The Best Bike Accessories and Apparel from Interbike 2011
We love Interbike for all the techy bling and cool, new gadgets we find there. We could devote pages and pages to the hottest new tech (and we will in subsequent issues of the magazine), but for now, here are a few of the best-looking bike accessories we found in Vegas.
Pearl Izumi Octane SLIII Pearl has revamped its top-end Octane shoe with a complete, space-age design that elminates almost all the seams from the upper and slashes the weight. Constructed of supple synthetic and superlight mesh that is welded rather than stitched and built around a very thin (only 6.5mm stack height), vented uni-directional carbon sole, the $350 shoe weighs in at a feathery 195 grams and should feel as breezy as a sandal. Two other models, the buckle-top PRO Leader ($270) and the triathlete-oriented Tri Fly Octane ($350) make use of the same construction methods. As for the flashy look, it will take some real speed to pull these off.
Specialized Wiretap Gloves Finally, Specialized gives us cycling-specific gloves that work with an iPhone. With the advent of touchscreens like those on the latest Garmin devices, which work even with the bulkiest gloves and mittens, this might seem unnecessary. But there's no indication that Apple will employ the same technology, so if you use a phone-based cycling computer like iBike Dash or Wahoo Fitness (or if you hate taking off a glove to change your tunes), you'll appreciate this convenience. Available in eight models, including these mountain-oriented BG Gel WireTap Long Finger ($45).
Kuat Bottle Lock This clever little lock gracefully solves the commuter's age-old dilemma of how to carry a lock. The water bottle shaped device houses a five-foot cable and lock that nestles discreetly into a standard cage. Protecting your bike is as simple as threading the cable through a rack and locking the end back into the bottle. When you're ready to go, just spin the top of the bottle to retract the cable, and stow the key in the bottle's bottom compartment. $35
Garmin Edge 200 Garmin is bringing GPS-enabled cycling to a broader audience with the $150 Edge 200. For that reasonable price, you get the same clean, simple good looks as the rest of the Edge line, the handy quick-mount system that allows the device to be easily swapped between bikes, all the standard cycling metrics (speed, distance, laps, etc.), and mapping capabilities both on screen and after the ride on Garmin's web-based tracking software, Garmin Connect. Garmin has kept the pricetag low by stripping the 200 of ANT+ compatibility (no heart rate, cadence, or power monitors), but then again not everyone wants or needs all that data anyway.
Mavic helmets Like so many other big manufacturers, the French wheel specialist continues its spread into the soft goods realm with a small range of helmets for 2012. There's no real technology advancements in any of the three models, though the twist-lock retention system looks solid, the weights are on par with other lids in the industry, and there are nice touches like antimicrobial X-Static padding. Mostly though, the high-end Plasma SLR ($220), Plasma ($180), and MTB-oriented Syncro ($125; pictured) seem aimed at fans of the company's flashy, high-tech aesthetics.
Castelli Pocket-liner Jacket Castelli claims that at just six ounces (170g) this jacket, which is built from the three-layer eVent fabric usually reserved for, you guessed it, the inside of pockets, is the lightest fully waterproof raincoat ever made. That's a tough claim to confirm, but we will say that pulling it on felt almost like putting on nothing at all. It's highly tailored for a racing fit, with stretch plissé panels in the back for an even sleeker silhouette. And this is no plastic trash bag, either, with breathability numbers that rival any other WPB on the market. At $500, it's a wet-weather piece for racers and any cyclist who demands the finest.