Words and photos by Stephen Haynes
Interbike is an interesting proposition for a part-time luddite/agoraphobic like yours truly, in that it consists of lots of shiny things that make noise, and smiling people that want to talk to you, both of which terrify and exhaust me. Still, there are few opportunities to fondle new product and rub elbows with the people responsible for making them (or at the very least, the marketing people hired by the people that make them) outside a major tradeshow of this kind.
Interestingly, there is very little that’s actually new and different in the world of bicycles, aside from the occasional boutique product that serves as a solution to a problem 80% of the population doesn’t suffer from. Revolutionary changes in accessory and component design are measured in fractions of degrees.
There is one segment that continues to flourish and grow unabated, however, despite protestations from a large percentage of the American cycling population: e-bikes. Aside from the question “what the hell are we gonna do with all the spent batteries when they’ve run their course?”, I actually don’t have much truck with e-bikes. Being both relatively lazy and risk-averse, I like the idea of self-propelled vehicles that don’t go so fast as to immediately put your life at risk.
I was interested, specifically, in finding bikes that dropped the pretense of the vehicle being a bicycle altogether and instead gave you the option to simply press a button and go. These electric motorbikes fit neither in the motorcycle business, nor in the bicycle business, but rather somewhere in between. With relatively long charge times and relatively short trip potential, they serve a very specific type of person. I am, hypothetically, that type of person.
The OJO is a new product trying to carve out a new niche in an industry of niches. Being a lifelong fan of Vespa scooters, I was immediately drawn to the OJO as it cuts a similar profile. With its swooping front end, notched to accommodate a front fender, and upright riding position, this little wasp look-alike had my attention.
The OJO’s extruded aluminum chassis can hold up to 300 pounds and remains light enough (at 65 pounds) to move around when parking or tucking into a corner. Its super-intuitive, touch-screen display allows you to choose between three ride settings. The same display also serves as a speedometer, tells you how much battery is remaining and allows you turn on/off the OJO’s headlight.
The OJO also has Bluetooth speakers and a USB port so you can prove to your fellow commuters how discriminating your taste in music is, and charge your phone at the same time.
Riding the OJO takes a few minutes to work out. The small wheels make for agile maneuvering but feel super twitchy at first. In the highest speed setting, the OJO’s 500 watt hub motor will do 20 mph, even while carrying someone with a robust midsection, like me. All jokes aside, this thing is ridiculously fun to ride. It’s childish in the very best sense of the word.
The OJO’s 48 volt battery takes about 6 hours to charge fully from zero and has a 25 mile range. You can charge the battery via built-in 110 volt, onboard plug, which stows into a clever compartment, concealed in the front fairing.
The makers of the OJO offer a smattering of accessories from mirrors to baskets and the scooter itself comes in a relatively wide spectrum of colors. The base model OJO will set you back $2,000. Whether the OJO becomes a hot new thing or lives on in relative obscurity, the future of bike lanes may soon be filled with more than just pedal bikes.
The Cruz from Vintage Electric is sort of the antithesis of of the previously mention OJO. While the OJO fits the hyperactive, modern metropolis vibe, the Cruz is decidedly laid back. The sweeping curves of the Cruz’s steel frame are cut from the same fabric as the classic beach cruiser, which is evident in both name and attitude.
Everything about this bike sort of reeks of quality; the leather grips and saddle are by Brooks, polished alloy components litter the frame, an old school moto-style headlight adorns the front end and a CNC cut maple “gas tank” slyly muppets the real thing.
The sand cast aluminum battery box (hallmark of all Vintage Electric bikes), is the real star of the assembly. On its own, you might mistake it for an antique radio or refrigerator part, but here its appearance reminds the viewer of a time when things were made to last. As you might expect, all that quality adds up, and at 86 pounds, the Cruz is certainly heavy with it.
Operating the Cruz in standard mode will allow you to reach speeds up to 20 mph and has a range of roughly 30 miles. The Cruz can also be ridden in race mode which tops out, reportedly, at 36 mph. The test track at Interbike was restricted to 20 mph, so I can’t speak to race mode, but standard mode felt like plenty of speed and was utterly fantastic.
Swept back handlebars and 26 inch wheels skinned with Fat Frank tires from Schwalbe make for super smooth riding. The 750 watt hub motor, driven on by the 52 volt battery, propels you casually, yet forcibly, up to top speed in a few seconds. Charging the battery to 80% takes approximately 2 hours, and another 4 hours to be topped off.
The Cruz will set you back $5,000, and while it is unabashedly cool, I can’t help but feel like it’s more luxury than utility. Or perhaps as a middle-aged man with zero retirement savings and two kids to put through college, I’m simply blind to the possibilities. Either way, it was fun while it lasted.
The GeoOrbital is a self-contained, electric wheel that allows you to convert nearly any bike into an electric bike. By simply replacing your front wheel with the GeoOrbital and attaching the throttle to your handlebars, you can electrify your riding experience with one simple component upgrade.
Available in 26” and 700c, the GeoOrbital uses the interior hoop of the rim as a track for three wheels, one of which is a 500 watt motor powered by a 36 volt battery. The battery itself is cleverly tucked in the interior of the modified hub assembly and can be charged using standard 110 volt wall adapter. Charging times will vary, depending on size, between 2 and 4 hours.
The top speed of the GeoOrbital 700c, without pedaling, is 20 mph and has a range of roughly 20 miles. I tooled around on the company’s goofy little Minipenny, which can be purchased as a frameset and was as ridiculous and fun as it looks.
I didn’t get a whole lot of time on the GeoOrbital, apart from the aforementioned goofiness, but I like the adaptive nature of the product. While I love looking at new and interesting products that look to sell whole bikes, it’s nice to think you could get into the e-bike game without having to give up your regular bike. Available directly from the company for $1,200.
Dad Bod is a regular column written by our art director, Stephen Haynes, about the intersection of cycling, parenting and life. His other columns can be found here.Tweet Print
Interbike’s indoor show is truly overwhelming; getting lost and being late and forgetting to eat are par for the course, as is the feeling that you can’t possibly cover everything. Here we bring you the most interesting things our editors saw from each day of the indoor show.
Thule has long made child carriers for bikes but this year it now has YEPP of the Netherlands in its wheelhouse and the two companies are beginning to collaborate. YEPP borrowed helmet technology for this bike seat that actually looks a lot like a helmet, indeed.
Notable is the magnetic closure system that’s quick and easy to engage, but required a two-point maneuver to open–something your kiddo probably won’t be able to figure out. This particular model has adjustable foot rests, attaches to almost any rear rack and can accommodate up to 48 pounds (it weighs 6.6 pounds empty) and will sell for $220.
Primal was one of the many companies at Interbike broadly expanding the types of products it has on offer. Long a company focused on custom cycling clothing and mostly oriented toward more serious road riders (if you go even farther back you might remember Primal being known for wacky jersey designs), it seems to be trying to re-orient its brand reputation. Primal still sells tribal ink, Pink Floyd and military-themed jerseys, but has jumped into the urban cycling market with a rather ambitious collection.
“Collection” is the word for it. The clothes, part of the new “Happy Trails / HTA” line, were designed by Rok Jung. Jung took design cues from high fashion and worked to create hybrid cycling pieces that are useful and technical without being obvious. The pieces clearly won’t appeal to everyone but after inspecting them up close, I came away impressed with the details and impeccable quality of each garment.
Almost every piece is packed with features like seamless double stitching, mesh panels, reflective detailing, deep pockets and classic style. The HTA line is being described as “active casual” with several pieces that will work just fine beyond cycling. Expect to see this line grow significantly in the future.
This is the new Ritchey Ascent BreakAway. The steel Ascent has been out for a while as a commuting, touring, adventuring or whatever-ing bike, but the travel ease of the two-piece BreakAway frame is new. The Ascent has mounts for lots of cages, racks and fenders and can run up to 700×40 mm tires or 27.5×2.1 mountain tires. It takes quick release wheels, 160 mm disc rotors and will cost you $1,700 for the frameset. Leopard-print bag not included.
Tires from Schwalbe and Panaracer
Tires aren’t always the most exciting show items becasue they all start to look alike. But these G-One AllRound Schwalbes caught our eye immediately both for the tread pattern and the size: 27×2.8. Turn your 27plus bike into a commuter or gravel grinder.
Also notable, and in a similar vein, are the new G-One Speed tires that come in 29×2.35. These tires have existed for the 700c gravel set, but will now likely work on your 29plus rims. The options for bike and tire combos are literally approaching endlessness.
This one is simply a public service announcement: The excellent Panaracer Gravel King tires are now offered with tan walls. YES. (Pictured are 700x32c tires.)
The Co-Motion Cycles Siskiyou Pinion is a bike for exploring, touring and traveling. It features 650b wheels, thru axles, room for 50 mm tires, Reynolds 725 steel tubing and plenty of rack/fender mounts.
What’s new with the Siskiyou is an 18-speed Pinion gearbox with Gates Carbon Belt Drive for clean, quiet, low maintenance shifting. The shifting is accomplished by a grip-style shifter machined by Co-Motion. If you don’t want to spend $6,400 on this one, there is also a standard 2×10 available. Or, go with a Rohloff hub.
Interbike’s indoor show is truly overwhelming; getting lost and being late and forgetting to eat are par for the course, as is the feeling that you can’t possibly cover everything. Here we bring you the most interesting things our editors saw from each day of the indoor show.
Banjo Brothers has long been able to meet your bike bag needs at a lower-than-most price point. This year, it launched three new offerings: two, waxed canvas frame bags and a bikepacking-style seat bag (“saddle trunk”).
The XL Waterproof Saddle Trunk is 800 cubic inches / 13 liters (can be compressed down to 350 cubic inches). It features a removable waterproof liner and a rigid hull inside the bag for secure support even when the bag isn’t full. Retail is a wallet-friendly $65. Look for it to be available in February.
The canvas frame packs are made of heavy-duty, dry-waxed canvas for weather resistance. Cut-t0-length straps fit most frames. The large is 200 cubic inches and the medium is about half that size. Prices are $45 and $40 respectively.
CatEye continues to expand its line of cycling lights, including the Rapid X2 Kinetic (above) which has a built-in accelerometer. It is basically the same as the Rapid lights we liked very much after a testing period, but this one brightens when you hit the brakes. It’s not a perfect system (not a reliable “brake light”) but adds a little layer of security. CatEye recommends using it on the seatpost, only, as it doesn’t work as well if mounted somewhere on the frame.
The new Volt 500 XC gets you 500 lumens for $50–a great value. CatEye’s goal was to offer a commuter light at a reasonable price and light level, so it stripped down its popular Volt series and simplified it for you.
We’ve long been a fan of Green Guru Gear, which is all made from recycled materials (check out the tour we took of the company’s Colorado shop). This year they brought a bunch of new, fun stuff for your everyday cycling adventures.
Right on trend, Green Guru is offering a small hip pack with some bike-specific touches. The rear has straps to both hold the waist belt out of the way and attach the pack to your handlebars.
This is exactly what you want it to be: an insulated top tube bag shaped just so for beverage cans, sub sandwiches and whatever else. Price is $40.
If you prefer glass bottles, check out this carrier that slings over your top tube. It Velcros together underneath and also attaches with a strap to your bike’s head tube. Price is $40.
This little mini frame bag is just big enough for your phone, wallet and keys. It has dual zippers and multiple attachment options. Price is $30.
The Double Dutch panniers will go for $100. Like all of Green Guru’s stuff, they are made in the USA from upcycled materials. It is ready for your groceries and can be easily removed and carry with a strap.
Surly showed off its new Moloko bar at Interbike and it has all of the bends! It’s made of ChoMoly steel and weighs 709 grams. Bar clamp diameter is 31.8 mm, width is 736 mm, rise is 27 mm and sweep angle is 34 degrees.
New to the U.S. is Thule’s ProRide roof rack (it’s “big in Europe” like that band you’ve never heard of). This rack has tool-free attachment, a down tube clamp that makes securing bikes of all wheel sizes very easy, a torque indicator to prevent over tightening the padded clamps on the frame, and rear wheel trays to accommodate bikes of all persuasions. Thule says this model is more secure than those with an arm clamping down on the front wheel.
Also on display at the show is Thule’s new Double Track Pro, a less-expensive hitch rack ($349) with trickle-down technology from the company’s high-end models. It fits both 1.25 and 2-inch receivers and includes a bolt that actually locks the rack to your hitch. The padded claw-like clamps swivel and slide to adjust for easy positioning on your bike’s frame, no matter if it has a weird shape or not. You’ll notice that adjustment and tightening levers resemble things you’d see on a bike, like quick-release skewers. That’s on purpose–Thule wants to make securing your bike a familiar operation. Weight is 35 pounds.
Thule also updated its Chasm duffel bags, which will interest those of you who travel with your smelly, dirty riding gear. They are waterproof and include backpack straps. There are snaps on the sides of the bag that hold down the handles for when you check it with an airline. Those snaps also keep the handles out of the way when you’re using the backpack straps. The bags come in four sizes (40-130 liters) and multiple colors.
These tools have been teased for awhile, but the wait seems to have been worth it. The T-handle hex set is lovely to look at and feels great your hand. The set is a cool $130 but for most home mechanics these are the last hex wrenches you’ll ever need to buy.
The ride Prep tool kit is also $130. It looks small, but some of the dual-purpose tools really pack a lot of function into this small TPU case.
The big boy tool kit is the Team Edition. Other than a set of hex keys/T-handles, this is a incredibly complete set of tools packed into a small space. It also mounts to a work stand and is held very solidly in place with a few straps. This set might be the one the gets me to get rid of my collection of old, random tools and start over.
Origin8 significantly expanded its product line this year to include tires and other sundries like more bar tape options (including the camo color pictured). What caught our eye most was the updated Gary handlebar: another option in the small-but-growing field of “dirt drops.” The Gary Ergo Sweep OS has a 620 mm drop width and 480 mm top width, 31.8 mm bar clamp diameter, 110 mm drop, 76 mm reach and 21 degrees of flare.
Interbike’s indoor show is truly overwhelming; getting lost and being late and forgetting to eat are par for the course, as is the feeling that you can’t possibly cover everything. Here we bring you the most interesting things our editors saw from each day of the indoor show.
While the basic Brompton shape hasn’t changed, that doesn’t mean the brand isn’t continuously refining its products. New this year is a revised cockpit with a new handlebar shape with new shifters tucked underneath it.
The new handlebar shape makes space for the shifters, while also allowing room for full-size grips. Many riders want to equip their Brompton with off-the-shelf lock-on grips, and now they can. The shifters themselves are integrated into the brake levers, as is the bell.
Another new accessory is the USB powered taillight, developed in partnership with Cay Eye, that attaches to the specially designed port in the Brompton saddle. The saddles are now available in standard (147 mm) and wide (167 mm), too.
I don’t know about you, but I’m over the super stiff, duck-walking cycling shoes of the past. Pearl Izumi must agree with me, because all of its shoes are designed for both cycling, and standing/walking comfort.
Shoes like the new X-Alp Elite have a super grippy sole, a stiff shank for pedaling and a super flexible toe box for comfort. The BOA closure system is ideal for getting a perfect fit dialed in and can adjust on the fly. This is the kind of shoe you can wear for road, touring, commuting or just cruising with your riding buddies.
The X-Alp Drift shoe is something you don’t think you need until you try it. The super ventilated, mesh upper sheds heat and water for those tropical, summer rides. Wear them without socks to get some of the cooling benefit of riding with SPD sandals without the beard and fanny pack required.
We spotted these new, non-folding bikes in the Tern booth. The concept was to develop a series of smaller stature bikes for Asia built around 650c wheels, and they looked so good they are bringing them to the U.S. The smallest sizes go all the way down to 42 cm and top out at 54 cm. There are four models starting at just $500 too.
Schwinn is doing its best to shake the big box store reputation with new models available only at your local bike shop. The Sivica is a brand-new city cruiser available in either singlespeed or seven speed versions at less than $500. The best part is the candy colored rainbow of paint choices you get. The geometry is relaxed as you might expect, with a super slack seat tube that puts the rider in an almost reclining position.
Blackburn knows a thing or three about racks and touring, but now it’s bringing its #basketpacking game with the new Outpost basket. Built with many of the same adjustment features as the Outpost touring racks, it’s a great mid-step between a wire mesh basket and some of the super pricey versions on the market. It has a built-in U-lock holder and includes a mesh cargo net. Look for it to sell for $70.
We tested Ortlieb’s new bikepacking bags and featured our review in the current issue. Next up is the frame bag, which will be available in two sizes: 4 liters and 6 liters. It has all the same heavy-duty, waterproof construction you’d expect from Ortlieb’s classic, indestructible bags.
There’s also a new truck rack bag with a roll-top closure that uses a similar attachments system as the classic panniers. A series of four, adjustable feet grab onto any rack, and the system is opened with a “key” of sorts, that you can remove and take with you. It’s not theft-proof, but it prevents a quick grab-and-run.
We’ve reported on these bamboo frame kits before, but they are super cool, so I cam going to talk about them again. This seems like a great winter project. For $200 you get a full materials kit (Bamboo, headtube, bottom bracket, dropouts, pre-preg fiberglass tape).
Obviously you’ll need tooling to get it all together, so you can rent a set from Calfee, It is free to rent, but you will need to leave a deposit of $600. Or just buy the materials and tooling for $800.
We hope to get one of these in for review. It seems like a perfect winter time project, and a good way to introduce my kids to building things that doesn’t involve welding torches and grinders.
There seem to be a lot of tools at the show this year, including a few from Wheels Manufacturing. The bottom bracket tools are $22 a piece and come in sizes to fit all of the company’s extensive range of bottom brackets. The universal bottom bracket bearing press comes in home and shop versions for $35 or $75.
These might be the most labor-intensive set of chopsticks ever made. I got the lowdown on the many steps it tool to weld and shape these things, I knew they weren’t ever going to be something King Cage would sell. Although who knows? Maybe Ti Chopsticks will be the next hot accessory to hang next to your Ti camping mug on your bikepacking rig.
Speaking of bikepacking, if your bike is in need of some more mounting points, these little doodads might be your huckleberry. A small threaded stud is welded onto a pipe clamp, and that clamp goes almost anywhere on a bike. Sold in 1 ½, 1 ¾ and 2 inch sizes for $6 each. Pipe clamps might not be the most pleasing thing to look at, but they are about a secure an attachment as you’ll find.
Co-Motion Cycles is well-known for its tandems, but it also has an impressive range of single-rider bikes, all made right in its own factory in Oregon. Co-Motion also makes all it own steel forks, and the majority of the dropouts, brake mounts and other small frame building bits.
The new Ochoco touring bike is built for shorter-than-average people. While it could easily be called a women’s bike, it is available from sizes 42 to 58, all with 650b wheels. This means people of many heights that are in need of a shorter top tube and an upright position might be in luck here.
The stock tires are 650bx35, but the frameset can fit up to a 40 mm tire. The drivetrain uses a Tanpan pully to allow for proper cable pull between the Shimano STI road shifter and SLX mountain rear derailleur. Combined with the FSA 46/36 crankset, the 11-40 cassette offers at least as much range as the average triple crank setup. You also get Rever’s high-quality, easily serviceable mechanical disc brakes.
Moving from a taller 700c tire to the 650b size helps to keep the geometry sorted, but Co-Motion takes it a step further. To improve steering geometry, Co-Motion makes its own 60 mm offset fork for this bike. Combining that with a 70 degree head angle should make for stable handling with and without a touring load.
The Ochoco is like most of Co-Motion bikes: there are both stock and custom options for paint and sizing. Frame price is yet to be determined, but complete bikes start at $3,595 and go up to $4,295.
There is also a new entry-level touring bike coming out–the Deschutes. This one comes in at $2,495. It has a single color, no custom geometry and less expensive frame tubing, but the same great touring geometry that Co-Motion is famous for. The parts kit is still quite nice, including Shimano 105 shifters, SLX derailleur, a 44 mm headtube and Alex/Formula wheels.
The stock color is called “lusty red” but, in person, it is more wine-colored. Size range is 46-60 cm, and these should be ready for sale soon.
If you’ve invested some hard earned cash in a new dream bike, you deserve a new dreamy lock to go with it. At $180 the Altor lock isn’t cheap, but it’s built from Grade 5 titanium and anodized in a soft blue. The patented folding design pivots on flexible joints that can adjust in any direction and it weighs just 584 grams.
The lock is assembled in the USA and comes with a bike attachment to take it with you. I think it would be cool to find someone to make a custom leather pouch for it or something.
Need new wheels? The DT Swiss PR 1400 DICUT OXiC is a new lightweight clincher all murdered out. The hubs are die cut to save weight and use a 36 tooth ratchet. The brake track is coated in ceramic oxide to be extra durable and provide even more stopping power. Yes, special brake pads are required, but they are made by Swiss Stop and you can easily find replacements (your first ones come with the wheels). The PR 1400s come prepped to go tubeless, and those rims are 18 mm wide. The set weighs 1,435 grams and rings the cash register at $1,286.
Rocky Mounts launched a swing-away platform hitch rack that would be perfect on the back of your truck + truck bed camper shell. The MonoRail Swing fits a 2-inch receiver and holds bike wheel sizes from 20-29 inches. It provides clearance for fat bikes (including those with 197 mm rear spacing) and eliminates frame contact. The rack will sell for $530 (for two bikes–add a third bike tray for an extra $150) and comes with a lifetime warranty.
The mainstay Kryptolok line gets an update this year with double locking shackles for even more security. The squared-off shackle ends prevent the lock from twisting, even if one end of the “U” is cut. Plus the protrude all the way through the body, so it can’t fill up with snow or ice. Yes Floridians, that happens.
Kryptonite has a folding lock of its own too. The Keeper line is available with either 6 mm links or 8 mm links, and is wrapped in a soft canvas cover to prevent scratches. Unlike some folding locks, the Keeper can pivot in any direction, making it easier to reach around awkward bike racks. They both come with a carrying case that attaches to the bike and will retail for $57 or $67.
Kryptonite has been keeping your bike safe for years, but now it’s branching out to keeping riders safe with its new light lineup. The range covers small, be-seen lights to powerful 250 lumen headlights. The naming convention is wonderfully simple: “F” for front, “R” for rear, and a number for the corresponding lumen count. The small Boulevard lights pack an F-14 with an R-3 for $30, the Avenue chip-on-board series (above) has a F-35 and a R-20 for $35 and the Alley headlamp (below) pumps out 275 lumens for just $35.
Shimano makes a ton of high performance road and mountain bike shoes, but there are a lot of riders out there (we’re picturing you, Bicycle Times readers) who don’t need or want the stiffest, flashiest SPD shoe on the market. The latest kicks from Shimano’s growing apparel lineup are perfect for commuting, touring, sportif riding or just cruising around town.
The sleek R4 shoe has a soft, synthetic leather upper with full laces for a timeless look and mates to a nylon sole with a two-bolt SPD cleat. It rates a 5 on Shimano’s 1-12 stiffness scale, so you can actually walk around in it.
Another cool option for touring or commuting is the SH-MT3, which is in the “mountain touring” line, but looks pretty much just like any other lace-up shoe. If you ride SPDs on your commuter or around-town bike, these would be a perfect choice to go with it.
Finally the RT5 is designed for road riding, but has a 2-bolt SPD cleat instead of a traditional 3-bolt road cleat. The extra tread means you won’t have to walk like a duck in it either, plus it too measures a 5 on the stiffness scale. I don’t know about you but I hardly ever ride road shoes with 3-hole cleats any more, so this type of road shoe is perfect for me.
There aren’t many Made-In-USA wheels these days, but Rolf Prima is now building almost all its rims in its Eugene, Oregon, factory and pairing them with California-built White Industries hubs. The new Hyalite wheels feature the brand’s trademark paired-spoke design with 20 spokes front and rear. It comes in all the usual axle and freehub styles, and prices start at $899.
Rolf Prima also offers this really cool “ballistic armor coating” on select wheel models that let’s you choose from various colors for the rims and hubs. Add in some colored decals and you can really dial in a look to match your frame.
The 2017 line of commuter backpacks from Osprey is evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, but we have to give special shoutout to this Radial model and its integrated “kickstand” that keeps it upright when you set it down. If you’re used to working out of a backpack with a computer, you know how annoying the floppy bag is.
The American-made lights from Light & Motion are finding new homes on e-bikes, where the new Nip and Tuck models are designed to wire directly into the battery. Since they have minimal draw they don’t dramatically affect battery life, and keeping them on all the day definitely improves visibility.
One of the coolest things I saw isn’t even new but it seems like a solution many folks have been looking for. The Rohbox is designed specifically to allow SRAM road shifters to operate a Rohloff hub. If you’ve seen the less-than-elegant ways Rohloff hubs have been fitted to drop-bar bikes over the years, you can appreciate how nice this is. Like the hub itself, the Rohbox ain’t cheap ($243) but if you’re putting together your dream build, this is the ticket.
Envisioned as a “gateway drug” to the wonderful world of internal geared hubs, Link Bicycles is a new brand that brings Gates Carbon belt drive to the masses. Starting at $900 for a singlespeed, the line includes cyclocross, road and mixte models with various drivetrain setups: Go 2×1 with a Schlumpf crankset that you shift with your heel. Build a 1×8 with a Shimano Alfine hub. And if you can’t decide on how many gears you need, spec a Nuvinci 360 continuously variable transmission hub.
This ‘cross bike can fit up to a 45 mm tire and has the usual rack and fender mounts, but no derailleur hanger. The eccentric bottom bracket is used to tension the belt for trouble-free wheel removal. The production version will also have three-pack eyelets on the downtube and both fork legs.
Topeak’s tent is unique in that it uses no poles, one side secures to your bike’s handlebars using a fork mount staked to the ground and the other his held up by the front wheel (27.5 0r 29er) and then it’s all tethered down by straps to make a long, light and comfy one person tent. Retail price is $260. Also, Topeak’s vast collection of bike camping pack’s stand out feature is that they don’t rely on racks so you can outfit pretty much any bike.
Yuba is jumping into the frontloader market with the new Supermaché model. Built from aluminum, its two-piece frame can come apart for storage or shipping, and it keeps the weight of the full bike under 60 pounds.
The steering operates by a double redundant cable system that relies on a double-ended brake cable. The tab you see on the fork is from an early linkage-driven steering prototype. When it goes on sale next summer it will be available with a modular box system build from marine-grade plywood or a set of soft-sided carriers. Naturally kids seats will be available both front and back.
While Yuba said an e-bike version will probably eventually happen, for now it is equipped with a simple 1×8 drivetrain, though you can add a front derailleur if you’d like. Look for it to sell for $2,599.
The Sweet Curry is a spinoff of the Spicy Curry e-bike model we sampled last year. Essentially the same bike, it eschews the motor for a 2×9 drivetrain to keep the price down to $2,199. Unlike Yuba’s other longtail bikes, it shares the 20-inch rear wheel with the Spicy Curry to keep the payload weight down as low as possible.
Look for the Sweet Curry to go on sale in the spring.
Whereas Interbike was once the king of American bicycle industry trade shows, it now signals that the season of new product launches is winding down. The first two days of the event take place in Boulder City, Nevada, (Outdoor Demo) and are a little quieter this year than in years past. That said, we still found some shiny bits calling to us through the waves of heat gripping this dusty desert. Here are some of the new bikes and components that we checked out on the first day of Interbike 2016.
We couldn’t help but notice this updated WTF model in the Van Dessel booth. A true monstercross design, it’s built for drop bars and big tires, a popular theme this year at Interbike. With 29er wheels it can fit a 2.1 mountain bike tire plus any racks and fenders you might want to add.
The 4130 steel frame features a distinctive split top tube and replaceable dropouts that come in versions for quick release or thru axles.
Customers can configure the bike on the new Van Dessel website or order a frame/fork/headset for $699. Complete builds start at about $1,799.
Our friends from Germany had some cool accessories in their booth. First up are these smart strap-on bottle cage adapters. It’s not a new idea but it’s well executed. They can also daisy chain together to attach larger items like Nalgene bottles, locks, pumps, etc. They sell for $25 a pair.
The Ride Air is an air can cylinder that helps you seat tubeless tires. Getting the bead to seat is tough with just a floor pump, so instead you can fill this $69 canister with air, up to 200 psi, and then release it all at once to set the bead. It’s about the size of a water bottle so you can keep it in your gear bag or the trunk of your car. Look for it to go on sale in January.
Otso is a new venture from the engineering team behind Wolf Tooth Components. The company, whose name means “spirit of the bear” in Finnish, launched this year with two bikes. One of them is the Warakin, a stainless steel frame paired with a carbon fork in the familiar and currently popular category of gravel/road/cyclocross/adventure/do-it-all bike.
Unique to this one is the use of Wolf Tooth’s flip-chip adjustable dropouts. We haven’t had a chance to fiddle with the mechanism yet, but it supposedly takes 2-5 minutes to adjust your chainstay length from 420 mm to 440 mm, with subtle changes to head tube angle and bottom bracket height, as well–all of which will affect how the bike handles. And because the rear disc brake mount is attached to the flip chip, its alignment self-adjusts.
Numerous braze-ons will accommodate various rack/fender setups and three bottle cages. The Warakin frame will take up to a 29×2.0 tire and has “traditional” rear hub spacing, meaning you can install your “old” 29-inch wheels on the bike, if you wish.
The Warakin will sell for $3,199 with a Shimano 105 build. You can customize the build online or also just order the frameset for $1,799. We took one for a brief test ride and will bring you that first impression story soon.
We’ve been fans of SQLab’s ergonomic designs for a while now, and it keeps rolling out new products that help keep you comfortable on the bike. These InnerBarEnds are… well, you can probably guess. They go inside your grips for an extra hand position. You’ll have to maneuver them around your shifters, brakes and other controls, but if you find yourself wanting some more hand positions to stay comfortable, this is one option. They sell for $45.
The SQLab saddle line continues to grow as well. The 611 is an all-purpose line of saddles with a flat top, relief zone and wide nose. Between the rails and the shell is a damping material that reduces vibrations and allows for a tiny amount of natural side-to-side motion. If you measure your sit bones with the SQLab device, or have a good idea already, you can choose from one of four sizes and in various trim levels starting at $140.
The 604 line is built for city, commuter or comfort bikes with a more upright riding posture. It has thicker padding and a massive damping bumper for comfort. It allows a bit more of the natural rocking motion as you pedal too. It retails for $100.
Masi has been offering some of the coolest bikes on the road recently, and we’ve been waiting to see the production version of the new Randonneur. Constructed for 4130 butted chromoly it has 650×47 WTB Horizon tires for a plush ride, and though the bike will ship with tubes, the rims are tubeless compatible for easy setup. The metallic paint is accented with steel fender and triple bottle cages.
The handlebars have a 12 degree drop for a bit more comfort and sport a full 10 speed Shimano Tiagra drivetrain with… wait for it… a threaded bottom bracket. Look for the Randonneur to sell for $1,300.
The Giromondo is a beefed up version of the modern touring bike, and is available in both on-road and off-road flavors. The road going version has 700×40 Clement MSO tires while the off-road version pictured here has 27.5×2.1 knobbies.
The drivetrain is classic mountain bike, with 3×10 Shimano Deore gearing operated by Microshift bar-end shifters. We especially like the addition of a pump peg, spoke holders and the shifter bosses on the down tube. Look for the off-road version to sell for $1,200 and the on-road version is $1,100.
We also spied a new dirt drop handlebar from WTB, though curiously it has a 26.0 mm clamp.
A new brand from the folks who brought you Advocate Cycles, Terrene is all about making no-nonsense tires for people looking for another option. In addition to some mountain bike and fat bike tires, the Elwood is a touring/commuting tire available in both a Tough casing and a Light casing. Many folks will like the 700×40 version but there’s also a 650×47 version for “road plus” experimentation.
Look for it to go on sale around Christmas for $65.
It always takes a while to recover from the Interbike trade show but, once we did, three of us who oversee Bicycle Times sat down to discuss trends we saw at the show, what we’re excited about and what we think the near future holds for bicycles and cycling gear. Basically, give us each some casual leather cycling shoes and a frame bag and leave us alone, racer boy.
Katherine Fuller [online editor]: Are you guys hard to impress after so many years in the bike industry? Or are you still swayed by the shiny? Because I’m still swayed by the shiny.
Adam Newman [Bicycle Times editor-in-chief]: Wait, is this off the record?
Eric McKeegan [tech editor]: I entered the media game pretty jaded already. At this point I am grumpy about almost everything.
Fuller: Let’s talk about what we saw in abundance and what you thought. For example, I was totally broke when I got into cycling, so I liked seeing so many “all-purpose” bikes around the $1000 price point. There’s not much you can’t do on a steel frame with wide road tires, upright geometry and an abundance of rack mounts.
Newman: The thing that impresses me most after doing this job for a few years is seeing how things evolve. Trends come and go; fashions come and go; “standards” certainly come and go. But that keeps things fresh every year. The cynic in me says it’s just so brands can sell more stuff, but the tastes of riders change quite a bit each year, too. The thing I noticed right away were the multitude of brands talking about visibility in terms of safety. Everything is reflective now, from helmets to panniers down to shoes. Bright colors were front and center. I even chatted about daytime running lights with some brands.
It also seemed like every bike at the show had an e-motor and 4-inch tires. Not sure if those are trends or just wishful thinking by companies that they will become trends…
McKeegan: People releasing fat bikes right now are on the wrong side of that trend. Fat bikes will go back to being special purpose bikes. I think “plus” bikes (2.8-3 inch tires) will become the bike of choice for beginner and intermediate riders looking for extra traction and the comfort provided by the visual of a big tire leading the way.
Fuller: I definitely saw the “wider-is-better” trend on adventure touring bikes. 700×40 seems to be the standard for fitting onto any bike that’s not a dedicated skinny-tire road machine. I even saw several cross-style bikes with 29×2.0 setups.
Newman: Absolutely. I think 23c tires are pretty rare at this point. Most bikes come with 28 or so, which makes much more sense for “regular” riders. You know what I didn’t see: much talk about road racing or race bikes. Other than a few European brands, no one made any mention of going fast or winning races.
McKeegan: It’s about damn time. This is the first year that it seems racing is finally losing its stranglehold on the bike industry.
Fuller: Interbike was definitely a stoke-fest for people who want to load up a bike and disappear for a few days. It felt more like an every-man thing without the race focus.
Newman: You can race yourself, though. I saw at least a few setups where you could ride simulated courses on a home trainer. Some even connected to the internet so you can race friends. There are a ton of gadgets and gizmos you can use now to record and share your ride, too. Seems to be a bit at odds with many folks I know who want a simpler ride experience, not more complicated.
McKeegan: I just keep walking when I see that stuff. I would rather look at gear to get you outside year round that stuff to keep the torture of riding inside at bay.
Fuller: All of that i-generation equipment, plus the e-bike orgy at the indoor show, definitely sat in contrast to the adventure-focused companies that had lots of wood and fake fires in the booths and waterproof, life-proof gear on display for thrashing around in nature on your bike. It felt like a big rift with the typical stuff (road race bikes and trail bikes) kind of getting ignored.
McKeegan: I think road racing (and cross-country racing in mountain biking) will become more and more niche as time goes on. Sort of like how Formula 1 racing for cars is interesting, but the tech involved has little to do with what most people drive, although it does trickle down.
Fuller: Do you think this move away from super-techy stuff will continue? Can you feel good about your steel bike with thru axles and disc brakes?
Newman: I think stuff like disc brakes and thru-axles are a good example of technology trickling down. Those things make bikes better for everyone, even if you don’t ever need to push the envelope.
Fuller: What would you buy if you wanted a one-stable bike but are worried about your stuff becoming obsolete soon?
Newman: I wouldn’t worry about it, actually. Technology changes but it rarely disappears. You can still find plenty of parts for bikes that were new 20 years ago. Find a bike you like and don’t fret over “compatibility.” If you need to replace something you will be able to.
Fuller: Any must-haves from Interbike? Anything you want right now that impressed you? Inexpensive MIPS helmets get my vote.
Newman: The leather Giro Republic shoes are drool-worthy. I love seeing all the clipless “crossover” shoes like the Republics. They are SPD compatible but look like regular shoes. Shimano has cool hiking boot ones, too. (Side note: Newman only wears hiking boots.)
McKeegan: Frame bags for everyone; tubeless, all-road tires; helmets that don’t look like parasitic alien insects on your head. I really want a road bike dropper post, too. I always end up off road on my drop bar bikes. But even for long, fast descents on paved roads, dropping my center of gravity isn’t a bad thing, ever. I predict a dropper in the pro peloton in two years or less.
Newman: The line is really blurring between “road” bikes and “mountain” bikes…
Fuller: Anything else left to comment on?
McKeegan: I noticed lots of bike bags of all types, which is another good thing.
Newman: You need to have a way to carry your #coffeeoutside.
McKeegan: In a Styrofoam Dunkin’ Donuts cup, right?
This is not everything we saw, but it’s some of what caught our eye. Enjoy.
Bern FL1 helmet
Bern’s snowsports influence has been obvious in its past helmets, but the new FL1 keeps some of Bern’s style while dropping weight and increasing ventilation. Aimed first at the road market, there are plans for a mountain bike version with a visor. Even with a sub-$100 ($99) retail price, Bern isn’t skimping on the features. The FL1 comes with MIPS, a 360-degree Boa sizing system and at least three colors. We got one for review, and everyone else can get them in spring 2016.
New from Giro is a universal helmet/camera mount that works on almost any helmet, or anything else that can be wrapped up with the included 0-rings. It uses a three-tab GoPro mount and sells for $20; it is available now.
Giro’s New Road line is gone but lives on split between the new Venture (non-lycra road wear) and Transfer (commuter gear). We already covered Giro’s new Chronos lycra wear, and expect more info on the mountain bike line, Truant, soon.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, British lock maker Litelok was at Interbike to drum up interest with consumers and distributors. The Litelok is an interesting option to a u-lock or cable lock, with the promise of high-security and lightweight, versatile locking options. United States pricing wasn’t set yet, but expect it to be around $125.
Maxxis had a lot of new tires at the show, including two of particular interest to the Bicycle Times reader. The Re-Fuse, which existed already as a road-race trainer tire, is now also a tubeless-ready road tire in 700×32, 700×40 or 650×2.0.
The Rambler is an all-road tire, 120 tpi casing, tubeless casing, and EXO puncture protection borrowed from the mountain bike side of the Maxxis product family. This looks like one of the more promising all-road/gravel tires of the show. Pricing TBA.
We threw a leg over the Masi Giramondo in love-it-or-hate-it 1960s green at Outdoor Demo (albeit for a much shorter ride than would have been preferred) to test this new model designed for road/off-road distance touring and adventure riding. Intended to be ridden long, hard and fully loaded, the chromoly rig features 3×10 Shimano Deore components, multiple mounting points, 100x40c tires, disc brakes and a spare spoke stashed under one chainstay. The shorter stock stem was appreciated once I (accidentally) found myself on twisty singletrack and the bike’s upright stability and wider tires handled sandy double-track like a champ. The Giramondo is not super light and it’s not wicked fast, but it offered a comfortable, smooth ride over multiple terrain types. At $1,089 retail, it fit in with the 2015 Interbike theme of affordable, versatile touring rigs.
The Vittoria Revolution tire should be one for bike touring and commuting types to check out. In sizes from 700c to 29’er, the Revolution features graphene, a one-atom thick layer of carbon that, when used in a tire, is supposed to help the tire have more grip in turns, roll faster and be more durable over time.
There is a pile of new shoes from Shimano, including the adventure shoes, but this new backpack came as a surprise. While very functional, previous Shimano bags had a very distinct look that is nothing like the rucksack-style Tokyo above. With three colors, a $160 price, and lots of features, this is an impressive look for Shimano.
Also, check out Shimano’s new reflective bar tape. Pretty sweet, if you ask us.
Bell showed a new line of commuter helmets that toed the line between modern and futuristic. On the affordable end of the market is a new road helmet, the Draft (men) and Tempo (women). Good looks and a few colors to choose from, starting at a cool $40, up to only $60 with MIPS. I honestly think it is a better looking helmet than most of the high-end road-race helmets on the market.
The kids don’t get left behind either, with a full-face in 70’s moto styling, the Ramble, with includes a big sheet of stickers at the $60 price point. Also new is a kid version of the excellent Stoker trail helmet, dubbed Sidetrack. It even gets a MIPS version at $60, $40 without.
Norco replaced the steel Search models with aluminum frames for 2016. Dubbed the Search A, there will be a Shimano 105 and a Tiagra level bike at $1,295 and $1,150, respectively.
Axiom has a new waterproof roll-top pannier, the Tempest. A floating internal waterproof liner means external pockets and straps can be sewn into the outer shell without compromising waterproofness. There are small, medium and large sizes, topping out at $250.
Axiom adds a new pump to its already big lineup. The Fuseair uses a removable head that works with either threaded CO2 cartridges or the included mini pump. The Fuseair 120 is a higher-volume pump aimed more for mountain bikes. The Fuseair 160 is for high-pressure road tires, and both are priced at $55.
Planet Bike continues to refine its light and fender offerings. The new Blaze and Superflash combo includes a USB rechargeable 180 lumen headlight and the well-loved Superflash taillight for $75. The Grateful Red is a new $20 AAA battery light with a new “courtesy” flash that promises to be less shocking to riders and drivers behind you, while still attracting attention.
Also new are an expansion of the Cascadia ALX aluminum fender line-up. There are at least eight new sizes, including 29×65, 700×35, 700×50, 27.5×2 and 20” and 26”.
There is also a sweet carbon side release bottle cage. It is $40, but you can pick up an alloy one $10.
We dig these new shoes from Louis Garneau. The Nickel is designed for 2-bolt cleats and comes in six colors, three each for men and women, making it a great entry to the casual/sporty side of the clothing market. Pricing was not provided, but these should be ready to buy in November 2015.
Also new is a line up of sporty-yet-visible garments, including this jersey. The grey panels at the top and bottom are made with highly reflective material.
Check out part one of our Interbike coverage.Tweet Print
Every year, Interbike is a whirlwind of new product, updated product and odd product. This year was no different, with a few standout trends: reflectivity, bikepacking gear, relatively inexpensive touring bikes and a focus on commuter-specific bags and helmets. Below is just a small sampling of the things we saw, touched and were interested in.
CrossVegas has become quite the tradition in the bike industry. Held each year in Las Vegas during the Interbike tradeshow, the industry “wheelers and dealers” race is followed by professional-level men’s and women’s races. More than 12,000 people, from hardcore racing fans to casual observers, comes out to see the spectacle held under the lights through a collection of what are normally soccer fields. This year the event became even more prominent by being organized as a UCI World Cup event, the first ever held in North America.
Click on the magnifying glasses at the lower right to see full size images.
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We’re here in Las Vegas this week for the bike industry’s annual tradeshow of brands, suppliers, dealers and media slime. Most of our time is spent inside a giant conference hall with confusing booth numbers and overpriced rubber sandwiches.
Blackburn Design wasn’t having any of that though. Last year they invited us on a ride down to the Hoover Dam, which is an insanely impressive piece of engineering (aside from the ecological ramifications) that is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Anyway, Blackburn upped the ante (that’s a Las Vegas pun) and invited Bicycle Times on an overnight bike camping adventure.
We started by fueling up on some Vitamin T.
The Hoover Dam is a major source of hydroelectric power for Nevada, Arizona and California. There is quite a bit of infrastructure surrounding it.
While the dam has a road atop it, the highway now passes by on the bridge. The Black Canyon forms the border between Nevada and Arizona.
We hung out for a bit spitting off the side of the 726-foot side of the dam and taking in the scenery.
Some of the tourists were quite quizzical about our bikes.
Opened in 1936, the dam includes some beautiful art deco details including the black marble public restrooms inside the intake towers. It’s hard to imagine a government project including such nice details these days.
The water in Lake Mead also sits 50-60 feet below the historic level, creating a dramatic bathtub ring.
Back to the bike riding. This custom painted Santa Cruz belongs to one of the Blackburn employees.
We left the bridge and headed out into the desert for some backroad exploring just as the sun was setting.
The incoming thunderstorm had us dodging lightning and racing for lower ground.
Nature’s light show was pretty impressive. We rolled into camp just at dusk and set up our Big Agnes tents and polished off some sandwiches before heading to bed.
Being woken up in the middle of the night by a howling pack of coyotes was a memorable experience.
The sun soon rose above Lake Mead and I couldn’t be happier to be further away from the bright lights of Las Vegas.
Once the sun was up it was time for coffee.
Jason from Limberlost kept the caffeine flowing with hand-ground beans and pour-over brewing.
We filled our hydration bladders with filtered lake water and tried to keep our distance from the nudist kayaker guy.
Made some new friends that morning, including this guy, if you can spot him…
… and some desert bighorn sheep.
Finally it was time to load up and ride back uphill and back to reality.
Our time in the desert was just thing we need to revitalize our spirit.
- Our bikepacking bags, lights, multi-tools and other assorted items were provided by Blackburn.
- Our tents, sleeping bags and mats were from Big Agnes.
- The bike I rode was a Niner RLT.
Allow me to set a scene for you: It has been a long and arduous journey for women in cycling, from those who work with bicycles for a living to those who simply find joy when riding them. For decades, we haven’t been seen as equals or deserving of either employment or representation because we don’t measure up or shred hard enough or constitute a large-enough market. Still, those of us with decades-old passions for cycling, myself included, found avenues and bicycles and gear and just did what we loved, which was to ride.
Meanwhile, what we longed for was to be seen as “cyclists,” not as objects. All we really wanted was for bike shops and bike companies to acknowledge our existence even a little bit. Interested in women shopping with you? Be nice; it’s that simple. I don’t need to be treated like a princess or given wine when I walk in your door. I only request that you not be a dick to me.
Apparently, this is still sometimes too much to ask. It’s Interbike week and we were greeted yesterday morning with the news that official attendee bags had been stuffed with socks featuring the backsides of two women in barely there bikini bottoms. Interbike has since offered an apology (see below) and explained that the socks were shipped per a sponsor agreement and the attendee bags were stuffed by volunteers. (As of Tuesday afternoon, Interbike removed the socks from the remaining bags.)
It doesn’t really matter who is or was responsible for filling thousands of goodie bags with socks that are demeaning and exclusionary. What matters is their association with the bike industry’s biggest trade show. What matters is that someone, somewhere, thought that it was acceptable to officially represent the bicycle industry’s biggest, most “professional” event with a revealing graphic of butt cheeks, and that sucks. All one has to do is look around the Interbike show floor and realize this isn’t a bro-only industry anymore.
Prior to “sockgate,” I was on a high about my beloved bicycle industry. I just came from five years at the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) where I worked with a staff that is one-third female. In my tenure there, I had the privilege of getting to know the coaches of several rapidly growing women’s mountain bike clinics, the tireless female leaders of mountain bike advocacy groups across the U.S. and the participants of women-only mountain bike races. I was also beginning to notice more companies including women prominently in their print advertising.
Hell, I was just discussing my appreciation for the lack of scantily clad booth babes at this year’s Outdoor Demo, something I saw en masse in 2010—the last time I attended Interbike.
Considering the many good things happening for women in cycling, ass socks might seem like a small thing. But under the bright lights of what Interbike is—an event intended to help grow and expand this industry—ass socks are indicative of a pervasive misogynistic attitude that is continually excused and refuses to go away.
I spoke to industry veteran and marketing manager for Pivot Cycles, Carla Hukee, about this. “It’s not that this is just a one-time incident; rather it’s the fifteen-hundredth time something like this has happened,” she said. “These incidents are coming at us in a steady stream.” Hukee also pointed out that Pivot employs several women, which is a significant reason she is proud to be working there.
Exclusionary, demeaning marketing moves (beyond this one instance) need to be called for the bullshit that they are and that is why Pivot’s female staff was more than willing to gather at Outdoor Demo for the featured photo. They are proud of their professional status in the bicycle industry and wanted to show you that it’s not just men working on behalf of your favorite brands.
Interbike—to its credit—is making a significant effort this year to promote and recognize women in cycling. Interbike is hosting an indoor space called “The Women’s Collective” which I hope will be well attended and taken seriously. In conjunction with organizations like PeopleForBikes and the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition, attendees can choose from multiple panels, seminars and product line presentations (some of which we will report back on). The collective will also serve as a conversational space for women and men to discuss and learn about the state of the women’s cycling market.
But the socks also run counter to Interbike’s own 10-point “Manifesto,” which was published with the intent to “begin to take action toward a more sustainable future and a prosperous industry.” The document came into being following Interbike’s January 2015 Independent Bicycle Dealer Summit and specifically calls out women as one the the “greatest opportunities” for the future of the bicycle industry.
Should none of this move you emotionally, perhaps take a dispassionate economic view of the situation: 46 percent of outdoor participants are females (Outdoor Industry Association); 24 percent of all bicycle trips in the U.S. are made by women; and the number of “enthusiast” women cyclists (the most active) increased by 8 percent from 2000 to 2010.
(Source: PeopleForBikes participation statistics )
Simply put, if you don’t want to alienate a growing segment of your buyers, don’t scoff at the idea of purposeful inclusion and thoughtful marketing. Don’t shun a little good taste for the sake of a cheap laugh. Yes, we are in Las Vegas, a city in a state that has pockets of legalized prostitution. Does that make ass socks acceptable? Absolutely not. Just because you are forced to attend a family gathering with your racist uncle doesn’t mean you can suddenly turn on your black friend and demean him in front of others.
In remarkably timely fashion, the current issue of Dirt Rag—its first “personality” issue—comes out today at Interbike and features professional downhill and enduro mountain bike racer Amanda Batty on the cover. (Dirt Rag is Bicycle Times’ sister publication and I work for both.) Her interview is a no-holds-barred discussion of the sexism, misogyny and double standards often found in cycling and its media.
Over the years, Dirt Rag and Bicycle Times have learned much about what their readers expect, prefer and appreciate, and we’re pretty damn proud that they seem to be a level-headed, fun-loving bunch interested in riding and adventuring with male and female friends alike, not bothering to spend time objectifying women.
But in the year 2015, the Dirt Rag staff shouldn’t suddenly feel like outliers that the cover of our latest issue features a woman riding a mountain bike on a technical trail. It shouldn’t have to be seen as “taking a stand.”
I can claim no credit for the current Dirt Rag issue, but I’m immensely proud of my colleagues for taking it on. Before I showed up, the small editorial team steering Dirt Rag and Bicycle Times was fully fueled by testosterone but, clearly, it did not matter.
You should not need to have women around to view them—and support them—as riders rather than figures to be objectified.
In addition to this, please read what Christina Julian wrote on the Surly Bikes blog about this issue, especially if you still don’t think objectification of women constitutes a real problem for the bicycle industry. Julian is Surly’s marketing manager and her piece is personal, honest and compelling.
Here is what Interbike had to say:
Official post on the Interbike Facebook page:
“There was an unfortunate incident with socks in our OutDoor Demo bags. It was part of a sponsorship and the bags were stuffed by a third party organization. This was a mistake and is not how Interbike rolls. We have removed the socks from the bags and apologize.”
Comment from Justin Gottlieb, Director of Communications and PR for Interbike (found on a Facebook discussion feed):
“… We in no way meant to offend anyone and are sensitive to the issue at hand. We are researching the situation right now to see what happened, but it seems as though a 3rd party received and packed the socks in the bags without our review. Had we seen them, we would have never let them in the bags. We apologize for the mistake, and are pulling them out of all bags as we speak. Let me know if you have any other questions.”
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We can thank the smarty-pants over in Europe for introducing balance bikes to American parents many years ago, and now we can thank a Frenchman for introducing the ultimate kid’s bike, the Yuba Flip Flop.
Best known for its adult cargo bikes, Yuba unveiled the Flip Flop at Interbike last week, incorporating a curiously simple concept to extend the life of the bike as your child grows: flip the frame, flop the position of the bars, rack, seat and front wheel. Voila! You’ve added another inch and year to the bike’s use.
Yuba founder Benjamin Sarrazin, a native of Strasbourg, France, developed the patented Flip Flop with serial designer Barley Forsman (CamelBak, Specialized, Volagi). Aimed at children aged 1-½ to 6 years old, the Flip Flop comes in three colors: lime, raspberry and aqua. It should be available in November in stores and online. Price is $149.
See all our 2014 Interbike coverage here.
We visited the Portland-based Nutcase Helmets a month ago, and only recently recovered from our color-induced hangover after seeing all the new styles (these folks obviously used all their Crayola crayons as kids), we happily stumbled upon their new Moto line of skull protection for the throttle-twisting crowd at Interbike. Half our staff ride motorcycles regularly, and these $150 gems add a bit of pizzazz.
Not only do they look cool, the injection-molded ABS Shell has an expanded polystyrene (EPS) protective inner foam for high impact protection. A quick-release chin strap buckle keeps it safely snug, and two intake vents keep things cool. The pivoting anti-scratch/UV protective shield comes in two sizes (Shorty and Tall) and three colors (Amber, Clear and Smoke) for $35. Additional removable ear pads can also be purchased for $15.
The Nutcase Moto line is Department of Transportation (DOT) and Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) certified. Eight designs are available in four sizes: Small (55-56cm), Medium (57-58cm), Large (59-60cm) and XL (61cm).
Stay tuned for more product coverage from Las Vegas!
The Scott Solace 15 is somewhat of a rarity these days, a disc road bike that unabashedly declares itself a road bike with disc brakes. Not a gravel bike, not a cyclcocross bike, not a touring bike, but an endurance road bike with room for at least 28mm tires and disc brakes.
Scott describes this bikes thusly:
The SCOTT Solace 15 Disc was designed to provide you with a perfect balance of comfort and performance on the roads. Its HMF Carbon Fiber frame was designed with two zones, a Power Zone and a Comfort Zone, in order to result in a stiff and responsive bike that will also keep you comfortable all day long- regardless of frame size. Now equipped with disc brakes, the Solace 15 Disc will help you find your Solace on all roads and in all weather conditions.
I didn’t get to try out the Solace in all-weather conditions, but did take a mixed surface ride to the Hoover Dam with Blackburn Designs (which explains the lights mounted up in the photos). This turned into a decent test of the all-around nature of the Solace. The Solace might be an all-weather road bike, but without fender (or rack mounts) wet weather riding will require either clip-on fenders or a HTFU attitude.
It is a very easy bike to get along with, and the 28mm Schwalbe Durano tires handled everything from pavement and gravel to the floodwater spillways that double as bike paths in Boulder City, Nevada. While there are no claims made that this bike is some kind of gravel-grinding beast, it did very well on the non-paved portions of the ride.
On the pavement, the Solace doesn’t feel that far from a standard road racing bike, although the position is more upright, but still quite aggressive. The Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain performs very well, but the real story is the Ultegra-level hydraulic disc brakes. The initial power takes some getting used to and it can be easy to inadvertently lock up a wheel for riders used to less powerful rim brakes, but hands down, the feel and power of these brakes is a dramatic step above rim brakes.
A note on spec: the test bike we rode was equipped with Di2 but the production bikes will be mechanical Ultegra shifters with the hydraulic braking.
Other nice touches are thru-axles front and rear, a carbon seatpost in a bump-absorbing 27.2mm diameter, a 50/34 compact crankset paired with a wide-range 11-32 Shimano 105 cassette. At a claimed 16.45 pounds, this is a lightweight bike that should keep up with modern road racing bikes on the road, but have the ability to handle most unpaved road surfaces as well.
We’ve long been fans of Jamis Bikes for their commitment to steel frames, but the latest creation from the brand takes a decidedly more contemporary line, with full carbon construction, disc brakes, and big tires.
Designed for everything from fast group rides to gravel epics, the Renegade is one of many new big-tire road bikes that are taking the industry by storm this year. Far more versatile than a traditional racing road bike, they can also still go like stink when called upon.
The new Renegade was designed and equipped for such fast assaults on any kind of road, and sometimes even beyond. It starts up front with a full carbon fork with a 15mm thru-axle for extra security and stiffness. Out back you’ll find a traditional QR rear axle.
Compared to the Jamis Nova and Supernova cyclocross race bikes, the Renegade has a lower bottom bracket and longer wheelbase for more stable and comfortable handling on the road.
The frame has full internal cable routing to keep things clean, with a massive bottom bracket area and a BB386 bottom bracket shell, which is designed for a BB30 crankset, but is wider for more tire clearance. The disc brakes are Shimano’s game-changing hydraulic units, paired with 11-speed mechanical R685 shifters.
How much tire? The Renegade has been ridden with up to a 41c knobby, and can even fit 35c tires with fenders. There are small threaded inserts on the fork and at the rear that can can be used to attach them. You can even use them to mount a rear rack.
While the geometry is closer to that of a road bike than a cyclocross bike, Jamis wasn’t content with just one-size-fits all. There are six sizes from 48cm to 61cm, with three fork rakes and three different rear triangle molds to keep the desired ride quality.
It also comes spec’d with the unique Ritchey Vector Evo rail and Wing Flex saddle that is said to provide far more flex and vibration damping than traditional saddle rail designs. It also allows for more fore-aft adjustment.
There will be two models when it goes on sale at the end of the year: a model with Shimano 105 11-speed and TRP HyRd brakes for $2,399 and the model pictured with Ultegra 11-speed, hydraulic Di2 and American Classic tubeless wheels for $4,399.
See all the small details that went into the Renegade in this video from Jamis:
This article originally misstated the type of shifters on the final spec. It is in fact shipping with the non-series R685 mechanical shifters with hydraulic braking. See complete specs here.Tweet Print