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Interbike Redux

September 20, 2013

Running on little sleep after a late night of cyclocross racing and socializing, day two of Interbike started off quick.  While the show doors officially open at 9 am each day, my press badge gets me in early, which is really helpful for getting to make the most of seeing much of the show and still having time to talk with the folks behind the shop’s favorite brands.

It’s certainly seems that day two is busier than the day one seeing the hustle and bustle of the show once it’s really in full swing.  The press room too was busier and the coffee was flowing faster as everyone pounded away on keyboads, tablets, and phone screens and sorted through photos and social media channels.  Fully caffinated with the proir day’s report done and day two notes in hand, I hit the ground running.

My first stop was to talk with the folks at Quality Bicycle Products and Surly Bikes.  Quality is top-notch partner for the shop and they distribute Surly along with, well, seemingly everything you can imagine, are the folks behind Frostbike, and are real industry leaders.  Aside from catching up with folks and meeting new people, the real task was to see Surly’s three new bikes: the ECR, the Instigator 2.0, and the Straggler.

The ECR, as Surly says, is a sort of lovechild born from their Krampus fat bike, the Orge–Surly’s all-purpose MTB based on the venerable Karate Monkey’s geometry, and the Long Haul Trucker touring road bike.  The ECR with it’s 29″ wheels built on 50 mm wide rims seems built for everything as it can ride varried terrain, with a focus on off-road ridin and adventure/camping trips.  The ECR, like many of their complete bikes is available as a frameset only too so you can prepare your bike, your way, for your ride.

Camp by bike, anyone? The Surly ECR has you covered!

Camp by bike, anyone? The Surly ECR has you covered!

The Instigator 2.0 isn’t completely new.  There was an Instigator in the Surly line-up in the past.  The difference lies in the new 26″+ design; Surly’s use of 50 mm wide rims and the accompanying near-fat bike sized tires renders a ride that starts to push towards the 650b platform that is becoming a real trend in the MTB market.  The Instigator 2.0 is certainly a fast, fun MTB–sort chainstays and a balanced ride paird with a 140 mm travel Fox fork should render the latest Instigator a fast, fun ride.

The Instigator 2.0!

The Instigator 2.0!

The Straggler is close to my heart.  After all, it’s a cyclocross bike.  But it’s more than that.  Based on the Cross-Check with the addition of disc brakes, it retains the Cross-Check’s rack and fender mounts.  That means added versitility–cross bike, road bike with a change of tires, light touring bike with some racks and panniers, commuter with some fenders–with better stopping power.  You’re bound to see this bike at some of our events–Professor Al from Bicycle Sport Shop University has one on order already!

Professor Al's new ride, the Surly Straggler!

Professor Al’s new ride, the Surly Straggler!

Surly is such a fun brand with a great product line and the new bikes are solid additions.  We don’t stock every model or every frameset that’s available but with the great team at Surly and Quality we can get any of their great steel bikes for however and wherever you want to ride.

Santa Cruz and Juliana Bicycles was next on my list of folks to say hello to.  With well known and long time popular bikes with many of our customers, Santa Cruz has in recent years seen a resurgence with the Tallboy and Highball 29’ers, particularly in Austin.  And like those bikes became class leaders, the new 5010 and 5010 carbon are sure to take the 650b trend to the next level.  The 5010 was the bike I came to see, depsite the shop having had a couple in already, and it seemed that a number of other folks did as well.  And the Santa Cruz Bantam brings the 650b platform to more riders as an aluminum single-pivot ride too. Nice.

The Santa Cruz 5010 Carbon. 650b is here.

The Santa Cruz 5010 Carbon. 650b is here.

Not to be outdone, Juliana Bicycles–as in Juliana Furtado–has their own 650b line-up for women riders.  There’s the Furtado Primeiro and Segundo models, in carbon and aluminum respectviely and then there’s the new launched-at-Interbike Juno.  The Juno is an aluminium single-pivot ride, like the Santa Cruz Bantam, and is a model that is sure to get more folks interested in giving 650b a try.  Santa Cruz and Juliana Bicycles both are fully committed to 650b–perfect for riders that wants the momentum advantage of a 29’er, but also want a bike that feels more playful and allows for a little more inventive riding.  And we think there’s something to it too for the right rider.  Lisette with Juliana Bicycles was very nice and walked me through the entire line up from the original high quality women’s mountain bike brand.

Juliana Bicycles' new Juno 650b for women.

Juliana Bicycles’ new Juno 650b for women.

After a quick bite and running into some friends and talking about show highlights, I had some time to take in parts of the show that I hadn’t seen.  Tubing manufactuerers, tire companies, wheelmakers, fitting systems, cycling-related electronics, and more.  It’s not just brands that you see at the shop that are here, but it’s also the brands behind those brands that are also exhibiting giving Interbike it’s depth.  So much to see.

In the afternoon I had a chance to talk with Laura at Electra. Electra crusiers, and the ever-popular Townie, are some of the most asked about bikes in the shop.  Wether folks are draw to th graphics, the ride, or both, Electra has done a great job of doing what we see as our main goal–to get more folks riding bikes.  The comfort of the Townie’s ride position and the fun of the cruisers makes them a natural choice for first-timers and folks looking to add a fun bike to their normal road and/or MTB routine.

No shotrage of style or color over at the Electra booth.

No shotrage of style or color over at the Electra booth.

For 2014 electra has moved into the electric bike market with the Townie Go.  A SRAM pedal assist drivetrain is the Go’s heart and takes the Townie to the next level, from neighborhood runabout to commuter contender.  The system is very cleanly executed and the bike is balanced and a breeze to ride.  Being pedal assist, it enhance your effort and makes the ride easier.

The TownieGo!

The TownieGo!

The other interesting thing from Electra is the introduction of a new fitness bike, the Verse.  This is a new forray for Electra.  But rather than make another flat bar road bike, they’ve added their own twists with styling and colors befitting thier company ethos.

Electra gets fitter and faster with the Verse.

Electra gets fitter and faster with the Verse.

By the end of the day when thow was closing for the night I was beat.  But there was more bike racing offer!  The USA Crit Series Finals were literally right outside the show, in the Mandalay Bay parking lot.  The show venue known as”The Paddock”–where some brands offered test rides of their popular models, including our friends at Electra in the e-bike area– was transformed into a crit course for the evening’s races.  I watched as industry members battled it out in the afternoon sun and then the elite women and men took to the course under the lights as the evening went on.

Day two wrapped up with a very late dinner, re-boxing my cyclocross bike for the flight home, and some fun at an industry party at one of Vegas’ many clubs.  Redux indeed.

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