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Interbike is the country’s largest annual bike industry trade show and, in true style of its host city, Vegas, it is a total spectacle. You’ve got a wildly eclectic crowd representing most every facet of the bike industry—everyone from BMXers to the urban fixie crowd to cycling brand royalty (like Louis Garneau and George Hincapie working their respective brand booths) to the hardcore Ironman triathlete. It is mind-spinning and awesome. The show offers an opportunity to preview the latest and greatest from the cycling world by day and party Vegas-style at night.
Some highlights from walking the show floor yesterday (more Interbike coverage here):
1. 2XU TR Chamois
A nod to the growing number of triathletes (me among them) opting for a noseless saddle such as the ISM Adamo, the TR Chamois mirrors the architecture of the twin railed saddle, providing variable padding at precise pressure points (lower density pad at the nose than on the rear). Available in certain cycling and tri shorts in Spring 2013.
In a few presentations by top gear brands I heard the word “xylitol,” and thought I’d seen the word before, but only on food products and, strangely enough, gum. Chris Gagan, the product director at Sugoi, told us that xylitol is an alcohol-based sweetener and that someone somehow discovered that when you infuse fabric with xylitol, the fabric has a cooling effect on the skin. Sugoi makes arm and leg sleeves from a nylon blend fabric with xylitol, and 2XU’s newest compression sock material also includes xylitol. You’ll be seeing these all over Kona.
3. T1 Pro Race Belt
Billed as the world’s fastest race belt, the T1 Pro uses magnets instead of a snap. I used it in a race recently and can vouch for the ease of use—the magnetic connection is strong enough to keep the belt ends firmly attached, and it goes on faster than any belt I’ve used. You can also get a version with loops to hold your gels.
If you’re a parent and cyclist that likes to combine those two identities from time to time, these kids bike seats mount easily yet securely to a bike cruiser (either at the handlebars or above the rear wheel). Cool seat designs and a range of sizes offer something for every stage of growing family.
If you’re a female triathlete, you need to know about SOAS, a year-old brand of women’s specific tri, cycling and run apparel. Founders Kebby and Stephanie, both top age-group triathletes, made clothing they wanted to train and race in. Their clothes are all about fit (flattering and comfy), function (quality fabrics and thoughtful design features) and fashion (fun designs and colors). Full disclosure: I happen to be on the SOAS team, but was a big believer in the brand prior to getting a free kit to wear in races.
Created by sports nutrition/science guru Stacy Sims, this line of sports drinks is a refreshing alternative to sugary sweet drinks packed with dyes and other junk. Osmo is on the opposite end of the nutritional spectrum, with all natural, organic ingredients. I also like the eco-friendly ethos—the drink powder comes in a resealable brown bag. On a long ride, this drink doesn’t sour my stomach like many others I’ve tried.
7. Polar water bottles
I’m a fan of the insulated water bottle, and Polar is unrolling an array of fun new designs of bottles intended for the bike cage and for carrying throughout the day.
8. Specialized Roubaix
On a showroom floor jam-packed with bicycles of most every make, model and infinite iterations, the all-black Roubaix is the one I most wanted to stealthily ride away on. (Learn more at Specialized.com.)
9. Vertical Bike Organizer
A company out of Israel makes this floor bike holder, which it bills as the world’s first vertical bike organizer. Throw a couple of these in the corner of your garage for a space-efficient, movable solution for storing your rigs.
10. Clif. All of it.
Clif had a clever, creative sampling setup according to what you’d eat and drink before, during and after a workout. The progressive, adventure-embracing brand is continually unrolling new flavors in bars and its other nutrition products, always with a mind towards healthy, natural ingredients.