Well, since a lot of you were wondering what was the deal at Interbike this year, I thought I'd pass along this post to give somewhat of a clue as to what I thought was noteworthy at the show beyond the tidbits I've mentioned already.
No Surprises....yawn: While the show was certainly upbeat and business was brisk, there were no real "you gotta go see this" things to talk about this year. Actually, all the "Big Intros" were already out in the open. SRAM Red, C29ssmax wheel set, Fisher G2, Fox entering the 29"er market, Specialized entering the 29"er market, and a few other things all already happened in '07 previous to Interbike. Just think if all of these things had been held back for Interbike introductions. It seems the industry has figured out that it can get individual media focus and consumers attention better outside of Interbike. The manufacturers then can have time to allow it's dealers to digest all of the info before the show where it would seem the business side of things benefited. And that's what Interbike was supposed to be about all along anyway, right?
Half Way To 29"- Half The Benefit With Less Than Half The Choices: The "B" wheels. Lots of interest generated at the show this year. I got to ride them. Verdict? They are not as "good" as a 26"er and neither are they as "good" as a 29"er. Less "big wheel" benefits than you would be led to believe. More 26"er-ish than the proponents would like to let on. Then there is the question of specific components. Tires: One choice with four more promises on the way. Forks: Rigid custom, White Brothers suspended, or "make do" with fudged alternatives. Rims: One disc only, wide profile choice, the Velocity Blunt. Other choices are really road or touring rims. Very limited at that. Look, I'm not trying to "diss" anybody here, but this is current reality for this platform. Just be aware.
Where Are All The "69ers"?: Lost in all of this were the 69ers at the show. Trek was at the Outdoor Demo with their three models and they were getting ridden a lot. However; without Trek's backing, the 69er idea hasn't got a lot of momentum behind it. (There were easily twice as many "B" wheeled bikes at the show than 69"ers) That said, Brendan Collier's Siren Song was easily one of the coolest bikes there and it just happened to be a 69er. Look for a special story on it on Twenty Nine Inches soon.
Rims: Tall, Wide, and Handsome!: 29"er rims are getting the wide treatment........finally! Salsa showed the Gordo at 35mm, and the Semi at 30mm, both with welded seams and "bead lock" technology that promises better tire/rim interfaces for 29"ers. Sun Rims also introduced a 29.5mm and a 31.5mm wide rim line for 29"ers called The Equalizer. The importance here is that now the contact patch for a 29"er tire gets even bigger with a wider rim, so enhanced grippage should be experienced soon. Weights were kept in check, so the added benefit doesn't get eaten up by more mass. Cool! I can't wait to try it.
Consider Yourself Flattered: What is that saying? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Yeah, I think that's it. Well then, Twin Six should consider themselves flattered. Walking into the show, we were met at one major cycling apparels booth with a huge banner/backdrop that looked eerily familiar to a Twin Six t-shirt, "Riders Unite". No matter, as Twin Six had their booth mobbed and had an awesome display with their killer '08 gear. Even Pro Tour cyclists were spotted checking out their wares. (I know, I was there and saw them!) These guys are set to blow up, so keep your eyes peeled on where this goes. I'm betting on global jersey domination, but then again, I've been enamoured of Twin Six stuff for two years now, so sue me!
Okay, that's my impressions of the Interbike '07 vintage. Not much else to say other than "Let's Ride, ya'all!"