JOURNAL: 2018 Sportline Bike Launch

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2018 Sportline Bike Launch

With the nights drawing in and the cross season well under way it’s that time of year when cycle manufacturers begin launching their 2018 model range for the season ahead.
First on our list of supplier shows was the sports giant Madison-Sportline in Milton Keynes, with major brands like Genesis, Saracen, Ridley, Ridgeback and Adventure providing some top quality bikes at all price points and Madison’s own clothing range with Pearl Izumi in tow it was a busy day browsing all the new products and chatting with brand reps! It’s a tough job but some one has to do it I suppose!
After a quick catch up with Chipps from Singletrack Magazine who was there to primarily to cover the knobbly tired variety of bikes (which we’ll get to later) and after raiding the buffet table we set about searching for the best bikes and kit to bring you for the 2018 season:

Ridley

Eddy Merckx, Waffles, Duvel beer…In the cycling world Belgium has a revered status, one of historic cycling pride, proud traditionalism and of course CyclroCross and Cobbles.
Ridley with it’s own room were on form displaying a great selection from their range of road, gravel and cyclocross bikes driving home the Belgian heritage behind the brand and showcasing why they make some of the best bikes in the world.

With a strong focus the new Cyclocross range particular highlights were the new ‘X-Night Disc’ in Sram Rival spec (above) in this stunning blue and pink livery coming in at £2,899 it’s a serious race machine for the mud lovers.

Also on show were the ever popular ‘X-Bow’ range starting at £999 for the Sora Disc model shown below, with the ability to fit mud-guards and a pannier rack they make excellent multi purpose bikes for off and on road adventures.

One bike that really impressed us was the absolutely bonkers ‘X-Trail Alloy’ with 650b (that’s 27.5″) wheels, fat tyres and a bang on trend single ring Sram transmission. Able to take 700c wheels too it looks like an absolute blast! At £1,399 it’s a lot of madness for the money:

Alongside the cycle range Elite Trainers also had some of their popular FE-C trainers on show, a particular favourite of ours is the Elite ‘Direto F-EC’.
Fully compatible with Swift, TrainerRoad, Sufferfest, Kinomap and Bikevo software it’s an incredibly capable machine for that immersive trainer experience. At £749 it’s accessible and feature packed with accuracy comparable to the best power meters and Garmins, we were particularly impressed with it’s smoothness and silence:

Lastly, a sign of demo bikes to come? Watch this space…

Saracen

Saracen has gone from strength to strength since Madison bought the rights to the brand a few years back. This year they continue to produce a great range of mountain bikes both entry level and performance.
Representing great value for money are the ‘Tufftrax’ range starting at £359, perfect for cycle to work:

As avid mountain bikers here at Bikeshak we were impressed by the quality of the kids range in particular the ‘Mantra 24’ bikes. It’s so hard to find good value quality kids bikes so it’s good to see Saracen have got you covered:

The ‘Kili Flyer’ makes a return this year with a base alloy model (at last!!) at £1,849 and this gorgeous ‘Kili Flyer Elite’ at £3,499. The Kili is still one of the most rounded trail bikes for British riding you can buy:

We’ve also been looking carefully at the excellent range of Hybrid’s in Saracen’s range. The ‘Urban Cross’ at £529 with hydraulic brakes, a suspension seat-post, lockable suspension forks and big gear range in one for serious consideration if your a commuter or leisure cyclist wanting to explore off the road:

Ridgeback

Ridgeback specialises in bikes for the masses, the sort of bike you need to get you to your destination with minimal fuss, maximal reliability and of course with a big smile.
They are also makers of the brilliant ‘Dimension’ series bikes that rival Frog and Isla bike in terms of weight, specification and price. We think they are some of the nicest kids bikes you can buy, simple, light and good looking:

Alongside the ‘Dimension’ range also sits the ‘MX’ with equal variety in size and colour and a cheaper price starting at £159.99:

Ridgeback also offers a great value range of hybrids, we really like the ‘Anteron, Meteor, Motion and Tensor’ models. Cycling doesn’t have to cost a fortune and neither does style or functionality thanks to Ridgeback!

The ‘Ramble’ range of gravel bikes is a new model as of last year and the bike sees an update this year with the addition of a ‘2.0’ model specced with a Shimano Tiagra groupset and TRP Hy-Rd hydraulic / Cable disc brakes. We love the colour!

Genesis

Quite firmly a staff favourite as a producer of exquisite quality bikes for commuting and serious road and off-road cycling Genesis is the corner stone of the Madison brand creating some truly unique and lust worth machines.
We had a quick test ride of the frighteningly light and nimble ‘Mantle’ carbon 29’r mountain bikes. Ben our shop manager and long time competitive cross country racer was singing it’s praises, needless to say I think he’s found his next race bike!

The Genesis ‘Tarn’ also sees a facelift this year with a great new colour scheme, with offerings of both 29’r (pictured) and 650b+ the bike has become a favourite for ‘do it all’ mountain bikers:

On the Urban side of things the ‘Smithfield and Columbia’ models continue to impress with their practicality, excellent build quality, ride comfort and attention to detail:

Genesis has a big following in the newly emerging ‘Gravel’ market being one of the first companies to offer widely available bikes suited to this new style of riding. A new model for this year the ‘Fugio’ at £1999.99 seeks to push the genre of Gravel riding to it’s limit with 650b tyre and wheels giving true off road ability:

After a final raid of the buffet table we called it day with some great ideas for our stock plan going forward into 2018, new bikes should be arriving soon. This was just a small selection of the huge range these brands represent all of which we can get into stock so if there is something on your wish list get in touch via Facebook or contact the shop through our contacts page and don’t forget to follow on twitter (@bikeshak) and Instagram (@bikeshakcc) for the latest updates on new products!

Written on September 13th, 2017 by Ben Othen

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