Tech highlights: Gravel bikes receive colour fade facelift and new Park Tool bling

Here's the gear that got us excited about the coming spring

The arrival of Madison's in-house trade show, iceBike, can mean only one thing: spring is just around the corner, and it's time to start thinking about all the lovely gear we could be enjoying (on dry roads!) in the coming months.

The annual event at Milton Keynes' Marshall Arena is an opportunity for the distributor to show off some of the most exciting tech from its brands.

Here's just a few of the highlights...

Genesis Fugio

With British Continental team Madison-Genesis calling time on its seven year reign as a stalwart of the UK race scene at the end of 2019, Genesis bikes is moving away from carbon race bikes and putting a strong focus on the growing trend towards multi terrain bikes, identifying itself as the 'original adventure brand'.

The 2020 range features updates to existing models such as the popular Editor's Choice winning Croix de Fer as well as this rather fetching colour fade paint job on the 'road plus' Fugio with its 650b wheels and 47mm WTB Venture tyres as standard. For those who just need more, that set up will accommodate 60mm tyres. If you want to ride with standard 700c wheels, there's still space for rubber up to 40mm.

The Fugio 30 (£2899.99) comes with a Reynolds 725 heat treated chromoly frame and Shimano GRX 810 1x11 groupset whilst the Fugio 20 (£2199.99) is built from Genesis' Mjolnir steel, with SRAM Apex components. There's routing for mechanical or Di2 drivetrains, plus dynamo light routing, too.

DT SWISS GRC 1400 Spline Gravel wheels

Gravel is going to be big in 2020 - and who wouldn't love the sort of relaxed approach which advocates a saddle bag mounted Toblerone for every ride?

The GRC 1400 Spline 42 wheels from DT Swiss aim to combine aerodynamic efficiency with strength, comfort and traction. These carbon clinchers are 42mm deep (the ideal middle ground, according to experts), with an external width of 32mm and internal of 24mm.

These hoops use DT aero comp straightpull spokes, and come in at 1545g costing £1724.99.

Park Tool T-handle wrenches

Park Tool was showing off a full compliment of exciting new equipment which will get the hearts of home mechanics quickening.

There's two new sets of T-handle wrenches, with hex and Torx versions available, with anodized aluminium 'speed spinners' designed to make running long bolts in and out quick and easy. A sliding T-handle will offer plenty of leverage, and each tool features a 'strip gripper' with a twisted hex to help you out in those sticky situations.

The hex wrenches come in eight sizes from two to eight, and Torx are T6 to T40. Both sets come in at £110, making them a rather nice gifting item.

Lazer Genesis helmet, chrome finish

Our tech team are big fans of the Lazer Genesis helmet, awarding it a 9/10 in a recent test. It's a super lightweight lid, coming in at 190g in a size small, and provides plenty of ventilation and comfort to boot, all for £169.99.

To make a sweet deal even sweeter, the brand has added two cool new chrome effect colourways... and we're a bit in love.

Shimano RX8/RX8W shoes

Perhaps Shimano's most exciting styling, these gravel ready RX8 shoes come in at £219.99, with stripped back TPU lugs contributing to a lightweight construction. A size 42 weighs in at 265g - which is pretty feathery for an off-road shoe with the extra materials required.

The upper is a one-piece synthetic leather affair with perforations for venting, and there's a reinforced toe protector plus Boa IP1 dials for closure, making micro adjustments mid-ride easy.

Shimano RC5/RC5W shoes

Shimano's RC5 shoes have always offered tasty performance with a relatively friendly price tag, at £139.99 - but some cool updates have brought them even closer to their higher end siblings.

In this new iteration, Shimano has used proprietary Boa L6 skeleton dials - and the lasting board has also been removed, taking away 3.3mm from the stack height for an even closer connection to the power base.

Elite Sterzo Steering frame

Summer might be on the way, but understandably the indoor cycling gaming world wants to keep you locked in. In aid of this, Zwifting is due to get even more lifelike, with steering on the way via devices like this from Elite.

Currently, only the 'dumb' model is available, at £34.99. This is used alongside the Zwift app, with handlebar mounting enabling control on specific sections set out by Zwift.

However, once the software is ready Elite will be able to roll out its smart versions, which will bring the real world feel of handlebar turns to the virtual world. We're already training our Zwift handling for summer crits.

The steering action turns on multiple cartridge bearings, and there's self-correcting tension built in providing a natural feeling action.

Pearl Izumi Women's Pro Mesh Jersey

Warm weather miles can't come soon enough, and when they do, this mesh jersey from Pearl Izumi could be just the ticket.

It's a high end piece of kit, retailing at £125, but the lightweight construction shoulder offer excellent breathability for distraction free rides.

There are matching shorts, with a new drop-tail design - though we'd be tempted to pair this jersey with the women's Pro bib shorts in a standard navy blue colour to tone down the design a little.

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.

Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor. 

Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.

Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.