Interbike 2012: Bits and Piece, Odds and Ends...
Before getting to the bikes, I thought I would cover some of the other things at the show that caught my attention - the components and parts, the necessaries and the accessories.
I will lead off with Chrome because it was just so wild to walk onto the floor of a workshop in the middle of the tradeshow. Chrome, that ever-popular maker of bags, backpacks and other cool cycling accoutrement's transported all the makings of both factory and showroom. The only thing I didn't notice was a punch clock. For your nominal fee you could mix and match, and pick your parts and they would sew up your bag then and there. Likewise their screening press could crank out I don't know how many teeshirts per hour:
The availability of bags for commuting and touring grows each year. The selection becomes more functional and decorative all the time, which in turn, is allowing us to personalize how we carry our things like never before. A couple choices that struck me for their creativity were PoCampo, who have a nice line of stylish and useful urban designs, and Alchemy Goods, whose line of products made from recycled inner tubes are well within the environmentally sound ideals held by many bicycle commuters:
Here is the NuVinci N360 internally geared hub. Produced by Fallbrook Technologies, which is headquartered right here in Southern California, the NuVinci hub is not especially new, having been introduced in 2006, but if you are like me and have only ever ridden externally geared bikes using a typical rear derailleur and drive chain, you may not be familiar with this product. What do you think of when you envision shifting gears? Clicks, perhaps? Maybe a chain moving up and down a cluster of cogs attached to a rear wheel? If you watch the short video clip at the NuVinci website you will see that they liken shifting gears, using a method familiar to most of us, as moving up and down a series of steps, each step representing a distinct gear ratio. When I sat on a bike to give the N360 a spin, I was amazed by how different changing gears could be. The NuVinci N360 uses a technology called continuously variable transmission (CVT). CVT does not uses gears as we think of them; there are no steps, you do not click through a series of gears by moving a lever with your fingers. Instead twisting a mechanism in the grip causes a seamless flow through the available range of gear ratios. No abrupt transitions. As you can see, the hub itself is actually quite narrow, and with a newly developed quick release, wheel removal has been made simple:
Since there are no gears per se to run through, a numbered display is rather pointless. Instead, the display at the grip shift shows a rider on flat ground, which transitions to increasingly vertical terrain, and back to flat as you twist the grip and the CVT moves through its range of gear ratios. Again watch the video, it will explain better than I can:
Wheels may just be the most important component on our bikes. There have been a lot of changes over the years, to make them more efficient and lighter. DT Swiss has a number of new wheelsets across the spectrum of sizes, including a new 650B size, and available for Campy, Shimano, and SRAM:
Another wheel manufacturer I took notice of was Hawk Racing. To be more than a bit player these days it seems you need a range; the Hawk line includes training and racing wheels, from open to deep rim and discs, for both clincher and tubular. I did notice than in 2013 only Shimano or SRAM compatible wheels will be standard; the Campagnolo option will be sold separately:
Between all the different bars and stems, seat posts, bar tape, for road, mountain, and triathlon, you might not need to look anywhere else. The 2013 Deda Elementi catalog is 95 pages in length (admittedly it includes some great race photos amongst all the components). Lightweight and durable, it's what we look for in this stuff. You will find both with Deda, plus they give you the option of color coordination (as long as you like red, white and/or black):
I have used Lizardskins grips on my mountain bikes, as well as those of the rest of the family for a few years. Now I am going to have to look into using their bar tape on our road bikes as well. This stuff is plush, and will remove the jolt from most any rough road. As you may know, that translates into less fatigue, and a more enjoyable ride over the long miles:
I would not normally be too interested in flats, but I did notice these by Acros. They have that sleek and sharp machined look. Eight pegs per side to hold that contact with your shoe, and pretty darn light for a flat:
Lighting has come a long way since the old strap a flashlight to your handlebar days, and Nite Rider has been around for much of it. The only headlight system I have ever owned. Much of the Nite Rider line has seen an upgrade in power this year. The competition in the bicycle lighting market has steadily increased the past few years, and there are some really good systems out there making it safer to ride throughout the year, Nite Rider remains one of those systems:
Last year Club Ride caught my attention. They remain atop the pile in the category of casual riding attire. It's good looking stuff, for when team kit just won't do:
Nutcase. The company motto is "the most fun a helmet ever had". I would have to say that is probably true. The new year will see some new designs, as well as new color combinations mixed into the older popular designs. Refinements to shell shape and straps are also in store. Plus it is hard to beat a product that also offers matching bells:
I have previously mentioned the Gates Carbon Belt Drive. Typically you will see wide applications for this on bikes with internally geared hubs. They are smooth, quiet, and clean. A new conversion kit allows you to turn a chain-driven single speed into a bike that is belt-driven. The kit comes with rings and spacers as required to install on an existing rear hub. It, of course, does require a split frame to install the belt - bummer that, my s.s. will forever remain chain-driven:
Finally, Park Tools will celebrate 50 years of making bike tools in 2013,
and who doesn't need a new 3-way hex tool in celebration:
Like everyone else who was there to write about what they saw, I could go on and on about the components and miscellanea on display. But the line has to be drawn somewhere, and here is where that line is. Still to come - the bikes...
As with all these reviews from Interbike 2012, I have not received any prior compensation, nor promise of later compensation, from the above mentioned company, nor am I connected to them in any way. Views expressed are the result of my observations and subsequent research only.