Interbike Roundup: Hard Goods and Components
We scoured the aisles at Interbike to find the latest in bike components. The top stories seem to be bigger travel, better interfaces, and more choice. Presenting a few hardgood highlights from Vegas.
Speedplay SYZR Though it might look like a Shimano SPD knockoff, the SYZR packs some of the most interesting pedal technology to emerge in years. Unlike every other mountain bike pedal on the market, adjustable float (tuneable from zero to 10 degrees with the simple click of a pair of limit bolts) is built into the cleat itself, which rotates on the shoe. Steel protrusions on the side of the cleats are built to contact corresponding steel on the pedals, so stability comes from a solid metal-to-metal interface rather than from the amorphous intersection of your shoe's sole with the pedal. The result, according to Speedplay, is stability on a par with road bike pedals.
Easton EA90 RT If you're still riding tubes on the road, you probably won't be for long as advances in tubeless technology are adding the reliability and light weight of existing systems to the list of benefits already afforded by going tubeless (better traction, fewer flats, and a ride quality rivaled only by tubulars). Drawing on it's experience in UST mountain wheels, Easton's new EA90RT wheelset debuts a rim design that ensures that compatible tires stay sealed even below 100 psi. They're relatively light (just 1550 grams for the pair) and, at $850, they make a high-quality, but not-too-costly entrée to road tubeless.
RockShox SID 29er / Fox 34 Float 29 One of the biggest boons for 29ers this year is the addition of even more suspension options. RockShox is offering it's high-end race fork, the SID, in a 29er option for the first time, meaning you can now get World Cup worthy performance for your big wheeler in a fork that weighs just 3.3 pounds. Meanwhile, Fox is pushing the other end of the spectrum with their new Fox 34 Float 29, which ups the stanchion diameter to 34 millimeters (standard Float forks are 32mm). The added girth helps counteract the flex of the longer length needed for 29ers, and the 140mm of travel caters to the new flock of trail 29ers. The forks also feature Fox's new Kashima coating, adopted from the motorcycle industry, for buttery smooth action.
Fiz'ik Kurve Saddles Taking a new approach to saddle design, Fiz'ik's new Kurve employs a three-layer thermoformed carbon fiber composite shell suspended over an aluminum rail system that forms a full loop at the rear rather than attaching fixed points. The layering of the carbon corresponds with anatomy to create softer and harder spots where needed, and the cushion comes from the overal flex of the carbon rather than from padding. The Kurve can be further fine-tuned using a Torx wrench to swap out one of two nosepieces (hard or soft), which tension the saddle accordingly. Three models of the Kurve, corresponding to the shapes of Fiz'ik's current Aliante, Antares, and Arione saddles, will be available.
Crank Brothers Cobalt 11 29 We've loved the look and incredible stiffness of the Crank Brothers' Twinpair spoke lacing system since it debuted a few years back, but the wheels have always been a bit heavy for our liking, especially on 29ers where added rotating weight is a big downfall. Enter the new carbon Cobalt 11 29, which offers the same durability and stiffness of the original in a considerably lighter package (just 1530 grams per pair). There are lighter options on the market, but few of them are as sexy. The front wheel is both 9mm QR and 15mm through axle compatible out of the box, and the rear wheel comes standard as a 142mm through axle.