When you become an Interbike veteran you expect the king-sized, no-holds-barred blowout convention to lose some of its awing affect. You think, "Been there done that - got the T-Shirt, oversized foam Yakima hat, energy bar, key chain, etc., etc..." But as you watch the crowd flood its way through the doors to the Sands Expo Center on opening day, you realize that they've just made that foam Yakima hat bigger then the previous year. You find yourself compelled to stop in at every booth to see what new products or concepts lie in waiting for you.
Every year, there are refinements... Bikes become more aerodynamic, lighter and more efficient. Revolutionary shifter groups get introduced with altered schema to work more intuitively. Energy products become more nutritionally balanced to support endurance activities. Tools become lighter and simpler. Cleaning products become more environmentally friendly. Echoing the the concept of "better living through science", manufacturers learn more about the human body, the physics of machinery and the real world in which we ride - this results in products that make us faster, stronger and more in tune with the world around us.
Each year, new products arrive with a revolutionary idea to change the way we ride. Like the tide rolling in on the shore, Interbike washes up innovations, sometimes these ideas beach and stay with us, sometimes they are washed back out to sea and we never see them again. This tide of ideas flavors Interbike and keeps the event interesting.
With this years expo we see several interesting developments.
Many manufacturers of energy products have decided to expand their lines. CLIF has expanded their line of Shot Bloks. With new flavors like Pina Colada, Cola, and Margarita, CLIF is showing their commitment to the fairly new line of energy "gummies" that use organic brown rice syrup as the source for their fuel. Honey Stinger has come out with two new flavors of their energy bars that are built around using pure honey as their source of carbohydrates.
Honey Stinger bars also have higher protein options to support muscle repair and recovery. This editors pick is the Peanut Butta Pro flavor. Carb-BOOM! has expanded upon its line of gels that are easy on the stomach and packed with energy by putting out a new hydration product called HYDRO BOOM!. Try their hottest flavor in gels, the Apple Cinnamon and look for product testing results coming on these pages shortly. Cytomax was on hand to show off Muscle Milk. Delivering 32 grams of protein per 17 ounce serving, Muscle Milk provides your body with the building blocks it needs to recover.
The Banana Creme flavor tastes just like a smoothie yet isn't as heavy as some other protein drinks. Powerbar Endurance unveiled its new Sun Tea flavor, whose taste and consistency made it surprisingly easy to drink. Some manufacturers are also following new research supporting the theory that endurance activities can be better supported with higher amounts of sodium replacement. CLIF's margarita flavored Shot Bloks supply triple the amount of sodium as regular Shot Bloks while Powerbars Gels claims to contain as much as quadruple the sodium of competing products.
Making old ideas new
Ritchey's Breakaway, a high end titanium road race bike, is jointed to break down to a compact size for shipping. The Breakaway uses non-traditional placement of its joints to enhance the bike's stiffness and performance. Topeak comes to the table with several new bike bags and an inflatable fender. The fender works like any other fender except for the fact that when you don't need it, you can deflate it, detach it and roll it up for compact storage. SRAM has been touting the advantages of its new Force road gruppo. With crisp action and the capability of shifting up multiple gears in one movement, it's worth taking a look at. Burley's new Ladybug trailer is built on the D'lite's basic frame but, with a few enhancements. It folds vertically for more compact storage, has added structural integrity to protect passengers, and best of all, it's got a pattern to match its namesake. Kids will love riding in the belly of the smiling red beetle.
Zoot expands its line of "Ultra" products aimed at ultra-endurance sports. The newest iteration of their Ultra wetsuit employs a mix of multiple thicknesses of high-end wetsuit material to add bouyancy while not restricting movement or comfort. The Ultra philosopy boils down to, "Comfortable bodies in motion". KtraK present its newest ski bike. With a tread based rear "wheel" system and a ski fork attachment, You don't have to buy a whole separate bike to enjoy the snow. You merely have to do remove your front and rear wheel and attach the ski bike attachments via the same quick releases you normally use and presto, you now have a bike ready for the slopes or some snowy cross-country riding.
Winds of change
Sometimes the Interbike Expo can be the harbinger of a season of change. This year appears to be one. We saw a myriad of new products added to most manufacturers' offerings. However, one company is noticeably reducing its catalog. Burley LLC. (Formerly Burley Design Co-operative) will no longer be producing its line of bicycles. After nearly three decades of building bikes such as Tandems, Mountain Bikes, Touring Bikes and more recently Road Bikes, the company has come under new leadership and will cease bicycle production. The company will now focus its efforts on the trailer market. At the time of Interbike, Burley had new trailers including the aforementioned Ladybug and all of their trailers will come with the option of a new skewer based hitch.
The Wrap up
This year's Interbike proved to be more exciting then ever. The wealth of new products, the development of new trends and some very sexy new bike styles made for a pulse quickening show. One gets to wondering how they'll top it for next year's event. Most likely, they'll find a way, and we look forward to bringing it to you.