For all the wide cycling shoes on the market, almost no one ever sends them to me to review. Despite the logic behind sending a shoe that fits someone’s foot, I ordinarily receive my size plus or minus a half size. Well that changed at Sea Otter when Lake hosted a bunch of us journalistical types to be fitted with a pair of their shoes. I was put in a pair of Lake’s CX237 in wide; they have a retail of $279. This is a moldable shoe; stick it in your home oven at about 200 degrees for about five minutes. Be sure to have some gloves. Most of what is moldable is the rear half of the shoe, particularly the heel cup.
Lake introduced a new insole that comes in two versions, one in carbon fiber and another in fiberglass. The fiberglass is slightly heavier and goes for $60 as opposed to the $80 for the carbon fiber model. They molded a set of these for me as well. I’m looking forward to writing the review. As I was setting the cleats up on them last night I couldn’t help but think this was the best-fitting, non-custom pair of cycling shoes I’d ever worn. And for an investment of $340. (Also, a little reminder here, some piece of gunk got in my camera—something I couldn’t see through the lens—resulting in these crescents you’ll be seeing in these images. Sorry ’bout that.)
This was my first chance to see a frame from the Canadian outfit No. 22, which hired some of the former Serotta employees. They used a salt-water bath to do the anodizing, and that detail is nearly the only difference between this bike and a Legend Ti, at least from the standpoint of appearance.
It’s rare that you see a bike with such a wide BB that the Campy Ultra Torque crank doesn’t require a sizable spacer between the bearing and the crank.
Wahoo, a company full of interesting new uses for technology, introduced this new hear rate strap called the Tickr. What makes it one-of-a-kind is that it broadcasts HR data in both ANT+ and bluetooth, so it will talk to your Garmin and your smartphone all at the same time.
The Kickr is Wahoo’s trainer. While this isn’t really the time to be getting worked up about riding inside, this trainer addresses every criticism anyone has been able to dream up for the LeMond Revolution. Don’t like the noise of the Revolution’s wind resistance unit? No problem; this uses magnetic resistance but doesn’t give up the flywheel effect found in the Revolution that made it so great to pedal. Don’t like the fact that the Revolution is bulky and hard to put away? The Kickr features folding legs and a handle to make it small and easy to carry. Don’t like that the Revolution is suited to one wheel size? The Kickr is adjustable. Don’t like that the Revolution has no way to track wattage or other training parameters? The Kickr can be adjusted in myriad ways and thanks to an app that will run on your smart phone or tablet, you can make adjustments while riding.
The bike industry has seen its share of turnaround attempts. Fewer of them have been successful than you would think. When I reviewed the SPY Alphas a while back I found them a refreshing change to much what was out there. Since then, SPY has been on a roll, introducing new models and lenses at a rate that even Oakley can’t match. This display case had the same effect on me that Oakley’s once did: I want that one and that one and that on…. This is what ass-kicking looks like.
Club Ride was one of the first companies to offer designs that bridged the gap between technical wear and BMX-inspired baggy mountain bike wear. They continue to offer some of the best-looking and most affordable pieces I’ve seen.
Specialized was showing off its new Stumpjumper EVO for 650″ or 27B or whatever anyone wants to call it. The big red S has taken some heat for being last to the 27.5 party, but if history is any guide, they’ve taken their time in getting the geometry right. The two people I spoke to who have ridden this bike say it drops like a downhill bike but pedals like a trail bike.
Speedplay has been hard at work on a new mountain bike pedal called the Syzr. We’re told it is great at shedding mud, offers real float (as opposed to alleged) and doesn’t depend on the shoe’s lugs to provide a stable pedaling platform. This is a pre-production sample; they should be in bike shops ahead of Interbike.
The fence at the bottom of the stairway from the paddock into the expo has become the de facto location to position bikes for sale. I saw eight different bikes there at one point, everything from mountain bikes to road and ‘cross bikes and even the occasional BMX bike.
Unlike most years, SRAM didn’t have much in the way of new products to introduce. However, they did mention they had two new cassettes. I was all ears. Would they be introducing something beginning with a 12? Of course not. The two new cassettes fall in the Red WiFLi range, with an 11-30 and an 11-32. Nevermind the fact that most of the U.S. is reasonably flat and to spin out a 50×11 you’ve got to be going 45 mph. It seems a silly omission to me, and while I really love SRAM components, I’ll continue to criticize them on this point.
Felt showed off a disc-brake version of its grand touring Z model. Road product manager Dave Koesel told me that the disc version of the Z frame features a significantly different layup, making the bike even more comfortable than the rim brake version.
The Z has always been an unusually comfortable example of a grand touring bike, and while many examples of this line of thinking do all they can to suppress vibration, the Z is a surprisingly sensitive bike.
Cable routing is both internal and clean and this bike got a redesigned fork to direct the front brake line routed through the fork itself. This is a fine example of why Felt is the most consistently underrated bike manufacturer out there.
Lest we forget just how this event started.