2013 InterBike: Dials Are the New Black

Orange Shoe

Shoes have a new fastening system taking over. Dials, be they from Boa or imitators, are now gracing the pro-level shoe offerings from just about everybody. Specialized and Lake and Scott have been on this for years, but now they’ve been joined by Diadora, DMT, Gaerne, Louis Garneau, Northwave, Sidi, Vittoria and Pearl Izumi. Izumi was, amazingly, one of the first to bring the Boa dial system to market, dropped it, and is now back.

Shimano, owner of Pearl Izumi, is sticking to the two straps and buckle system. The ranks of holdouts include Fizik, Giro, and Mavic. Strikingly, all claim high technology to be their calling card. Giro, for one, is still standing firm with their retro-cool lace-up Empire shoes.

Orange Frame

Orange is the New Black
Last year, fluo green was the hot color. This year, it’s orange. Mostly fluo orange, but not entirely. Poc totally rocked the orange; the color is tied to their brand identity. But there was plenty of orange to go around, particularly for shoes and helmets. Shoes, preferably in shiny, perforated microfiber, are going orange at Giro, Northwave, Lake, and others. In helmets, Giro is joining the orange crew that Lazer and Rudy Project already started.

Wide Rims are the New Black
At first, it was a trickle. Now it’s a flood. Starting with Hed’s C2 and moving to Zipp and far beyond. Wide rims are just about everywhere. Easton has the Fantom rim, on their EC90 Aero 55 clincher and tubular. The new EC90 is really wide, 28mm, and, a more blunt nose, and the clincher is tubeless compatible. Easton has also redesigned their EA90 SLX into a wider, tubeless-compatible aluminum rim. And the new Easton wheels sport new hubs, the Echo, which relies on standard straight-pull spokes. Ritchey is debuting a wide, shallow-section aluminum clincher, the Zeta II and is tubeless-compatible. The roll on Phantom hubs, which look flangeless but have internal flanges so that the wheels are built with J-bend spokes.

For the people who long for wide rims to build into their favorite hubs, American Classic is now selling a wide, shallow, tubeless compatible rim. The AC RD 2218. Being American Classic, the rim is light, 375g, and currently available in 24 and 28 drilling.

NeoClassic Bar

Classic Bars are the New Black
Classic-bend drop handlebars are coming back. The long loopy drops of old are being updated with short reach and shallow bends. Zipp and Ritchey have newly-designed classic bends, taking a similar route to Shimano’s classic bend bars.   On the other hand, FSA’s, and 3T’s, and Deda’s longstanding classic drops are plying the older, longer and lower bends. Also of note is that cable grooves seem to be disappearing from aluminum bars. A Ritchey rep told us it was what the pro’s requested because it adds more to grip on the tops. A Zipp rep told us it allowed them to make the bars lighter and stiffer.


Massive Data Integration is the New Black
SRM came to the show with their new PowerControl 8 head unit, set to be released in 2014. A slick touch screen that has sensors rather than relying on warm fingertips is just the beginning. The unit is also working with GPS where you can tune the accuracy by selecting the number of satellites, or turn it off to increase battery life. And they’re adding the metrics popularized by Allen/Coggan—normalized power, IF and TSS. And more. It will work with all ANT+ power meters and connect to both Bluetooth and WiFi. It will be waterproof, and even have a small speaker.

Wahoo Tablet

Wahoo Fitness is also expanding its offerings. Their smartphone-based software company is going in a zillion directions—using your smartphone to record and push data to social media, to training programs, and integrating it with a trainer. At the Wahoo booth, they had a Wahoo-based trainer, the Kickr, hooked up to a software partner, Kinomap, where you can watch a geolocated video (quick, get a Virb) that has the elevation data interpreted to resistance and sent to a trainer so you can ride what you’re watching—and even try to keep up or exceed the pace that the person filming it did. You can also use the trainer to ride or race Strava segments.

Topeak PanoBike

Topeak is also working the Bluetooth/smartphone angle with their PanoBike App and system, which also includes handlebar- and stem-mounted cases, Bluetooth transmitters, and an app that not only serves as the computer, but a diary and can work with a bike computer.

Bluetooth-transmitting heart rate, speed, cadence sensors, is also a path PowerTap is starting to follow. They’ll have the same, including a PowerTap hub that transmits a Bluetooth signal. This way your smartphone and other Bluetooth-enabled devices, like laptops and tablets, can pick up the signals. CycleOps (part of the same company as PowerTap, but spun into its own division) is also debuting Virtual Training software. Theirs combines both indoors and outdoors, with a heavy social media component and even video. For the indoor, you need one of their PowerBeam or Indoor Cycle units or Wahoo’s Kickr hooked up to a smartphone, tablet, or computer, and logged into their Virtual Training site.

cycleops virtual training

CycleOps’ system combines a training dairy with your trainer and social media. Ride routes you’ve done, ride routes others have done and shared, race people on created routes, compete with others on time, mileage, whatever metric you want. And if the one site isn’t enough, your data can easily be shared with social media sites and other training software.

BikeSpike cage

Taking integration in another diretion is BikeSpike. It’s a GPS transmitter that currently is housed in a water bottle cage. The transmitter turns on and sends out signals telling its location. Mate it with your smartphone and it’s a bike computer, it sends the ride BikeSpike’s social media platform, an anti-theft device, and a crash-alert system. If you like keeping tabs on loved one’s riding, you can set a perimeter, and get alerts when the device goes beyond. The device can also tell how the bike is oriented to the ground, and that can work into their platform to a visual that shows how the bike is leaning.


Road Tubeless Tires are not the New Black
Despite the rapidly-increasing number of road tubeless rims on offer, the same cannot be written of road tubeless tires. The choices for tires are not expanding, nor did it seem that the companies selling road tubeless tires are dramatically expanding their offerings.

Colnago Road disc

Road Rotor Disc Brakes are not the New Black
Here, too, there is lots of talk, but little action. Shimano was touting theirs, but it was hard to find a road racing bike equipped with them, other than a Colnago that Shimano was carting around. SRAM seemed a bit more measured, coming with a fleet of Specializeds, but focusing on their Hydro-R, hydraulic rim brakes, rather than their Hydro-D, hydraulic disc brakes. Most of the road bikes that were equipped with discs were of the “gravel grinder” variety, save the BMC GF01, which is kind of a racing version of a gravel grinder, carbon-fiber but with a beefy fork and massive chain stays.




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  1. ChrisC

    I’m confused. I was there and saw plenty of disc equipped bikes. Granted, many were in the comfort/fondo category, but there were:

    Bianchi Infinito
    Moots Vamoots DR
    Pinarello DogmaK
    Pinarello Think2
    Colnago C59
    Colnago CX Zero
    Foundry Riveter
    Foundry Thresher
    Specialized Roubaix

    And probably a few more that I’m forgetting but certainly got pictures of. I wouldn’t call any of those bikes above “gravel grinders”. Bianchi did not bring their Oltre XR2 disc, but the Pinarellos are certainly more to the “race” side of things than most of the others.

    Maybe my expectations were different, but I thought that with the SRAM system being maybe a year old and the Shimano system being only a couple of months old, there was excellent representation.

  2. Les.B.

    “Classic-bend drop handlebars are coming back”

    Can’t imagine why, except possibly for a purely “retro” effect.

    I recently replaced my classic-bend bars with compacts. Anyone can have my old classics, as I ain’t going back.

  3. LD

    everything old is new again…… I can hardly wait to rock the Giro Empires……. as old school as laces are, there is little that can compare with the even distribution of pressure that laces give……. BOA is based on that philosophy.

  4. Bikelink

    Wide rims..I pulled up the AC rims you mentioned and they are a little wider than usual at 22mm. In searching around a bit I found this new-ish “Flo” company with what seem like the widest/best alloy rims (similar to zipp 101): http://www.flocycling.com/wheels_front_flo_30.php .. max width around 26mm…close enough to my zipp tubulars that I wouldn’t have to retool the brake width just to race (still need to change pads, then perhaps only slightly open the brake quick release).

  5. Wsquared

    Re “new” road tubeless. I am currently on the new Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tubeless. They recently became widely available after a delayed introduction. When 1st mounted, they seemed very harsh on sharp bumps compared the Hutchinson Fusion 3 tubeless I had been on. Lowering psi about 5psi compared to the sweet spot on the Hutchinsons helped, but it seems the biggest improvement has come from riding them a few hundred miles. They are now a lot more supple. There is a break in period. Not as supple as the Fusion 3s, but noticeably more cut proof and they roll really well.

    The big news in new tubeless is Hutchinson’s Secteur 28s. They are reportedly pretty close to actually being 28s. I’m hearing good things about them. Thinking about putting a pair on my gravel bike.

  6. Dustin

    @Wsquared – the Secteur’s are awesome. But, they don’t do gravel well in my experience, they tend to get cut if you have fast descents and sharp gravel. For dirt roads and nice rounded gravel they work great though. Also great on the road.

  7. swells

    Padraig – I’m actually shopping for new stem/handlebar to replace my aged “classic” Deep Drop LF’s. That picture above looks exactly like what I’m looking for. Assuming they are both from Ritchey? Could you provide the model names, please?

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