Here’s just a small sampling of the new and interesting things we saw during the whirlwind week that is Interbike, America’s largest bicycle industry trade show.
A handful of things stood out in Spank’s small, tucked-away booth. The company tries out new ideas in single product types before expanding them to the full line, and is now bringing its Vibrocore technology to its all-mountain/trail handlebars, the Oozy 760. Initially tested by Spank’s DH riders, Vibrocore is a low-density foam injected into the bars to significantly reduce the small vibrations that cause hand fatigue/numbness, arm pain and, for some, eventual nerve damage.
After undergoing fatigue testing, the Vibrocore bars turned out to not only be more dampening, but are nearly 500 percent stronger than Spank bars without the foam. At under $100, the Oozy 760 bar is an upgrade worth considering if you’re a regular on chundery trails. Weight: 235 grams. Rise: 5 or 15 mm.
Spank is also one of the companies hopping on the multi-size platform pedal trend this year. The new Spoon pedal will be available in three sizes as a result of feedback Spank was getting from women riders and youth riders about needing a smaller platform and a foot position closer to the axle for more stability and better riding form. The vast majority of riders will need the traditional Spoon but, if you play professional basketball or similar, there’s an extra-large pedal available for you, too.
Borealis bikes is a small fat bike-only company based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It brought two new models to the show, including its first aluminum-frame model, the Flume. It still features carbon on the fork, seatpost and handlebars. The Flume will run a Sram GX 1×11 setup, can take up to 5-inch tires and is Bluto compatible. It clocks in at 29 pounds and $2199 and will start shipping this October.
The Borealis Crestone replaces the Yampa and is “stronger, lighter, lower” than the existing Borealis Echo, which is more of a dedicated race bike. The Crestone was built to be as strong as a downhill bike and to ride like a trail bike, can take up to 5-inch tires and is hung with Sram one-by components. It comes stock with a Bluto, but you can also order it with a Lauf leaf-spring fork. Retails for $4950 (Sram X01) or $5850 (Sram XX1).
Finally, Borealis has teamed up with Reynolds Wheels to create the Borealis ELITE carbon fiber wheelset. Made in the USA, these light and durable wheels are intended to feed an increasing demand for premium fat bike products. Retail is $2308 and they will be available this fall.
This is the MIPS-equipped Bell Super 2R helmet: top-o-the-line in Bell’s new Joy Ride women’s collection. The chin bar detaches, giving the rider two helmets in one. It has an integrated break-away camera mount, goggle guide, adjustable visor and is ICEdot enabled. It will retail for $220 when available (soon).
Heller Bikes and the Bloodhound
Anyone who believes fat bikes are due to slide out of popularity would have been forced to rethink that notion after seeing this year’s Interbike lineup where four-inch tires (or wider) were in abundance. Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), one of the industry’s primary distributors, launched a new, fat-tire-only brand at the show called Heller and debuted the all-carbon Bloodhound Rigid model. Built up with SRAM X5 components, Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes, 4.5-inch tires and internal cable routing, the Bloodhound comes complete at $2,199.
Notable in Heller’s marketing is a lack of the term “fat bike” and no mention of riding its bikes on snow. Heller is calling its Bloodhound Rigid and Bloodhound Bluto trail bikes and nothing else. It will be interesting to see how Heller shakes out in the market alongside QBP’s other in-house mountain bike brands, Salsa and Surly.
Lazer is a Belgian company that is catching on in the U.S., partly thanks to its early adoption of MIPS technology. The company is now offering a sub-$100 MIPS helmet—the Beam at $75—and has extended the concussion-reducing technology to multiple lids, including road, mountain and kids models.
The Lazer Revolution is a $165 enduro helmet (just under $200 with MIPS) with multiple visor positions, ridges designed to keep goggles in place, swappable ear pads and an accessory mount on the top of the helmet that was factored into the lid’s safety rating. Lazer sent the Revolution in for official safety certification with a GoPro mounted on the top and passed. If you snag your camera while shredding, it should rip off instead of aiding in your crash.
Coming in spring 2016, a lightweight bolt-on chin guard will be available for full coverage (pictured is the 3D-printed prototype). Lazer went with screws instead of snaps for the chin guard in order to have the helmet safety rated on a level equal to full-face DH lids, making it a “quiver-killer” helmet. The swappable ear pads will also be able to house the company’s planned bluetooth speaker system.
The Lazer Descent is a ski/snowboard helmet that is also safety-rated for cycling, so check it out if you are seeking a dedicated winter commuting or fatbiking helmet. When things warm up, remove the ear pads and slide open the top vents. The helmet features Lazer’s built-in accessory mount (also good for a helmet-mounted light) and a goggle strap. The Descent retails for $160.
Lynskey showed off its new-for-2016 Summit Series line of full-suspension trail/all-mountain rigs at Interbike. The 29’er version features 120 or 140mm suspension and the 27.5 comes with 140 or 165 up front. Both bikes come with Boost spacing, clearance for 2.5-inch tires, Horst link pivot design and are made in Tennessee. Each frame retails for $2,700.
Lynskey also brought 148mm Boost spacing and 2.5-inch tire clearance to its Pro 29 and Pro 27.5 hardtails. The Pro 29 also features Lynskey’s conversation-starting Helix downtube that looks like twisted metal. The explanation is that the shape combines a round tube’s compliance with a square tube’s stiffness for a unique ride and more efficient power transfer. Retail on the Pro frames is $2,250.
One-off, custom and small-builder bikes were big this year; it seemed that every component or accessory manufacturer display featured a bike you can’t purchase off the shelf. Moots got in that game with its Colorado-made prototype Mountaineer YBB+ bikepacking, mountain biking and all-around adventuring titanium rig. The bike rolls with a Boost rear, 2.8-inch tires, straight tubing to accommodate frame packs and special mounting bosses for the Porcelain Rocket frame bags it wore to the show. The YBB+ will go into a limited production run in January 2016.
9:zero:7 is a fatbike company out of Alaska that has been around for about eight years. This is its new aluminum model with 100mm carbon rims, the company’s new carbon fork and a Gates belt drive. This bike has a slacker trail geometry and is ready to rip at under 25 lbs (without pedals).
These new Vittoria tires feature a one-atom thick layer of a carbon compound called Graphene. “Graphene-based composites produce stronger, lighter, and harder-wearing wheels and tires.” The knobs on the mountain tires reportedly won’t rip off. They remain more stable at speed and more durable. The stiffness is supposed to give you a nice carving platform when diving into turns. Get sideways!
Just for fun
Myles Rockwell’s DH sled, circa 2000.