What's Cool In Road Cycling

INTERBIKE 05: Lots On Display (or not…)

This year’s interbike was underwhelming. To be perfectly honest, I could have taken a shot of any old carbon frame, applied lots of folks logo’s in Photoshop and skipped looking at 75% of the bikes on display. That said, we did run across a few things worth snapping, and interestingly enough, lots of advances are for going slower…

Take these 6-4 Ti brakes from Ti2 Racing for instance…

Gotta love new kids on the bock and these little stoppers are made from top line material designed to go for the long haul. They are lighter than Campy or Shimano by quite a bit and 6-4 TI is a great material to make parts from that will need to flex but not fatigue. They also use a pivot system that is quite a bit more durable (you can see the red material in the gaps at the pivot). Neat too is that they come in sizes based on rider weight. They will also cost pretty penny…

Another top stopper will be the new clamps from M5. These “ULTR Lichtgewicht” brakes have extremely good initial bite and a very high continued force. They are finishing a pad and shoe selection and will be available shortly.

Also helping to hold your horses are Carbon Ti’s new Carbon brakes. They will be available through a new company called Groupe De Tete (Groupedetete.com) and are a very simple but sweet looking pair.

And of course you can’t talk brakes any more without saying Zero Gravity. They have a sweet stainless set out now with a finish that might look extremely good where you would want that silvery finish (and of course they’re lighter than hell).

But that wasn’t all from Zero G. Their new Cranks showed up as well and look the business with some trick machining that looks t shave weight but also remain very stiff. More details to follow, so we’ll keep you informed on these babies…

Another new crank to see the market down the road (it’s an Italian road, so…) will be from Stella Azzurra. These are reported to be lighter and stiffer than anything currently on the market (no easy task with the new Zipp cranks shipping) and are of a design that finds it’s roots in a history of racing that places far greater demands on product than we see in cycling.

These are a simple and elegant design that work to do nothing more than perform well and more often than not, things like that wind up looking best.

Another lesson on visual upgrade was not lost on most visitors though, as it seems the look can pretty much make anything more interesting. I am pretty sure the carpet wasn’t causing the fuss on this isle…

What’s really funny is that a couple of these guys walked right into each other just after I got the shot…

Speaking of a nice saddle, again the guys at CarbonTi turn on the light.

These things were like jewelry and it was a damn shame I didn’t get with Lance Johnson at Groupe De Tete to get them on a few more bikes. The Bling factor is through the roof, the weight through the floor and they perform like a spring board, actually flexing substantially. They go on your bike just like any old saddle would, except that I would it takes a careful hand when clamping…

Easily the nicest set of balls at the show was on display at FSA.

They were an example of the weight difference found in using high grade ceramics (yes there are low grade items incermic). FSA had something more than balls on hand though as they wowed people with bottom brackets made to show the resistance difference that ceramic has over standard metal when properly applied. The ceramic items were far easier to spin and were used in major products like hubs and BB’s but also in simple little things like chain pulleys. No word on time, but I am hoping for soon as the differences were dramatic!

And of course the crowds formed around the marketing guy at SRAM, who seem to be doing a great job of talking in circles to build interest in their new group set. To me this was a hugely wasted effort, as SRAM needs to pump up the need for another group set about as much as Carmen Electra would need to disperse Viagra to get laid at a men’s prison. That said, we’re thinking swing shifter lower like Campy and Shimano and a trigger-shifter upper… (making shifting while in the drops a pain in the butt)

Or… The single inside lever controls both up and down shifting depending on how far the lever swings, shifting up or down on the return stroke.

As the new kid on a super exclusive block, SRAM are a welcome addition and should be allowed to strut their stuff (I honestly can’t wait to give em a whack).

Then again, they might consider getting on with it, as there were actually TWO new road groups at interbike this year. While one was sitting in a glass case fronted by the man speaking the most (but saying the least), the other new group set was quietly being finalized in a room much like this one…

The coolest stuff at the show always requires a backstage pass….

We’ll be back in a day or so with another set. We will have a selection of frames, including a one of a kind show special we had done up in advance, and more bits and bobbles (that will no doubt include one of the many sets of headlights with 10 hour batteries our Editor must have been testing each nite…).

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