Interbike is a big, noisy event which makes it really tough to see everything. The biggest companies have the biggest booths and banners but sometimes it pays to watch what the little guys are doing. Here are just a few interesting finds.
Blackburn Wayside Hybrid Pump
No, this isn’t a pump for your hybrid bike; it’s actually just what mountain bikers need for today’s high volume tires. The Wayside Hybrid is the beefiest portable pump I’ve seen with a folding foot brace and even a decent-sized pressure gauge. The handle folds out too for a nice L-grip and Blackburn included their 2-stage technology which allows you to switch from low pressure/high volume to high pressure/low volume as you inflate your massive tire. I didn’t get the weight on this pump (my guess: it’s not light) and MSRP should fall around $60.
Yes, Interbike was held in Las Vegas but I’m not talking about the feather variety. It seems Boa-brand lacing systems are showing up in a number of products, most notably in a top-of-the-line Louis Garneau MTB shoe with not one but two Boa laces. In fact, that’s all this shoe uses for closure and tightening!
Apparently there are a number of Boa-like systems on the market (Vittoria, for example, produces their own version) but you can tell Boa-brand laces apart by their smooth action. These doo-dads come with a lifetime guarantee and premium pricing reflects that. Look for Boa and Boa-like closures on shoes, helmets, and even packs this year.
Magura eLECT Ride Sensor
We didn’t have an appointment with Magura this year so I didn’t get the full rundown on this product but here’s what I know. The eLECT system features a set of sensors and controls to automatically lock and unlock your fork depending on the angle of the terrain you’re riding. So when you’re climbing, the fork goes into lockdown and opens back up once you turn downhill.
From the sounds of it you can even calibrate the suspension to lock at whatever angle you choose. So if you prefer your fork to lock on flats and climbs, that should be possible. Or if you only want lock-out on the really steep stuff, you can do that too. You can also use the remote control to manually lock and unlock when necessary.
The controls on the fork and bars look super slick and minimalist which really caught my eye. Plus I tend to forget to unlock my suspension after a couple miles on the road or climbing in the mountains so this seems like the perfect solution for me!
iPad Stem Mount
Ok, this one just seems silly to me but then again, I know a few folks who would dig this for mountain biking. Actually, Delta Cycle makes it clear on their website that the Mini-Tablet Caddy is “for use with trainers and spin bikes only” but we know that won’t stop people from taking this on the trail. The caddy is designed to hold the iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, and Nexus 7.
Geigerrig Cheek Valve
I walked by the Geigerrig booth just as founder Bob Geiger launched into his infomercial-style sales pitch and it was easily the best entertainment I had all week. Geiger is clearly passionate about his product and honestly there is a lot of innovative stuff going on with his hydration system.
Here’s the basic set-up: the Geigerrig packs use a hydration bladder that you pressurize using a small air bulb pump. This allows the water to spray out when you need it and you can do cool stuff like share water with your dog and wash down a wound plus it allows you to drink water faster on the trail. The company even offers in-line water filters so you can purify found water along the trail.
But what I found most interesting (or ridiculous, I still haven’t decided) is the cheek valve attachment. It’s a small, surgical-looking tube (basically from an IV bag) with a mini drip valve on the end that you place inside your cheek while you ride. Bob showed how you could talk with the thing in your mouth and even adjust the rate of flow.
The idea (and reportedly science backs this up) is that constant hydration is much more effective during a ride or a run than gulping down a bunch of water at intervals. Sure you look pretty silly but we were told ultra runners were able to shave significant time off their races using this system. Perhaps around the same time we see Google Glass on the trail we’ll see this hydration solution out there too.
Paul Chain Keeper
A buddy recently showed up for a ride with a simple-looking 1×9 chain keeper from Paul Components and I was impressed with how easy it would be to install. I stopped by the Paul booth and found they make a number of components for single speed bikes, though surprisingly they don’t seem to be focused on weight-weenies necessarily. I’d love to slap one of these on my 1×10 full-suspension bike and see how it performs.
It’s always fun to see bike companies trying new and interesting things even though many products run the risk of turning into absolute flops.
Your turn to vote: which of these products do you predict will be hits and which ones will be misses?