LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN) — SBS's Redline has been a go-to brand for U.S. cyclocross racers for decades and the company — now part of the Accell Group — is continuing to do its own thing when it comes to 'cross, even though Accell's Raleigh and Lapierre brands have their own cyclocross ambitions.
Dirk Sorensen, marketing manager at SBS, said the brand approaches the 'cross market the same way it did before the merger.
"We still look at the whole market, we are not out to fill niches that the (other Accell brands) leave open. That's not happening, at least not now," he said. "We still meet with our product developers and look at the trends in the marketplace and what our dealers want. I think our independance shines through when you look at some of the things we are doing, which stay true to our design philosophies and ideas about geometry."
This year Redline offers seven cyclocross models — eight if you count its aluminum singlespeed, which is available as a frame only (this year in a retro white graphics scheme reminiscent of vintage Redline BMX bikes).
For 2014, Redline brought back its 20-inch wheeled 'cross bike, the Conquest 20, which was missing from its 2013 lineup. The new bike is spec'd with a bald tire instead of a knobby and features a monster green paintjob. Also back for 2014 is the $1,100 aluminum-framed Conquest 'cross bike, a staple bike for many dealers over the years. The Conquest comes with Shimano SORA parts and is aimed at commuters, tourers and workingman cyclocrossers.
At the higher end, Redline is on the third generation of its carbon 'cross frame. The newest version includes a pressfit bottom bracket, full internal cable routing and a system to allow conversion from 130mm to 135mm rear spacing through replaceable dropouts. That feature future-proofs the frame, Redline's Tim Rutledge said. While most disc-brake equipped cyclocross and road bikes are coming through with 135mm spacing, Rutledge is betting that when the road disc market really explodes (if/when the UCI allows disc in road races), the standard might swing back to 130mm because of chainline and Q-factor concerns. In the meantime, the replaceable dropouts add some wheel choice flexability and durability.
The carbon frame comes in two versions, each with a distinct complete bike. The top of the line Conquest Team is a marvel of modularity: it can be built with discs or cantilever brakes, cables or electric wiring and 130 or 135 rear spacing. The complete bike comes with TRX cantilever brakes, Ultegra Di2 shifting, Ultegra wheels and an FSA Energy crank for $4,700 retail.
The Conquest Pro Disc might be the sweet spot for many racers. The bike relies on the same frame as the Conquest Team, but with a different paint scheme and no cantilever brake option. The complete bike is built up with a Shimano 105 drivetrain, Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes and Novatec tubeless-compatible wheels for $2,800.
The $1,600 Conquest Disc has a hydroformed aluminum frame, a Tiagra drivetrain and BB7 brakes. It comes with Schwalbe Sammy Slic 35mm tires for gravel road adventuring.
Filling out the line is the venderable Conquest 24, a favorite of many younger 'cross racers.
Redline also is continuing its Metro line, including the drop bar Metro Sport and Metro Classic models, although the plan is for Torker to become SBS's transportation bike brand for the future.
And for 2014 Redline also has a new full-suspension mountain bike frame design called Binary Link that promises improved climbing and durability. The design is used on a 100mm cross-country 29er, with a hydroformed aluminum frame and two complete bike versions at $3,750 and $2,750.