I’m struggling to comprehend the dearth of core bike industry suppliers and manufacturers at Outdoor Demo. The expo area is two-thirds of what it was five years ago. There was a time when you had to be careful to walk each row to make sure you didn’t miss something. Not so now. But it’s impossible to pin the change on any one thing, or any one person. I feel for the staff at Interbike because they are doing conscientious work, but doing the job they have always done is what has gotten the show into this predicament.
Someone asked me today if I thought this was the death-knell for the show, to which I replied, “No, but I can hear the crash cart coming down the hall.”
The winners today, if we are to look through that lens, were Pivot, Marin and Haro because they each brought a number of demo bikes for people to ride. The line of people extending from the Pivot tent reminded me of what Outdoor Demo can be, but what it largely isn’t any more.
Shimano, unlike virtually everyone else, took the opportunity to introduce some new products today.
The XC5 is Shimano’s first gravel-specific shoe. It’s got a wider than standard last and has an interesting lacing system that can accommodate big, high-volume feet, but can also be cinched down to snug around narrower or flatter feet. Because it’s a shoe the designers expect riders will do some walking in, it’s got a more flexible sole, a 7 on Shimano’s 10-point scale. It also has complete coverage of the outsole with Michelin rubber.
And while some of Shimano’s shoes can be pricey, this lace-up shoe is only $150.
Shimano also introduced a new road shoe, the SH-RP901, at the $200 price point. This is a one-strap, one Boa, Teijin upper shoe. It’s at the upper end of Shimano’s road line, but comes in below the Sphyre footwear.
Oakley has—for the first time in many years—introduce a new product line: helmets. It comprises three helmets: the Aro3 ($180), which is lightweight and well ventilated; think climber’s helmet. Shown above is the Aro5 ($250), an aero helmet equipped with MIPS and design tested in the wind tunnel and with the aid of CFD software. For triathletes and time trialists, there is the Aro7 ($500), which is an ultra-aero lid with a lens incorporated.
Showers Pass introduced a new waterproof knit glove. It comes in two versions: one with a Coolmax liner and then one with a Merino wool liner. They come in four sizes (S-XL) to make sure you can get an appropriate fit. I tend to be either a small or medium (or a small/medium) in gloves and I’m a medium in these.
Dainese introduced a kids’ outfit with knee pads, padded shorts, and a jacket with chest, shoulder and elbow pads. The pieces are also adjustable enough that they anticipate you’ll get at least two years out of the kit before it’ll be time to move to something bigger. I anticipate that this will make wearing safety equipment much hipper among the <14-year-old set.
Abus Security introduced a new version of the Bordo folding lock. The Bordo is one of their most secure locks as it is and this new Bordo, which goes for $169 has the unusual distinction of including an audible alarm should it be attacked. It emits a 100 decibel cry that I recall from a neighbor’s car alarm. I have to imagine that while it might not cause anyone to come running, it seems likely to rattle the concentration of your local meth-head bike thief.
Coros has introduced a new helmet, one that has a more traditional road helmet look. The new helmet boasts much-improved sound, a less eye-catching look, lights in the back of the helmet to increase your visibility, thinner webbing, noticeably decreased weight, plus a detachable visor should you want to wear the helmet while mountain biking. I dug the first Coros helmet enough that I look forward to trying this new helmet. Like the Linx, this new helmet goes for a very reasonable $200.
After hearing for some years that Scratch did not intend to offer bars, they introduced a new set of bars. While they come in several flavors, the only one I was able to try so far was this, the chocolate chip and almond. I can at least report that at the end of a long, hot, dusty day, it was pretty delicious. It’s not as sweet as some bars out there, so if you’ve ever complained that energy bars are just candy bars with extra protein, you’ll want to try this when it hits the market.