Interbike: Bits and baubles

Bags, digital cameras, cycle computers and more

Hide from the world with Crumpler’s new messenger bags

Crumpler’s new Toshi Squirt messenger bag was apparently inspired by some disagreeable sushi and a lack of restroom facilities, but the result is a darn cool way to haul your gear around.  

On the outside, the Toshi Squirt is what we’ve come to expect from Crumpler’s quality range of gear, with a burly 1,000 denier nylon shell and assortment of pockets. Flip the bag inside-out, though, and you’ll find one of four whimsical ‘masks’ that let you assume a convenient alter ego when the situation arises - what Crumpler sales rep Robert Wilkins refers to as “internal privacy with external personality”. 

On perhaps a more functional note, Crumpler also unveiled a new hydration pack oozing with its usual stylistic flavour. The Bumper Issue includes five internal and external pockets mixed with an array of useful flaps and buckles to stash away gear. The interior is sized for a 70oz hydration bladder, although Crumpler apparently sees fit for users to choose their own as one isn’t included. The back is exceptionally well padded, though, and there is a deep spine slot to relieve pressure and promote airflow. 

Crumpler introduced a range of rolling luggage as well. The Period Charmer is the smallest of the trio and is suitable for carry-on use while the largest Free-Standing Edwardian can swallow a substantial 82 litres of goodies. Various pockets and compartments adorn the line, including an easy-access laptop sleeve, and given the typical Crumpler aesthetic, there is little chance someone will mistake one of these as their own.

Show off to the world with GoPro’s new wide-angle Digital Hero camera

GoPro’s popular Digital Hero camera has enabled countless riders to capture both still and motion video thanks to its compact size, surprisingly reasonable cost and wide array of quick-release mounting options for both bike and body.

New for ’09 is a 170-degree wide angle version that offers a substantially more dynamic viewing experience than the original’s somewhat narrow 54 degrees, while the sensor has been upgraded to a bigger 5MP resolution. Thankfully, suggested retail price is still a very reasonable US$189.99 (£110).

In addition to full video and full manual still operation, the new Hero Wide will also offer an automatic mode that captures an image every two or five seconds plus a three-image burst mode. GoPro claims a 2Gb SD memory card will store up to 56 minutes of 512x384px video with sound. Stay tuned for a full review in the near future complete with video samples. 

Knog diversifies into tool lineup

Knog is taking its keen design themes to new arenas with an upcoming line of portable tools and a smartly styled cycle computer.

The NERD computer head and wireless transmitter both fix to your bike with Knog’s familiar wraparound silicone rubber housing, which also seals both bits from the weather. Instead of conventional buttons, Knog turns the entire display into one big push-button to toggle through the nine or 12 features on tap and the speed updates via a neat ‘rolling tape’ type display. 

Though not groundbreaking in terms of functionality, the NERD certainly ups the style factor in what has mostly been a rather mundane segment. The nine-function computer will retail for US$74 (£44) while the 12-function model will cost an extra US$15 (£9). Both are available in six colors.

Likewise, Knog’s new tools probably won’t set anyone’s heads spinning in terms of features but their clever flat-pack layouts may warrant a second look when they become available. Included in the line is a diminutive set of pliers, a convenient flat repair kit, and a trio of multi-tools with seven, 12 or 18 functions. 

One of the coolest features is a magnetized spot on the multi-tools that can be used to keep track of loose hardware as you’re wrenching on the side of the road or trail. While Knog’s new tools won’t be able to do the repair work for you, at least you won’t have the excuse of lost nuts and bolts any more.

New eyewear models from Tifosi

Georgia-based eyewear maker Tifosi will add six new models to its lineup for 2009, all priced at US$59.95 (£35) or less. 

Tifosi’s popular squared-off Dolomite will spawn a trio of smaller variants called Torrent, Dea and Scout. All feature sturdy Grilamid frames and non-slip ear and nosepieces. The Torrent and Dea models also sport interchangeable lenses. The Dea is targeted at women and the even-smaller Scout is aimed at children, although the latter model could easily work for anyone with a small head.

Those looking for more of a cycling-specific look can turn to the new Tyrant with its vented, interchangeable half lenses which extend a little further out to the side for more coverage. Semi-adjustable aluminum arms and an adjustable nosepiece allow for a customisable fit. 

Looking for something with a bit more style? Then the Vogel or Helo might do the trick. Tifosi equips the Vogel with a single, non-interchangeable shield-type lens and a distinct ‘Hollywood’ look that would work just as well on the bike as off. The full-frame Helo is likely best suited for off-the-bike endeavours, though, with its full metal frame (read: heavy) and spring-loaded arms. Helicopter not included.

Thule goes lightweight with new Helium hitch-mount rack

Thule is getting into the ‘lighter is better’ game with its latest Helium hitch-mounted rack which reportedly weighs roughly half as much as its competition thanks to its aluminum construction. 

Installation and removal is made easier by tool-free attachment while a clever wedge in the main extension keeps everything from swaying. The included ‘Swinger Swinger’ adapter accepts either 1 1/4” or 2” square receivers. 

Bike loading is facilitated by narrowly set arms that should accommodate more frame types than before and the new T3 cradles help keep the bikes from swinging into each other. A quick-release lever tilts the entire rack down (and presumably its contents) for liftgate access. 

The two-bike version will retail for US$329.95 (£195) and the three-bike carrier will cost US$379.95 (£225).  

Consumers who prefer roof-mount carriers can instead opt for the new Prologue fork mount tray, with its new easy-to-use 9mm quick-release head that supposedly will accept all disc brake and suspension combinations, and a wide tray that will handle up to a 2.6” tire. The Prologue will fit rectangular, round or aero crossbars and will retail for US$49.00 (£29).

Premium car owners dissatisfied with the look of current roof-top cargo boxes may find solace in Thule’s new Boxter model. A whopping US$799.95 (£470) will net you a stylish high-gloss, two-tone box with a substantial 18 cubic foot capacity and structural stiffeners to cut down on rattling and vibration, while upgraded struts ease one-handed opening. 

The Helium, Prologue and Boxter are all slated for delivery from March 2009.

Blown fuses are no problem for Kurt Kinetic trainer

Kurt Kinetic’s new Kinetic Energy trainer uses the same sturdy and stable steel frame we’re used to but a novel resistance unit turns your hard work into something a little more useful than a puddle of sweat. 

According to Kurt Kinetic, the trainer will generate 0.5kWh of electricity over a three-hour ride and then store it in an 18Ah battery for later use. This can  be used during power cuts or even day-to-day to cut down on energy costs. 

The unit is fairly bulky, we’ve no information on how well the system works as a bona fide resistance trainer and it’s also rather expensive at US$500 (£295) including the power station accessory and battery. 

But it’s a novel concept and Kurt Kinetic hopes to introduce the system to third world regions that could gain some real benefit from its use.  As Kurt Kinetic puts it, the Kinetic Energy trainer is “human energy turned into a marketable commodity”.

On a related note, Kurt Kinetic also reported that its special-edition pink Road Trainers raised US$15,000 (£8,775) for the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. In total, Kurt Kinetic sold 835 trainers, all of which were pre-ordered before a single one hit the production line. 

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