The bike industry crammed into a Las Vegas Convention Center this week to show off its latest and greatest, with more than 1,000 brands represented. After a few dozen miles of walking the show-floor aisles — and a few heated debates — we present to you here our picks for Best in Show for Interbike 2013.
Giant TCX Advanced SL 0 - thru axles are true axles
Believe it or not, cyclocross season is already upon us, and the TCX Advanced SL 0 shows some very progressive thinking with thru-axles front and rear. Mountain bikers don't need an explanation of why this is cool; but for you roadies, know that a disc wheel getting knocked about can cause it to move slightly in the dropouts with a quick release, leading to a rotor pinging the caliper. Other pluses? It's carbon, light, stiff, hydraulic and just happens to match our BikeRadar colors.
The Giant TCX Advanced SL 0 uses thru-axles front and rear
Shinola Di2 Runwell - our dream city bike
Yes, there's a good back story: Shinola is a new phoenix of a company, rising from the ashes of Detroit, with frames built by Waterford and assembled into bikes in Motor City. But really, we just love how modern tech and old-school cool merge in this limited edition Shinola, which uses Di2-style paddle shifting (with a digital gear readout) on an internal 11-speed hub, plus hydraulic brakes, dynamo lights, a lovely front rack and classy black fenders.
The limited edition Shinola Di2 Runwell
Giant Propel Advanced SL 0 - an aero road bike we're stoked to ride
Like fat bikes but on the far other end of the spectrum, aero road bikes are the trend de jour. But frankly we're often a little wary of the category, as wind tunnel claims are often trumped by how a bike feels and handles out on the road. Those of us who have ridden the Propel love it; those who haven't are eager to get the chance. And yes, if you ask Giant, the bike is super fast in a wind tunnel - and out on the road. Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 with sprint shifters and Zipp 404s? Yes, please.
Giant's Propel Advanced SL 0, super fast in a wind tunnel - and out on the road
Focus Izalco Max – the holy trinity of light weight, stiffness and performance
Dressed in SRAM Red 22, THM Fibula calipers and DT Swiss carbon tubulars, the Focus Izalco Max 0.0 weighs a claimed 12.08lb/5.48kg. While an average frame weight across all sizes is 760g, the 54cm sample frame we weighed recently was a mere 720g. While some frames are billed as ‘futureproof’ with fixtures for mechanical, electrical and/or hydraulic options, the Focus Izalco Max has one frame for electric and one for mechanical, the latter with external carbon cable stops.
The Izalco Max frame from Focus has an average frame weight of just 760g across all sizes
Specialized Amira - the women's race bike to have
Perhaps it's the carbon layup and the geometry. Perhaps it's the fat HED wheels. Or perhaps it's the simple aesthetic combination of Specialized and Lululemon. Whatever it is, the Specialized S-Works Amira is the women's race bike.
The Specialized S-Works Amira is our favourite women's race bike
Felt IA - an all-out triathlon machine
There are a few bitching superbikes out there these days, but many of them will have you bitching while adjusting them, as the aero-but-super-complex designs aren't exactly the easiest to work on. Granted, this is not a road bike; but as superbikes go, this one is user friendly, with extensions and pads that can be easily adjusted, and an aero brake set up that just requires removing a cover. It's astronomically expensive, but we give Felt kudos for going all in on a tri bike with zero regard paid to UCI rules. I mean really, do you care about a 3:1 ratio?
The Felt IA is a user friendly superbike
Santa Cruz 5010 - if we could take one trail bike to a desert island (and that desert island had sweet trails)...
The Blur TRC was the sweetheart of the Santa Cruz line, that is, until 650b (27.5in) wheels stole the spotlight. The TRC was reborn as the Solo, which, following a trademark dispute has been rechristened the 5010. Whatever name this bike goes by, it embodies the qualities most riders look for in a mountain bike: it’s light, agile and leaves you grinning like an idiot from ear to ear. It’s slack geometry and low-slung chassis allow the 5010 to tackle bigger lines than most 5in trail bikes.
A trademark dispute has seen the Solo turn to the 5010
Giant Lust Advanced 0 – designed for equal play
Giant gave the bulk of its 2014 mountain bike line a complete makeover, including its women’s line, which was redesigned around 650b (27.5in) wheels. Giant’s liv/giant development team went back to the drawing board to create a women’s-specific race bike with more appropriate geometry, a lighter carbon layup for lighter riders, and a high-end component package that’s the equal of the Anthem Advanced 27.5 0.
The women’s-specific Giant Lust Advanced 0
Specialized S-Works Epic - the perfect full-suspension cross-country race bike(s)
The Epic has always been a thoroughbred cross-country race bike. Specialized recognizes that even within the discipline of cross-country there’s enough variation between the short, punchy efforts of World Cup courses and the long grueling pace of endurance racing to warrant splitting the Epic into two distinct models for 2014. The standard S-Works Epic and the S-Works Epic World Cup share Specialized’s innovative SWAT storage system, which integrates Storage, Water, Air and Tools into the bike for your convenience.
The Specialized Epic has been split into two distinct models for 2014
Scott Scale 700 Premium - a breakaway from the 29er herd
Two-niners took over the hardtail market without haste, that is, until Nino Schurter showed the world that 650b (27.5in) wheels could be just as fast under the right rider. The Scott Scale 700 Premium won’t make you as fast as Nino, but it certainly won’t hold you back, either. This race-worthy hardtail is light, stiff and agile. The featherweight frame is constructed from Scott’s top of the line HMX carbon frame and the build features a full XTR groupset and a 100mm Fox 32 CTD fork.
Scott have backed firmly backed 650b (27.5") hoops for 2014
Devinci WIlson - the top of the downhill
World Cup downhill racing is three to four minutes of impeccable technique and steely-eyed resolve. The Devinci Wilson Carbon has proven to be a supremely capable gravity sled under the likes of Stevie Smith. The Wilson has a lot going for it: it uses Dave Weagle’s Split Pivot rear suspension, has a light and stiff carbon frame and a low center of gravity. Best of all, the Wilson is still a riot when measuring your ride in the number of runs per day, rather than split seconds.
The Devinci WIlson Carbon is as fun as it is fast
BMC TF01 29 - the best long-travel 29er
BMC is one of a handful of companies swimming against the current of 650b (27.5in) bikes inundating the trail bike market. The Trail Fox has been a fixture in the Swiss company’s line for many years. It’s gone through the usual revisions to keep the platform up to date, but nothing as sweeping as what BMC has done to the bike for 2014. The TF01 29 features 150mm of rear wheel travel, a low bottom bracket and impressively short chainstays, all neatly wrapped in a full carbon fiber frame.
The TF01 29 sticks with big wheels despite having 150mm of travel
RockShox PIKE - RockShox takes the crown back from Fox
We’ve ridden the PIKE on a number of test bikes this season and each time it continues to impress us with its ability to feel plush, controlled and conserve its travel for the really big hits. The fact that RockShox offers this impressive trail fork in all three wheel sizes is just another reason to love it.
The Pike is back and better than ever
Cane Creek DBAir CS - best shock
Cane Creek’s Double Barrel Air is an impressive (and complicated) piece of suspension hardware. The addition of the Climb Switch, and the independent low-speed rebound and compression damping that comes along with it, make the shock more user friendly. The DBAir CS is a cut above the competition in terms of adjustability and trail performance.
The Cane Creek Double Barrel Air rear shock takes our best in show
Giro Terraduro - we all want this shoe
There’s no doubt that “enduro” is the most overused mountain bike marketing buzzword of 2013. And, yes, Giro’s new Terraduro shoe was designed with enduro racing in mind, but it’s also a great all-around shoe that’s not too stiff and has plenty of lugs for hike-a-bike sections. In short, the Terraduro beats “race slippers” for the type of riding most mountain bikers do.
The Giro Terraduro is a great all-around shoe
Borealis Yampa - skinny fat for the witn
One could hardly take a step in this year’s tradeshow without almost tripping over (or being run over by) a fat bike. The fat bike market is growing and as it does, more riders are asking more from their monster-trucking machines. Namely, riders want massive tires without a massive weight penalty. Borealis was not satisfied with cutting weight by introducing the carbon fiber Yampa. The company took things one step further by developing carbon fiber rims to accompany its creation. The result is this sub-22lbYampa decked out in SRAM XX1.
The Borealis Yampa is fat without being overweight
Best DeLorean – Ryders Eyewear
Nothing stands out more in bicycle tradeshow than a shiny stainless steel sports car with gull-wing doors and the ability to travel through time.
The employees of Ryders Eyewear traveled back through time to teach us about the future of cycling eyewear and the fashion secrets of our great-grandchildren.
It appears we cyclists are already well prepared for the future - we’ve got the Lycra, all we need is a bit of silver and gold livery along with utility belts and capes.
Josh Patterson, Guy Kesteven, Rob Weaver, Warren Rossiter, Robin Wilmott and Russell Burton contributed to this report.