Back from Interbike

Posted by SuperClydesdale on September 24, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

I made the annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas last week to check out the little slice of heaven formally known as Interbike. For those of you who do not know what Interbike is, it’s the annual kick-ass all-things-bicycling convention in the US. For those of you who know what it is, but not lucky enough to go, … ha ha ha! I was there – and you were not. It’s good to be me.   As expected, it was phenomenal. And, as an added bonus and, being a native Las Vegan, I was able to catch up with my college buddies that I hadn’t seen since my last Interbike, and I drank way too much beer (wait… that’s not possible).

After my first night, I hung out in Atomic Liquors, a formerly dodgy bar on Fremont Street that oscillates between hip and a crap hole. In the 1960’s it was hip, then a crap hole, and now once again hip. Atomic is likely to oldest bar in Vegas, since they have a bad habit of bulldozing anything cool or old and erecting some monstrous Trump-style tower.

I used to say I was a “Vegan” rather than a former Las Vegan but that word was co-opted and destroyed by self-righteous people convinced that (a) they are better human beings than I am, and (b) that they are going to live forever. Now I have to say I’m from Las Vegas, as “vegan” is synonymous with skinny, pasty, unhappy loser.

This year I went to Interbike with a few primary objectives related to big & tall riders, as well as identify new developments, trends, and things that I find interesting or compelling. As a result of my quest, and instead of writing a massive, sprawling, rambling article (like some of my sentences above), I’ve decided I’ll break the Interbike update into shorter articles on some of the topics I pursued. So, I will have dedicated articles in upcoming weeks including:

Your Next GPS

As discussed in a previous posting on the death of my Garmin GPS, I wanted to see what’s new in the GPS and bike computer market. What I found took me in a different direction than I was expecting, and I’ll be evaluating the new product available from Wahoo Fitness that allows you to have all the features of a full GPS device, all via your iPhone. Look for a review of this device in upcoming weeks – very interesting and I think something that represents the future of mobile fitness devices.

Disc Brakes for Your Road Bike

Really? Really. A bit heavier, but since weight is not nearly the same issue with us as it is for smaller riders (the bike is much less a percentage of the total weight with Clydesdales than with lighter riders), it assures solid braking without overheating. Seemed like most wheel manufacturers had some sort of disc option either available today or coming out soon. Cyclocross features transposed onto road bikes.

Chains for heavy riders

I walked the isles to talk to manufacturers of chains. After yet another ride-altering chain break 2 weeks ago, the topic was still fresh in my mind, and I wanted to see if there’s been any new developments in chain technology and any reason to have hope that anyone but Wipperman is taking the issue of chain strength seriously. Unfortunately, there still appears to be only one option in the market for heavy riders: Wipperman, and their 10sX chain is by far the strongest on the market. I’ll be posting another write-up on my recent chain experience, some lessons learned, and why every big strong rider should be using Wipperman chains.

Rocky Mountain Mountain Bikes

Spent some time with Rocky Mountain guys, and talked to them about their mountain bike frame geometry that helps transfer force to the rear wheel rather than to the suspension. Very simple, yet elegant design that should make a huge difference when it comes to climbing efficiency. As big guys, Clydesdales need every watt transferred to the power train just to drag our fat asses up the hill, so I found this pretty interesting and compelling. The Rocky Mountain guys are passionate as well, unlike the SRAM guys who seemed to be more interested in talking amongst themselves than to people at their booth. The Rocky Mountain guys really want to you know what makes them special. As a long-time Rocky Mountain rider on my road bike (a market that they exited), I was happy to see these guys with such a great lineup of mountain bikes. Look for a write-up soon.

Specialized

I spent some time with one of the product R&D guys at Specialized and we had a great conversation, some of it worth noting for large manly riders like us. Since 90% of my bikes are Specialized, I was keenly interested in what the options may be for heavy riders in the Specialized line, and have some insights to share there as well. Garmin Visit As promised, talked to the Garmin guys and asked/confronted them about the quality of their mounting brackets. This is the same bracket that I affectionately call the “GPS ejector seat,” apparently designed to force you to need a new GPS sooner than you expect. I was less than impressed with the discussion with the reps at the booth, and even less impressed with the invalid discount card that they gave me as a consolation prize. More on that as well.

Wheels for Heavy Riders

Had some good conversations with Cole, Enve, Shimano, Roval (Specialized), and others and have a few recommendations regarding high-end wheels for the heavy rider. This may take a while to piece together. When I last did this “wheels for heavy riders” two years ago, it took about a month to piece it all together. This year, the analysis will be a little more focused.

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