I spent most of the day running from meeting to meeting, so I don’t have any good pictures, but I did see a few things that are worth noting.
After a couple years of near-dominance in the OE spec world, SRAM seems to be starting to slide. It could be for a variety of reasons, but I think it boils down to a simple lack of high-end innovation. On the road side, the Apex group sucks, and that’s the only new thing they’ve shown besides being able to anodize the Red group into different (non-red) colors. 2×10 changed the mountain world, perhaps permanently, but attempting to integrate TruVativ and Avid into SRAM-branded components will likely do damage to both brands. Now that Shimano has a 10-speed mountain group, and brakes that beat the piss out of anything Avid’s producing, I would expect to see that slide continue onto the mountain side.
A pretty creative name for Intense’s new carbon fiber wunder-bike. 5.5-6 inches of travel, and a 5.5-pound frame. Yet another BB standard in BB92, VPP suspension, and rumored to be around 28 pounds built. This bike sits alongside Santa Cruz’s carbon Nomad, Yeti’s ASR-C, and a handful of other category-redefining, pedal-able trail bikes. But, the boys at Intense make a tougher mountain bike than just about anyone else out there, so I’d imagine they’ll do well if they can keep it on sales floors.
Litespeed’s ongoing need to name everything with a letter and a number:
At least this time it’s not some multi-personality aero road bike that will leave you blowing side to side at the slightest hint of a crosswind. The new Litespeed L1R is a bike that has apparently been in the works for over 5 years, and draws its geometry from some of the lessons learned by Litespeed when they made custom pro bikes. Short, snappy chainstays, combined with an ultra-stable front end make a bike that responds rapidly, but never feels twitchy. Another new BB ‘standard’ in the BB 386. FSA is apparently the only company that can keep up with all these standards, because their cranks find their way onto almost all the new hotness. It’s a spendy bike, but a great choice for someone who likes to go fast all day long. Litespeed is one of the manufacturers that has drifted away from SRAM in a big way. Also new at the booth was a titanium city frameset, complete with braze-ons for just about everything. Unfortunately, Litespeed tacked a Cross-Check fork on it and called it a day. Kind of lazy (if functional) presentation for a $2000 frame.
This is a pretty cool piece of carbon engineering. The brake caliper arms are the rear half of the fork blades. Not ‘tucked into’ the blades, or ‘integrated with’ the blades, but they are actually the blades themselves. Not sure on performance or aero gains, but a pretty creative solution to a problem that may or may not have existed.
MAST pants for tri-geek recovery:
That’s right, a company has branded Military Anti Shock Trousers as a recovery device. I’ll have to get a picture of this tomorrow to show the scene. Words simply cannot describe it.
Tri-ing a little harder:
Tri companies are encroaching heavily on the bike industry, even in this pretty mountain-minded setting. Swimsuits, goggles, wetsuits, and some of the stupidest-looking ‘bikes’ I’ve ever seen were on display, along with a steaming pile of recovery/performance products designed to help you tri.
That’s it for tonight, I’m bringing the camera and a more open agenda tomorrow, so come back for a better post then.