Paul Andrews

Posts Tagged ‘Turner RFX’

Daily Roundup: Lance’s coyness, Tyler rools! Fixie Love and more

In Bicycle Racing, Daily Roundup, Interbike 2009, Lance's Chances, Mountain Biking on October 2, 2009 at 2:19 am

Well now Lance has himself in a pretty pickle. With the Tour of California moving to May to avoid the freezing wet of last April’s racing, Lance now has to decide between the Giro d’Italia and the Tour d’Cali. I’m sure his heart is in California but he has Team Radio Shack to think about, and all the big bucks that go with Euro racing. So he’s being coy. First he’s not gonna do Cali, only the Giro. Then — UPDATE! — he says he’s mulling things over. OK by us if he keeps us guessing, long as he comes down on the side of the Golden State.

I know it’s possible to love a bike, and in fact it’s possible to love several bikes at once. I love all my mountain bikes, for instance. I will never love a fixed gear bike, but am not opposed to fixed-gear relationships and in fact support affording fixed-gear lovers the same rights and benefits as all bike owners. So when I read a syrupy encomium to the fixie, I do not disrespect. I link.

Turner was showing a prototype of its DW-Link RFX long-travel trail bike at Interbike 2009, but to me it looks like the thing still needs work. Strange that it’s taking so long, too. We know Dave wants to get it right, but there’s gotta be some subtext here. Licensing? Flat market for hi-end 6-inch bikes? Design tweaks? Whisper in our ear, we won’t say where we got it from…

This Day In Doping: Thomas Dekker is tossed off Team Silence after his B test shows positive. Dekker says it was a one-off mistake he apologizes for and WILL NEVER DO AGAIN! Why are we so uncharitably skeptical? Well, for one, there’s the issue of who sponsored Dekker. To cleanse itself of the embarrassing association with an admitted doper, Silence is changing its name to … Omega Pharma! That’s right, a drug company is financing a pro cycling team. And you wonder why it’s so dang hard to clean up this sport:

“Silence, which is part subsidized by Belgium’s national lottery, has changed the name of its main sponsor on several occasions in recent years. It was called Davitamon from 2005 to 2006, Predictor in 2007 and Silence in 2008 and 2009. All three names are from products among those made by the pharmaceutical company Omega Pharma.”

More kudos to Wenatchee’s Tyler Farrar, who on Thursday won the opening stage of the Circuit Franco-Belge, then followed it with another win Friday. With “fastest human on wheels” Mark Cavendish out for the season, Farrar stands a great chance of racking up some impressive wins.

Interbike 2009 wrap: In search of a showstopper

In Equipment reviews, Interbike 2009, Mountain Biking on September 27, 2009 at 2:09 am

Another edition of Interbike has come and gone, and a good time was had by all. Lots of 29ers, lots of carbon, lots of improved this and streamlined that. But if there is anything that Interbike 2009 will be remembered for, it’s that there isn’t anything Interbike 2009 will be remembered for.

Unlike past Interbikes, no major breakthroughs like VPP or DW-Link or rad shocks or tubeless tires headlined 2009. In fact, nothing really headlined 2009. This year was not so much about new. It was mostly about improved.

A better drivetrain from SRAM. An HD helmet cam from Hero. New tires from WTB. Better lighting systems, lighter wheelsets, iPhone bike apps, a bladder that tells you how full it is from Camelbak.

And a great t-shirt from Thule.

myonlyrackisathule

All nice. But not earthshaking.

Much of the subdued aura at the Sands had to do with the economy, of course. The bike industry isn’t being hammered as hard as, say, the auto industry or housing sector. In fact, there are bright spots, including increasing ridership, commute penetration numbers and respectable sales of mainstream bikes. And although final numbers are not yet in, organizers who were expecting a drop in attendance feel the headcount may actually prove to be higher this year than last.

But high-end bikes are pretty much dead in the water. And they’re the ones with the fat margins that make the money to fund R&D that leads to tech advances in the marketplace. The big bike manufacturers will deny cutbacks on skunkworks and blue-sky projects, and the boutique makers will say they’re still full steam ahead. But if you talk to the suppliers and vendors and even shop rats, you hear a different story.

You didn’t see a whole lot of new models at Interbike this year. There was the downhill 29er from Lenz we discussed, and Santa Cruz’s Tallboy carbon 29er, and Ibis’ HD (longer-travel) Mojo and some random others. We expected Turner to have prototypes of the DW-Link RFX available at the Dirt Demo, but it’s another tell (as they say at the Vegas poker table) on the state of the business that Dave did not roll this baby out. Giant and Trek didn’t even show up.

The biggest Top Secret whisper-whisper hubbub had to do with battery-sensored “smart fork” suspension from Cannondale. Remember earlier this year when electronic transmission was the next big thing? Like, where did that go?

This is no slam against the bike biz. Everyone’s hurting, so it only makes sense to lower expectations. And a lower-key Interbike is in some ways a more enjoyable Interbike. You could focus on the social aspects and networking instead of running around trying to absorb tons of new goodies that manufacturers were vying for your attention span over.

So even if 2009 goes down as one of the ho-hummer Interbikes, it hardly means the show wasn’t worth it. This is bike fever at its best, even in hard times. And besides, there’s always next year.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.