Welcome to Bike World. Yes, it’s crazy in here, but not as crazy as you might think, given that Bike World is located in the heart of Sin City. That’s right, Vegas, baby.
I saw no naked women yesterday. I barely even saw girls in bikini tops. No carnival attraction type folks. There was no fire. I didn’t get sexually propositioned. I guess I should have left the expo center.
But there are bikes. No matter your fancy, it’s all here: sparkling retro bikes, World Cup-winning DH rigs, world-saving electric bikes, ready-to-fly dirt jumpers, faster-than-hell road bikes, pimped-out BMX rides, and all the parts to build them up.
This stuff is shiny.
And sure, given that the amount of caffeine coursing through my system had reached maximum capacity, these observations might be enhanced, but I have no control to measure against. The Sands Expo Center is ginormous. Two floors, each the size of airplane hangars, overflowing with gear. And people.
The people are almost the best part. Just as all the bikes on earth are here, so are all the bikeazoids. My favorite (and by favorite, I mean least favorite, but most fun to watch) are the hipsters. Tight pants or cutoff shorts, faded t-shirt, earrings, tats, beanies or bike caps, and the coolest bags (appropriately worn, or course). But let’s not pick on them. There are fit fifty-year-olds with one calf larger than both of mine combined; youngin’s with their flat-brimmed hats and low-slung pants; babies with their strollers and their dads, but mostly there are just bikers. Lots and lots of them.
So that’s the scene. But here’s the stuff that really caught my eye:
DT Swiss: They’re just on top of it. Full-on tubeless setups (no strips necessary), carbon integration, and an impressive-looking line of forks and shocks. It doesn’t hurt that their techs and marketing guys were helpful, detail-oriented, and knowledgeable. A lot of this stuff is new, so only testing will tell how well it works or how easy it is to use. E.g., Are those tubeless wheels going to be a bitch to work with? We’ll be sure to let you know.
Formula brakes: Not only do they have The One (see our review HERE), one of the lightest, most powerful brakes on the market, but they’re dropping the RO. It’s their newest XC brake, features oval calipers, and weighs in at 361 grams. The RO is based on The One’s design. If it shares the same power as it’s cousin, we could have a game-changer. (Oh, and Formula is also launching a wheelset line, no big deal.)
POC: Poc takes protection seriously. Their VPD 2.0 pads, featured in their body armor and kneepads, is soft, spongy, and comfortable when being worn, but upon impact (say, from a rock) it supposedly hardens, absorbing the impact. Other companies have been working with a similar technology, so it will be interesting to see how well POC’s version stacks up to the competition.
POC has also added MIPS technology to their Trabec helmet line. MIPS, which is already integrated into their Cortex DH helmet, is a technology that separates the helmet liner from the shell in a wreck, preventing rotational injuries to the brain. If you dig your brain, this stuff is worth a look.
29ers: Love ’em or hate ’em, they are here to stay, as evinced by the proliferation of 29er-specific wheels, forks, tires, and of course, the bikes themselves. See our 29er state of the union piece HERE.
Carbon Fiber: Evidently, it’s not going anywhere, either. Full carbon fiber frames and all mountain wheelsets are all over the place.
GoPro: We all know that GoPro has gotten big over the last couple of years, but this big? There were 15+ workers at the booth and people all over the place. There’s not that much to GoPro, right? Strap it on where you like and shoot. Apparently, the simplicity is working. (That and I think this moving pictures thing is going to catch on….)
Tommy Bahama: Take your J Crew posters and your money and get the hell out of here.
Gatorade: Nothing against the product itself. I love Gatorade. It’s delicious and refreshing, especially after a workout. But using big, naked, sweaty men to sell it? I mean, I suppose….
And there you have it. A little walk through Bike World. I’ll report back on what I run across today, and we’ll be following up on Monday with a more in-depth look at the most interesting stuff.
Check out day 2 HERE.