Interbike, Day 1

How I love Interbike. I could count the ways, and would count the ways, except that RKP is now something approaching popular with some of the bike industry and I’ve been busier than a salt shaker at a diner. Though Interbike is ostensibly about product and sales, what that makes this event so terrific are the many people I have the pleasure to work with and the fact that we’re all in Las Vegas to celebrate just how great a sport cycling is. We’re all preaching to the same choir, but no one is complaining.

Yes, that is the Giro d’Italia trophy above. I picked it up and got my picture taken with it. While nothing about its weight (which is somewhere between 1970s Cadillac and Blue Whale) suggests that it is in any way delicate, one cannot simply grab thing like an old suspension coil and hoist it above your head. As I handled it, I felt as if I was rolling out the Dead Sea Scrolls and there was no way I could be too careful.

The queen stage of the 2013 Giro d’Italia (Giro representatives preferred the term “king” stage) was announced in a press conference yesterday and while they talked for entirely too long to introduce a single 150km-stage, the stage is a doozy and will not only be the Giro’s first visit to the famed Col du Galibier, it will also result in a mountain-top finish on that murderous climb. That stage will break people (I can’t wait).

BMC introduced a new aero road frame, the TMR01. It features integrated brakes, internal cable routing and a number of truly aerodynamic features that make it at least appear to be exceedingly fast. Of course, the promotional video of Philippe Gilbert storming down a descent in the Riviera was amazing to watch, for a few reasons, one being he’s as stylish on the bike as George Clooney is at pretty much every moment of his life, another was the road Gilbert was blistering, and the final was the simple fact that I’ve been made a believer of aero road frames and I’m dying to ride this bike.

You’ve probably heard that Specialized is introducing a new road shoe. If you studied pics of Tom Boonen killing it at Flanders or Roubaix this spring, then you might have spied the new model. On display below samples of the new work was this collection of production shoes and prototypes from over the years. So much of Interbike is spit-polished it was nice to get a glimpse inside the work that goes into a sophisticated piece of footwear meant to fit as many riders as possible. No small feat, ahem.

The big news at Specialized (and here’s a good reason why the complete lack of any presence at all by Cannondale and Trek sucks unicorn blood—I can’t say a thing about them, which makes it seem like I wasn’t interested, which isn’t the least bit true) was the new Roubaix SL4. I’ll chase the full details at a later date, but I’m told that this iteration has evolved a bit to make it a somewhat racier bike. This most noticeable change is a shorter head tube to make the thing feel less like an English 3-speed to veteran roadies.

My piece on carbon clinchers this summer opened some interesting communication channels. Some product managers came down from Specialized and we went for a ride on the terrain in question and a couple of guys from Reynolds came up for a visit and ride as well. The note that the Reynolds team struck was both proud and conciliatory. Proud because with 10 years building carbon clinchers, they’ve been at it longer than anyone else. Conciliatory because they understand that the single biggest issue they face is that some riders are on product that really can’t be compared with their latest work. We went through the new Aero series of wheels, wheels I’m hearing compare favorably with Zipp’s Firecrest and Enve’s SES wheels for stability. I’ll be getting on a pair a little later this fall.

It’s Interbike, which means I’m in the showroom for Santa’s workshop. This Fondriest isn’t going to be a top seller, or on anyone’s best new product list. That’s just fine. I took this shot because those polished lugs are freakin’ gorgeous and if you don’t take time at Interbike to geek out, you kinda missed the point.

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  1. Les Borean

    Can anyone get into Interbike, or is it industry folk only?

    On the topic of shoes, is Sidi the only company on the planet that makes road shoes in wide sizes?

  2. puck monkey

    “I’ve been made a believer of aero road frames” Would you care to elaborate? I got the impression that they were a little rubbery at the BB and road like a train car.

  3. randomactsofcycling

    Yep, real polish on those Fondriest lugs, not chrome. I love it.
    @Souleur: get out of the way so the rest of us can look!

    Padraig, who’s making the integrated brakes for the BMC?

  4. bwebel

    RE: wide shoes

    I believe Mavic is coming out with wider versions, and Lake has them, though they’ve been hard to get the last couple of years. Lake was at Interbike, so they may become more available now.

  5. Author

    For the record, I pulled the wrong image of the BMC. That’s their new tri frame; I’ll get the correct photo up in my next post.

    Les Borean: Interbike is meant to be industry only, but most bike shop’s increase their staff, if not their payroll by about 20 percent before arriving in Vegas, if you catchy my drift.

    Puck Monkey: That’s kinda the point; the BB isn’t mushy and the road feel has improved dramatically. And, yes, they handle better than they did.

    RandomActs: That might have been announced at the presentation I was at, but it was so damn noisy I never heard. I’m planning to review one, so that info will come out eventually.

  6. Les Borean

    When I first saw your picture of the trophy I wasn’t so impressed. Since there is not much in the way of comparison in the picture, my brain scaled it to a size much smaller than the reality.
    Now that I’ve seen it in a context that reveals its massiveness, I can only say YOWZZA!×399.jpg&w=600&h=399&ei=ZoZiUJSIOcriigLn04GIDw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=962&vpy=319&dur=2102&hovh=183&hovw=275&tx=210&ty=121&sig=116977604388380757137&page=1&tbnh=151&tbnw=202&start=0&ndsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:10,s:0,i:104

  7. Jason

    For some reason the Shimano downtube stops really bother me on that Fondriest… I have a whole bin full of Campagnolo stops. Someone shoulda called!!

  8. Pingback: Friday Group Ride #144 : Red Kite Prayer

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