Interbike 2018, Part II

Interbike 2018, Part II

Magnesium is coming back, at least, according to one bike manufacturer. Unfortunately, no one told this particularly company that what we’ve learned about metallurgy and bicycles has told us that magnesium isn’t going to give us any significant reduction in weight or increase in stiffness. Every year there’s someone who surprises me by trying to convince me that some old idea that didn’t work is now the smartest thing you could possibly do.

Stages is introducing new GPS units that do more than record where your ride went and how hard you rode. They can now be programmed to run a workout, such as a set of intervals. We’ll be checking this out in an upcoming review.

I’ll admit that before Peter Sagan stood on a podium with a pair of goggles around his neck, I had no idea what we were talking about 100% of. Well, that’s not really true, but for me, the brand came out of nowhere, and I can’t say I was in a big hurry to learn. After looking through the line, I have to admit the brand is impressive. Not everyone will like their styling, but in looking at the eyewear (the look of these is a near homage to the old Oakley Factory Pilots) and helmets, the brand has a sharp sense of design and styling. Some pieces are edgier than others, which is to say not everything looks insane. Much more important is the fact that the lenses have terrific clarity and come in some terrific tints, and photochromic lenses are on the way.

This closureless glove from 100% features padding in the knuckles, which, given a recent ride that resulted in black-and-blue digits, would be welcome on my next excursion into singletrack.

Retrospec is a new bike company based in LA. They are big on classic styling for their adult bikes. What really caught my eye, though, were these balance bikes.

They feature a place for the child to put their feet, a quick release for saddle height adjustment and go for only $70. Arguably the best deal in balance bikes I have encountered.

Shimano has made yet another bold move this fall. They have introduced bikepacking bags. I keep wondering when they will make something substandard, and this isn’t it.

Shimano is offering a seat roll as seen above, this bento box, which features a could of dividers and pockets to maximize usefulness, as well as a handlebar bag.

The new XC7 mountain bike and gravel shoe sits between the S-Phyre shoes I reviewed last winter and the XC5 gravel shoes I did earlier this spring. Like the S-Phyre XC9, these shoes have the adjustable powerband wire routing to allow toe box width adjustment. And the fact that its a two-Boa shoe means it will be much easier to get the correct fit both top and bottom. The synthetic leather won’t stretch if it gets wet and the sole is unlikely to struggle to grip because it features Michelin tread, like other Shimano shoes.

FSA has introduced yet another subcompact crank, this one being the K-Fork Light. Unlike the SLK, this crank is only available in a 48/32 combination. It comes in three lengths ( 170, 172.5 and 175 mm), and is said to weigh 572 grams.

Assos is at it again. They are completely rethinking the construction of bib shorts. Their latest offering features a short that is constructed from only two panels. The question why has a couple of answers. The first is that with fewer seams the rider will be more comfortable. The second is that they can take advantage of more compression by using less stretchy materials when the panel is bigger and the stretch is distributed over a greater area. The third is that they are Assos and they love proving they can do things no one else can figure out how to do.

The new bib doesn’t anchor the bib straps at the hem of the short, but rather down at the panel into which the pad is sewn. The upshot is that pulling up the bibs doesn’t pull the top of the short, but rather the pad, which is really what most riders are seeking to adjust. The straps run outside the short so that the rider only feels the short against his skin.

Leave it to Assos to rethink the skinsuit. As one of the originators of this garment, they’ve always been at the forefront of the fit of a skinsuit, but this one has a very interesting twist. The Lehoudini offers something I’ve never seen before.

It has three zipper pulls. The top pull allows you to get in and out. The second zipper pull can allow the rider to answer nature’s call, but the presence of the third pull allows the rider to use it along with the second to create an opening in the zipper for ventilation on exceptionally hot days, while maintaining decorum.

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  1. Fred ddbg

    Patrick, will you dare using this coverage as an excusing for not posting any podcast this week?, I want my weekly podcast! (And your Interbike comments too). Please…

    1. Author

      Hi Fred, sorry to say, I wasn’t able to produce the podcast while in Las Vegas, I mean, Reno. We will do an Interbike wrap up this week on the Paceline. My apologies for depriving you of our work. Thanks so much for listening.

  2. Neil Winkelmann

    Assos strap configuration is genius. Yes! I want my straps to hold the pad directly. Love it.

    Those Shimano XC7 shoes are gorgeous.

  3. Miles Archer

    Current magnesium structural alloys are said to not burn. I have no experimental evidence though.The pure metal will, which is probably what MacGyver used. It’s conceivable there are some alloys of magnesium that are worth making a bike out of, but you’re right to be skeptical. I was about to write that I wanted to see a bike made out of carbon nanotubes, but I googled and I see that I’m a decade late on that one.

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