Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Interbike 2007 - Further Thoughts

The first, biggest question of the show was some variation on, “Is Red worth it?” “Is Red that good?” “Is Red better than (fill in blank)?” The answer depended entirely on the answeree’s position in the industry. The guys at the bike companies were concerned they’d be able to move an $8000 SKU. The guys at the component companies said they’d have to be on their A game. Some of the media scribes weren’t sure it was worth $2400.

There weren’t a lot of truly new bikes, but a few are worth noting. You’ve long since heard about Trek’s new Madone; this new design is a real step up for Waterloo. Handling is more natural, vibration damping removes the buzz without making it wooden and thanks the sloping top tube, its weight competitive. Specialized gave riders a chance to check out the new Tarmac SL2. Just when you thought Specialized couldn’t increase torsional stiffness and vertical compliance, the Morgan Hill mauler did just that. And with the oversize steerer the new fork offers even more precise handling than it used to. BKW learned from Parlee that most of its work is custom these days and the Boston boutique has increased its ability to vary geometry and tube compliance based on a rider’s needs. Cervelo unleashed a new design called the RS. Take the R3, add some chainstay length, a longer headtube and relax the stiffness just enough to protect your dental work.

Lew Wheels is back in the game with a wheelset (using a tri-flange rear hub) that at 880 grams is undeniably the lightest on the market, but will set you back the cost of a good bike ($6,000 or so). So what are you going to put on ‘em? How about the Torelli Lugano tubular, or if you need a clincher, the Gavia? Both are constructed from 320 tpi polyester casings. BKW’s West Coast annex has been riding the Gavia for a few weeks; they corner like a mason’s trowel. And at $69.95, you might not find more tire for less money.

Part of the attraction of Interbike is seeing old friends and attending parties, that is, if your dogs haven’t given out first. Wednesday’s cyclocross race was nothing to miss. After the winning break of ten was established, New Englander hard man and World’s silver medalist, Jonathan “Wonder Boy” Page unleashed a nasty attack just before a short steep hill and the acceleration roused a cry from the crowd that was the reaction of the night.

LA-based designer Joe Yule won the Slipstream jersey design contest. He’s no newbie to jersey design; he’s designed kits for a number of clubs, a magazine and a stylish Santa Monica bike shop. Joe’s design took the Argyle and added texture and balance to give it a very PRO look. Speaking of great clothing, Earth, Wind and Rider has all but bet the farm on a series of Bicycle Polo jerseys made from Merino wool. The jerseys are city-specific, and include New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, Boston and more. Each city's jersey features a different color scheme and embroidery style.

SRAM’s media honch Michael Zellman tested the stiffness of the asphalt at the industry crit on Thursday night. His bike took the high flyer award when it did a full gainer over the crowd. He was back in action early the next morning, though.

And PRO is Program Go with Speedplay's new white Zero. The San Diego lightweight’s hottest seller is now available in full PRO blanc.

3 comments:

andrew said...

SRAM was big on pushing Media to ride the RED at the Dirt Demo. Their "scheduled" rides made it hard to get to. I'm not sure I'm buying it at $2400 a bike. Damn.

solobreak said...

If RED was $1300 nobody would give it a second glance. They know what they're doing.

bikesgonewild said...

...while other players are & have been working up to the scene, (fsa, lightweight & others), i'd bet dollars to donuts, that 5 years down the road, it'll be the big three...campagnolo, shimano & sram, leading the way...
...ya might have ta bleed 'green' ta get 'red' but i'll bet, ultimately there will be few complaints...

...personally, i'm disappointed in the new 'slipstream' kit design...no offence to mr. yule, but i find it as bland as the original...thought johnny v. was going for something w/ 'pop'...

...earth, wind & rider's bill sebell not only creates a beautiful line of original wool cycling togs, but the man himself is as genuine as a summer day's ride...