The latest, very bling-looking bike kit from Troy Lee Designs and some carbon goodness from the SRAM group were among the highlights of this week's Fisher Expo. Also on display at the trade show hosted by UK distributors Fisher Outdoor Leisure was '09 gear from companies including Norco, Look, Tacx, Dahon and Schwalbe.
We'll publish more details and photos from the Birmingham expo later in the week, but for now here's the pick of the TLD and SRAM stands. Click on the thumbnails on the right for more pictures.
Troy Lee Designs
Troy Lee's D2 full-face helmets have been on many downhill and 4X riders' most-wanted lists since the late '90s, and this year's look is as desirable as ever, with designs such as the Lucha with its bold pirate-style mask and black, green and red colour scheme.
There's also the more understated Crow and a special History model featuring logos from the firm's 18 years in business, as well as a full range of race jerseys, pants and shorts, many with bling gold accents.
New for '09 is the Ace glove, an entry-level model with many similarities to the firm's popular thin-palmed XC glove. It should retail for around £19.99 and is available in white, black, blue, red or green.
New for '09 is the Ace glove, an entry-level model available in white, black, blue, red or green
Troy Lee's new Skyline and Ruckus jerseys are aimed at the all-mountain/freeride crowd and are less 'factory' than their downhill jerseys yet not as subdued as their cross-country kit. Expect to see lots of these at a trail centre near you soon.
Expect to see lots of Troy Lee's new Skyline and Ruckus jerseys on the trails soon
Also new this year is an expanded range of off-the-bike clothing, including T-shirts, baseball caps and hoodies. The History Tee continues this year's 18th anniversary and gold themes, while the fleecy Factory and Headline hoodies look like perfect apres-bike wear.
The History Tee continues this year's themes, while the Headline hoodie is perfect apres-bike wear
Taking pride of place on TLD's stand was a replica of extreme sports legend (and Troy Lee-sponsored athlete) Shaun Palmer's 1998 Specialized FSR Team DH downhill bike, put together by an avid fan.
This replica of Shaun Palmer's 1998 Specialized downhill bike was on display
Truvativ's Hammerschmidt gear system was set up on a test bike which drew a steady stream of curious riders. The Fisher Expo also marked the official UK launch of RockShox's beefed up Boxxer downhill forks, which are said to be stiffer, lighter and more precise. They look even nicer in the flesh than in the pictures, and we hope to have a set on test soon.
RockShox's new Boxxers, left, are stiffer and lighter, while the Reba has 5mm more travel
The '09 RockShox Reba cross-country fork features 5mm more travel (120mm), a new arch and Power Bulges on the legs – these allow a bigger bush to be used for increased stiffness and better wear – and is said to be considerably stiffer than the '08 version. A long-legged version is now available for 29ers.
Avid unveiled a new video designed to show customers how to bleed their Juicy brakes. It's one of a number of SRAM group technical videos posted on YouTube.
Truvativ's bashrings caught our eye. Fed up with boring black? How about a ring that looks like it should be under a cup of tea at your gran's?
Anyone for tea? Truvativ now do bashrings in a range of designs
On the road side of things, SRAM's S40, S60 and S80 wheels drew a lot of admiring glances and feature structural (rather than cosmetic) carbon fairings. With weights starting at 1,615g a pair, they are set to be seen on many a race bike this year.
SRAM's S-series wheels drew admiring glances
Truvativ's road bars should also prove popular, with their new, more traditional shape. The shorter reach and smoother drops are said to be perfect for riders who use SRAM's Double Tap levers.
Truvativ's road bars now have a more traditional, Double Tap-friendly shape
Stay tuned for more from the Fisher Expo, including Norco's '09 mountain bike range, some innovative folding bikes from Dahon, new shades from Bloc and team replica strips from Santini.