By Charlie Summers, PCI #512
Illinois State University Police Department
IPMBA Industry Liaison
In 2011, InterBike celebrated its 30th anniversary in Las Vegas. Although initially planned for Anaheim, Ca., the show returned to Las Vegas. The tradeshow pulled out all the stops, and the industry seemed excited to be back in Vegas. There was much more enthusiasm and a it seemed like a larger crowd than in 2010.
As always, the show presented IPMBA President Dave Hildebrand and me with a tough job to conquer. This year, it filled up two floors of the Sands Convention Center. For those of you who have never had the opportunity to visit the Sands, it is an overwhelmingly large place. It took us three days to cover the two levels and I guarantee we didn’t see it all.
Dave and I noticed right from the start there were many new products and vendors at this year’s show. For you 29er fans, the industry has come up with some sweet products. In fact, from our perspective, it could have been called The Year of the 29ers. With new lines of 29er bikes and related products and accessories, they are fast becoming the bike of choice.
One of the hot new items was from Urge helmets, which has come up with a totally new concept in helmet design. This helmet is designed for mountain use, but with the venting of an XC style helmet. The vents are very large to optimize air circulation and the general structure of the helmet has been reinforced with alloy tubes in order to pass the high security and homologation tests. The visor is flexible and light, which is a nice feature in case of the inevitable drop or crash. The helmet has a unique array of padding, and the front of it houses a large frontal pad to absorb sweat. The strap system crosses on the back of the neck for a nice, comfortable fit.
Another “hot” item for those of us who are buried in snow over the winter was a new design in bicycle snow chains from Slipnot. These chains are for use in harsh conditions such as ice, snow, and even mud. They can be used with either disc or caliper brakes. They are available for both 26-inch and 29-inch tires. I viewed a short video clip of them in use, which showed a significant improvement in traction when riding in harsh conditions.
Another item that fascinated us was the new Le Tour de France training system from ProForm. This is an indoor training bike, but with the help of Google maps, you can ride the Tour from the “comfort” of home. The bike makes adjustments so you can feel every incline and descent the terrain has to offer. This was one unique ride, to say the least, and a great workout.
One of the items I hoped to see this year, which I spoke of last year, was the DOSS (Drop Off Steep Stuff) drop seat post from Fox Racing Shox. According to the reps, though, we are going to have to wait another year while they perfect it. All is not lost, however. They have introduced the Smart Suspension setup pump concept. This system will calibrate your suspension by using a Garmin GPS or Android smart phone to run through Fox’s Intelligent Ride Dynamics application and set your suspension for the terrain. Even better, They are launching a totally sweet, 34mm stanchioned 29er fork.
We also checked out the new line of Bern helmets. They have an outstanding line of helmets for all kinds of weather, and are eager to work with us. They have even set us up with some demo products, so look for those reviews in a future issue. The Bern reps introduced us to the new line of Adidas sunglasses, which are super-nice. They set us up with some demos, and you’ll be reading about those soon as well. I am hopeful you’ll be seeing both these vendors in St. Paul.
These were just a few highlights of what is to come for 2012. There were countless new bike designs and other products. As evidenced by the fact that InterBike continues to expand, the industry is constantly evolving. It is hard to keep track of all the innovative products with potential for public safety cycling use.
In the midst of all this new stuff, don’t forget about all the wonderful companies that have supported us throughout the years. Please shop the Product Purchase Program and patronize our advertisers, exhibitors, and other supporters at every opportunity.
Charlie serves as industry liaison on the IPMBA Board of Directors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2012 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of IPMBA News.