By Colin Dennis
The weekend of February 27/28th saw Madison’s annual ICE Bike show open its doors to the public for the first time, but Cycle Reviewer got passed the bouncers early on Tuesday to get ahead of the game.
We also hoped to get the undivided attention of Madison’s PR team. And we did!
Right up front I want to say a very BIG thank you to, Aled and Mike, who introduced us to so many brand managers and manufacturers' representatives in such a short space of their valuable time.
You know what they say: attack is the best form of defence!
Our first port of call was the exuberant and incredibly friendly, Eric from Swedish bike carrying maestros, Thule.
Armed as he was with the latest ProRide 598 roof rack, Eric quickly explained the new features over the omnipresent 591 carrier. The neatest feature, we thought was the extra lip, or hook that ensures the bike stays upright in its cradle before you wind up the handle.
Have to say though, we’ve been using the 591 for a couple of years and bikes have never looked like they were going to topple out of the original cradle. Still, better safe than sorry.
Saracen Bikes were out in force and looking very strong indeed.
The Killi Flyer mountain bike was one of 'thee' race bikes to have if you were serious about your MTB racing back in the day (or you had more money than sense) these days the Killi Flyer sports front and rear suspension, and a paint job to die for.
Just like the rest of the Saracen rage, the Killi Flyer looked the business and represented just how far Madison have worked alongside Saracen to develop the British brand.
Oh yeah, I forgot. Just behind the Thule display car was Thule’s very own take on a Swedish coffee bar without a trace of Ikea.
Fuelled by such delights at un-earthly hour, we speed-dated our way through several nutritional stands including, Mulebar and SIS before even more caffeine kicked in from a wide selection of energy bar tasters.
Well, you have to get breakfast where you can, don’t you?
You couldn’t avoid, Andre Greipel at this year's ICE Bike. Big or small, the German ace was everywhere and was put to good use by Ridley who include him in just about every marketing shot in their superb display.
As bold a green as you've ever seen, Greipel's stunning stage-winning Noa SL was proudly dislpayed in the Ice Bike foyer alongside many other award seeking bikes and components.
There was one other particular Ridley bike, designed for us mere mortals that did catch our eye though, well actually there were several.
OK, ok! All of the Ridley bikes caught our eye, but the Compagnolo equipped and gold/bronze coloured Fenix was dressed up to the nines in one of the coolest licks of paint we’ve come across in a long time.
Ridley bikes maybe proven on the toughest of Belgian cobbles, but they seem to know a thing or two about bike customisation too – including paint jobs!
The Madison clothing range is Vast! Apparel for road, mountain and every fashionable cycling trend in between there is can be seen on display at the show or on the Madison website.
Its great kit too, sensibly priced and included a wide range of great looking women’s clothing too.
It was particularly nice to see such a cool range of cycling kit for kids at the show. Kids need to be represented in cycling. As the saying goes: they are the future. So let’s look after them.
While we’re on the clothing theme, the Compress Sport’s massive range of compression clothing and accessories was both impressive and intimidating at the same time. Running, adventure and cycling disciplines are all catered for here by Compress Sports.
The most noticeable element as far as cycling goes were the number of pro-peloton teams that use Compress Sports kit.
Too many to mention here but talking to Andy Chatterton the Compress Sports brand manager, he was pleased to tell us how well the supportive clothing works.
Well, Andy proudly explained that the UCI have banned the use of Compress Sports aids during racing, proving without a doubt that the kit must work. That‘ll be a marketing coup for Compress Sport, then?
Longstanding Madison brand, Pearl Izumi also had an impressive range of new goodies to peruse. Most noticeably was the brand spankingly proud and loud new Pro Leader Road shoe.
With nowhere to hide, these drop-dead gorgeous shoes are sure to make a winner of you - no matter how you ride.
Quietly getting a respectable nod from many was the Rapide range of road bikes. Coming in carbon or alloy versions, the Rapide range of sportive bikes were well specced and priced accordingly for the clubman and weekend warrior alike.
We certainly would like to get our hands on one or two Rapide bikes for review.
Taking up centre of the large MK Arena stage stood the ever-growing Genesis range of bikes. Road, Adventure, MTB, Touring and performance kid’s bikes were all beautifully represented.
Old Genesis favourites like the Croix de Fer stood alongside newbies such as the race-proven Madison-Genesis carbon team bikes.
Garmin were out in force too, navigation and the associated technology is big business in cycling these days. You could almost believe the hype that you couldn’t find your way to the end of the road let alone let yourself loose on the Brecon Beacons if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s only cycling!
Meanwhile Lazer Helmets had plenty to say about head protection. The Lazer modular 3-in-1 system looked the part, as did the aero race helmet that reminded you not to slow down – such is technology.
We’ve only scratched the surface here, but next year we aim to stay for longer and eat more of the tasty lunch menu. Ice Bike is tremendous fun and Madison go all out to make everyone feel welcome, even the public – nice touch!