are big testers for the brand, not least the junior grass roots riders. Those looking to emulate the team have the Myst Pro, which is what the team uses, give or take – the back end has been modified for more mud clearance and there’s a new seat tube in one piece (£2,999). Then there’s the Myst Team – a full factory top flight race bike, in a paint finish similar to the team’s (£4,899).

The Mantra Trail Carbon (£1,499) is brand new to the Saracen line-up. Featuring the same highly rated gear and set up, it sports 120mm travel, internally routed cables, an internal dropper post and the focus remains on the fun of the ride. The Elite Carbon features a colour and finish inspired by the F1 McLaren team.

According to Saracen, it was the first UK firm to produce a 650B bike (at a time when only Norco was offering one worldwide). It wasn’t easy getting hold of tyres, rims, etc to fit the bike but now it’s in its third season – the Kili Flyer.

It’s mostly just cosmetic changes this year, with a more raw finish, and is pitched as the ultimate trail bike for UK customers. It’s pricy, but it’s also future proof, the firm says.

Hack is in its second season, its name coined by the sales team who simply described it as a bike for ‘hacking around town’ which then stuck. The frame is lighter now we’re in year two, while prices are down – the Hack 1 is the opening price point bike at £749.

Another bike introduced last year was the Tenet. Sporting decent mudguard clearance, forks have been upgraded to carbon tapered, offering more value for the rider. The Tenet 3 comes with discs. Sticking with the road, the Avro is an interesting development. Named after the manufacturer behind the Vulcan Bomber, the Avro is how Saracen sees the road bike, taking on MTB learnings. Using specially machined hubs, a paired down and lighter version than those used in the MTB ranges, the bike is Di2 and hydro ready and features wider rims (£1,799).

The popular and functional Urban Cross has seen some subtle frame improvements and now looks more aggressive. Elsewhere the kids range sports lighter tyres.

To find out more about those or all the many other bikes we didn’t get chance to coverhere, head on over to www.sportlineb2b.co.uk for all the details.

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