Interbike Roundup: Commuters, Cross Bikes, Cruisers, and more

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There were more than just feathery carbon road bikes and high-tech 29ers on display at Interbike. We saw tons of intriguing designs across the board, from belt drive commuters and cross bikes to a radical new mountain bike design with 26-inch wheels. In our final installment from the show, we present a few off-beat bikes we're looking forward to testing this fall.
–Aaron Gulley

BMC MassChallenge MC01 Turns out that Tour de France winners like fast bikes even when they aren’t racing. Designed by and for 2011 TDF champ Cadel Evans, this Gates CenterTrack belt-drive commuter pairs an aluminum rendition of BMC’s distinctive frame design with a host of Easton’s top-shelf carbon components (bar, stem, and seatpost). In case XT disc brakes and EC90XC 29er wheels seem a bit rich for your city bike—all the bling adds up to a price tag over $4K—BMC is offering more down-to-earth models in the Alpenchallenge and the Urbanchallenge.

Felt Deep Six Combining B2 Bomber robustness with café racer styling, this bike had us as soon as we spied it. With chunky, three-inch wide rubber pushing the 24-inch rims to a very rollable 29-inch diameter and a cushy spring saddle, it’s bound to ride smoothly. And the single speed, white-wall tires, low-slung bars, and sultry black cherry finish leave little question about the cruising intentions. Looks like the perfect picnic-in-the-park kind of ride, though at $750 you’ll either have to eat out to get your money’s worth or let it serve double duty as a commuter.

Jamis Aurora Elite Revised for 2012, this Reynolds steel utility two-wheeler may be just the answer for the rider with only enough space or money or interest in owning just one bicycle. From the Shimano 105 drivetrain to the comfy 32cm tires, pannier-ready racks, and full-coverage fenders, the Aurora Elite is built workhorse tough. Take off all the extras, and you have a stable road cruiser that can keep up on club rides. And the cork handlebar tape, matching touring saddle, and bar-end shifters (Shimano Dura-Ace!) add a touch of class beyond the standard city bike. It’s great value at $1,600, but if that’s still too steep the boiled-down Aurora offers much of the same ride quality minus the higher-end parts for just $950.

Look 920 Bringing concepts from the innovative stem design of last season’s highly successful 695 road bike to the dirt, this 120mm (five inches) full suspension 26er is possibly the most eye-catching bike we saw in Vegas. Look claims that the modular stem design accommodates a huge range of fit options without the use of spacers, which better integrates the front end of the bike for stiff, accurate steering. Built entirely of carbon (even the rocker) around a single-pivot suspension design, the bike looks to walk an interesting line between the lightweight efficiency of a racer and the bigger travel of a trail bike. Look will bring two models into the U.S., a high-zoot SRAM XX-equipped version that spares no expense and a more everyday model for the rest of us equipped with Shimano SLX. Also worth noting, the hardtail Look 986 gets revamped with the same integrated front end.

Raleigh Furley A city bike inspired by cross, the singlespeed Furley (as in Mr. Furley of Three's Company) brings simple, but smart styling to a lock-it-anywhere commuter that can double as a cross racer. With workaday Avenir bits and pieces, Tektro/Promax disc brakes, and all-business wheels, this bike is unabashedly about utility. Case in point: the 39×18 gearing, which should get you anywhere in town, but not especially fast. Yet the pumpkin-orange frame and matching highlights on the wheels and overall hard-wearing attitude will definitely appeal to the cool kids, as evidenced by the ring of gawkers constantly gathered around it at Interbike. And the rear derailleur hanger gives the option of gears should you decide to do so later. Alternatively, the analogous Roper packs a Shimano 105 drivetrain into a more subdued gray version.

For more bike reviews from Interbike, check out The Cycle Life.

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