The Sand, The Sky – Day 1 of Interbike Dirt Demo

Ah, the wide blue skies of the Nevada desert… stretching overhead like a magnifying glass, and we’re just pale ants scurrying around in the dust and gravel underneath. That’s sometimes what this woods-dweller thinks about the scene at the Dirt Demo, but really, the weather was quite nice today, not too hot at all, and I should appreciate the warm sunshine and try to remember it come January.

I started off the day in the parking lot, unpacking and assembling the Moots Mooto-X Uno SS 29er I’ve been testing, which the folks at Moots graciously allowed me to keep long enough to race with at Granny Gear’s 24 Hours of Landahl this past weekend, as long as I delivered it to them this morning for use at the Dirt Demo. (How wise was it to do a 24-hour race en route to Interbike, thus starting off the week with a significant sleep deficit? Hmmm… hopefully I won’t be nodding off at our booth come Thursday.)

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Amanda and I traveled the expo together, she taking photos and me talking and listening. There was a lot of catching up to do with various industry friends. In fact that’s one of the nicer aspects of Interbike—getting to reconnect with folks you haven’t seen since, well, last year at Interbike.

We spotted the new pump track right away, and took some turns around it. I caught only a tiny bit of air but had a lot of fun. There were some dudes really workin’ it though. Here Andy and Amanda contemplate the scene.

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Sparkly paint caught our eyes next, both at the Felt booth, in the form of this Cafe commuting bike, complete with matching fenders and rack, and handy cupholder…

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…and decorating Salsa’s El Mariachi steel 29er, available as a complete bike for ’08, including the boss matching stem.

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We checked out Shimano’s svelte-looking Shadow rear derailleurs (XT and XTR), which have no bracket axle spring and thus don’t protrude from the frame much at all. The one I tried shifted nice and clean, with a bit stiffer feel at the lever, but with instantaneous action.

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Justin and Eric both tried out the new Trek Fuel EX, and even as 29er devotees, came away impressed with this little-wheeled bike. Firm while pedaling and responsive at the right times was their impression. They still don’t believe Browne when he says that 29ers are for sissies. Look for a full review in a future issue.
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Fi’zi:k did a good job drawing folks to look at their saddle lineup (cleverly arranged by likely suspension travel pairing)…

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…by luring us with authentic Italian gelato. Shannon was mad that I ate the last of the chocolate flavor. Mmmmm, was it good.

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Diamondback is resurrecting the name Overdrive for their 29er hardtail.

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Co-Motion has two great ideas for tandems: a telescoping seatpost that allows for a wide range of stoker heights, and S&S couplers, to allow a pair of riders to travel with half a tandem each and avoid airline bike fees. Like the $80 I was charged coming from Kansas City.

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“Pink is the new black,” according to Magura.

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If you squint and tilt your head just right you can see a Magura ML130AM fork in the middle with not one but two remote switches, one to turn platform damping on or off (with level adjustment via the gold knob atop the fork leg), and one to adjust the travel. Sorry, I’m not that good at composing photos.

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Something I’m not sorry I missed was the ride to the convention center to set up the booth in the big Dirt Rag van. Apparently the Boss cut it a little too close with the gas supply and his passengers had to jump out of it and push to clear a busy intersection. Always an adventure, riding with Maurice.

Something I’m very glad for is the sweet house we rented. No more crappy motel! This evening we had a lovely meal prepared by Carol and then sat poolside and chatted, enjoying the cool air and… ahhh… silence. We’ll be well-rested and ready for more Demo-ing tomorrow.

We’ve created an Interbike 2007 photo gallery, and we’ll be uploading photos throughout the show. Be sure to check it early and often.

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