Interbike: Yuba Flip Flop balance bike

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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.

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Interbike: Brooks/Carrera Folding Helmet

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Old timers will remember the leather hairnets worn by road and track cyclists through the early 1990s (I have a never-worn Cinelli in my workshop). Now Brooks England, known best for its durable leather saddles, has introduced the Italian-made folding helmet, weighing in at 330 grams and fully CPSC certified.

As part of its J.B. Collection, the Carrera Folding helmet combines modern technology with traditional elegance through the application of rich textiles and leather details (natch). The hidden flexible frame and elastic fitting system collapses down, secured by the Brooks leather carrying strap (double natch), which doubles as a pant leg strap for riding.

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According to Carrera, its patented flexible frame inside of the helmet was developed to improve the level of comfort for the rider. It also quickly adapts to the shape of the head. As a bonus, when folded it will save more than the 20 percent of the space, easily fitting in a bag or backpack. Available in two sizes: Medium (55-58cm) and Large (58-61cm). Retail is $200.

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Interbike: Nutcase Helmets Goes Moto

NutcaseMoto_1We 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.

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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).

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Interbike: Brompton Gets Colorful And Adds Game Bag

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U.K.-made Brompton, the 26-year-old folding bike company, introduced a new worldwide color collection for the 2015 spring season at Interbike. The palette includes Tempest Blue, Vanilla, Lime Green, Lagoon Blue, Berry Crush and Cherry Blossom.

As with every annual Brompton collection, each of the newly colored bikes is handcrafted in the company’s small, specialized West London factory. The company has spent 25-plus years perfecting the now famous, lightweight frame and compact fold design.

“We’re bringing a whole new line of exciting colors and options for personalization to our U.S. retailers in 2015,”says Katharine Horsman, general manager North America, Brompton. “As the numbers of daily bicycle commuters in major U.S. cities continues to boom, we’re constantly working at bringing our customers not only the best possible folding bicycle option for dense urban living, but styles that help them make a statement or express their personality on their way to work.”

New Game Bag, made by John Chapman Limited

The all-new Brompton Game Bag is now available in the U.S, Developed in collaboration with storied British luggage maker John Chapman Limited, the versatile Game Bag will appeal to the Brompton owner and cycling enthusiast seeking a high-quality accessory that reflects the best of British manufacturing and style. It also fits all Brompton handlebar configurations, and includes a water-resistant cover.

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“Since we first previewed the Game Bag with select dealers earlier this year there’s been a ton of interest from retailers and consumers alike,” Horsman added. “It’s really representative of what the Brompton brand is all about: a deep respect for heritage and tradition with quality, hand-crafted manufacture and materials as well as some attitude for modern life. We’re expecting it to be a big hit for U.S. dealers and Brompton customers alike.”

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Handmade in Northwest England, each bag is crafted from high-grade, premium cotton canvas, providing durable construction and a high level of water resistance for even the most changeable weather rides. Each Chapman bag is also individually quality checked and hand signed at the classic Chapman factory. The historied brand makes all bags in the company’s famous Tannery Road factory, part of an old industrial site dating back more than 300 years. Chapman likes to use high quality natural materials of British origin wherever possible.

Once opened, inside each Game Bag consists of a roomy main compartment, a padded and protective laptop pocket, two zippered bellows pockets at the front and one side pocket. The Game Bag is available in three distinctive color options, Olive Green, Navy Blue and Mustard Yellow and finished with full grain leather and solid brass hardware. Retail is $403.

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As Steve Jobs always said at the end of his product presentations, “there’s one more thing.” It may not be as whiz-bang cool as an Apple product, but Brompton now offers a saddle height resetting tool to assist in getting your position redialed every time you unfold and prepare to ride.

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Interbike Outdoor Demo: Scott Solace Disc 15

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Interbike Outdoor Demo: Jamis shows off Renegade adventure road bike

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Learn more

See all the small details that went into the Renegade in this video from Jamis:

Correction

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.

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Interbike Outdoor Demo: Michelin Pro4 Endurance Road Tire

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We love all-surface riding in the drops, and we especially love fatter tires on road bikes. Michelin tickled our fancy yesterday by introducing a 700x28c version—called the Endurance—of its popular Pro4 tire on a fun 17-mile road and gravel ride to the Hoover Dam and back.

Not only do we love fatter tires on road bikes, we appreciate when tire manufacturers make tires that are actually larger than the advertised size; in this case, the Pro4 Endurance measures a titch under 29mm wide. Wider rims and wider tires also mean a larger contact patch, which may slow speedsters down a bit on the pavement, but provide better traction in the rough stuff. Michelin set out to provide better cornering grip while making sure there’s ample puncture resistance, because flats suck on any surface. We hate buzz-kill tires that can’t handle small rocks.

Grip and puncture resistance

According to the company’s internal surveys, Michelin found that for 76 percent of riders, puncture resistance in gran fondos was key, while competitive racing enthusiasts also look for reliable grip on wet roads. Apparently not everyone who races use tubulars. Michelin uses three 110TPI layers in its casing, with an HD Protection anti-puncture layer that runs bead to bead, the full width of the tire.

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Sidewall cuts are also a buzzkill, and Michelin made sure a reinforcing layer increased puncture resistance by 40 percent, according to internal and third-party testing by the Finnish wheel company Wheel Energy. The Bi-Compound tread was specially developed to provide exceptional wear resistance while also improving grip on corners. More mileage means a happy rider. Our media posse was flat-free after commandeering our bikes over some pretty sketchy terrain, where most riders kept their tire pressure at or near 65 to 85 psi. The preferred range, according to Michelin, is 58 to 88 psi, depending on rider weight and terrain.

The 700x28c Endurance was in development for two years. More than 1.5 million tires in the Michelin Pro4 range have already been sold worldwide since it launched three years ago.

The $60 Endurance tire will become available in January 2015, with an OEM spec in 2016. Weight wasn’t available, but the 25c Pro4 weighs 245 grams.

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Interbike Outdoor Demo: Felt Outfitter e-Fatbike

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Felt Bicycles is known for its wind-cheating aerodynamic road and triathlon bikes, but founder Jim Felt is an engineer to the core who also loves bow hunting for elk near his northern California home. Enter the Felt Outfitter Bosch-powered e-fatbike, decked out in camo livery licensed from ultralight hunting company Kuiu.

Felt has been an avid hunter as long as he’s been designing bikes, and his engineering mind wouldn’t rest when challenged with the issue of transporting gear into the wild for 10 days of hunting. It certainly helps that his son shares his enthusiasm for hunting, and is a carbon engineer for Hoyt Archery in Salt Lake City. Together they developed a machine to efficiently transport their gear into the backwoods with a mix of human and electric power for the same price (about $5,500) as a gas-guzzling all-terrain vehicle.

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The Felt Outfitter has been five years in development, and the bike pictured here is in production (the carbon Hed rims and carbon bars are the only custom touch), slated for December 2014 delivery. The price includes all the racks, bags and lights.

“The key with bow hunting is getting to the spike camp about 10 miles in, and getting the gear off your back is key,” Felt said from the Outdoor Demo in Bootleg Canyon outside Las Vegas. “I customized my B.O.B. trailer to fit the fatter tires and replaced the stock 16-inch wheel with a 20 for better rolling. I’m developing my own trailer to carry 60 to 100 pounds.”

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Felt recently introduced its Bosch-powered line of electric bikes (our fave is the Lebowsk-e fat bike, so it wasn’t a huge leap for Felt himself to come out with the Outfitter so quickly. Steve Hed was an eager participant in adding a bling factor with orange spoke nipples, making the Felt Outfitter an easy target for a large crowd of onlookers Monday.

Specifications

Frame: Double-butted 6061 aluminum; Control Taper head tube; full internal cable routing; 197 x 12mm Maxle dropouts; disc brakes.

Fork: Hydroformed 6061 aluminum blades with an aluminum tapered steer; Maxle style thru axle.

Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 11-speed trigger shifter; SRAM X01 rear derailleur; Felt Electric MTB Bosch-specific forged aluminum crankset; SRAM PC-X1 chain; SRAM 10-42T 11-speed cassette.

Components: SRAM Guide RSC hydraulic brakes; Felt 3F carbon riser handlebar; Felt MTB SL 3D-forged aluminum stem; Felt two-bolt micro-adjust aluminum seatpost; WTB Silverado Race saddle.

Wheelset: Felt double-wall Fat Tire rims with forged aluminum hubs; 2.0/1.8mm double-butted stainless spokes; 150 x 15mm thru front axle, 197 x 12mm rear axle.

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