Exclusive bike test: Islabikes Icons Janis road bike

Islabikes Icons Janis – a bike for baby-boomers and beyond
The children’s bike specialists have launched a new range for much, much older cyclists. Cycle magazine editor Dan Joyce was given exclusive access to test the Icons range aimed at people aged 65+. Here’s his in-depth review of the news Islabikes Icons road bike – Janis

While Islabikes have long had an adult bike in the range, the versatile Beinn 29, they’re best known for their benchmark children’s bikes. The new Icons range is aimed at the other end of the age spectrum: over-65s who aren’t ready for an e-bike.

The Janis (after Joplin – you can work out the others) is the flat-bar road bike in the range. It’s distinguished by its step-through, mixte-style frame, which makes it easy to get on and off. Most step-throughs – bespoke ones and Moultons aside – are heavy. The Janis is a mere 9.19kg. As with children’s bikes, low weight makes a bigger difference the less strength the rider has.

Even on a lightweight bike, hills are hard when you’ve got less power. This is compounded by road bike gearing, which is arguably too high for anyone who isn’t racing. The Janis has a bottom gear of just 20 inches, despite its 1× drivetrain. The cassette is huge (11-40t) and the chainring small (30t). Top gear is smaller too but it’s a fair trade; you can’t coast far up hills. Other chainrings are available (26-38t).

Most road bikes, even flat-bar ones, demand an athletic position that’s good for going faster but not for aching backs or arms. The Janis sits you more upright. Less weight on the front wheel makes the steering feel light initially; you soon adapt.

There are concessions to limited hand strength. The Gripshift gear control is light action. Hydraulic discs transmit little lever effort into lots of braking power. The rims have a less prominent lip, so it’s easier to get the tyres on and off.

I’ve no real criticisms beyond the front wheel being out of true, a potential issue with any bike arriving in a box.

But I’d like: a slightly (10mm) lower bottom bracket to make it easier for those who don’t fit a dropper post to put a foot down; flared, Ergon-style grips; a front mudflap; and ‘more cupholders’ – that is, a handlebar bottle mount as standard, not an extra.


Inspired! A lightweight, low-geared, step-through sports hybrid for pensioners that would suit riders with mobility issues at any age.

Islabikes Icons launch

First published in Cycle magazine, February/March 2019 issue. All information correct at time of publishing.

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At Cycling UK and Cycle magazine, we are proudly independent. There’s no pressure to please advertisers as we’re funded by our members. Our product reviews aren’t press releases; they’re written by experienced cyclists after thorough testing.

Tech spec​

Islabikes Icons Janis

Islabikes Icons Janis

Price: £1,199.99

Sizes: XS, S, M (tested), L

Weight: 9.19kg (no pedals)  

Frame & fork: 7005 aluminium frame with fittings for mudguard, rear rack, and (stock models) external dropper seatpost. Islabikes full-carbon fork with 1 1/8in straight steer and mudguard fittings

Wheels: 30-622 Islabikes road tyres, Islabikes ‘Easy-Tyre Change’ disc rims, 28×3 stainless steel spokes, Islabikes QR disc hubs

Transmission: No pedals, 170mm Islabikes low Q-factor SRAM-fit direct mount chainset, 30t narrow/wide chainring, external threaded bottom bracket, KMC X10 chain, 11-40t Sunrace 10-speed cassette. SRAM Gripshift control, SRAM GX rear derailleur. 10-ratios, 20-73in

Braking: SRAM Level TL hydraulic discs, 160mm front, 140mm rear rotors. Steering & seating: 600×31.8mm flat handlebar, 80mm×17º stem, integrated headset. Islabikes saddle, 27.2×350mm inline seatpost

Equipment: Sunnywheel aluminium mudguards

Other options

Islabikes Icons Jimi £1,199.99

The Icons range’s mountain bike: a step-through 29er (size S: 27.5in) with a rigid carbon fork. Gearing is 1×10, with a sub-20in bottom. Weight: 9.9kg.

Islabikes Icons Joni £799.99

A low step-through roadster that weighs 11kg, thanks to its aluminium frame and carbon fork. The 1×8 gearing uses an 11-40 cassette.