Interbike 2015 Part 2

Open U.P.

In case you missed it, I covered the latest on power meters and a few other technical items from interbike earlier this week here.  This is the post on of the other fun things seen at interbike plus a few other bits of tech.

Between the fit symposium, technical power meter reviews, and discussions over new fitness products we are able to sneak in some time to check out some cool new bikes and products.  This year didn’t disappoint either.  There was plenty on convention floor that count our attention and we were stoked on to try.  There were a few other things that had us shaking our heads as well.  Here is a little bit of both.

Open U.P.

Open U.P.

Open’s U.P. (unbeaten Path) 650b cross bike with full 2.0 mountain bike tires, or 700c x 40 cross tires, was one of the first bikes to catch our attention.  Not only was the concept of an adventure cross bike with more capable tires pretty rad, the attention to detail on this bike was amazing.  Direct mount disc brakes, fully internal cables and hydraulic lines, top bag adventure mount, and through axles to keep the frame stiff all made this bike one of the top of the show for us.  

Merckx EM525

Merckx EM525

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More on the road side, the Merckx EM525 was another bike that really caught our attention.  The disc brake DI2 bike had swoopy clean lines, with internally routed cables and hydraulic lines, as well as direct mount disc brakes (which is thankfully becoming the standard).  

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One of the more awesome displays was Bradley Wiggins hour record-setting TT bike on display at Pinarello.  This had to be one of the sleekest TT bikes I have seen.  Every detail was meticulous on this bike down to the 3-d printed custom aero bars used by Wiggins to set the record.  _DSC5568

A bit more on the tech side, new GPS computers were everywhere at the show with Wahoo, Lezyne, and Garmin showing off new bar mounted units.  The new Wahoo Elemnt is their first computer that can work as a standalone unit and doesn’t have to be paired with your phone, although there is some pretty awesome features on this one when you do have it paired including map integration with third-party services like Strava, and direct upload of workout files to Garmin connect, Training Peaks, or Strava.  The Elemnt can also pair with power meters and heart rate straps via ANT+ or bluetooth.

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Lezyne debuted a full suite of GPS computers including the mini GPS (10 hour of battery lift and 40 hours of recording), the Power GPS (22 hour battery life with 200 hours of recording time), and the Super GPS  (22 hours of battery life with 400 hours of recording time).  The Mini GPS is just a simple GPS cyclometer with no power or HR integration, the Power GPS has bluetooth connectivity but no ANT+ (ironically making the Power GPS not compatible with a lot of power meters on the market), and the Super GPS can do both bluetooth and ANT+.  All of the Lezyne computers look like a nice option for a small, simple computer that can give you solid core functionality.  

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Last but not least, Garmin was showing off the compact 25.  This being the smallest GPS computer I have seen, it was nice to see that it still has bluetooth connectivity for heart rate straps and works on the more sensitive GLONASS GPS system for better accuracy.  At this point it doesn’t have any power meter integration (though they indicated that might happen for bluetooth enabled PMs through a firmware update at some point) not ANT+ integration.

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One of the more ridiculous things I saw at the show was WTBs new lock on grip system that requires cutting your bars at a 45 degree angle to allow for the locking mechanism.  To cut your bars you will need a special tool that fits into a standard Park Tool steerer cutting guide.  Alternatively, WTB makes a special bar to use with these grips as well.  I still don’t know why this is any better than a standard clamp on grip…  A close second in the ridiculous category is Rotor’s hydraulic drivetrain.  While impressive from an engineering standpoint, electronic drivetrains is where it is at…

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A few other quick notes in general:

  • Electronic integration in bikes is continuing to progress.  Electronic drivetrains, wireless drivetrains, electronic wireless mountain bike dropper posts, and electronically controlled lockouts for dual suspension mountain bikes have continued to progress and finding their way on to more and more bikes. _DSC5591
  • As a whole, the cycling industry has really stepped aerodynamic technology.  No doubt driven by Specialized who has led the industry in aerodynamic advances (it helps having your own wind tunnel).  
  • Matte paint (preferably high vis and black) for road, cross, and mountain bikes is definitely the new trend.  Norco bikes had some of the best looking bikes all with matte paint treatments. _DSC5574
  • The better the shoe, the brighter the colors.  At least that is the theme at Sidi, Scott, Giro, and Shimano.  Also, laces are rad!
  • Lastly, Cross Vegas is awesome and this year was made all the better with it being the opening round of the UCI World Cup.  20150916_220555

 

Full gallery of photos here!

Interbike 2015 Part 1

Vegas

 

Among the lights, glitter, and show girls every September Las Vegas hosts Interbike to show off the latest and greatest.  Interbike is by far the biggest cycling convention in North America and has continued to evolve from just a place where companies show off new products to a congregation of the smartest minds and companies in the cycling industry.  A good example of that was the Interbike Fit Symposium hosted on Tuesday afternoon before the indoor show began.  Among the presenters and attendees was Dr.Andy Pruit (arguably the originator of modern bike fitting and BG fit), Ben Serrotta (master fitter, owner of Serrotta Bicycles, and responsible for the original education program for bike fitting), Dan Empfield (owner of slowtwich and FIST fitting methodology), Paul Swift (owner of Bikefit and creator of the Lemond Wedges now used by almost all fitting philosophies), and Paraic McGlynn (owner of Cyclologic and creator of the Trek Bike Fitting system) among others.  It was an incredibly powerful collection of minds in the fit industry.  Not only were new ideas and concepts shared, but this also created a very good opportunity to network with other leaders in the industry.  

Interbike Fit Symposium

Interbike Fit Symposium

Monday and Tuesday of the week is Outdoor Demo Days.  It is an opportunity to take out the latest bikes and ride them in real world conditions to see how they perform.  I honestly ride very few road bikes while there mainly because the trail network in Boulder City is so phenomenal.  It really is a fun place to ride.  The highlights of demo days was the Jamis Defcon, which was by far the best all mountain bike I rode, and the Pivot Mach429 which was the best all around bike. Besides bikes on display, many companies have opted to also show components out at demo days and allow attendees another opportunity to check out their goods.  Speedplay and SRM were two such companies that took advantage of the opportunity.

Speedplay

Speedplay

Wednesday morning started the convention indoors and allowed companies to show off their new products.  Being a coach and bike fitter, I tend to concentrate on the latest training gear and bike fitting products including shoes, saddles, and pedals.  For this article, we will just go over the latest in power meters.  In the next article I will go over the latest in contact points as well as other cool things seen at the show.

Seems like every year there are a handful of new powermeters on the market, most of which never make it to market.  One example of that is the Brimm Brothers cleat mounted power meter.  Shown last year at the show, it is still in a “pre-order” phase with no ship dates being shown.  It is important to keep that in mind when talking about a few of these new products.  

Powerbeat by Wattteam

Powerbeat by Wattteam

One brand new product shown was the Powerbeat by Wattteam.  It is a user installed, dual sided power meter, that is set to retail for $499.  The Powerbeat is compatible with almost any crank on the market including carbon cranks, and is both ANT+ and bluetooth compatible.  It features a rechargable battery with about 40 hours of ride time.  Considering that it took Stages quite a while to have a carbon product (more on this below), I am a bit skeptical they will be able to hit their 2% accuracy claim across all crank arms.  The install process is also quite interesting given that 4iiii decided on not following through with their original plan of letting users or bike shops do the install.  I didn’t get to see the install process first hand but the tools and videos online look to be pretty straight forward.  They are set to start shipping near the end of the year so expect to see some real world testing soon.  I am hoping this product lives up to its claims as it could be a very affordable way for athletes to get into a dual sided power meter.

Carbon Stages Options

Carbon Stages Options

The latest at Stages was they now have a carbon arm product and have dropped prices to a $529 entry point.  The carbon crank arm (with an interchangeable bottom bracket spindle for SRAM and FSA) starts at $629 for the crank arm and $70 for the bottom bracket spindle.  The carbon products are set to begin shipping this winter or spring.  Here is the full pdf of all their options and pricing.

Pioneer debuted a new left side only powermeter starting at $800 for an Ultegra version.  They were no changes for their awesome dual sided power meter for Ultegra and Durace cranks which retail for $999 if you already own a crank, and $1850 (Durace) or $1550 (Ultegra) with a complete crank.

Pioneer Power Meter

Pioneer Power Meter

 

There were no major changes over a Quarq but they were still showing the best option for a mountain bike power meter.  The Quarq XX1 power meter is light, reliable, dual sided, and is $1399 for a GXP and $1449 for a BB30 model.

Quarq XX1

Quarq XX1

SRM only attended demo days earlier in the week but there was not much new with them besides the fact that the Power Control 8 computer has finally begun shipping.  

Powertap had lots new with the not only small refinements to their hubs (enduro bearings and a new disc brake version), but the debut of their new chainrings (110mm 5-bolt spacing) and new pedals.  The Powertap C1 chainrings are only offered in a 110mm 5-bolt spacing as of now.  This is somewhat limiting but there are still multiple crank options that are compatible.  A full list of compatibility is available here.  At $699 these enter the market as a good lower cost option for a dual sided power meter.  

Powertap C1 Chainrings

Powertap C1 Chainrings

Power tap also released their new P1 pedal system.  This is a dual sided pedal based power meter system that has overcome some of the complexities of other pedal based systems.  It is literally an install like any other pedal without the need for torque wrenches.  It uses AAA batteries with approximately 400 hours of ride time.  Cost for the P1 is $1199.

Powertap P1 Pedals

Powertap P1 Pedals

Last but not least is the new RPM2 footbed based power meter system.  What is exciting about this system, besides being extremely portable, is its ability to give an athlete power for running and cycling as well as determining force distribution for other weight-bearing exercises like squatting. The insoles use 4 piezo electric strain gauges mounted in a left-right toe and heel pattern which would allow the athlete to see how they are running (heel striking and/or toe off patterns) and distributing their weight both on and off the bike.  Measuring power for running is very new, and something I am a bit skeptical about at this point, but it could be a huge leap forward in objective measurements of running performance.  Research is currently being done on how to best use power for running and how accurate it will be as a driver of running performance.  The system is currently expected to retail for $699 and be available near the end of the year.

RPM2

Two concerns I have with this system is that it doesn’t allow the customization of arch support, although they said it wouldn’t be an issue to add arch support above or below their footbed although overall shoe volume may be a major constraint.  The footbed is 7mm thick at the heel and 3.5mm thick at the toe making it hard to add additional support.  My other major concern, and really is a deal breaker until fixed, is that they aren’t ANT+ compatible and only bluetooth compatible with their own app which doesn’t allow for sharing of a data file.  This means no training peaks, strava, or other analysis software integration.  Most of the value from measuring power is done post workout and without that ability these really have limited use.

 

Stayed tuned for all the other cool stuff we saw at interbike last week including this SWEET bike!

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Interbike Already?!

It is a bit hard to believe, but it is that time of the year again.  The time of the year where we make the annual pilgrimage to desert to see the latest and greatest from the cycling and triathlete markets.  Typically I go every two years but we are making an exception this year to participate in a bicycle fit symposium.  

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We will be sending out updates through the week from demo days, bike fit presentations, cross vegas, and on the show floor on our Facebook page and Instagram feed so make sure you are following us there to get the live updates.  Then check back here the week after to see a recap with all the hits and misses.GOPR0383

Here is the coverage from the previous years (It is funny what did and didn’t make it to market out of these):

Interbike 2015

Interbike 2013

Interbike 2011 Part 2

Interbike 2011 Part 1

Interbike 2010

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Interbike 2015

Getting up early in Vegas is always a bizarre experience.  There are the guys cleaning floors, the bachelor party slowly walking back to their room after a night of debauchery, and in mid-September a bunch of bike geeks heading to Mandalay Bay Trade show floor to check out the latest from the cycling industry.  After a sufficient amount of coffee, we stumbled into the trade show with an agenda filled of appointments, seminars, and vendors to visit.

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As in typical years my schedule revolved around power meters, training devices, and the latest in bike fit technologies.  I am not going to do a comprehensive review on the latest in power meters since DC Rainmaker did an awesome job of that on his blog but I do want to highlight a few interesting developments in the power meter market.  First off, the Brim Brothers shoe mounted power meter is finally coming to market.  This is a system that has a force plate mounted under a Speedplay Zero cleat with an accelerometer pod mounted on the top of the shoe.  The obvious benefit of this system is the ease in switching your power meter from bike to bike without any of the compromises the left side only systems make in their data accuracy.  Even if you don’t have multiple road, time trial, or triathlon bikes the $1000 price tag, ease of use, and lightweight will make the Brim Brothers system a strong player in the power meter market.  Of course this is a first year product and reliability in the real world is yet to be determined.  Having followed this project for a while, I am very optimistic that it is going to solid product.

The other trend we are seeing in power meters is the number of single sided systems coming to market.  Garmin debuted a left side only Vector, 4iiii has a new system that can be set up single sided, Stages continues to strive in the PM market, and Rotor continues to offer a single sided option.  There are positives (less cost being the biggest) and negatives (assumption of symmetry) to these systems.  I do think they are going to be somewhat temporary as prices continue to drop, and coaches and athletes see the benefits in more accurate systems, but for now they are a good “gateway drug” into training with power.

The new Vector S offering a cheaper, single sided option in their pedal system.

This was also the first year that wearable physiological sensors officially hit the market.  Moxy Monitors has a wearable muscle oxygen sensor, and BSX Insight introduced the wearable lactate threshold sensor.  Measuring muscle oxygen concentration is relatively new and the usefulness of it is still be determined, but measuring lactate to determine fitness and relative intensity levels is very well established.  Having the ability to train by lactate levels without having to put a drop of blood on a test strip is a very interesting concept.  From a coaching perspective, having real-time lactate levels and power data would be amazing!  Not only would we get the external output of an effort, but also the internal output and be able to analyze the correlation between the two over time.

BSX Insight wearable lactate analyzer

On the bike fit front we continue to see new tools being offered by Retul, Cyclologic, bikefit.com, and Guru.  While there are some really flashy technologies coming out, all of those companies emphasized that fitter education has to come first and the tools are secondary to the knowledge of the fitter.  That is awesome to see that change from the industry and the desire to have athletes more comfortable on bikes.

The other awesome trend we are seeing in companies with contact point equipment is developing prescriptive processes to determine the best components for an athletes physiology.  This is primarily driven by Specialized and their refined body geometry line, but several companies have released their own systems to size saddles, bar shapes, and insoles. The most prominent company embracing the prescriptive process is Fizik.  They have a dedicated “spine system” to determine saddles and appropriate bars.  Plus you can find the animal in you…

fizik spine conceptRight now all of those systems are limited to their own brand but I wouldn’t be surprised to see universal prescriptive processes coming out to determine the best equipment from a variety of manufacturers very soon.

Check out all of our photos of the cool new shiny bits here.