We take a look under the Cycling Sports Group umbrella for 2016 and uncover a few gems
CSG owns a multitude of brands, including Cannondale, GT, Charge, Fabric, Sugoi and Sombrio. Here are a few highlights from its 2016 range reveal.
1. GT’s Zaskar celebrates its 25th anniversary by going back to its roots
Another hardtail with a rich heritage, the Zaskar is perhaps the most famous of its ilk, with World Championship wins in almost every discpline of mountain biking, and a fond place in the heart of almost everyone that was riding in the ’90s. Unfortunately, in recent years, the Zaskar had lost its way, attempting to be a XC race machine on a budget rather than a bike that put a smile on your face. For 2016, the Zaskar is going back to its roots with a range of trail-inspired carbon and aluminium models. It gets 650b wheels, more relaxed geometry and a UK-specific spec with 740mm bars, 60mm stems, 120mm travel forks and single-ring drivetrains on all but the most affordable model. Even the tyres have been specced for GB riding, with High Roller 2s up front and Ardents out back. Let’s hope big grins come as standard too.
2. GT introduces new full-suspension bike for £799
We recently tested five full-suspension bikes costing £1,000 and, frankly, were blown away by their performance. And in a good way too. Now it seems there’s another low-cost option on the market – it’s called the GT Verb, and it takes a simpified version of GT’s signature i-Drive system with 120mm of travel and applies it to a 6061 aluminium frame with trail-inspired geometry and 650b wheels. Three models are on offer, from £799 to £1,199.
3. Fabric sculpts one of the most beautiful saddles ever
With it’s seamless, one-piece design and flowing lines, this has to be one of the most aesthically pleasing places to park your butt. It’s called the ALM and it was developed in conjuction with Airbus. Fabric claims the flexible carbon rails and base work in unison to provide superior comfort, which is a good thing considering the minimal padding. At £225 it’s a hefty investment, but as the finishing touch for that boutique build, we can see it taking off (i’ll get my coat). Oh, and apparently Shaun Palmer has one, although Fabric won’t confirm there’s a gold lamé version in the pipeline.
4. Charge goes all-in for 650 Plus
Charge has never been afraid to go out on a limb, and for 2016 it has jumped feet first into the Plus sized market. Every bike in the range has wider, big volume tyres, although it has taken a slightly different route to some of the plus-sized options we’ve seen so far. Rather than the 3in tyres employed by Orbea, Specialized and Trek, among others, Charge has plumped for the slightly narrower 2.8in WTB Trailblazer, mounted on 40mm internal-width rims. It’s a move that Charge claims it is the best blend of weight, stability and flotation, and a combo it has arrived at after testing every tyre and rim on the market over the last 18-months or so. Certainly, in terms of pure looks, it’s a lot more conventional, and this alone may well win over more customers than other brands. We should see whether the ride lives up to Charge’s billing too, as we’ve got one coming in on test very soon.
The mainstay of the Charge MTB range is still the Cooker. Along with the mid-fat wheels, the range gets 6061 aluminium frames, trail-specific geometry with 120mm travel forks, single-ring drivetrains and tubeless ready wheels and tyres. It’s also worth noting that the frame uses 135mm quick-release dropouts and a 73mm bottom bracket shell. Price for the Cooker 2, shown here, is £999, but the range start at £699 and goes up to £2,999 for the titanium Cooker 5.
5. Sombrio is back!
Everyone’s favourite Vancouver-based-clothing-company-that’s-not-Race-Face is back from the dead, with a new range catering to both men and women. It’s not the largest range available, but probably boasts better clarity as a result. We’re certainly happy to see the brand back on the hangers.