As I wandered the floor of Interbike, where there were something on the order of 1000 exhibitors (at least that was what I counted on the back of the map the give you for the show floor), I asked several people “what was the coolest thing you saw at the show?” I got answers from “check out the $15,000 Lew Wheels,” “the concept bike at U was awesome (also $15k),” (okay – so people are impressed with big ticket items) “I can’t believe how much carbon there is in this room,” “the single piece cassette from SRAM” and “did you see the electric winch that allows you to hand bikes from your 12 foot ceiling,” and finally “well not much.”
So after hearing from a variety of folks I headed off with my camera to see what I could find.
First – the golf cart. By now everyone has heard that “cycling is the new golf.” I was taking to Richard, the owner of Speedplay
pedals – and he mentioned how many of his friends in San Diego had switched from Golf to Cycling – and he said “by the way – have you seen the pedal powered golf cart.” Now you can combine both – cycling and golf (well on second thought…).
Next I found Brad Hunter, one of the industry insiders “who knows his wheels” (he was the owner of Velomax
– and then sold it to Easton
), to take me around
the floor and talk about what’s “cool” in wheels.
The first place he took me was Lew Wheels to show me their rear wheel carbon “triple flange” design. The triple flange allows the outer spokes to be radial (with relatively low tension) and the inner flange to have the drive spokes. The intent is to make a wheel that is very light (note this one weighs in at 428 grams) yet strong. If you would like to get a custom made wheels designed to your weight specifications (you need to weigh less that 150 lbs – which leaves me out) you can put your order in now along with the check for $15k. The “normal wheel set” is closer to $5k. As soon as they send us a set to test we will let you know what they are like.
Next we walked by Industry
Nine, who has been known for the mountain bike
wheels. The are now making a nice light set of road wheels. What impressed
me most was the color (but then you have to remember I’m a photographer – not an engineer). Brad talked about how they make the parts out of single blocks of aluminum, the way t
he spokes are screwed into the hub, the fact that they are made in the SE US…and of course they are light.
We then visited Topolino’s
booth. Brad like how they had redone the attachment at
the rim and again the weight is impressive. I asked “what happens when you break a spoke – the answer is that there is a single piece replacement for the spokes that are on the side that broke.
Finally Brad took me over to the Easton
booth. He wanted to show me a couple
of wheels. The first was a track wheel. The gear is splined
so that in contrast to the standard threaded gear it can’t miss-thread – or rip into the hub – and it’s got
a deep dish carbon
The second wheel he showed me had a “damaged rim” that he was very proud
of. There was a note with the wheel from one of the European pro’s
describing what happened. He had crashed then got back on the bike and finished the race. It wasn’t until after the race that he noticed that someone put a pedal through the side of the rim; it hadn’t even come out of true, much less collapsed. Of course part of the reason Brad was so proud
of the wheel was that his girl friend Elisa had designed the rim.
So other than wheels – what was cool
new Red Group with their cassette milled from a single block of Aluminum drew considerable attention.
One item that I’m likely to get is the Garage Gorilla. This has a
electric winch attached to a long bar where you can attached bikes, kayaks, soccer balls (in a net)…. You lower the bar to the floor, attach whatever you want,
then raise it back toward the ceiling
. I guess this won’t do you much good if you have a seven foot ceiling
– but if you’ve got a high garage it could be just the ticket for giving you a little more floor space.
Then there was the Uber
Bike – a concept bike designed
to go really fast. Need something to set a non-UCI sanctioned hour record – this could be the bike for you.
One of the items that really attracted my attention last year was the rollers from insideride.com. These allow you to get up out of the saddle and sprint. The key to them is that the roller frame is set into a second frame that allows the rollers to move forward and backward. A friend of mine was so impressed last year – that he bought the set at the show. He is a roller fanatic (rides them pretty much daily during his lunch break) and swears by them.
I could go on about Shimano, Campy, Mavic…no shortage of items to see.
But I was in Vegas, so after I OD’d
on bike stuff – I wandered the halls of the hotel imagining that I was in Italy – or out to the s
trip and thought of Paris…Nah…it was still Vegas.