While I was at the show I had a minor ephiphany. The bike industry spends a lot of time talking about getting more people on bikes and the industry even talks about the next generation of riders, but honestly, the media doesn’t spend much, if any, time talking about the phenomenon of teaching kids how to ride, or looking at the options out there. Because I’m a parent, and because I’ve taught one of my sons to ride and hope to teach the other how to do it, I’ve made the decision that kid’s cycling products and education are going to become a part of RKP’s ongoing editorial mission.
The Ezee Glider is but one of a great many balance bikes I’ve seen hit the market. What struck me about this one was that it offered a place for the rider to put his feet. Most leave this part out, and admittedly, I’ve seen lots of kids just walk the things around, but there’s a slice of kids who are going to see a downhill and calculate what kind of fun that might be. Then they stick their feet out ahead of them, or behind them, or clamp them to the down tube, but many are never quite certain just what the right answer is. The pegs are narrow enough not to interfere with their stride and the low-slung down tube means that it will accommodate kids sooner than many other brands. The Ezee Glider is the smallest of the balance bikes Glide Bikes makes and is a solid unit for $99; my one question concerns the hand brake. While I understand that it’s never too early to learn about braking and control, my eldest soon still doesn’t really have the hand strength necessary to operate hand brakes, and he’s five.
Joovy is a company that has packaged together a couple of different ideas that were all out there and brought them together into a single tricycle. So it’s a standard trike, but it’s got a little guard bar to keep kids with less than stellar core strength from toppling out. It’s also got some foot pegs for kids who don’t quite get pedaling, so they can rest their feet somewhere while their parents push them with the detachable handle that also steers the front wheel. It’s also possible to disengage the pedals so the front wheel can freewheel while you push the child. In effect, it can be both a tricycle and a stroller, and because it’s both, it’s better. And because no kid can leave home without a toy or three, there’s a big bucket in back to hold Hot Wheels and stuffed animals. The Tricycoo goes for $129.99.
Finding helmets small enough for little people is a challenge. Most kid helmets will only fit a head with a circumference as small as 50cm, though Bell and Giro each offer one that will fit a child with a 48cm circumference head. The Noodle, also from Joovy, can accommodate a child with a 47cm fit. It meets CPSC standards and goes for only $29.99. Also, that built-in visor is pretty handy for face plants.
Santa Monica-based Bonk Breaker showed off a new flavor, Cookies and Cream. Greg Leibert is their resident graphic designer as well as a well-known SoCal masters’ racer, who did the packaging, not to mention a buddy I’ve done tens of thousands of miles with.
The Cinzano jersey is killer, but the matching Merino bibs get me every time. (Every time being both events I’ve seen these displayed at).
The latest evolution in Primal Wear’s high-end road collection is the Infrared QX5 kit. It features a Pro Tour fit for a flap-free experience. Among the materials is a fabric called Quantum Force that is said to receive an antibacterial treatment to increase blood flow and moderate surface temperature thanks to improved moisture transfer. The bibs receive a new laser-cut leg band to reduce bulk on the shorts and speed wicking.
The Modenza is a new mountain biking short that includes a detachable liner, so you can ride them as they come or easily pair them with your favorite bibs. They are gusseted for a full range of movement and have a combination of zippered pockets and vents so that you can carry a few important items and stay cool on a hot day. The ExoDura fabric should stand up to harsh treatment and survive diggers.
Primal showed off this new collared jersey, part of their expanding mountain bike collection. It bridges more casual-looking clothing with technical materials so you can still be comfortable while riding.
BMC wasn’t showing much in the way of new road stuff, so the big news was that they’ve aggressively lowered their prices. This Ultegra Di2 TMR01 is now $6999 and while that ain’t cheeap, it is a significant reduction on a bike with more technology than some phones.
BMC introduced a new mountain bike in the trail category, the SpeedFox SF01. This SRAM XX1-equipped 29er has five inches of travel and goes for $6999. There will be an XTR version for $8999, but you’ll be waiting a while if you want that model. The SF01 is said to have fairly slack geometry and is perfect for less technical riding. Clif introduced a couple of new Clif Bar flavors, not to mention numerous other goodies. This Berry Pomegranate Clif Bar was pretty tasty. I must have sampled it twice a day throughout the show, which is both a measure of how much I liked it and a confession that I don’t stop for lunch.