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Interbike 2017 show report: Trends and new products

Posted by on September 29th, 2017 at 11:35 am

The bicycle industry’s annual trade show sets up in Las Vegas each year.
(Photos: James Buckroyd, usually)

James Buckroyd is a professional product designer who happens to be addicted to cycling and is always seeking out the perfect route and the perfect piece of gear. He blogs at BuckyRides.com. His last review was Chrome’s Hondo backpack.

Last week I headed to Interbike Vegas 2017, where cycling industry veterans gathered to show off the latest trends and technology in cycling. The first two days of Interbike were the “Outdoor Demo,” where cycling industry pros get to view and ride new bicycles, followed by three days of trade show. With three exhibition halls full of gear, Interbike gives you a glimpse of the future.

Trends
“Smart” becomes integrated
The influx of smart technologies is finally surfacing in the bicycle world, from integrated GPS on e-bikes to speakerphones in helmets. Electronic technologies are blurring the lines between accessories and finding themselves in new products and previously mechanical-only items.

Electricity opens the door for more riders
E-bikes, e-bikes and more e-bikes. For those deep in the cycling world, the mention of motors on a bike can be controversial and start a passionate discussion, whether in regard racing or bike lane etiquette. Without being political, I can say the amount of diversity in e-bikes this year has exploded: Mountain, road, commuter, commuter drop bar, cruiser, folding and cargo bikes. There are more consumer options from the lower price points to $10,000 luxury urban transportation, catering to a wide range of categories with technology platforms from Bosch, Yamaha and Shimano.

 

Safety is king
In years past, the speedy lines of high end road bikes and the new geometries of mountain bikes led the way. Now, safety is king and accessories that provide safety and visibility are growing – from turn indicators built into helmets to GPS safe traffic routing. The bike light market is moving into the equivalent of the auto industries daytime running lights and hi viz is a staple in apparel lines. As an industry priority, safety is here to stay and technological developments only push things forward.

Innovations

The area of new exhibitors revealed helmet maker Annee London. The new helmet design is made from dense fabric material, which folds like a candy wrapper down to the size of an ipad mini. Pretty cool in itself. The material is said to have a 6-7 year life and have a much higher impact absorption than regular helmets. The innovation was inspired by personal empathy and while what you see here are development prototypes, I cannot wait to see if this starts any sparks in the industry.

Ever wrecked your bikes by running them into the top of your garage? If it hasn’t happened to you, you probably know someone who has and the damage to the bikes and the car are not minor. Raacked decided to take this on with some gadget wizardry. An ultrasonic sensor mounted on your roof rack measures proximity and when it senses an obstacle it wirelessly triggers a warning system on the inside your car. $125 to prevent thousands in damage–that’s an easy one in my mind. Raacked is aiming to go to market at approx. $125 a unit in the early 2018 timeframe, and is looking to bring a kickstarter to life soon: www.raacked.com.

Speaking of e-bikes, Stromer, a well known brand, had a couple of special editions with an impressive list of features: The LTD ST2 (only 555 of which will be made globally) and the top of the line ST2S. Stromer make the flagship of e-bikes and these come at flagship prices, $7,999 and $9,999. Packed full of tech, the Swiss have thought out every detail on this rear-wheel-drive e-bike. GPS tracking, remote bike locking, theft motor disablement, electronic diagnostics, 110 mile range, integrated smart lighting, variable brake lighting and get this -regenerative electricity to charge the battery while going down hills (how much charge would you get out of Thompson/ Cornell from skyline?). All this comes in a stylish package built with the quality of a German car.

SKS launched a line of clever lighting products integrated to stem and rear fender called Monkey Link. As well as being highly visible and stylish, the products include a powerful assisted magnetic snap attachment for easy on and off, and also internal wiring integration (called connect) is provided for e-bikes. Rear fender lights are $29 to $35, front lights from $59 to $99.

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Local Hits

Tim from Kool Stop, based in Lake Oswego, brought a few new products to the show, including e-bike specific brake pads and revised compounds on their classic orange/black combination pads.

Being a huge cat fan, Meghan from Nutcase Helmets in Portland was really excited to tell us about the great success of the quirky “Space Cats.” This irreverent yet adorable design seems to appeal to a lot of people.

Also for 2017/2018 from Nutcase: a new color palette for the Tracer helmet line, whose minimal modern looks have a lot of appeal to various types of riders from the commuter to the mountain biker. On the arty side, Nutcase is currently looking for new entrants in their Artist series, which encourages submissions of designs for helmets.

Joel from Lake Oswego-based Yakima Racks really wanted to talk about a nifty new product to make life a little easier. Anyone with a hitch knows that it can really get in the way when accessing other gear in the car or truck. The BackSwing ($299, available April 2018) allows you to swing out any hitch rack (tray or mast style) – well out of the way even with bikes loaded, extending out and rotating the rack 90 degrees. This means getting gear in the back of the car and carrying bikes has never been quicker, easier and less bruises on your ankles. It’s a slick little mod that can also retrofit a lot of existing hitch mounted racks rated to 250lbs.

Yakima also announced a special edition Camo Skyrise tent colab with Poler available for the holiday season.

Made in The USA

Phil Wood came out with a new rear hub system, the 2nd generation consisting of 5 double row pawls and a 40 engagement points on the ratchet ring, for better faster power transfer. The new design also has the advantage of easy servicing with common tools and replaceable pawls. Phil also launched this cute mini hub for Bromton wheels plus a 1 1/8 to 1.5″ headset.

— James Buckroyd, @jbucky1 on Twitter

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Spiffy
Subscriber

that folding helmet is really cool… great for traveling and bike share…

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

That E-mountain bike thing is really pushing limits on vehicle classification. It seems like we are just a few iterations away from E-bikes that have the size and power of lightweight gas-powered dirt bikes. Good luck getting access to new trails with those things flying by hikers and other trail users.

wsbob
Guest

Who is the designer and manufacturer of the green in color, illuminated bike helmet you have a picture of? Interesting design. I wonder about its functionality.

Doesn’t look like Lumos, the illuminated helmet with integrated front light, rear light, turn signals and brake light that’s been produced for several years, started up through kickstarter. Lumos has been advertising on bikeportland for some weeks. Bike Gallery carries it. I’ve tried one on. Seen somebody in Beaverton using a Lumos. It could use improvement, but the idea has potential, I think. At 200, costs more than I want to spend to try it out.

I’d love to someday maybe have a practical, light weight closed cockpit e-bike trike or quad for nasty weather riding and grocery shopping. Any chance you saw such a critter at the show? The Organic Transit Elf was an ok idea, but the realization had much to be desired; it was huge, heavy, not space efficient, solid but crudely constructed. It’s body looked good.

The folding helmet. Funny. One guess why there’s no photo of someone actually wearing it: because it’s ‘oogly’? Shown in the photos, open and upside down, it looks like some kind of baby car seat. If there’s anything less visually appealing than wearing a badly designed bike helmet that looks like a beer cooler on your head, it’s probably a bike helmet that might like a baby car seat. It seems like a practical idea though. Like the looks of the pads inside the helmet.

Justin
Guest
Justin

I need to know more about this bluetooth helmet! So cool!

Motor Cycle?
Guest
Motor Cycle?

What’s the difference between a motor cycle and a bicycle with a motor?

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Why celebrate all this hyper flamboyant rubbish when no one has bothered to figure out Archibald Sharp’s mathematically demonstrated superiority of fixed-gear drive in 1896?

Stuff and bother!

Do the math!

Al
Guest
Al

While I have seen ebikes really take off this year, I have yet to see any on MTB trails.

Personally, I find this an exciting development given that I can now hope to extend my riding years another decade or two.

Vince
Guest
Vince

Want to make sure you don’t drive into the garage with bikes on the roof? First step in loading the bikes should be to remove the remote from your car. Then when you cone home, you can’t get back in without first getting out of the car. If you don’t notice tgat you have bikes on thbe car, then maybe you shouldn’t be driving. You are welcome. $124.99 please.

SAM jonas
Guest
SAM jonas

City planners tap into wealth of cycling data from Strava tracking app

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/may/09/city-planners-cycling-data-strava-tracking-app

SAM jonas
Guest
SAM jonas

STRAVA’S CYCLING APP IS HELPING CITIES BUILD BETTER BIKE LANES

https://www.wired.com/2014/06/strava-sells-cycling-data/

SAM jonas
Guest
SAM jonas

I believe the claim was:

“Why on earth would Strava be any kind of proof? Strava “racing” is pointless enough, but doing it with a motor is just silly.”

Apparently city planners think otherwise and lots of commuters as well. So….data from Strava DOES provide a tremendous amount of proof…and yes, even with a motor.

Ted, keep logging in those miles. It means better bike paths for everyone.

SAM jonas
Guest
SAM jonas

ODOT embarks on “big data” project with purchase of Strava dataset

“Last fall, the agency paid $20,000 for one-year license of a dataset that includes the activities of about 17,700 riders and 400,000 individual bicycle trips totaling 5 million BMT (bicycle miles traveled) logged on Strava in 2013. ”

https://bikeportland.org/2014/05/01/odot-embarks-on-big-data-project-with-purchase-of-strava-dataset-105375

So yes, Strava data is real…

SAM jonas
Guest
SAM jonas

https://www.curbed.com/2016/9/2/12749686/cycling-city-planning-app-strava

“….use data from Strava Metro, including Glasgow, Brisbane, and towns in Oregon.”

https://www.bdcnetwork.com/city-planners-find-value-data-strava-cyclist-tracking-app

http://fortune.com/2014/08/29/improve-urban-infrastructure-theres-an-app-for-that/

“Margi Bradway was the planner at the ODOT who first saw Metro’s potential. “When we started looking at the heat-maps, we could see patterns,” she says. “You’d see people riding a bike lane and then jumping through a park to get to the next street, instead of going through a busy intersection. Or you’d see cyclists on one side of the road choosing to go against traffic, because there was no shoulder on the correct side. You’d see the streets and intersections that weren’t serving cyclists’ needs.””