As the largest bicycle distributor in the United States, Quality Bicycle Products not only sells an incredible volume and diverse selection of
independent brands, but it’s also now big enough that it’s been able to develop a slew of highly respected in-house labels as well, such as Salsa, Surly, Civia, All-City, Teravail, 45NRTH, Issi, and Problem Solvers. Now more than twenty years old, QBP’s annual Frostbike event is a respectable trade show in its own right for many of those brands. Here’s a look at some of the best and brightest from Frostbike 2020.
The All-City Zig Zag features a TIG-welded and air-hardened steel frame, clearance for 35mm tires, a full carbon fork, a lot of clever details, and a fantastic paint job.
The tapered head tube looks quite graceful. Note the down tube cable stops in the event you’d ever thought of going back to down tube shifters.
The cast seat tube collar is a wonderfully elegant touch.
The dropouts are particularly nice, especially at this price point. Note how the frame is compatible with electronic drivetrains, too.
The All-City Cosmic Stallion is more of a gravel/cyclocross rig, with clearance for tires up to 47mm-wide. And like the Zig Zag, the paint is fantastic.
Whereas the Zig Zag uses an in-house carbon fork, All-City equips the Cosmic Stallion with a Columbus Futura Cross model.
Lovely S-bend seatstays on the All-City Cosmic Stallion.
One feature not to overlook on the Columbus Futura Cross fork is the adjustable rake, which can be very helpful if you tend to run a lot of different tire sizes.
K-Edge showed off a new top tube computer mount at this year’s Frostbike show (which will also work on bottle cage mounts, if you’re so inclined). Retail price is US$40.
Also new from K-Edge is the Integrated Handlebar System Mount, which is designed to accommodate most integrated designs that use two inline mounting holes.
The K-Edge Integrated Handlebar System Mount is adjustable for viewing angle, and there’s also an option for mounting a light or camera to the optional GoPro-style tabs on the underside. Retail price for this combo mount is US$60; the standard version is US$50.
The multiple mounting holes on the underside of the K-Edge Integrated Handlebar System Mount are meant to work with most integrated cockpits that use this hole layout. That said, the modular design means that K-Edge can accommodate other models relatively quickly if necessary.
One small update to K-Edge’s interchangeable computer inserts: they’ll all now have a hole in the middle for easier tool access when used with top cap mounts.
Got a Wahoo Element Roam and wishing it came with a nicer mount? Your wish has been granted, courtesy of K-Edge.
K-Edge constantly has to fight off a barrage of low-cost competitors that populate sites like eBay, Amazon, and Alibaba, but the Sport mount presents a strong value proposition with its reasonable US$30 cost and lifetime warranty.
Topeak is never one to let someone else have a good idea all to themselves. The US$13 Power Lever combines tire levers, chain link pliers, and a chain hook all into one handy widget.
Topeak’s new Torq Stick combines a convenient ratcheting and adjustable torque wrench with a snap-on bit holder. Retail price is US$110.
The Topeak Nano TorqBox X is a torsion-type torque wrench good for 2-6Nm applications. Inside the handle is storage for two additional bits.
The torsion-style display is trickier to use, but also makes the unit smaller and lighter, which could be just the thing for travel. Retail price is US$55.
Salsa’s new Rangefinder family of aluminum hardtails aims to bring “real” mountain bikes to more accessible price points.
Details like internal cable routing and top tube accessory mounts are nice to see here.
Kinked down tubes were originally used to help create more room for bottles on full-suspension bikes, but they’re almost the default front triangle shape these days, even for hardtails.
At just US$1,100, it’s good to see Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. Well done, Salsa.
The standard dropper post is an excellent inclusion at US$1,100, too. I’d argue that, especially for beginner riders, a dropper post is more important than rear suspension.
Moving further up the price scale is the Salsa Timberjack line of aluminum hardtails. These aren’t brand new, but the company has expanded the range for 2020.
The rocker-style rear dropouts are nice to see here, as they allow for both geared and singlespeed setups.
The plate-style chainstay yoke on the Salsa Timberjack frame provides extra tire and drivetrain clearance while still keeping the rear ends reasonably short.
Surly has always been the value leader for QBP’s house brands, offer workhorse steel framesets for comparatively little money. The Midnight Special is a road plus bike that can fit tires up to 650x60mm or 700x42mm, and offers versatile handling along with all the mounts you could possibly ask for. And the price? US$2,000, all in.
Tire clearance on the Surly Midnight Special is very generous indeed.
The steel frame and fork will undoubtedly make the Surly Midnight Special quite heavy, but it should also hold up to a lot of abuse, too.
Park Tool’s new SWR-8 3/8″ ratchet handle features a quick-engaging 72-point ratchet ring for easier operation in tight spaces. Retail price is just US$22.
Park Tool is steadily moving more upscale, as seen in these two new sets of hex and Torx sliding L-keys.
The hex keys feature a special end designed to help you remove bolts that have rounded sockets.
Running a dropper post on your gravel bike, but looking to add some color? Paul Components may have what you’re looking for.
One thing I always love about companies that actually make their own stuff is seeing how they use those skills on their display stands.
Paul Components also has a variety of different shifter mounts to accommodate a wide range of crazy drivetrain combinations.
Ergon’s ST-Core range of saddles uses a neat double-shell construction for extra comfort.
In between the two shells is a thick layer of the same type of foam used on Adidas’s UltraBoost range of running shoes.
The Ergon SM Enduro Pro saddle is flat from side to side and front to back, with a deep cutout for comfort, but a tapered tail for maneuverability.
Challenge has been slow to jump on the tubeless clincher bandwagon, but now has some good options available. We have a set of the 30mm-wide Strada Biancas inbound for review.
Challenge has updated its tubeless-ready handmade clinchers, finally omitting the thick foam layer under the tread that’s no longer needed given the sealant inside.
Continental’s new Terra Trail (left) and Terra Speed (right) are aimed at the burgeoning gravel crowd. Sizes are pretty limited at the moment, but there are certainly more options to come.
Donnelly showed off a new high-end tubeless model at Frostbike. The PDX WC version is said to be 100g lighter than the current 60TPI tubeless model.
The Kenda Booster Pro is designed to be a fast-rolling gravel tire that still offers good cornering traction on loose terrain. There’s bead-to-bead puncture protection, too. Kenda offers it in 700c diameters from 33-40mm, and also in 650b in a single 45mm width.
Redshift Sports’ Kitchen Sink handlebar is offered both with and without an aero extension up front.
The curious bends are aimed at the long-distance gravel and adventure crowd, where a variety of hand positions is key.
Dropper posts aren’t just for mountain bikes anymore, and KS has remotes to suit the drop-bar crowd. This one is designed to mount up high, near the stem…
…while this one is sized for mounting below the brake lever so you can operate it with your thumb whether your hands are on the hoods or in the drops.
Tannus’s new foam tire insert is designed to be run with conventional inner tubes. The idea is quite intriguing, to be honest.
Clinging to rim brakes for dear life, and looking for options for longer-reach calipers? TRP offers the dual-pivot RG957 for reasonable money, and in three tasteful finishes.
Purple is back in style, and Velocity doesn’t plan on missing that boat. The company’s broad selection of aluminum rims has long been a favorite of independent wheel builders for their reasonable pricing and excellent construction quality.
Wheels Manufacturing’s Professional Bottom Bracket Tool Kit isn’t cheap, but if you’re in an area where bearing replacements are frequent, it can save an awful lot of time and headache.
The complete kit includes all the common drifts, collets, cups, and spline tools for most setups.
According to Wheels Manufacturing, direct mount hangers are slowly gaining in popularity. To date, the company is on its 420th aftermarket hanger design.
Wheels Manufacturing’s new bottom bracket tool is designed to help you figure out what you have, and what you need. Included on the new gauge are bottom bracket shell width, bottom bracket diameter, spindle diameter, and spindle diameter.
More polished aluminum components? Coming right up, from QBP house brand Whisky Parts.
The “Ultralight Bike Mirror” certainly lives up to its name with a claimed weight of less than 57 grams.
Despite appearances, the Invader helmet from Kali Protectives isn’t designed for downhill racing or enduro. Instead, it’s a full-coverage lid that’s meant to be used for general trail riding – uphill or downhill. And like all Kali helmets, it’s covered by the company’s lifetime crash replacement policy.
These Issi (one of QBP’s house brands) road pedals bear a strong resemblance to Shimano’s SPD-SL design, but they’re actually built around the Look Keo cleat standard. Either way, they look to be a good value at US$100, and Issi also offers them with extra-long spindles that add 5mm per side.
Jagwire currently only offers its finned disc brake pads in very limited fitments, but as the range grows, they could be a good option for heat-minded riders that are currently using brakes that don’t offer anything similar.
Feel the need to match your bar tape to your housing? Jagwire has you covered.
Exposure’s TraceR (left) and Blaze (right) rear lights offer the same 75-lumen output, but the Blaze uses a bigger battery that doubles run time to six hours.
BikeFit has a remarkably diverse range of products to help dial in the fit of your bike. Among its most popular bits are the company’s cleat shims and wedges.