Part II of our wrap-up from the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow continues with more of the latest and greatest products you can expect to see on store shelves sometime in the next six months or so. As “adventure cycling” booms, the repeated word from big brands was that bicycle travel is influencing product design, and enthusiasm for two-wheeled touring was high. So start saving your pennies, it won’t be long until these products can fulfill your wish list.
Your GoPro might grab video in 4k, but if you’re out on tour, the battery life might mean that your breakfast is captured crystal clear, but the rest of the day’s riding is a no-go. To give some extra juice to your action cam, Brunton has updated their All Day battery pack to version 2.0 , which give four times the factory runtime without giving up the weatherproofness of the GoPro case. The new version will work on 3+ and 4 series units.
Though built mostly with mountain bikers in mind, the new Low Rider collection from Camelbak moves water storage lower on the rider’s back for more comfort and a lower center of gravity. Available as a backpack or in a straight fanny-pack-style version, the new packs look to be an excellent option for taking along a large volume of water without having a bulky reservoir riding high on your shoulders.
Just before OR, Garmin introduced a new radar system designed to detect approaching vehicles from behind and give cyclists a visual heads-up that something heavy this way comes. The compact unit attaches to the seatpost and features a bright red string of LED lights that flash as the vehicle approaches to help increase a cyclist's visibility. From the saddle, riders can either use a standalone bar-mounted unit or sync with a compatible Garmin GPS device and receive a flashing red warning on screen that increases speed as the vehicle approaches. Garmin reps said the radar is tuned so that a cruise down a bike lane alongside a busy street wouldn’t set off constant alarm bells, but if someone swerved into the lane it would activate. Look for a full review in an upcoming issue of Adventure Cyclist.
Since Cannondale’s parent company also owns apparel brand Sugoi, the bike maker was showing off a new bike at Outdoor Retailer. The Slate (appropriately colored as such) is a road bike with a 30mm Lefty fork, massive 42mm slick tires and extremely short chainstays. Not ideal for long-distance touring for sure (though Cannondale is bringing a pair of dedicated touring bikes back into the fold for 2016), the bike is nonetheless intriguing as a commuter or quiver-killing all-rounder for road, gravel, and urban forays. Plus, with that Lefty mounted up front, it’s sure to be a conversation starter on your local evening group ride.
A far cry from their ubiquitous messenger bags, a new frame bag and returning seat bag from Timbuk2 mark a bikepacking push from the brand. The new frame bag features multiple compartments for organization, a dedicated water bottle slot (since bottles cages will be evicted), and velcro attachment loops to keep everything solidly mounted. The Sonoma seatbag stays in the line with a pretty standard roll-top, expandable format, and bright reflective piping on the rear for visibility.
Compression technology has been a growing trend at Outdoor Retailer over the last few years, especially in the running world. But one of the industry heavies, CEP, has begun offering some lower cuff models more suitable for cyclists who might not want the full-length models that cover calves. While the shorter socks sacrifice some of the benefits from having compression on the large muscles in the lower leg, the company’s graduated compression gives support and reduces swelling in the feet. CEP’s background is in the medical device industry (where compression sleeves are available by prescription and heavily regulated) and take care to note their technology bona fides. One example: different color fabric can have different tensile strengths, so the brand unwinds and retentions all the thread they use to make socks to ensure everything is calibrated before its woven into shape.
Camp kitchen gear is nothing if not utilitarian, but the often-titanium cookware from Snow Peak is minimalist, functional, and beautiful in its design. The brand’s two-legged stove cleverly uses a fuel canister to finish out the tripod, and a few nested cookware sets leave everything unnecessary behind—including weight. Form might follow function most of the time, but in something as simple as backcountry pots and pans they seem to march side by side.
If you’re looking for the height of style from your bikepacking setup, I can’t imagine a better option than the handmade, waved-canvas bags from Minnesota’s Frost River. The brand has long made panniers, but a Salsa fatbike on display showed off a seatbag, growler carrier, and even bottle holders attached to Salsa Anything cages on the front fork. The bags are old school in the best way possible and can make even the most outfitted adventure rig look ready for a downtown tweed ride.