This year there were over 1000 booths at Interbike. The list of fine merchandise includes Taiwanese tricycles, department store bikes, inflatable leg balloons for roadie recovery and this year even an electric unicycle. As you can imagine there’s a lot of crap in there – and mining the gold isn’t easy. We hit a few veins this year though and this is a look at some of the nuggets from Friday.
It’s easy to get cynical about Vegas. The fake smiles and fake boobs get a little tiresome and it always seems like someone’s trying to liberate your hard-earned cash. But the place can take your breath away as well like this galleria leading to the reception desk in the Venetian. Make sure you have a gander next time you’re down there.
Poc is a new entry to the protection market – and they are hitting it hard. Their designs are clean and the colours punchy – but protection is at the heart of the company’s mandate. Get a load of their mandate: to do everything we can to possibly save lives and to reduce consequences of accidents, for gravity sports athletes, by developing and renewing what personal protection is all about. At the very least they’ll be able to locate your body wearing this lid.
Poc’s full-face helmets for 2010 incorporate a new technology called MIPS. MIPS is another Swedish company and they license their system to helmet manufacturers – POC being the first company to step up. In their own words MIPS technology ” is designed with inspiration from the protective systems of the human head. When the head is subjected to an oblique impact that gives rise to rotations in the brain, the brain can slide inside of the skull in the cerebrospinal fluid. This system has been copied to the helmet where the outer shell (A) is separated to the liner (C) by a low friction layer (B). The low friction layer is a vital part of the MIPS-technology where the shell has possibility to slide on top of the liner and thereby reducing the rotational energy. ” In a nutshell the helmet liner frees itself from a sheer system in the event of an impact and allows the inner shell to rotate. The system is said to reduce injury 40-50% in the case of an oblique impact (hitting your head on an angle). If you make have a ‘pure vertical injury’ – that is you hit the ground travelling toward the earth’s core without any forward motion, MIPS can’t help you. But of course the chances of that happening when you dismount from your bike are just about nil.
POC makes gloves, body armour and soft goods. The pad you see on the left is made with a polymer that firms up on impact. Unlike the polymer used by other manufacturers POC’s Visco-Elastic Polymer Dough (VPD) can be placed in molds to make unique shapes. Other polymers of this sort are sold in sheets and cut to size. POC makes knee, and elbow guards with this material as well as the knee/shin you see above and even the spine protector on their upper body suit is made with VPD.
Fergs fell in love with POC’s fresh approach to design.
The goggles aren’t just pretty though – they can take a beating and spring back to shape.
More colours and subtle patterns from POC.
Fox is carrying on their tradition of making incremental changes to their product line and every once in awhile launching something new. The 831 (the area code for Watsonville – home of the Fox Factory) is that product this year. Designed for dirt jumpers and 4Xers it sports a 15mm axle, 100mm of stock travel (internally adjustable from 80mm-120mm in 5mm increments). It’s said to be light stff and tuned for the demands of high performance athletes. It was developed with the help of Jared Graves, Cam McCaul, Dan Atherton and Kyle Strait. For more on the 831 click here…
Rocky Mountain tried to keep the re-designed Flatline a secret – without much success this year. The problem was they put it under Sabrina Jonnier and she went on to win 6 World Cup races on it. This year it actually has a few straight lines and the impression is of a low and fast machine. It got the Queer Eye makeover it seems – because it bears little resemblance to the lumpy, dishevelled original – and the frame is 3 lbs lighter. I shit you not. Much of the weight savings is in the rear end and the swingarm can be retrofitted to the old bikes – assuming you could get your hands on one.
This bike comes as frame only or complete in ‘World Cup’ or ‘Pro’ trim. The Pro model shown here ships with a Boxxer Race up front, a Rock Shox Vivid 4.1 in the rear and an Avid/SRAM/Race Face parts kit. We were told that it tips the scales at a very reasonable 39 lbs out of the box and it’ll set you back $3999 on either side of the border.
The World Cup model ships with A Fox 40 up front and afull Saint Group. It’ll tip your scales at 41 lbs and your wallet for $5999 – and again the price is the same in the US and Canada.
Fetching in green – the Flatline Park is mainly to be used as a rental fleet bike. Summit Bike Shop in Whistler called it the most durable bike they’ve ever had in rental fleet – and nothing takes a beating like a Whistler rental bike. The original Flatline frame is also available as the Flatline FR for $2999.
Wade Simmons took us through the product line and he did a great job. Those years working in bike shops are paying off. He’s been spending most of his riding time on an Altitude lately. Who needs a big bike when you have skills?
Is Rocky making a BMX? Nope but they are speccing a hardtail with Jay Miron’s MacNeil parts kit. When Jay was approached about putting his parts on a mountain bike he said “I’m going to get shit from all the bmxers but I don’t care.” Darren Berrecloth got Miron suited up with a mountain bike and took him riding in Whistler and he loved it. In his profile on his company Web site he even lists mountain biking as a sport he’s into.
The MacNeil edition of the Flow DJ will set you back $1799. I’m not sure if it comes with matching wheels or not.
I’d only seen Morewood bikes on the web and in video before this and I have to say they didn’t light my fire. That all changed when we rounded a corner and came upon their booth in Vegas. This is Mitch Delfs’ World Cup race machine – the Makulu. The bikes are made in Pietermarizburg South Africa where the first World Cup of 2009 was held – and they are serious machines. You can order them with a Fox RC4 or Bos Stoy rear shock and they roll out in white, yellow or black (unless you are Delfs or Rennie). The Makulu boasts a 2.3:1 leverage ratio, 8 inches of rear travel, a 12 x 150mm rear axle and a 1.5″ headset.
The Kalula is a new model for 2010 and it’s a scaled down version of the Makulu with 7″ of rear travel.
Morewood doesn’t seem to have a name for their linkage system but they often refer to the ‘Low Leverage Advantage.’ Hopefully this photo will give you an idea of how it works.
If the Superco looks familiar you are onto something. It’s a chromoly frame with a jackshaft system to put the chain in line with the swingarm for optimum pedalling efficiency. See below for the answer.
If you thought it resembled the offerings from Brooklyn Machine Works you are onto something. Doc Boudreaux was one of the founders of BMW and the head of production and R & D there for 10 years. The difference is that this bike is aimed at being competitive on the DH circuit. How much does it weigh you ask? This one was said to be about 38 lbs and after giving it a lift I’d say that’s legit.
Superco makes hardtails as well including this slick looking model called the Charger. If you guessed that it’s made of 4130 you are batting a thousand.
This is Fergs riding the electric self balancing unicycle. It takes about ten minutes to learn and then you just lean forward to speed up and lean back to slow down. I can’t see any advantage this has over an actual unicycle but it was a blast to ride. It was also the biggest hit of the demo area. They cost US$1500 and are available now. Check out Focus Designs for more info.
This fine lass was one of our favourite Fergettes.
Blonde never goes out of style.
Sometimes the booth babes are cousins of the owner or somebody’s girlfriend – but these two were undoubtedly pros. It was nice of them to take Fergs on a whirlwind tour of the strip.
We’ve got more to come of course. If you’d like to sound off about any of this here’s the sounding board…