We're back from the festival in the desert and still swimming through the flood of new bike gear. There's tons of interesting new products on the horizon, including a rash of 650B mountain bikes and more than a few disc-brake road bikes. Check here for our Gear of the Show picks, the five most compelling things we saw in Vegas. But because five slots isn't really enough space to capture all of the interesting bits and pieces, here's a sneak peek at some other bikes that have us fired up.
BMC GRANDFONDO GF02
The "endurance" bike is one growth category this season, with manufacturers offering more comfort and stability than on their flat out race bikes by way of taller head tubes, long wheelbases, and slightly slacker geometries. The most interesting one to our eye is BMC's new Grandfondo, which uses strategically placed kinks in the stays, fork, and seatpost to create flex points and therefore bump-eating compliance. Given just how comfortable we found BMC's top-shelf race bike, the TeamMachine SLR01, we have to imagine that the GF is going to be a Cadillac-like ride. Yet BMC says not only is this bike their most comfy, it's also the most efficient. And while the GF series will come in what's sure to be awesome carbon, we're just as excited about the aluminum GF02, which is almost as light as the carbon version and, when built with Shimano 105, will come in at an incredibly affordable $1,800.
Volagi, the upstart California bike company that took on Specialized last year and won, supplements its successful Liscio from last year with the steel Viaje. Back are the disc brakes (a feature we're seeing on more road bikes, including the Parlee Z-Zero and the Colnago C-59), as well the swooping top-tube-to-seatstay design that unhitches the seat post from the main triangle to provide a very cushy ride. The company says the bike can be built up as a gravel racer, a stopgap cross bike, a lightweight crit bike, and a fast commuter, and we love that versatility. With a few pairs of wheels (there's clearance for up to 45mm tires), this one frame, which is being offered in both 4130 Cromoly steel and even lighter triple-butted Columbus Spirit tubing, can go from peloton crusher to fire road adventure explorer. Quiver of one, at last.
NORCO RANGE KILLER B
The tweener 650B wheel size was probably the biggest talk of the show, with a dozen companies rolling out new frames built around the standard. The 650B wheel (also being marketed as 27 and 27.5) is said to combine the rolling benefits of a 29er with the speed and snappiness of a 26er, and most of the bike iterations (including our Gear of the Show-winning Scott Genius 700) seem to be hovering in the trail-oriented 130mm to 150mm range of travel. We like Norco's longer-travel take in the Range Killer B, which packs slack geometry, a stout fork, beefy wheels and tires, and 160mm of travel into a bike that's going to be at ease on big, hard terrain. We expect that 650B will push deeper into this category next season.
As we've already told you, fat bikes aren't just for snow anymore, a message that Surly seems deadset on making with the new Krampus. With a long top tube, short chainstays, and—most importantly—"only" three-inch-wide tires, this isn't your typical fatty for low-speed grinding, which is why Surly has dubbed it a "29+." It's billed as a quick-handling, hard-riding hardtail with semi-large tires for killer traction, a description that we found apt on a short test ride at Bootleg Canyon. And because the bike is designed around standard hub sizes, you can run your normal lightweight 29er wheels or the wheels Surly specs with beefy 50mm rims, making this almost like two bikes in one.
PINARELLO MAAT CARBON PISTA
Few words are necessary for this hyper sexy, all-carbon track bike. At $8,500 for the frameset, not too many people will be purchasing one. But it was arguably the most eye-catching bike at the show, especially with that volumptuous integrated carbon stem and bar arrangement. It's the Lamborghini of bicycles. Period. Oh, and as if to underline their design prowess, Pinarello also unveiled a fetching assymetric new 29er mountain bike dubbed the Dogma XC.