Thursday, October 2, 2008

Interbike 2008 observations...

Since I'm not too interested in the most recent ultra-light carbon wheelset, carbon frame, carbon handlebar, mega-mondo travel suspension bike (there has to be as many categories of suspension bike alone as there are every other bike category combined)...Interbike was a little less interesting for me than in years past when it was my job to stay abreast of the latest trends.

Since we are trying to reduce our carbon footprint, how does having a bike almost wholly made from carbon apply?

Overheard: "Did you hear Joe Breeze sold out?" A couple of other dealers were talking down at the "hotspot" area prior to the show opening on Thursday. "Sold out" has such a negative connotation. I say good for Joe in being able to develop a brand that is highly desirable and being able to capitalize on it, make some money, and continue to develop the brand for the new owners. How can it even be construed as "selling out?" When Joe's bikes (the current ones) first came out, they were well ahead of the industry and most folks questioned them. Now, they're looking pretty good.

I'm definitely not cool. I don't have any piercings, tattoos, funny hat...

It's all about the free beer. The lines for free beer wrapped completely around most booths. Waiting in a line for over 15 minutes for free beer, sorry, got better things to do. It helped that there was a 7-11 on my walk back to my hotel and they sold 24 oz. cans of Tecate for $1.19.

Security people in booths not letting dealers inside. Sorry, they're just bikes fer cryin' out loud. A big, menacing security guard is overkill, and a joy kill - especially for fancy beach cruisers.

Road rash. Walking the show on the first day, I saw a guy with this massive fresh road rash on his face. Ouch! A few minutes later, there's another guy. What the heck? A little later, yet another guy with oozing road rash on his arm and side of his face. Oh yeah, yesterday was dirt demo and the testosterone must have been rampant. The EMT's must have had their hands full with guys going for glory.

"What'd you see that was new/cool?" Seriously, there was a lot of last year at the show. Sure there's tapered steerer tubes and oversized bb shells with direct insert bb bearings, but those have been hammered so much over the internet that they seem like old hat by the time the show doors open. Yawn. The things I thought were neat won't be making the rounds of internet forums and bike product web sites. Here's a few things that I enjoyed at the show.

Rawland Cycles bikes. Very clean, classy looking bikes. The kind of bikes that just look right. Helps that they have fat tires and drop bars. Sean's philosophy of 700mm wheel diameter works for me too. I'm having a lot of fun on my 700mm diameter bikes currently - 700x45 and 650B x 2.35 are both roughly 700mm in diameter.

Same goes for the Salsa Fargo. It's probably one of those love it or hate it bikes, but I love it. Inspires going long. I'm sure it's fine for short jaunts, but it's got legs and wants to be let out of the paddock and run. I also like the fact that it has the capacity to carry as many as six water bottles. A good thing if you're like me and disdain from wearing a "hydration pack" if at all possible.

White Industries had some sweet looking pedals based on a Lyotard Marcel Berthet pedal from way back. This is in addition to their VBC cranks.

Ortleib's bags and Tubus racks were nice. They fall into the category of "they just do the job." And I got a chance to see Jeff Scully, an old industry friend as well. He just does his job too.

Showers Pass, a wind and water proof cycling clothing company out of Portland, OR was showing, besides their standard foul weather riding gear, some really nifty jackets and gear that look perfectly at home off the bike.

Bruce Gordon was showing a new Taiwan made BLT (Basic Loaded Touring) frameset. For under a grand, one could get a frame/fork and complete set of US made Gordon racks specifically fit to the frames. Details include custom CNC dropouts so eyelets don't break off. I dig his use of Chinese characters for his logo.

There were a few more things, but maybe later.

(What's playing: Everyone except me is asleep (including the dog) so it's quiet)


Scott said...

I work down the street from Bruce, and have had a chance to look at his new BLT as well. I really like it, and with the racks, it's a very tempting bike.

Anonymous said...

The road rash on the faces was fake. I got fooled for a second as well. I forgot what company was doing it, but they'd put the wound make-up on you and snap a photo. Not sure what the deal or appeal was with that.

blackmountaincycles said...

Ah, temporary tattoos have run their course and not it's temporary road rash.