Held this week in Las Vegas, the Interbike trade show is an annual event where 1,000-plus brands show off new products for the following sales season. I’m in Sin City this week to scope the bikes and accessories for 2014. Here are a few items that have caught my eye so far.
Built-in lights — The days (or should I say nights) of bike lights as an accessory could be numbered if Quebec-based DeVinci is leading a trend. The brand’s Newton commuter bike has LED lights -- white on the front, red on the rear -- that are manufactured into the fork and frame. Bonus: No batteries are required, as Newton riders generate power as they pedal that’s then transferred via a hub generator to the glowing bulbs on the bike frame below.
Computer-controlled suspension system — The bike costs $8,000. But for that spend you get a pro-level steed with, get this, built-in computer sensors that auto-adjust your ride. The Spicy Team 27.5 model from Lapierre has accelerometers and other sensors onboard. When your front wheel hits a bump the system calculates the obstacle and its size, and it instantaneously adjusts suspension for your rear wheel. The benefits include a faster, less-bumpy ride... albeit with a tall price tag to get onto that smooth trail.
Hidden bike repair kit — It’s called the Specialized SWAT line, and that stands for storage, water, air and tools. The new line of hideaway tools and accessories affix to a bike unseen -- in special bottle-cage cases and in stealth unused places on the frame. One example: Specialized makes a chain break tool that hides under the stem cap.
Bike-helmet lock — To prevent bike theft, this “casual” lock from Lazer is a neat solution. Called the Cappuccinolock, it clicks onto helmet straps and turns your lid into an ad hoc lock -- clip the straps around your bike frame and to a solid post or rack to secure. Granted, a scissors can cut the helmet strap and let a thief steal your bike. But for preventing grab-and-go theft where your bike is in sight, Lazer gives an interesting option.
Lightweight fat bike — Oversized wheels and the frame it takes to support them make the category of “fat bikes” live up to their plus-size name. But heavy fat bikes might be less of a concern if brands like Borealis Bikes continue to innovate. The small Colorado company revealed a 21-pound fat bike this week, which is an astonishing 5 to 10 pounds lighter than many comparable models on the market. It’s made of carbon fiber and has tube-less tires to create a roll-over-anything machine likely lighter weight than the mountain bike in your garage.