By Karen Brooks
For a couple of years, we’ve been attending PressCamp, a compendium of showing-off-of-new-stuff with a mountain bike and road focus. This year, the people that put it on decided to hold a similar “camp” in the urban environs of Washington, D.C., just before the National Bike Summit, with a focus on urban bikes. It was an opportunity to catch some things that weren’t shown at Interbike last fall, and to see updates on some things that were.
The setting was the impressive, modern, and very "green" House of Sweden. We didn’t get much time to admire the building’s functionality, but I can attest that the surroundings were very appealing.
Among the highlights of what I saw were offerings from Cannondale and Schwinn, who weren’t at Interbike.
Cannondale Hooligan – this is an Americanized version of the small-wheeled (but non-folding) bikes popular in Asia for their space-saving nature. Note the rigid Lefty-style fork, named “Solo,” and the low standover frame—which carries the classic Cannondale name of “Delta V.” Remember those? Riding it around, I could understand how such a bike would be handy for navigating jam-packed urban spaces, then fitting easily into a corner of a tiny apartment. Rack and fender mounts add practicality to the style. It may take a while for such bikes to catch on here, but this funky iteration may help.
Note the cool “Octopus” pedals.
Cannondale still offers their genre-defining Bad Boy aggressive city bike, now ten years old, and it still comes in badass black.
Their Quick flat-bar road bikes looked impressive, including this tricked-out, all-carbon version, the Quick Carbon 1. They also offer women’s models that were not merely treated to the “pink it and shrink it” philosophy, but with true women’s geometry.
Note the cool fork detail.
Next on the list was Schwinn. Yes, this brand is still offered at independent bike shops (despite their entry into the big-box market), and is refocused on less expensive bikes with the intention of getting more people to ride. I can dig it.
They were showing off a bike that won a Gold award at Eurobike 2010, the Vestige. The frame looks like carbon, but it’s made of natural flax fibers, and its paint is water-based. Other “green” touches include bamboo fenders and grips, and some very cool tires from Schwalbe made of recycled rubber, called Eco-Marathon. (It’s about time someone came up with these!).
The bikes have a generator front hub that powers lights inside the translucent frame, for a cool nighttime effect. No front or rear generator lights, at least not yet, as Schwinn wanted to keep the cost down at first. Green ain’t cheap – the Vestige goes for $1300.
They also showed a pair of nice throwback rides, called Coffee and Cream. Probably my favorites. Riding around with Sarah Ripplinger from Momentum magazine, a pedestrian spotted the bike and reminisced about a similar vintage Schwinn. These have modern conveniences such as Shimano Nexus 3-speed transmission (also come in a one-speed version) and aluminum rims. A steal at $439, $349 for one-speed.
We also couldn’t help but notice the ‘80s neon Cutter. I’ll give you one guess as to which iconic cycling movie the name came from. $379 ain’t bad for an instant hipster machine.
Schwinn also showed off their stripped-down, seminal Madison in a couple color styles, for $549.
Continue on to read part 2 here.