GU’s booth was, unfortunately, a bit out of the way and I only managed to make it by once. The salted caramel apple flavor isn’t exactly new, but it was new to me and I soon found myself shoveling three of them into my mouth. The GU Chomps remain some of my favorite chews on long rides.
In all the years I’ve been attending Interbike, I’ve never seen a nutrition company so hammered by crowds in a 10-minute span that they ran out of chopped up bar bites faster than they could chop. At least, not until this year. Bonk Breaker takes this distinction going away from the field. Part of this is likely due to the fact that they didn’t have half the company working their booth, as Clif did. Actually, Bonk Breaker is small enough that they may have had most of the company in the booth, but such was their placement along a main aisle that they took high traffic. Then again, it may be that people just like their bars.
Tacx showed off a new trainer, the Neo Plus, which may be the quietest trainer I’ve ever encountered. The Neo Plus ain’t cheap, at $1600, but it offers full Internet connectivity so that you can use it with online applications like Tacx’ own system and Zwift.
At $529, the Vortex is a good bit cheaper than the Neo Plus, and while it doesn’t fold up quite as small, it offers most of the functionality of its big brother.
Kinetic is known for a fluid-resistance trainer whose best feature, aside from affordability was perhaps that it didn’t leak. Well now they have a new reason to be considered. They now offer an upgrade to their trainers to measure wattage. The standard Road Machine trainer (above) goes fro $375, but the upgrade to wattage measurement (which is taken off the roller) only brings the price to $409.
The Rock and Roll, which allows the bike to sway as you ride, giving a more natural feel on the bike and reducing stress on the frame and wheels, is $569 with the wattage package. And for those who already own Kinetic trainers, they can be retrofitted. The sensor package is $75, but the combo of sensor plus heart rate monitor is only $130. With prices so low, people have a fresh reason to consider Kinetic.
Stages Cycling now has competition from Pioneer in the left crank wattage measurement market. Pioneer claims higher accuracy and increased clearance. At low wattages the accuracy is said to be +/- 2 percent, but at higher wattages accuracy increases to +/- 1 percent. Ultegra crank arms are $799 while Dura-Ace arms are $899.
The company also introduced a new smaller, black-and-white head unit as a response to the feedback the company got from pro teams it sponsors. The new computer is $299, some $200 cheaper than the existing unit. There’s also a bundle of the new computer, heart rate monitor and bike sensor kit for $379.
With the growth of bike packing, loaded touring has gotten a big shot in the arm and arguably no one is better positioned to serve this market than Blackburn. They showed off a number of new in-line bags, most of which offered expansion pleats and gussets to give riders the capacity they need.
Through axles create as many problems as they solve. Clearly, safety would be better served by something a bit more secure than a wing nut. There are a few new designs out there, but Paul Components is offering a quick-release through axle that seems simple, quick and secure. And it’s available in every size on the planet.
Rolf Prima showed off some new wheels and new technology at the show. The new Ares 3 is a carbon clincher with a 35mm rim depth, to give riders an option for a climbing wheel with better aerodynamics. The standard build will go for $1900, but with the 5.5 hubs which feature a ti freehub body and ceramic bearings, the price only climbs to $2400. Shown above is the company’s new Ballistic Armor Coating they are now offering on both rims and hubs. It’s a coating of ceramic material that increases durability by reducing scratches, chips and other dings to the surface. For rims the cost is $300, and on hubs it’s $150. Plus, they can customize the color of the coating to your taste, solid colors only.
Over at Effetto Mariposa, they are now offering Carogna Remover, which is to say, tubular glue remover. For anyone running tubulars, getting the old glue off the rim has always been less fun than putting glue on in the first place. We’re told this new remover requires a single application, wait over night and then simply wipe it off. Could it really be that simple? We will know soon.