By: Zach White
Available later this month
Giro has borrowed some of their snow sports helmet design and put it into the new Feature, a $75 "all-mountain" helmet. Using an in-form fit system with a much larger contact point – almost exactly like their snow helmets – the helmet offers much more coverage than a typical trail helmet, yet is claimed to weigh in at 328-grams for a medium.
While it has a similar look to a skate helmet, Giro kept the fit impressively streamlined to avoid excessive Mr. Potatohead syndrome. Straps are relatively lightweight, simple, and hang far enough off the face to hopefully avoid silly facial tan lines.
Dakine Ventilator Glove
Though extremely hard and sad to admit, the idea of having a mountain bike glove that is "I-life" compatible is appealing. The only comfort in this confession is knowing I must not be the only one, as Dakine added touch-screen compatible pads on the trigger and middle finger of the 2012 Ventilator glove. So now you can take photos of rad trails and post them on Facebook for all your working friends to view from their cubicle on a Tuesday afternoon, without the inconvenience and time suck of removing a glove to do so. Genius!
Other updates to the already lightweight and breathable glove include 3mm gel padding on the 1-piece, seamless and ventilated palm, and lightweight, wicking 4-way stretch nylon mesh on the back. Soft, snot-wipe-friendly thumb material included at no additional charge, as well.
MSRP $60-150, depending on rails
If you were one of the fast ones who won a custom WTB Downieville saddle at the 'Classic this year, you're familiar with their new Volt saddle. But for the rest of us, WTB's latest saddle offering is essentially a flatter, more neutral version of their Rocket V. Bringing a much more subtle whale-tale pitch to their Thinline design, the somewhat narrow, mid-length saddle features Comfort Zone business relief, abrasion-resistant edge protection, and comes with chromoly, NiCro, or titanium rails.
SE Racing OM Flyer
$789 complete, $299 frameset
Having an appreciation for a chrome, retro-style 26" BMX cruiser may date me a bit, but I can honestly say I was still growing out an impressive rat tail and eating out of a Dukes of Hazard lunchbox when "Old Man" Scott Breithaupt was racing on his OM Flyer.
It's probably not the best choice for singletrack, and most likely weighs more than two carbon mountain bikes combined, but it's shiny – reeeeal shiny – and I want one.
Intense Carbine SL
Intense is jumping into the carbon pool with both feet, and the Carbine SL should float to the top rather nicely. Claiming to weigh in at just under 5lbs with Fox Kashima RP23 shock, the lighter version of the Carbine still features adjustable travel, but gets reduced a touch to 4.7" (from 5.2"). The 68-degree head angle, and 73-degree seat angle stay the same at either travel setting, and a 13.25" bottom bracket height with 16.75" chainstays round out the static geometry throughout the Small, Medium, Large sizes.
Part of the weight savings over the standard Carbine frame comes from the omission of 135/142mm rear axle compatibility and the hardware necessary to do so, as the SL dedicated to 135mm. Speaking of hardware, while the front and rear triangles are made in Asia, Intense still takes pride in making the hardware to used to complete the frame in California.
"Interbike's Most Huggable" award goes to Vespertine, which admittedly is a combination title consisting of product and the sheer cuteness of its model/owner/CEO/Head floor sweeper, Sarah Canner.
In true entrepreneurial Interbike spirit, Canner showed up wearing her fuzzy, bright pink fashion-conscious cycling safety vest on her back, with no booth, no real connections, and no master plan, short of hoping to get her line some exposure.
It was random luck to stumble across Canner, and the initial motivation was honestly just to get a funny photo of a fuzzy pink vest. But when she spilled the reality of a full line of safety-specific cycling fashion out of her little suitcase, it wasn't nearly as easy to laugh off Vespertine like may of the other crackpots peddling unwanted wares through The Sands' halls. Granted, it IS New York-flavored fashion melded into cycling function, but there's a few pieces in the line that you(or your lady-friend) just might not laugh at. www.vespertinenyc.com
Epic is a word that's not only vying for the most overused descriptive in our lifetime, but its actual definition in relation to ride time has been drastically diluted by the masses, as well.
If anyone has the right to reclaim the word, and slap it across the faces of riders using it to describe spins to the Kwik-E-Mart, it's the Revelate Designs guys and their customers. Making bike packs for rides and races like Iditarod, Colorado Trail Race, and The Great Divide Race, the packs are minimalist, utilitarian, and designed to withstand anything from Alaskan blizzards to Baja hurricanes.
They make a wide range of packs to choose from for truly big rides, but the two most popular sellers are the Viscacha saddle bag and the Tangle frame bag. The Viscacha comes in two sizes and retails for $125-130, and the Tangle comes in small, medium, and large, all with a retail price of around $70.
Monkey has been a wrench on the international mountain bike racing circuit since '92, and just finished up a successful season keeping Aaron Gwin's Trek Session 88 rolling throughout Gwin's winning World Cup campaign. I, on the other hand, have been the chief wrench in my garage for an equal amount of time, and just finished up a successful season of stripping out brake bolts and using the wrong suspension fluid in forks for some never-was racer – me.
He and I happened across the Feedback Sports booth at the same time, so I took the opportunity to ask him what his take was on the Feedback repair stands. Turns out, he's used the older version of Feedback stands for years, and was looking to freshen up his quiver of internationally-stashed stands for the upcoming season. "These are light, strong, and have lasted forever." Monkey said, adding that he's modified his by extending the clamps out to better house wide DH pedals, and adding an extra clamp to hold two bikes at once.
Feedback Sports doesn't currently offer a double-headed repair stand, so Monkey will have to modify his new ones if he wants to hold more than one bike. The current Feedback stands typically offer plenty of pedal clearance, too. Their top-of-the-line stand, the Pro-Elite, retails for $240, has an optional carry bag for an extra $30, but doesn't come with a world-class mechanic, so wrench responsibly.