Chicago in February? Sure, it’s not the stuff of cyclists’ dreams, but that’s only if said cyclist hasn’t been to CABDA. That’s the common acronym for the regional trade show that began as the Chicagoland Area Bicycle Dealers Association and now features the confusingly named CABDA West (in San Diego) and CABDA East (in New Jersey) in addition to the original Chicago event.
In the post-Interbike landscape, CABDA has emerged as one of the best places in the country to see new products before they land in bike shops. That’s why we sent a correspondent to the snowy suburbs of Chicago looking for new gear, new bikes, and news from the bicycling world.
We’ll kick things off with the brand-new … okay, actually quite old. Old Man Mountain, the venerable rack maker, has been around since 1996 (read about Adventure Cycling’s integral role in its beginnings here), but after a stretch of relative inactivity, the brand was acquired by Robert Axle Project last year. This makes a certain amount of sense, as Robert Axle Project knows a thing or two about the complications that come with today’s landscape of “standards.”
Reborn in Bend, Oregon, the brand is still making racks connected to a bike’s axles instead of rack mounts, but now, instead of making what were essentially bespoke sizes for different frame/wheel/tire combos, Old Man Mountain has a range of fit kits that allow for today’s variety of configurations.
Watch for a full review later this year.
Not unlike the Specialized helmets introduced last year with “ANGi,” German brand ABUS has a new lid with a monitoring system called QUIN that can alert emergency contacts in case an accident happens and you’re not able to yourself.
The Aventor model features the easy-to-miss electronics in the back where they’re easy to reach and recharge by USB. When connected by Bluetooth to a smartphone, the helmet can detect the forces that signal a crash (velocity and rotational and linear inertia changes, for example) and automatically alert your preset contacts.
It’s hard to imagine this will be the last of the smart helmets, and in fact this probably predicts a turning of the tide toward a future full of similar tech.
Is that a 750Wh battery in your downtube? Why indeed it is. Bulls has crammed a massive battery and mountain bike power unit from Brose into its new Lacuba Evo Elite, and the results are eye-popping — they claim a range of 150 miles in ideal conditions.
Available in diamond, step-thru, and “wave” (seen here) configurations, the new bike from Bulls could be a game changer for touring cyclists worried about range limits, and the sub-$5,000 price point should put it in reach of any serious eBike shopper.
We’re working to get a review model this spring and hope to have a full Road Test in an upcoming issue of Adventure Cyclist.
For those looking for a less traditional saddle option, ISM’s line of unique seats might fit the bill. With a huge range of padding, widths, sizing, and performance features (like lighter rails), the brand’s lineup should cover the spectrum from cruiser to Ironman. Of particular interest were the touring saddle and the “PR” (performance recreation) lineup. Designed to take pressure off soft tissue regardless of position on the seat, they’re certainly going to start a conversation at your weekly group ride or bakery stop.
Adventure Cyclist staff have long been fans of the Timber Bell trail bell for mountain biking in the bear- (and equestrian-) filled woods of western Montana. Now Mirrycle has a trail bell of its own, featuring a clever magnetized silencer lever and a friendly jingle.
Shims are employed to mount on a variety of handlebar sizes, and a rider need only to flip a lever on or off and the bell rings with the natural movement of the bike rather than requiring one to hit a striker. We brought a sample home to test on road and trail (the Timber Bell required rougher surfaces to make noise) — and probably snow.
Microphones and audio systems are common in the world of motorcycles, and moto accessory manufacturer SENA has brought similar tech to the world of bicycles. The new R1 helmet looks normal enough, save for three buttons on the left side and a small charging port in the rear. But in addition to protecting your dome, this lid offers a range of audio-related features including intercom communications, phone pairing for audio, and even group chat.
With a range of about half a mile, the R1 enables up to four riders to talk with one another using a mic tucked right in front of the wearer’s forehead and speakers above their ears. Wind noise? With a physical filter as well as sophisticated software, SENA says the audio is comparable to their motorcycle products where wind speeds are considerably greater.
Burley’s new Travoy features an extendable arm for more mounting flexibility, a redesigned quick-release clamp, and a few tubing changes for a more stable ride when towing. We saw Brompton’s new eBike at the Sea Otter Classic last spring and it’s now available through a dozen select dealers around the country. Wider distribution can be expected later in 2020. The Fuji Jari carbon that was also shown at last year’s Sea Otter is closer to production following the brand’s tumultuous year as its parent company ASE went through bankruptcy proceedings. The carbon bike is expected to be available by late spring. Aventon may not offer the same range as high-zoot eBikes, but nor does it command a premium price. The Level model features a 750W (peak power) hub motor, integrated 14-amp-hour battery, and pedal assist to 28 MPH (with 20 MPH available via throttle) — all for $1,600.