Photo Sep 15, 11 18 52 AM

Guest Article: Interbike 2011

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Imagine my surprise when, while enthusiastically discussing the “porn show” down in Vegas, some of my coworkers expressed concern and declared the discussion of this subject during a conference call to be “inappropriate”. Apparently, there is some other kind of porn that doesn’t involve bicycles that also has a show there as well. Very confusing, and, quite honestly, I’m not sure what the appeal would be if it doesn’t involve chains and lube.

Our community member @sgt has managed to lie and cheat his way into the vendor-only Interbike Show in Las Vegas, which is one of the most significant bike shows in the world. He was kind enough to share his thoughts and photos, and even provided a V and Anti-V summary at the end. Cheers to that.

Yours in Cycling,

Frank

I had the distinct privilege to attend Interbike 2011 in Las Vegas with some clubmates.  What follows is my first hand account of what I saw, what I liked, what I didn’t like, and what impressed me most and least, with special attention paid to those items of particular interest to you, my fellow Velominati.

For those of you who don’t know, Interbike is the US equivalent of Eurobike, an industry-only trade show for all things related to the bicycle industry.  All the major component manufacturers attend, and most of the frame, wheel and component companies.   I was there under the nominal auspices of my local shop and club sponsor, but I had an ulterior motive: to represent the Keepers, to seek out new devices for channeling The V; to boldly go where no Velominatus had gone before.

Let me start by saying that Interbike is an amazing compendium of bike-related ephemera… you can find anything related to travel using wheels and pedals, plus a bunch of stuff that seems to pertain to nothing at all.  I found it interesting that although most of the second tier bike/frame manufacturers were there, only Specialized represented the big boys: no Trek, no Cannondale, no Giant (although they did have some stuff at the outdoor demo earlier in the week, which I missed).  And no Cervelo either (sorry, Frank).

Just as well, as I am way more interested in what the mid-to-small size builders are doing.  I visited Bianchi, Wilier, Look, Time, Lapierre, Argon, etc.  But the bike-maker that most impressed me was BMC.

The Time Machine:

The Race Machine:

The Cuddles Machine:

BMC really pushes the envelope with tube shapes, materials and their signature short seat stays, plus big honking bottom bracket shells. And they use really hard math:

I also saw some downright silly stuff, like this aero headtube on a Look mountain bike (really?):

And this unique saddle from Merckx-knows-who:

I visited the booths of many companies beloved of the Velominati.

Dumonde Tech was showcasing this:

Yes, that’s coffee-scented organic chain lube, folks.  Sorry Frank, I couldn’t coerce a sample out of them, but I did get a little Dumonde Tech Lite for personal consumption.

Lezyne was showcasing a very sharp looking new line of tools.  When I remarked that the beer opener was a nice afterthought for the pedal wrench, the designers quickly corrected me; the pedal sockets were added to the beer opener so the boss wouldn’t yell at them….My bad.

And even Columbus Tubing had a booth in the Italia pavilion, along with Wilier, Vittoria, Limar, and a bunch more:

My next pair of shoes:

Nirvana:

I even got some classic bend bar porn for Frank:

Oval Concepts (the only carbon classic bars I found, and my bars of choice, btw):

Deda:

3T Rotundos:

Interbike was truly an embarrassment of riches.  There were many companies paying homage to La Vie Velominatus with clothing and equipment designed in accordance with The Rules. Unfortunately there were many, many more heretics.  I could go on and on and on describing the various horrors being foisted on the cycling public, while applauding the good that was displayed cheek by jowl, sometimes in adjoining booths.  With that said, and after careful consideration, I have conferred the following honors and demerits for the best and the worst of Interbike.

Interbike V-Awards:

The companies below are representative of the highest quality, initiative and entrepreneurship I saw at Interbike.  While they were by no means the only companies displaying these traits,  they set themselves apart with innovation, guts and audacity.  Business V, as it were.

East Coast Cycle Supply (http://www.eccyclesupply.com/):

This startup is composed of a bunch of guys that got their pink slips after their old bike company failed. (I’ll spare you the sordid details, especially since I really don’t remember what they told me.)  But, rather than pack it up and call it a day, they rallied, started a new company and set about using their industry knowledge to source some very cool frames and start a new brand (Bootleg).  I ran across them down in the bowels of the second floor, behind some elliptical trainers.  They are good eggs, have passion for what they do, and aren’t afraid to back it up with their own scratch.  Good on yer, boys!

Knog (http://www.knog.com.au/ ):

Against my better judgment, and despite being fucking poms, Knog deserves a mention. They make some very nifty shit, including little strap on LED lites in case you get caught out late, and they had a very cute young Sheila handing out what was beyond doubt the best booth schwag (that’s a patch kit, ya perverts!). Bonzer!

HeadsUp Systems (http://www.headsupsystems.com/):

This company cleverly repurposes existing RFID technology to keep us from ruining our expensive toys while being hauled about car-top.  One sensor goes in the garage with a big bright LED warning light, another goes in the car, and individual compact units clip onto bikes, kayaks, carriers, etc.  When you put the gear on top, the in-car sensor / alerter detects them, and if your car then gets too close to the garage door, both alerters flash / beep to warn you you’re about to make a costly mistake!  The units are economical, simple and use proven technology.  Very strong work!

Now that the laurels have been handed out, it’s time for the brick bats…

 

Anti-V Awards (no further explanation needed, and no links provided):

Ellipti-go:

What. The. Fucking. Fuck.  Needlessly complex much?  There’s a guy with one of these locally; if he ever even gets onto my wheel I’ll know it’s time to start playing golf again.

E-go Kits:

A bolt-on electric motor that attaches to your frame with a contraption right out of Brazil, attached to a twenty pound battery backpack with the electrical connection on the nose of the saddle, right where it can do the most damage.  But hey, it only costs $2,995.99 USD!  Here’s some advice for the E-go boys: Go ride your bikes, without the stupid motors, and think up something better.

Specialized:

Just because… Boring!!!!!!

That brings me to the end of my story.  I  had a really fun day, saw some cool stuff and got to talk bikes with knowledgeable staff, friends and other attendees.  Well worth it, but suffice to say that a full day at Interbike left me feeling a little like this:

“Go ahead, get your fucking camera just a little bit closer…”

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  1. @brett

    Mountain bikes and road bikes shouldn’t be set up the same… that is so 1990. That’s why mtb’s back then didn’t handle, with long, low stems, narrow bars with no sweep.

    This is why I’m lost when it coms to Mountain Biking. Except the small fact that Mountain Biking RULED FUCKING COMPLETELY in 1990.

    Just ask Ned or Johnny T.

    Just sayin’.

  2. @The Baron

    Love the article, shame about the swearing
    Oh… and Knog are Australia not Pommies, Homer!

    We do a bit of swearing, but how else are our weak minds to express themselves forcefully?

    I am digging the new community page and, given that, am very impressed of your background in cycling. Hardman for sure, if even a third of it’s true, let alone all of it.

    My only question is, did you ever work it out with Billie Joe, assuming that your handle is a play on Johnny Cash’s greatest (and least known) record?

  3. @scaler911

    Vancouver WA. Not Canada. We’re kinda a right wing suburb of Portland OR.

    “More Liberal” than Portland is still more liberal than anywhere else in the world, except maybe Seattle and San Francisco. And Amsterdam.

    “Right-wing” Portland. Fucking brilliant.

  4. @scaler911

    @scaler911
    Love Cuddles BMC.
    I don’t believe there’s one Rules violation on the whole thing.. If I only had a fatter bank account……

    Fat bank account was not needed, his very WC winning BMC was up for raffle recently after the guy who bought it at a charity auction for something like $16k then raffled it away for charity again at AU$50 a ticket.

    Now, while I understand that at the time that AU$50 would still have been a hit due to the unique state the US$ was in, I think you’ll agree that would have been cheaper than the full cost!

  5. @frank
    Yes. And Mr. Ritchey (who built my favorite steel road machine which I still ride and love to this day):

    And check out that fuckin ‘stache yo’. Not only would Tom Selleck be jealous, I think he qualifies for a Rule #50 exception. And they’re both Tom. Case closed.

  6. @Chris

    @snoovMinidrome footage here and here.
    Warning: Footage contains uncensored hipster content.

    It would appear the Japanese police have an aversion to hipsters as well!

    Fixie crims

  7. Good Stuff Sgt. Had the chance to go to the show in ’09 and the cliche’ “kid in a candy store” couldn’t have been more appropriate. So much amazing stuff to look at. I’m always making fun of adults who stand in line to get autographs, yet there I was waiting to have the Phils sign my copy of Cycle Sport America, and to have Eddy himself and Felice Gimondi sign my copy of Cycling’s Golden Age (almost missed my flight home for that one). One of the only trips to Vegas I’ve had where I wasn’t upset to come home a few hundred bucks in the red.

    Sadly, I had a pass for this years show but was unable to go, just couldn’t get away from work. What a horrible thing to admit….

  8. @Mikael Liddy

    Fucking right too! (sorry @The Baron!) Each to there own and all that but when some skinny jeaned scrote can’t stop his bike by sticking his foot in the front wheel and flattens your daughter yards from a no cycling sign, you tend to develop bias against anyone running without brakes.

  9. @scaler911

    @scaler911
    I don’t believe there’s one Rules violation on the whole thing.. If I only had a fatter bank account……

    Yeah, Cuddles’ bikes are always Rule Compliant. I’d have liked to see a black saddle on there, but his choice is Rule Compliant.

  10. @Frank. You’re right – mountain biking did rule in the ’90s. A freakin’ cool era for sure. I’m glad I experienced it. Being old dude, riding mountain bikes since ’84, have seen it all progress. Cool stuff.

    @All. Man cannot live on road alone. If you’re not mountain biking, you’re missing a ton of good times and a chance to seriously improve your technical handling skills. Then toss in cyclocross, mega fun on two wheels. ‘Cross is coolest damn thing ever. Do it.

    Live it, breath it, do it all. On pavement and dirt…

  11. @Dan O

    @All. Man cannot live on road alone. If you’re not mountain biking, you’re missing a ton of good times and a chance to seriously improve your technical handling skills. Then toss in cyclocross, mega fun on two wheels. ‘Cross is coolest damn thing ever. Do it.

    Very, very well said.

    For everyone complaining about the discussion getting “off topic” because the discussion is about mountain biking; I would have thought the discussion of FUCKING MONKEYS RIDING MINATURE BIKES ON MINATURE VELODROMES to be the more offensive topic.

  12. @frank

    ohh….I’d like to see Monkeys on little bikes on a mini velodrome. That sounds like a lot of fun.

    lol.

  13. Damn right, @Dan O, it’s a broad church, embrace it. Well maybe not fixies and recumbents….

    @frank

    If “FUCKING MONKEYS RIDING MINATURE BIKES ON MINATURE VELODROMES” happened to be the title of the next Dutch Monkey Productions’ offering, you’d be in with a chance of the +1 badge!

  14. @Dan O
    Word! Love the tar, love the dirt, baby…

  15. @Mikael Liddy

    @Chris

    @snoovMinidrome footage here and here.
    Warning: Footage contains uncensored hipster content.

    It would appear the Japanese police have an aversion to hipsters as well!
    Fixie crims

    Ha, that’s funny. I saw some hipster-ass bikes while in Japan:

    Though is it hypocritical of me to think that American hipsters are annoying while Japanese hipsters are somehow more cool? Back when I was in college I always thought that the Asian foreign-exchange students could somehow pull off fashion that would look just plain silly on Europeans, dunno why – they just seemed to have an eye for wild looks that somehow press the boundary of good taste without going over the line into absurd. I dunno, maybe I’d find it more annoying if I lived over there.

  16. Very, very well said.
    For everyone complaining about the discussion getting “off topic” because the discussion is about mountain biking; I would have thought the discussion of FUCKING MONKEYS RIDING MINATURE BIKES ON MINATURE VELODROMES to be the more offensive topic.

    Kinky. I didn’t think this was that kind of site. Oh well, I guess it’s the Euro thing to do these days…

  17. @frank
    For the record I have no objection to the topic of mtn bikes. Just thought @scaler911‘s comment was gold.

  18. @scaler: right on w/the Ritchey goods, i would give twice what Ritchey asking price is for the Swiss cross, absolutely the best!

    having ridden w/Tom, he is a bonified stud w/a huge heart

  19. @mcsqueak: hipsters snipsters. They put this junk together and it looks like…well…something, but they really don’t ride it. Right? who cares if you can ride it a block, but after 100k or more, then you have ridden. And…they…hipsters don’t. If they do fide more, they ain’t hipsters. Right. I’m not knocking them, its just that you cannot put some of this stuff together and ride it like Eddy would. Ride it in the metro, fine, but not for the Rouleur. Its simply 2 different things.

    Buddy was suffering through 160k, and a dude in a double-decker singlespeed, dressed in jeans, a twill/herringbone top (all in the rain btw) passed by and my buddy just said he felt a ton better knowing someone like this was riding, made his ride a little easier…it was like a burden seemed to be lifted off his back.

  20. @Souleur

    I can’t really comment or speculate on the actual riding habits of the “urbanius hipsterus fixierideus”, as I don’t know any personally. I see people riding all sorts of shit around here, and I can’t imagine it’s very comfortable. I did a few short errand rides in street clothes this summer, and I found it to be less than comfortable – sweating like a pig in cotton street clothes is miserable experience. I can’t imagine riding any sort of distance in “fashion clothes” on a “fashion bike”, but I guess that’s not what those people are going for.

  21. @mcsqueak
    Aye, but one imagines these folk never get above 10kmph so never break sweat.

  22. Was this the article with the Chris King thing for checking dose for the coffee machine? You coffee lovers might like this, a stencil, and beautifully made.

    There’s a new bike shop in Edinburgh called Ronde – Bicycle Outfitters, worth checking out.

  23. By the way, I have just sent off a patent application for a bottle opener using a 12 tooth rear cassette sprocket, before any of you get the idea you thought of it first – I’m gonna be a millionaire!!

  24. @snoov @Dr C

    What a coincidence, I have a patent pending for what looks remarkably similar to a pair of those for toasting crumpets.

  25. @snoov

    There’s a new bike shop in Edinburgh called Ronde – Bicycle Outfitters, worth checking out.

    Just over the road from one of the worlds greatest curry houses.

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