Sportline show report: 2016 bikes from Ridley, Genesis & Ridgeback

From team bikes to balance bikes and everything in between, Sportline’s brands have rustled up an ever broader line-up...
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The bike design gurus behind Sportline’s 2016 line-up have been aiming to fill range gaps and hit all the right notes whatever sector your bike shop specialises in, with an increasingly broad set of ranges. There’s even been a few hints as to future 2017 models too, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

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First up, Saracen. The 2016 line-up includes Tuff Trax which are all 27.5 inch this year, including the entry-level models. The brand told BikeBiz it felt the time was right, what with 27.5 inch spares now much easier to come by. Like a number of others, Saracen has entirely ditched the 26-inch format. What a difference a few years make. There are five models in the range, plus a 29er.

Mantra continues to be very successful for Saracen. This year it uses the brand’s own chip-slot dropout. The Mantra Carbon was a big surprise for Saracen, selling out double quick. For 2016 it sees internally routed cables with two models available (£1,599 for the Trail or £2,099 for the Elite).

Saracen’s Urban range is its ‘most complete’ yet and the Myth features disc brakes. 2016’s Ariel line comes in two models and a frame kit, with the enduro range now offering 160mm travel forks (150mm last year).

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The Kili Flyer (pictured) has hoovered up plenty of press already. There’s just the one model this season – a carbon frame featuring a Deore XT set up. The fork has 130mm travel and specs in response to customer upgrades.

The Hack this year has got strong graphics across its four models. Over on the road, Avro has proved another success for the firm. For 2016 there’s one carbon frame in two versions (£1,600 and £2,099).

Continuing Adventures
Adventure is a very broad-minded brand in terms of range and partner. Any retailer can buy into it, with few limitations. It can be used as a stock filler or as full stock and comes mostly assembled to save time in the workshop. The full kids range includes the Zooom line-up, now in six colours with smaller tubes and at £99.99.
The Café Series is new for Adventure, including upright Dutch-style rides Prima Café (6-speed) and a Deluxe (3-speed) version. Then there’s the Double Shot, which features flat bars and 3-speed internal hub. The pub bike-esque Flat White has rack mounts and 14-speed gears.

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Rapide is still pretty young and for 2016 the range has been given eye-catching paint jobs to help it stand out in dealerships. Fulcrum has been used throughout the range for 2016 and the carbon models have been pared down from four to three. Again, strong graphics are to the fore and prices go up according to components, topping out with full Ultegra (though some of the range has reverted to external routing to shave off prices).

The RL disc is a three bike range that premiered at iceBike*. It has a full carbon fork and eyelets for guards and racks.

Onto Ridgeback, a range that continues to offer a bit of everything and boasts 400-plus dealers. Ridgeback has entered the world of electric bikes, launching two models earlier this year. One of those – the Electron Plus – has completely sold out. So what next? The team told BikeBiz there are plans to launch two new e-bike models for 2017, likely including a traditional step over model and also a high-end e-bike.

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Elsewhere the Ridgeback range has more colour, there’s a new three-geared Nova and an ever larger Metro range, providing yet more choice for dealers. The World Series range has been tweaked but the bigger story is the new and appealing classic paint job and head badge, capitalising on the fact that traditional is working well for the market.

The stabilisers are off
Dimension is Ridgeback’s premium kids bike, buoyed by parents getting into cycling and wanting a decent ride for their offspring. The range sold out last year, BikeBiz was told and there’s a 16-inch wheel version in the 2016 line-up. Kickstands have also been added to some of the models. According to Sportline, the balance bike market is now so strong that stabilisers’ popularity is plummeting, with youngsters going from balance/running bikes straight to junior bike sizes.

Just a fraction of Ridley’s range was on show at the Sportline show and no surprise with the Belgian brand revealing plans to double its popular cyclocross range. Ridley already offers – it says – more cyclocross bikes than any other brand and that’s in no danger of change with the all-new category launch – the x trail – an aggressive gravel-esque range. With a higher front end, they are going to be a touch more comfortable to ride, but they’ll still be capable of handling races, on the road too.

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TT bikes are also proving popular for the brand with the new Chronus providing an entry level option for the sector. Ridely’s Fenix SL updates the Fenix, which is the brand’s best-seller in the UK, and you may have already seen it on the cobbles on the pro circuit. The new aero Noah will be on show at Eurobike, as will the full depth of Ridley’s range. 

2016 is Genesis’ tenth model year, so there’s a few nods to this milestone in the new range. The top level Zero performance range has been pared down from four bikes to a three bike range, including one at £1,100. The frame is the same but different grades of carbon have been used. Forks are more slimline/tapered and over 100g has been shaved off the frame. The Di2 verison (Zero Z.i) will set riders back £2,999. There’s a frame set for the team bike too.

For 2016, Equilibrium disc has four models and a stainless steel bike at the top. The geometry has been reworked, with a new stack and reach designed to make it easier for dealers to fit to customers. The new six models are designed to accommodate the increasing popularity of discs.

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The Equilibriums have new and so far popular graphics, while the Croix de Fer now has a reworked aluminium version. The Volante is no more, but the Delta is new, an entry-level road offering two versions (£799 and £599). Elsewhere, the Urban Bridge Series is brand new, sporting unusual twin top tubes and pleasingly retro paint jobs. The do-anything, go-anywhere Vagabond sneaks under £1,000 with 29-inch wheels new old-school bar end shifters.

Onto MTB and the Longitude now comes in 27.5, 27.5+ and 29er options. The previous model year sold out and there’s been no little hype around these latest versions. Tarn is a new 27.5+/29 trail bike, while the Caribou now comes with free Gorilla cages, mounted to the fork and capable of carrying a wide variety of gear (sleeping bags, wine bottles, you name it). The rims are not drilled, so not as much tape is required, while the frame has been tweaked and it’s now in a fetching ‘flash green’. The eye-catching Caribou Junior is in the range too.
Datum is another addition, a large-tyred carbon road disc bike ready for the gravel if you should so choose. Using Genesis’ own tools and moulds, the wide tyres are accommodated thanks to frame cut outs and it comes in three models and a frameset.

The Croix de Fer is pitched as the backbone of the range, with titanium options alongside the Reynolds 725 Chromoly editions (including a frameset). This year Tour de Fer comes in two models and a frame set. It’s a fast growing category, Sportline tells BikeBiz, and the drop bars have been replaced with flat bars.
Let’s wrap up with the Decade range, providing a modest nod to its anniversary. There’s a Day One, CdF and Equilibrium in the limited range, with matt paint jobs that blend into gloss plus extra detailing on specs.

www.sportlineb2b.co.uk

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Trek UK I Milton Keynes I Competitive Salary I Date Published Wednesday 20th March 2018