High fuel prices and a shaky economy have catapulted urban and commuting bikes into the forefront, as was evident in the volume of stylistic, asphalt-munching bikes and accessories shown at the 2008 Interbike trade show in Las Vegas September 22 - 26. There were several tastey urban commuters and fixies on display.
There's an obvious influence cascading through the industry from the North American Handbuilt folks, as integrated lights, racks and sweeping lines were seen in every corner of the show. And, Brooks leather saddles were adorning more bikes than ever in Las Vegas, a testament to the power of reto chic and function. Internal gearing, bamboo racks and fenders, swept-back handlebars and colour options never seen on street bikes has everyone getting ramped up on simplicity once again. Here's Part One of our urban coverage from the Sands Convention Center.
One of the biggest news items relating to commuting was longtime bicycle advocate and mountain bike pioneer Joe Breeze's company, Breezer Bikes, being acquired by Advanced Sports, Inc. (ASI), owners of Fuji, SE Bikes and Kestrel. Farifax, California-based Breeze will expand the commuting line that's been his forte for 10 years, and expand it with mountain bikes. We especially liked the tricked-out Breezer Finesse, specced with Shimano Alfine gruppo and disc-brake wheelset.
Electra, long known for its beach cruisers and recently the Amsterdam line, have expanded into the delivery boy and iPod-listening market, with racks and storage galore. Not only can one choose from a range of retro commuter style bikes, one can also pick a colour to match your latest iPod player.
The Civia line debuted at last year's Interbike, and has expanded generously for 2009. Alongside the Hyland platform comes the Loring. Ortlieb-made waterproof panniers and a full line of wooden fenders, baskets and accessories have also been added.
The company that got its start in 1895 is keeping with the times, reflected in its Earth urban commuter made of natural fibers.
Raleigh's heritage stretches back almost as far as Schwinn, and the Superbe Roadster is a blast from the past with modern updates, including disc brakes and wood fenders.
Felt's Cafe line falls in nicely with the needs of the coffee-shop crowd. The Curbside urban fixie reflects the bike messenger and BMX influences running rampant on Fixedgeargallery.com and on the mean streets of big cities worldwide.
The Italian heritage comes full circle with Masi's expanded line of Soulville cafe bikes for 2009. The California company has also generously expanded its urban fixed-gear offerings, including the Speciale Fixed Ltd.
Stay tuned to BikeRadar.com for more urban bikes and accessories this week!