Cyclists, take note. You'll want to watch these boutique gearmakers.
The big brands at Interbike released lots of groundbreaking products this year (five of which we covered in our Gear of the Show awards). But the little guys also brought the heat. We were so excited to find small companies pushing boundaries in both technology and style that we rounded up our six favorites below.
Search and State
Devin O’Brien and Daniel Golden, the founders of Search and State, design and make all their kits in New York City. That’s an important detail because it both ensures an ultra high-quality product (everything is sewn in the garment district) and helps explain the sleek urban aesthetic. Almost everything they make is understated but sophisticated, with clean lines and simple colors. But look is only part of the appeal. Behind the design there are bolts of high-end materials (the jacket uses Schoeller C-Change fabric, for example) that make for comfy, versatile kits.
Lumenus, founded by Jeremy Wall and backed by Outdoor Tech, will soon make a wind jacket (plus other products, including a pack) with integrated LED lights that can relay directions while you ride. The jacket pairs with an app on your phone, and that app talks with Google Maps to light your way. Simply set a destination, and as you ride lights will flash on the jacket, alerting you where to turn. LEDs in the back also function like brake lights when you slow down, and the jacket flashes as you go through an intersection to alert cars to your presence. The best part? When the lights aren’t flashing, the jacket looks like a normal commuter piece, not a gaudy safety device.
Abbey Bike Tools
Jason Quade started Abbey Bike Tools in Bend, Oregon, in 2012, because he wanted a set of high-end tools that would match the high-end bikes the industry was making. Now, the company produces a full line of products that includes everything from a beautiful wood-handle pedal wrench to a hanger alignment gauge with ultra-tight tolerances. Ultimate confirmation of just how good the tools are came this past summer when 15 teams in the Tour de France used his products to work on bikes.
Dustin Klein, a Portland-based artist, started Cadence, in 2003, selling a collection a T-shirts made for bike messengers. The company, now based in Los Angeles, California, has since developed a full-line of clothing for a broad range of buyers. Products like the raw denim jeans are lusted after by the young commuter crowd, but you’ll also find the company's Italian-made kit on the backs of old-school roadies. Some of the designs are loud, others are subtle, but everything looks good thanks to Klein’s artistic oversight.
Tanner Goods, founded in Portland, Oregon, by Jevan Lautz and Sam Huff, got its start making high-quality leather goods such as wallets and belts. More recently, it released a set of elegant bike bags. Built with burly waxed canvas and beautiful leather straps, the bags are designed to age well, so they look better over time. They’re also bomber and should last approximately forever.
The YendraBuilt Bootlegger turned a lot of heads at Interbike—partially because it’s a cargo bike with front suspension that will transport 500 pounds, but also because the designer, Zach Yendra, was rolling around with a keg strapped on it. That’s actually how the bike, which YendraBuilt will try to fun on Kickstarter soon, got its start. Yendra and his dad, Carl, built one for Equinox Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado, to deliver beer. It was so popular, the duo decided they had to produce a full run. Once the bikes goes into production, YendraBuilt will offer several different models with different cargo bays, different tire sizes, and an optional motor.