29 September 2006 - 16:28Interbike 06 – Part 1
This is the yearly trade show, where everyone gathers in Sin City to show their wares for the following spring. This is always an exciting time for product junkies such as myself. You get to see all the new and shiny things that you dream about owning as soon as you can.
I stuck to my focus though, as I was there only 1 day.
I met a couple of my good friends from San Diego (German for a whale’s …wait, nevermind) that I haven’t seen in a while. It was pretty funny actually, in that we stayed in the same hotel we always used to stay at when I had to go to the show in the olden days. We met a lot of the same people. Some things never change.
Well, there was certainly a lot of 29er stuff happening, despite the lack of representation from big companies like SRAM, who in my book, make one of the best forks out there, the Reba.
There were plenty of surprises too. Chumba racing has a 29er singlespeed coming out. And also in the Chumba booth, was a good friend from the “olden” days, “Evil” Dave. He had a rough bout of bad luck a few years ago, but has pulled himself back up, and is now Mr. Chumba. The bike itself looks pretty sweet. Great attention to detail, as everything is made in house in their OC facility. The paint is cool too, but tradeshow lighting didn’t help me capture it.
Ventana had it’s 29ers featured very prominently in the front of their booth. Beautifully made by hand by Sherwood Gibson, his bikes are a much coveted item. The machine work is beautiful, and the “Electric Sex” welds are the stuff of legends.
Just another indication that 29er is real, and here to stay.
Even my old employer has also jumped on the bandwagon, offering the Evolve, a 4″ travel full squisher. This is a very nice looking bike, with gobs of standover clearance, but he only intends on releasing a medium and large frames, which I think is a bit short sighted.
There are plenty of shorter riders that could benefit from a design like this.
Also in the lineup is what Tony calls a “Firm Tail”, which is essentially what lots of other manufacturers are showing at this show. Aluminum front ends with carbon rear ends.
This is nothing new, road bikes have been this way for a long time, but this is the first year you are starting to see it on mountain bikes.
The main difference, is that this bike has unique replaceable drop outs that are either horizontal for single speeding, or have a derailleur hanger for a geared bike. These are made from magnesium. An interesting choice, as Mg is a soft metal that easily corrodes. I see these things getting chewed up and ugly fast, not such a good thing on a premium bike such as this. Also the carbon looked quickly cobbled together, there were a lot of sharp edges and flashing everywhere, but I would imagine that this is a pre production sample, which in most cases are very quickly thrown together. I would hope that the production model would not have blobs of epoxy at the critical joints, cleaner construction, and CNC’d dropouts.
The multi toned anodized finishes are beautiful though, and hearken back the days when Ellsworth used to make the FS2XC.
Salsa is expanding their already stellar 29er offering with the Mamasita, a scandium front mated to a carbon rear. This bike comes in a beautiful charcoal color, with flat scandium chainstays, and flat carbon seat stays. The rear brake cable guide is integrated into the carbon, which I think is pretty flashy. All the 29ers will feature new downtube which will eliminate the gusset on the current models, adding to the clean look of the bike.
There is so much information to process here, so I decided to hold back a little. Tomorrow I will post about some of the other stuff I saw. Highlights including my conversation with Jeff Steber of Intense, and my chat with the folks at WTB are well worth the wait!
See ya all tomorrow.