Vegas is a soul-sucking place. I went in strong, determined to take on the stress, madness, and activity with grace and adaptability. A constant diet of Clif Bar chunks (more on this later) and coffee kept me cruising at high speeds. It was hard to wake up each morning but once I was past that point, it was on.
I’m now a wreck. My nose is running like a swollen river, my body aches, and my eyes are puffy. I hurt, but I’m glad to be home. And it’s given me time to think about what worked and what bombed at this year’s Interbike. May I present to you BLISTER’s 2011 Interbike Awards.
The Must-Have Award
Carbon fiber. The industry love affair has been pushed over the edge. Yes, it’s strength may still be questionable in untested products. And yes, it’s still exorbitantly expensive. But the industry’s leaders have moved past their qualms about it. They know it’s the future, and development is a full go in every way, shape, and form.
In the wheelset division, Enve Composites was everywhere. Beside seeing them on road bikes, a bunch of mountain bike setups like Turner and Specialized were running them (in truth, these companies have run these for a while. The Syndicate has been running Enve wheels on the World Cup circuit this year). We talked to Enve founder Jason Schiers earlier this year and he told us to be prepared for their DH wheelset to go public this year. We can’t wait to get on that.
If you’re planning on buying a new frame and have a couple extra grand on top of the normal cost, you might want to consider getting a carbon frame. These things are sexy. It seems like they’re everywhere nowadays. Santa Cruz, Rocky Mountain, Trek, Specialized, and many others have stopped beating around the bush and are offering the full package. I don’t know what’s going to be the best in terms of durability but I’m sure we’ll start hearing soon.
And what makes more sense than a carbon fiber helmet? The stuff is strong and light. For full-face helmets, this is great news, no more anvil around the neck. Lighter, in this case, is certainly better. Look for offerings from Giro, POC, Specialized, and more.
The Ugliest Bike That I Wanted To Steal Award
The Specialized Demo 8. There are only 250 of these bad boys available, so if you’re interested, you’d better get on it fast. I don’t know if I’d want to own one myself. It’s pretty fugly. But, there’s no denying its DH bloodline and performance: it features 8″ of rear wheel travel, a rear derailleur protector, Cane Creek Double Barrel coil shock, and of course, that hideous custom paint job by Troy Lee Designs.