We didn’t make it to Interbike this year, although we had been looking into going until the last minute. My favorite part about the bicycle industry’s biggest trade show is looking at cool new product I haven’t seen before and geeking out on it. With the SF Bike Expo you were able to experience much of this, as the floor was filled with a good number of bike industry vendors. Although there is a big emphasis on urban lifestyle, there was a nice mix of product from other product categories as well.
I’ve been in the market for a new set of platforms, so when I saw the VP-69 pedal, it caught my eye. These babies are optimized for sticky rubber shoes with a minimal number of pins- six, if you’re counting. They look pretty solid, but I’ve been looking for something a bit more on the slim side. VP Components had their new slim pedal (to be released in 2012) hiding in someone’s pocket somewhere, and teased us with it in their marketing pamphlets. It looks to have a similar concept and execution to the new Tioga slim pedal, though the rep I spoke with claimed theirs would be much stronger. Called the Pilot, it’s 6.5mm thin. They also had their version of the adjustable headset on display, called the Varial. Check them out: VP Components
Speaking of sticky rubber, Five Ten was on the scene and had a few of their new models on display. This new clip-in compatible shoe is titled the “Cool Hwip” after one of the best Family Guy clips ever. It is a bit lighter than their previous release the Minnar, which was a bit on the portly side.
They also had a Karver model in blue which looked pretty nice.
Carter Holland of Black Market Bikes is that much closers to getting his new all mountain machine, the Roam into production. The build on this thing is much like the current build on my Nomad C, which means it will likely be a sweet all around shredder for the gravity inclined that also likes to pedal all day. Check them out: Black Market Bikes
Our buddy Fred Cuthbert from Wolfhound Cycles surprised us by showing up at the Expo Pre-Party at Marin Bikes HQ. He brought a few of his latest all mountain 29er creations with him. His bikes are built one at a time, and they have amazing detail work. They aren’t the lightest out there, but as an owner of a Wolfhound, they are solid, and fun to ride. He also boasts one of the shortest chainstays of a wagon-wheeled bike due to his interrupted seat-tube design. Check him out: Wolfhound Cycles
Bamboo has pretty much established itself as an alternative material for bicycle frames. Portland, Oregon woodworkers Renovo want you to consider wood as an option as well. Claiming a fatigue life that rivals carbon, and longer than aluminum or steel, these are certainly gorgeous looking frames. They still use baseball bats made of wood, so it seems logical that you could ride one. Ranging from $2k-$3800, it is unlikely you’ll be seeing one at the local coffee shop. Unless you’re in Mill Valley or down the street in their SE neighborhood. Check them out: Renovo Bicycles
Next stop on our hand built bike tour was Nemesis Project out of Sacramento. Brad has been building dirt jump frames, bars and stems, and catering to the freestyle crowd for a while, so when fixed gear freestyle came around he was already in the mix. Regardless of whether you think FGFS is awesome or just don’t get it, these builds are burly as get all. Check them out here, and don’t forget to give Brad a bad time about the lack of a proper website already: Nemesis Project