Rad Bikes of Interbike
16 September, 2014
There were many rad bikes at Interbike. Several of them were in our booth. BLAO! Shameless.
Pretty sure I can back up that lofty claim though. We used four bikes to create four stories, four categories of product including Freedom, often relegated to a separate booth an arm's reach away. The idea was to breathe life into what's behind our product - show where it comes from, what it's about, how it's developed, and in the case of the Trailblazer, pretty much how it works:
It's a 2.8 x 27.5" tire. Yes, it's TCS. It almost is the same size as a standard 29" - it's a 28.6" overall diameter. It fits in existing 29" frames, no special parts required. That lovely Fox 34 Talas fork is a standard 29" fork, you can see there's ample clearance without looking undersized either. PS, tire's not even that heavy, roughly 900g. You don't even have to run the huge 45mm internal width Scraper i45 27.5" TCS rims (Frequency i25 27.5" will get you by) seen on that stunning 44 Bikes frame. Speaking of stunning, just take a look at the subtle, understated beauty the frame quietly boasts:
Swoopy, curvy lines and impeccably clean welds, Kris Henry knows what's up. If that somehow weren't enough, we had Sean Walling's own personal bike built for the show on display. Sean is Soulcraft. He's welded frames alongside Ross Shafer - actually still welds in Shafer's barn, built up Rock 'n Road bikes for Bruce Gordon, been to more Interbike's than one can count (since '87) and... was a huge proponent and instrumental in the Nano 40's creation. So it was only fitting that his stunning frame and bike show off our new Nano 40c TCS early production samples:
You can see TCS handwritten above the alloy valve stem. That's our Product Manager, Chris Feucht's lovely penmanship, these tires are so fresh that they didn't even have hot patches. KOM i23 29" rims made for a rad, spread out profile. Expect to see Nano 40 TCS tires starting early winter. You can also see the beautiful White Industries centerlock hubs and new Ultegra hydraulic brakes that still sport mechanized drop bar shift levers - Sean's bike rocks a 142 x 12 rear and 100 x 15mm front designed around loaded touring in all terrain. Also extensively designed to bolster gear to get you out there, you can see Scott Felter of Porcelain Rocket's awesome new Mr. Fusion seat bag looking upward. That strut is brand new, made by Rick Hunter and was developed through a lot of testing through Hunter. It's elegant, allows the bag to easily be taken off and on, and is amazing if you're going over rough terrain carrying real weight - particularly rad too if you're running it on a full suspension because it prevents rear tires from getting too hungry.
You get an idea of Sean's Soulcraft Dirt Bomb bike and Scott's Porcelain Rocket bags as an overall do everything bike in this shot. The front bag accommodates a comfortable fit between drop bars and is front loading for any commercial dry bag. Scott had the awesome idea to include the Nano 40 tread pattern on bags so an early Mark Slate drawing was sent and Scott ran wild with it on his Porcelain Rocket perfection. It's rare that you find bags that fit perfectly like Scott's Porcelain Rockets do.
Sean's meticulous detail shined through and he cleverly put elegant guides on the back of the handmade right fork leg to cleanly tuck dynamo wires away, you can also see the color-matched Bruce Gordon rack seemingly seamlessly connected behind it:
Freedom's goal is to get more people on bicycles. You can't look at the Big Ripper and not want to shred. It's an overgrown BMX with 29" Thickslicks, 'nough said. It's got RAD written all over it, a perfect bike example for a brand intended to motivate people to ride. Plus, SE teamed up with Travis Barker, wrapping the frame in his Famous Stars and Straps Tiger Camo, adding a touch more of the irresistible, must ride it allure. It stood atop a mountain of Thickslicks where it reigned as King.
And last but not least was Marco Osborne's own bike of punishment, speed, and brutal testing. Dust still coated it, its number plate from EWS Crankworx still fashioned to it, lever bent from the thrashing it took, it truly showed what WTB current and future products are subjected to, as intended.
TCS Tough tires are a direct result of Team WTB torturing product on courses I'd rather not ride. They need it to hold up. Atop a row of 27.5" TCS Tough High Grip tires, it made a lot of sense. The Jekyll, tough as it is, looked ridden.
Rubber and wet rock, it's a hard life for Team WTB tires.
Jones, too, likes rad bags:
He had an interesting take on accommodating the Trailblazer. The Spaceframe comes with an Eccentric Bottom Bracket and is a 29" frame so...
Simple, he ran the crank in the highest possible setting, negating the 0.4" difference in wheel size (though it's really only about a 1/4" of drop being beneath the axle / wheel midpoint.) Jones thought they could be a perfect option for smaller riders looking to get out there.
And that was Interbike. Rad bikes, lots of talk about products we care about, where they've come from, and new ideas. A busy booth, too many noticeably bike people converging in the same zone in Vegas, a lot of hub-bub, them homeward for follow up and an anticipated lull that will never come. See ya next year...