LAS VEGAS — If you noticed a substantial drop in leg-shaved and Lycra-clad bicyclists on the roads in your part of the world it is because they are all taking a spin in Sin City.
They didn’t come for the penny slots, forced air and big-ass beers, though. They made the pilgrimage to Vegas to attend the annual mega-bike show known as Interbike. It brings out industry giants like Giro and Shimano, but the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well too, with small builders and garage tinkerers showing off their latest big ideas.
Cult of Mac walked the show floor on day one look at it all. Here is some of the coolest new stuff we found.
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Uvex Variotronic sunglasses
Whether the future is extremely bright or just a little overcast, Uvex has you covered. The company’s new line of Variotronic sunglasses will switch from a light 16 percent tint to a dark 64 percent at the touch of a button. The button engages electrochromatically activated liquid crystals, to be precise, and if touching it is too much of a hassle for you, you can set the glasses on automatic.
The first time you see the Variotronics in action, it will flip you out. It is bonkers. The sunglasses come in two styles, one with a full frame and one without (for the roadies). The high-tech specs charge via mini USB and will run for 50 hours on a four-hour charge. The will be available November 1 for the jaw-dropping price of $329.
MyCampy riding app by Campagnolo
Campagnolo makes some of the most beautiful bicycle parts in the world. But, as of late, they are also busy innovating in their Italian factory, matching the pace of bigger competitors SRAM and Shimano.
The new MyCampy app (coming soon to iOS and Android) is a perfect example: It lets you set up countless parameters with Campagnolo’s soon-to-be-released Super Record EPS Version 3 electronic drivetrain. You will be able to decide how many gears you want to dump at a time and how fast you want your derailleurs to move (with different settings for going up and coming down). You can set the system up to run both derailleurs from one brake/shift lever and tweak too many other variables to explain here.
You can also use the app to log the miles you’ve ridden on a particular set of tires or how long it’s been since you lubed your poor, neglected chain. The app will come free with Campagnolo’s new gruppos, which will be available in January. So all you have to do is pony up for some Italian goodness and you can configure away.
Arktos mountain bike by Alchemy
The gang at Alchemy Bicycle Company is best known for beautifully built road bikes, like the Arion and the Helios, but they jumped into the dual-suspension mountain bike game head-first with the introduction of the Arktos here at Interbike.
Alchemy partnered with Dave Earle, designer of the original Switch suspension, for the Arktos suspension design; they build the front end at their shop in Colorado. They would not let us pull the bike off the display to take it for a couple laps around the convention center, but the buzz indicates this might be the perfect all-day adventure whip for almost any conditions. Preorders for the bike are being taken right now, so …
eTap derailleur system by SRAM
If there is one item at Interbike that can be tagged a showstopper, it has to be SRAM’s new eTap derailleur system.
The eTap is wireless. Seriously — without wires. This electronic shifting system runs for 60 hours, charges in 45 minutes and uses interchangeable batteries for the derailleurs and CR2032 button cells for the shifters.
SRAM is calling its wireless technology Airea. It uses 128-bit rolling encryption on a 2.4-gHz frequency. You can only pair your shifting system to one set of shifters; SRAM claims it is more secure than Fort Knox. This means no more frayed cables or funky cable runs on your carbon fiber ride. Early reviews make it sound like this stuff works flawlessly. All yours for about $3,000.
Fly12 bike light and camera by Cycliq
After dazzling you with the rear-facing Fly6 blinky light/HD camera combination, Cycliq is bringing the same technology to the front of your ride with even more functionality. The Fly12 is a front-facing bike light and HD camera combination that comes with Cycliq’s newly improved video app. The camera runs for 10 hours on one charge by itself (or two hours when used in conjunction with the light blasting out 400 lumens). The app will let you edit video from your phone, pick snippets, and even overlay your Strava data (you are in Cult of Mac’s Strava club, right?) on the video before you share it on your social channels.
Dario Pegoretti’s hand-painted stunner
Italian frame builder Dario Pegoretti makes some of the most exquisite bicycles in the world. We’re not sure there is any technology in his work we can share, but we had to showcase this hand-painted beauty … just because. If you don’t know Dario, you should google him.
Bootlegger keg transporter by YendraBuilt
“I wanted a cargo bike that was fun and goes fast and hauls a lot of stuff,” said Zach Yendra, the brains behind the YendraBuilt Bootlegger. “I wanted a cargo bike my friends would actually ride. Why do cargo bikes have to be so ugly?”
The Bootlegger trike in the photograph is a 20/36er (20-inch wheels on the front and a 36-inch wheel on the back), with a 750-watt motor and 48-volt battery that’s helped it reach a maximum velocity over 40 mph.
“If you can’t rip it down mountain roads then why ride it?” said Yendra.
We’re not sure what else to say about the Bootlegger, other than we rode this beast around the the test track at Interbike loaded down with a keg of beer — and it was a blast.