June 26, 2009
OK, I can’t deny it. The chance of riding bikes in Sun Valley, Idaho was too strong a draw. Add to that the chance of seeing 20 or so mid-to-big size companies and the chance to meet one-on-one and to actually test ride products and I knew I had to be there. The Press Camp event is organised by Lance Camisasca, who also puts on a little show called ‘Interbike’ so it was likely that something good was in store…
First off, before even meeting the first manufacturer, I got to see a sneak preview of some of the bold new patterns from the 2010 Camelbak range. They’re still prototypes and they’re not even going to be officially launched until show season in September, but we got a sneak preview.
And that’s how it is here. There are plenty of manufacturers here who are showing things to us way early than they normally would. This is mainly because they have a great chance to show products to 20 journalists and also because everyone’s caught up in momentum of the event…
Scott Bicycles, who are based in town used the opportunity to launch a few tasty new bikes as well as a welcome upgrade to the already great Genius. The new Genius now has a smart metal Traction Control lever, plus it now pulls two cables – one for the rear shock and one to lock out the fork. So when you put it into full lockout, it’s fully locked out (by a very smooth lever push) without having to faff around with fork-top knobs or other bar-mounted levers. Very neat.
Scott has a couple of new bikes out for 2010 too. There’s the new Voltage freeride/slopestyle bike. It’ll offer up to 180mm rear travel, though interestingly the top model, the Voltage 10 offers 140-160mm travel, while the cheaper Voltage 20 and 30 are 160-180mm. This is presumably because the pro slope style boys don’t want, or need all that squish, whereas the more entry level riders need all the help they can get. Keeping with the new Slopestyle tradition of garish, but matching components, the bikes are all very bright, but smart looking.
Scott has bowed to US market pressure to make a ‘wagon wheel’ bike and announced the Scale 29er hardtail, which, given how ungainly these things can look, actually presented itself very well, with the smart graphics helping to ease the lines.
Delta7 are also here – they’re the makers of the carbon space-frame bike, the Arantix. Although it looks like it’s made from string and chopsticks, it’s actually all hand woven, with each triangle being its own structural entity, which Delta7 claims helps keep the structure strong, even if you crunch it into a rock. I took the mountain bike for a couple of laps of the great singletrack loops here and I’ll give my impressions later in another story. Suffice to say, though, I was pleasantly surprised…