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TECH NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIKEEXCHANGE
Much has been written and said in recent years about the long and steady decline of the Interbike trade show. What once was unquestionably one of the premier stops on the annual trade show circuit has seemingly now become more of a regional event with more of a local feel than a global one, and with almost none of the major complete bike brands attending.
But that said, the void left by those bigger brands has opened the door for smaller brands that might have otherwise gone ignored; brands that are still worthy of attention. And, to be honest, that’s perfectly fine by me. Variety is the spice of life, after all, and it’s often the smaller items that distinguish one bike from another, anyway.
Featured in this round of coverage from the 2018 Interbike show is Thule’s awesome-looking new hitch rack, updates to Watteam’s budget-priced power meter, a new helmet from Oakley, and a variety of other nifty tidbits that caught my eye as I wandered the halls of the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
Is Interbike dead? Hardly. And there’s more coverage to come in the days ahead, too.
Oakley is expanding its range of cycling helmets into the mountain bike realm this year. Headlining the new collection is the DRT5, which offers generous coverage and a pivoting visor for enduro and trail riders.
One of the best features of Oakley’s new DRT5 trail and enduro helmet is the integrated eyewear dock, which seems far more robust and secure than most other systems on the market. Once the glasses are docked, it’s impressively difficult to knock them off.
Inside the Oakley DRT5 trail and enduro helmet is a MIPS low-friction liner and a neat silicone band at the forehead area to help channel sweat off to the sides of your face.
Oakley claims its new graphene-infused G+ road jersey is better able to maintain an ideal body temperature than jerseys made of more conventional fabrics.
Naturally, Oakley is keeping eyewear in mind, incorporating a small pocket on the side of the G+ jersey in case you want to stash your glasses.
Watteam’s new G3 power meter is still sold as a DIY kit that you install (and calibrate) in the comfort of your own home, and using aluminum cranks that you already own. Recent refinements on the latest G3 version make the system more convenient to use, though, and also better looking. Claimed accuracy is the usual +/-2%.
Although the physical updates to the Watteam pod are the most noticeable change from the previous version, Watteam is also quick to tout its new companion smartphone app, which can not only be used to calibrate and tune the system, but also serves as a standalone display in case, for whatever reason, you don’t feel like using the Watteam with a dedicated cycling computer.
The rechargable battery and electronics can be easily removed from each Watteam pod, which may be appealing to ultra-racers who need unusually long run times. Watteam also now sells a kit with two sets of pods and strain gages, but just one set of batteries and electronics so you can equip two bikes with power without having to purchase two complete power meter systems. The companion app stores calibration settings for each set of pods, too, so you should (in theory) get accurate readings on both bikes.
Will the Watteam work on your crank? According to the company, the answer is basically “yes” as long as the crank is aluminum.
Thule’s new Helium Platform hitch rack looks like it could very well take the crown away from 1upUSA. The overall design is obviously extremely similar, but the execution is far more polished and refined.
The release for each pivoting and ratcheting arm on Thule’s new Helium Platform rack is up top, right where it should be.
The tray spacing is fixed on the Thule Helium Platform hitch rack, but because there’s so much lateral adjustability in terms of how the bikes are locked on to each tray, the bikes can be placed closer together than usual without risking contact.
The release lever for the tilting base is located right at the end of the rack’s central backbone for easy access.
Thule says the new Helium Platform hitch rack will accept 26-29″ wheel diameters and tire widths up to 3″. Unfortunately, that means kids’ bikes and fat bikes won’t fit.
The new Helium Platform is undoubtedly Thule’s best-looking hitch rack to date. Retail price for the two-bike version is US$650, and there will also be a single-bike version for US$430. The system isn’t designed to be expanded for carrying more bikes, though, so two bikes is the maximum capacity.
The tilt-down function should ease access to the rear of your vehicle when bikes are loaded.
Thule has revamped its aero roof rack crossbar range, which is now topped by the new WingBar Evo shown here. One of the key differences is an all-new design for the rubber channel cover, which no longer has to be cut to fit various accessories.
Thule continues to expand its collection of packs, which includes the new Rail 8L shown here. The styling is exceptionally clean, and they look to be quite comfortable given the design of the shoulder and waist straps. Retail price is US$130.
The shoulder straps are anchored in metal loops on Thule’s new Rail 8L hydration pack. Underneath the pack are extra straps for securing outerwear, pads, or other larger items.
See that orange stripe running by the hose on Thule’s new Rail 8L hydration pack? Inside is a line of magnets that automatically keep the hose tidily attached to the strap when not in use. It’s a brilliant little feature.
Samox isn’t a drivetrain component brand you may have heard of already, but with increasing OEM and a new aftermarket deal with major US distributor QBP, you’ll no doubt see more from the company soon. This carbon crank is still in the final stages of development, but looks quite appealing.
As is the case with many companies, Samox is using SRAM’s splined interface for widespread chainring compatibilty.
Samox has a lot of different chainring configurations from which to choose, including 1x, 2x, and a range of chainring interfaces.
Italian eyewear company NRC is relatively new to the cycling scene, but with keen styling and lens optics by Zeiss, perhaps we’ll see more from this brand in the near future.
100% was one of the earliest brands to extend cycling eyewear lenses upward for more expansive fields of view. Nearly every company has followed suit since then, including Italian brand NRC.
Interested in one of those newfangled 360° video cameras? The Insta360 ONE looks to be one of the best budget models on the market, with impressive specs, a highly refined companion app, amazing physical and in-app stabilization, and a highly appealing retail price of just US$300.
Custom painter Nick Lee showed off this striking wood-grain Felt track bike at this year’s Interbike show.
In homage to Reno’s casino culture, the wheels are finished to look like a roulette wheel.
Even if the wood-grain look isn’t for you, it’s hard not to be impressed with the airbrushing skill required to pull off something like this.
It seems that almost every tire plug system on the market is hailing from South Africa these days, with the development spawned by the popularity (and brutal course conditions) of the Absa Cape Epic. The Ryder Slug Plug includes both 1.5mm and 3.5mm-thick plugs, and the installation tool has been designed such that it’s impossible to push the plug too far into the tire casing. There’s a presta valve tool incorporated into one end of the tool, too. Retail price is just US$10, and it’s tiny enough to almost get lost in your jersey pocket.