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Interbike and CrossVegas, Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

September 19, 2013

The first day of Interbike, like last year, was a whrilwind. Up early to eat and finalize a plan of attack and then hopefully hit the ground running when the doors opened at 9 am. Covering some vendor visits for our bike buyer, Scott, I had a packed day before participating in the Clifbar CrossVegas Wheelers and Deealers race last night.

The morning started off with a walk of most of the main part of the exhibit hall.  There are over 1200 cycling industry brands showing at Interbike so there’s quite a bit of ground to cover.  Still, geting a lay of the land is key to move efficiently and effectively around the show.  After my hour walk it was time to meet with Brian at Co-Motion Cycles.

Many folks think of tandems when you mention Co-Motion.  And rightly so.  Of their 19 models, 10 are bicycles built for two. For 2014 the Carrera is their new tandem offering. Designed for riders looking to do Grand Fondo type rides and light touring.  It’s a Reynolds 631 steel offering with tube buttings done to Co-Motion’s specifications, and of course spotrs all of Co-Motion’s great custom options and upgrades.

The all-new carrera from Co-Motion.

The all-new carrera from Co-Motion.

There are singles coming out of Co-Motion’s Oregon shop too of course.  And the bike Scott really wanted me to look at–and the one I was most excited to see–was their new gravel grinder bike, the Klatch.  Slotted between a road bike and cyclocross bike, the Klatch is for the rider looking to take the road less traveled–even if it’ not paved.  The bike’s longer wheelbase and lower bottom bracket are designed for a comfortable, stable ride, and with it’s rank and fender eyelets, the Klatch is a go anywhere ride that is still, as Brian put it, “podium ready” for the local CX race. With two stock build options, both sportting disc brakes, the Klatch is sure to catch on quick as the interest in gravel grinder rides grows.

Co-Motion's new gravel grinder, the Klatch.

Co-Motion’s new gravel grinder, the Klatch.

Of course I knew about the handmade bikes coming out of Co-Motion, but what I didn’t realize is how inventive and resourceful they have to be to get bikes to folks the way they want them.  For example, tandem riders wanting to run a Shimano Di2 system on their tandem, which traditionally has a tandem specific triple crankset.  Enter the guys in the Co-Motion machine shop.  They created a custom Di2 front derailleur mount that would with the removal of the smallest chainring, allow the riders q-factor (pedal stance) to remain in line with the frame, and still provide proper chainline for the two-ring electronic system by moving the derailleur outboard.  Pretty slick.

Every problem has a solution. In this case, it's mounting the front derailleur further out to run Di2 on a tandem.

Every problem has a solution. In this case, it’s mounting the front derailleur further out to run Di2 on a tandem couresy of a custom derailleur clamp made by Co-Motion.

Just as slick was their new Rohloff shifter.  So new in fact that the one I saw didn’t even have gear number ettchings on it.  The challenge with the shifter that Co-Motion offers is that it needs to mount on top of the bar near the stem and thus has to run over the rear brake cable, so it has to be somewhat large.  But it also has to be small enough to grip it and be shaped so that it can be used when, say, a rider’s hand is gloved, or wet, or both.  Again, machine shop to the rescue.  The new shifter gets the job done and hits the design goals of being smaller and easier to grasp.

A new smaller, easier to grip Rohloff shifter. fresh out of Co-Motion's machine shop.

A new smaller, easier to grip Rohloff shifter. fresh out of Co-Motion’s machine shop.

Co-Motion does so much of their own work–producing forks, dropouts, and more–that other bike makers come to them for their offerings.  And consumers with tandems from other builders come to them for accessories like stoker stems and their first-in-class travel cases for tandems and singles alike with S&S couplers.  Good folks there at Co-Motion.

After meeting Brian it was off for some more floor walking.  There were tons of interesting bikes and products to se and share on our Instagram and Twitter feeds, where our “live” show coverage is really happening.  In the midst of it, I realized it was closing in on lunch time and I caught up with another Brian–this one from Verde BMX.  Brian is a former BMX pro, a legend, so he knows his way around the BMX scene and what a destination Austin is for BMX riding.  We grabbed a bite and talked a lot about Verde’s new line for 2014–all of which we stock–as well as the Texas Toast Jam and Austin’s hosting the 2014 X-Games, which Brian predicts will really move BMX in Austin to even greater visibility.  Rad.

With shops from all over the country looking at basically every product on offer, it’s sometimes tough to talk with the folks you want to see.  Such was the case for me with Tern.  Their booth was hoppin’–not just because of the beers and the talk of a post-show social ride down the las Vegas strip–but because of the bikes on offer.  My contact there, Dale, was knee deep in showing the line to others and went over our meeting time.  Such is life at Interbike, so I’ll have to catch him today hopefully.

With CrossVegas to get to, I started to make my way back to the hotel to get ready.  But before I could get out of the exhibit hall I ran into Ian from Castelli Cycling.  Ian and I talked a bit about the show and the race and he gave me one of their special CrossVegas tees to sport post-race and some of Castelli’s CX 6.0 CX gloves to ride in–thanks, Ian!  A quick change into my San Remo speed suit and I was riding to the race venue.

I was able to get a couple of warm up laps in on the fully set up course–including riding the two flyovers and the wooden berm u-turn.  The course was great fun, if tough, and the industry race went by in a flash.  Well, more of a flash for the folks at the front of the field, but still.  It seemed over before it started.  Post-race I was doing my best to fill in some for Cyclocross Magazine.  I’m not a video interviewer by any means, but I did my best to try to get some interesting stuff, and had a chance to talk not only with the reigning Cyclocross National Champ, Jonathan Page, but also the second place finisher in the women’s eleite race, Lea Davison riding for Specialized.

Interbike Day 1 and CrossVegas make for a busy day.  But they go together so well.  Like peanut butter and jelly.

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