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.