Madison’s house show, iceBike* is the traditional early-season chance to see what products are appearing this spring and for Madison – importers of a bajillion different brands – to sneak out a few new brands and product lines. 2019’s iceBike* (the * is compulsory apparently – it’s a snowflake, see?) was no different, with a few new brands and some new bits and pieces to please most people. So, let’s dive in and see what caught our attention:
This US brand has been around for a while and its tubeless repair products are loved by racers, guides and trail riders alike. The only issue has been availability and cost, given that the brand had no major importer until now. That’s changed though, with Madison getting behind Dynaplug in a big way, meaning better availability and lower prices (and no customs fee surprises…). The team from Dynaplug had come over and were giving demos to show how the system works.
The Dynaplug Air is the newest product. This features a loaded tubeless plug with a quick-release cap, attached to a CO2 cartridge. The idea is that it deploys quickly and allows the hole to be plugged before too much air has been lost. The air can then be topped up with the CO2 while the plug and tool are still in the tyre. Inflate to taste, then remove the tool, leaving behind the rubbery plug and brass tip to seal the hole. We’ve been impressed with this so far – and it’s good to see a ‘cross/gravel/road tubeless version released for smaller tyres (far left).
Here’s the range. From the guide-special Megapill, to the more practical Micro Pro and the always-ready Racer. Finally, there’s the Air. Look for them to appear in the shops about… now.
Pearl Izumi released the X-Alp Launch shoe a couple of years ago, but it has since refined the style to be a little lower profile and a little more like a skate shoe than a clomping great BMX trainer. There’s still an EVA midsole and a nice, gummy rubber sole with some chevron grip on heel and toe for those times when you’re heading back up the hill on foot.
It’s easy to forget that Pro is Shimano’s component arm, and with the might of the Japanese giant behind it, its been coming out with some good stuff recently. That includes products like the Koryak dropper post, with drops from 70mm for ‘cross bikes up to a jumbo 170mm for tall riders with short frames and steep trails to negotiate. Not to mention a newly redesigned lever that’s really rather good.
Internal tool: This was an interesting tool on the Pro stand – it’s an internal cable-routing tool. It uses a selection of steel thread-in inserts, guided by a magnet to help you with that fiddly job of getting your cables to go where you want them. We’re not quite sure why Pro has made it in a portable, multi-tool format, but it certainly is neat, if just for keeping the workshop tidy.
Pro Flared Drop Bars – whether you’re doing a multi-day epic on the monster cross bike, or just after a comfy bar for cyclocross riding, Pro has two new Discover bars, one with a flarey 30° angle and the other with a comfy 12° flare. The bars come in regular road measurements of 40-44cm, but those are measured at the brake clamp area, so the 30deg bar gives a very wide stance, while the 12deg is merely a little comfy.
proSaracen debuted its Levarg bike a year or so ago. Levarg is ‘gravel’ backwards, geddit? The top model, the Levarg OR shows some pretty pioneering looks, with wide, skinwall knobbies, a Fox gravel suspension fork and a short travel dropper post too. It’s a hooligan of the gravel world.