(Mtbr member KRob attended Interbike’s Outdoor Demo and rode over a dozen of the hottest mountain bikes on the market for the coming year. These are his unsolicited ride impressions. This was reposted with his permission.)
As always, I like to start these mini reviews/impressions with a disclaimer. We get only 30-60 minutes on any of these bikes and even with the technician at the booth setting up the suspension for our weight and then fiddling with it some out on the trail I know that it would take a day or two of riding (maybe more) to get things really set up so that they are working anywhere close to perfection for our weight and riding style. In some cases bar, stem, seat, and tire selection had an adverse affect on our impression of the bike. Although, this year I think all the tires worked pretty well in the Bootleg conditions.
Some bikes were brand spanking new (We were absolutely the first ones to throw a leg over some) and in other cases they had been thrashed about a bit and the fork and shock seals were starting to be affected by the fine Bootleg talc so as to influence our impression as well. So, please, don’t interpret these views as anything but that. Just a couple of hacks first impressions.
We were disappointed to find that many of our favorite vendors ( Turner, Knolly, Niner, Banshee, Ventana, Titus, and Transition among others) chose not attend the Dirt Demo this year, but even so, we were able to demo around 20 bikes and get to some bike companies that we normally overlook. If you do the math, with 16 hours of demo time, that’s less than 1 hour per bike. Not a lot of time to really get to know a bike, but it is surprising what you can determine in a short ride.
Some general observations:
- Reverb! This post was on almost every bike we rode and they all worked flawlessly. It’s amazing how this one item has become almost required equipment of late. No complaints here. I’m addicted to my adjustable seatpost crutch.
- Carbon: It’s everwhere. It’s light. It’s stiff. We didn’t even break any this time around….. although I think they had a “Most Wanted Poster” of Russell at the Santa Cruz booth.
- 2×10: It’s taken over. Almost every bike we rode was running 10 speed cassettes and most had a double chain ring. It works just fine but did take some getting used to which combos provided the right ratios.
- Black is the new Black: I was surprised to see so many all black color schemes. Very sharp imo.
- Most all the bikes we rode were set up well, adjusted well, and had mid to top level components hanging on their frames. No demo fleet beaters here.