Interbike 2009 Preview

In: NEWS, REVIEWS, TECH By: Eric McKeegan On: September 12, 2009

Once again Interbike is nigh. The entire staff of Dirt Rag and Bicycle Times will be headed out west to the desert to cover the show from a multitude of angles. Expect social media posts, blog entries on both web sites, photo galleries and even video!

So what do I expect to be hot this year? I’ll break it down for you.

On the Dirt Rag side of the coin I expect a multitude of 5-6” travel bikes, in various configurations. On the lightweight front, there are carbon frames showing from many companies, and with continued weight reduction of components, 25 pound 150mm travel bikes are going to be more and more common on the trails. At the other end of the spectrum, I’m anticipating some more burly all-mountain bikes, at home on the trail, but slack and sturdy enough for a day on the lifts or even some DH racing on non-gnar courses. The rising popularity of these bikes, combined with more Super D type races, should keep the category super-competitive. This is a great thing for consumers.

I’m also excited to check out the return of Breezer mountain bikes. Unlike some of the other recently resurrected brands, Joe seems to be sticking to his roots, which are steel hardtails, which is fine by me.

The 29er market will continue to march along with lots of new full suspension bikes between 100-120mm of travel. Marzocchi has a 140mm fork on the market, which coincides with the release (finally) of the Niner WFO, one the longest travel (140mm) 29ers to date. Devon Lenz (Lenz bikes owner and builder of some of the first long travel 29ers) is rumored to have an as yet unnamed 29er DH bike at Dirt Demo, I am rumored to be stashing some body armor in the van for a shuttle run.  Hardtails are not forgotten here, with a few new carbon frames ready for 2010. Quite a few new tires too.

The third way wheel size; 650B, is not just staying alive, but growing, something a bit unexpected due to the economy and the continued argument over the need or functionality of this tweener size. At least 2 more companies will test the waters with full suspension bikes (Jamis and 650B stalwart Haro, Ventana was on board with a full-suspension bike last year) and KHS will have at least one hardtail  joining Haro, Soma, Rawland and a few others I’m probably missing. Plenty of tires and rims out there, frames are getting plentiful too. Additional fork choices could push 650B to the next level. I’m a fan, and would like to see more development for this promising wheel size.

Parts and accessories are always a great place to be surprised, both pleasantly and not so much. I’m hoping for more adventure type gear, things like packs, lights and clothes designed for the long haul. Lots of cool smaller details to be seen with parts, often small design tweaks that give me a “ah ha! Why didn’t I think of that” moment.

Switching gears to Bicycle Times, we’ve got tons of things to cover too.

Cargo. As the resident cargo-bike aficionado I’ll be keeping a close eye on the show floor for any and all load carrying devices. Xtracycle just released news of a new kid seat for their long tail cargo bike, the Pea Pod LT. Rans will display their long tail again this year, the Hammer Truck. I’m hoping to score a loaner for commuting duties to and from the show. I’m positive other goodies will be easy to find.

City bikes continue to grow, in both popularity and diversity. There is sure to be more completely equipped commuters, with lights, racks and fenders, and more stripped down custom-look fixies. Plenty of bikes in between too.

The practical road bike seems to be returning, with bikes like the Raleigh Clubman I tested in BT #2 leading the way. I predict more non-racing road bikes to be all over the show, with room for fenders, bigger tires and perhaps a rack to partner with more relaxed geometry to make a fine all-purpose steed.

Riding clothes that function well both on and off the bike should be easy to find here too. As more people use their bikes for transportation the demand for less geeky clothing has grown. Clothing manufactures will meet the needs of this emerging market with non-flashy garments cut for riding and walking made from materials that are sturdy and stylish.

Touring bikes seem to be coming back too, we’ll keep out eyes peeled.Let’s see, what else? Maybe some electric bikes? Blasphemy or the wave of the future? Recumbents? Cyclocross?  What do you want us to cover?

Feel free to contact us, we’re always glad to hear from readers. We can be phoned, emailed, contacted in the forums, postal mailed, commented below, Facebooked, My Spaced, or Twitted. Are we missing anything?

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