Following are my Best of the Rest most noteworthy products and updates I saw on the Interbike show floor. I’ll start with a quick rundown of what I saw from the Big 3 component makers before getting into some other products that caught my eye on the show floor.
New and Updated Road Components from the Big 3
I’d say that the road components everyone was most excited about in Vegas is still SRAM’s eTAP, which actually debuted two years ago at Interbike. Yet, while the coveted wireless electric shifting has been out there for a while, it’s still so pricey not everyone is ready to upgrade or purchase a new bike with it.
Also affecting sales was that SRAM was late to finish their hydraulic disc brakes for the group. So, the good news from the booth guy was that their Red eTAP HRD (Hydraulic Road Disc) component package is now more available. It comes in post- or flat-mount, can be fine-tuned to hand size and braking preferences and has more ergonomic hoods.
With no shifting wires – or cables – and brake hoses hidden inside the frame and fork, this group, which was on many bikes at the show, makes for one of the cleanest looking disc road bikes ever. Plus, eTAP’s unique shifting is a game-changer already for the riders I know using it. https://www.sram.com/sram/road/family/sram-red-etap#sm.0000q0thpc14ycfs9yfosvqj76a0q
Like SRAM, Campagnolo took their time hopping on the disc-brake bandwagon. And it appears that it was time well spent as they now have disc brakes under the moniker H11 for their Super Record EPS, Super Record, Record EPS, Record, Chorus EPS, Chorus and Potenza 11 groupos. Plus, new Bora disc wheels to go with them. You can see them in their 2018 Catalog here https://www.campagnolo.com/media/files/035_2369_Groupsets_Catalogue_Campagnolo_2018.pdf
Campy’s H11 discs were actually designed with help from the German brake experts Magura. The calipers are flat-mounts and there are new levers featuring double-curve ergonomics and adjustable reach and brake modulation. The levers are carbon except for the Potenza 11’s, which are aluminum.
Across the hall in the Shimano booth, I thought the new Ultegra R8000 components were most noteworthy. Finally, there’s an 11-34 11-speed cassette option and their low-profile, long-cage Shadow rear derailleur to shift it. Plus, the R8000 4-arm crankset is available in 53/39, 52/36, 50/34 and 46/36.
The R8000 group also has a rim or disc brake option and Di2 and mechanical shifting options, so you now have more versatility than ever from one of Shimano’s most popular parts groups. http://bike.shimano.com/content/sac-bike/en/home/components11/road/ultegra-r8000.html
Hiplok’s Z Lok
Last month in this space I reviewed Hiplok’s Z Lok, which is like a heavy-duty zip tie with a built-in keyed lock. I loved how handy and affordable it is, but wished it was a little more secure. Well, now they’ve come out with the Z Lok Combo, which features a combination lock, more length and a widened reinforced steel core (8mm). Cost is $24.99. http://www.hiplok.com/
One of the interesting new products was the Velo Angle, a clever tool for transferring your fit from one bike to another. So, for example, if you buy a new bike and don’t want to have to go through a complete fitting for the new rig, this tool lets you quickly and accurately get your seat and bars in exactly the same position. Ditto for when you’re changing a seatpost or handlebar. With a cost of about $180, this tool may be more geared to pro bike shop fitters than consumers, but, with its levels and measurements plus precision locators, it could be a more accurate and speedier way to transfer your perfect riding fit. http://veloangle.com/
A more basic new product that caught my eye is the Tubolito tube. It’s made of a new material claimed to be much lighter and more puncture-resistant than regular butyl tubes. The road model weighs only 33 grams (a standard tube is about 104 grams), so if these tubes work as promised, it could mean a significant performance boost. https://www.tubolito.com/
Park Tool’s JIS Screw-Compatible Driver
Over at the Park Tool booth, the star of their Tech Tuesdays YouTube show, Calvin Jones, showed me their beautiful new JIS screw-compatible driver. It’s not on their site yet, but if you turn a lot of Shimano derailleur limit screws, you may want to be on the lookout as this machined-aluminum beauty should set the new standard in fit and function. https://www.parktool.com/
Cervelo R Bikes, Biknd Case
While so many of the big bike companies decided not to attend Interbike, Cervelo was there in full force. I own one of their road and tri/time trial bikes and was impressed to see all the refinements in their new R lineup, the R2, R3 and R5. With room for wider tires now, rim and disc brake models, and the most efficient and aero R frames yet, it might be time for me to upgrade to the R5. Yet, since I love time trials and fly to race occasionally, the tastiest booth candy for me was their P5X top-line tri bike with matching custom-crafted Biknd bike case. The bars, seat and post come apart by removing only a few bolts and then fit into protective holders built into the case. In minutes the bike is packed and it goes back together just as fast. https://www.cervelo.com/en-us For more on Biknd cases visit http://biknd.com/en/
Lastly, Bont’s Helix shoes weren’t at the show yet sound promising. I recently received a review sample of Bont’s Vaypor S shoes and will write about them when I give them a good go. I wanted to try Bont shoes because they seem to address a problem I’m having with cycling shoes that fit a little too loose in places.
The Vaypors have Boa closures and overlapping uppers that together pull your feet down and back and into the heels when tightened, for a glove-like fit and no roominess. At the show I ran into the Bont rep who wanted to tell me that for 2018, they have the new Helix model, which has an added Boa wire for even more shoe volume adjustment. It should sell for about $450 (same as the Vaypor S) and be available in early 2018. If you have a lower volume fit, it could be a good option. http://www.bontcycling.com/