There was plenty of exciting new mountain bike kit on show at UK distributor Fisher Outdoor Leisure's '09 trade show. Here are some of the highlights from the likes of Norco, Bloc, Schwalbe and WTB. Click on the thumbnails on the right for more images.
We showed you Norco's 2009 range last summer, but a few new models caught our eye at the show. You certainly won't be missed on the trails on the bright green A-Line. Designed for Whistler-style bikeparks, it has 203-228 mm (8-9ins) of adjustable travel, a 1.5" forged headtube and a bombproof spec.
The top-of-the-range Shore freeride model caused quite a stir when it was launched due to its radical graphics. The cheaper Shore 3 has the same 179mm (7in) travel frame but comes in a striking blue paintjob with matching rims, fork, pedals and hubs. It too has a bombproof build, with a Rockshox Domain fork, Fox Van R coil rear shock and kit from Funn, Truvativ, SRAM and Hayes.
The Shore 3 freeride bike comes in a striking blue paintjob with matching fork and wheels
Although best known for their freeride bikes, Norco have plenty of machines for those who like their ups as well as the downs, including this sleek-looking Faze cross-country bike with triple butted aluminum frame, adjustable suspension travel and finishing kit from Ritchey, Shimano, Avid and Mavic.
The Faze 2 cross-country bike has a triple butted aluminum frame and adjustable suspension
Performance eyewear firm Bloc had some new bike-friendly designs, including the £50 Leopard with its 'matt camo' finish and interchangeable lenses, the striking Scorpion (£40) with smoke lens and the more traditional-looking Blade (£40). The ones that caught our eyes, though, were the Predators with their hand-painted design, ensuring no two pairs will ever look the same. They cost £40.
Bloc's new Predators are hand-painted, ensuring no two pairs will ever look the same
Schwalbe have revised their mountain bike tyre range for 2009 and added some new models. The Rocket Ron fits between the Racing Ralph and Nobby Nic and was ridden to Olympic gold by Sabine Spitz in the summer. It boasts a new, lighter carcass, Triple Nano compound and U-shaped blocks for better cornering.
Schwalbe have revised their off-road tyre range for 2009
Schwalbe have also brought out new Performance version of their tyres. These are basically cheaper versions of the top-end Evo models, with the same tread but a different compound.
WTB had some lurid yellow saddles on display, but fear not, they're not trying to set a new fashion trend, they're part of the company's Test Ride programme, where you can 'try before you buy' to see if one of their saddles fits you. Having said that, their perches are available in a wider range of colours this year, including yellow, white, grey and black. They've also launched a new model, the Vigo, described as a "full-bodied race saddle".
WTB's Test Ride programme lets you 'try before you buy' to see if one of their saddles fits you
WTB have also brought out narrower versions of their Vulpine (2.1) and Wolverine (1.95) tyres, and a new mud tyre is in the works. They're supporting the new Subaru Mondraker downhill team led by former world champion Fabien Barel, so don't be surprised if a signature tyre appears soon, like the Weirwolf model created with US mountain bike veteran Mark Weir.
Muc-Off have a new range of bike cleaning brushes designed to get rid of the dirt that finds its way into every crevice. They're available in three-brush and five-brush sets. The company were also displaying new wet and dry lubricants made using naturally-derived ingredients.
Muc-Off's new bike cleaning brushes are available in three-brush and five-brush sets
Muc-Off have a new range of wet and dry lubes made using naturally-derived ingredients