Girl Talk: Interbike Review

As usual, the 2012 Interbike show was full of so many new bikes and products to look at and not nearly enough time to do so. There were so many women involved this year, which is great to see and even better to feel so wanted by the industry! It was fun times, exciting times, and new worlds are opening up for women who love bikes every day.

MOST INTERESTING BIKE

Perhaps one of the most unlikely bikes for me to test was a super-aero, light Tern Verge X20 commuter bike. I was thrilled with the ride, the speed and the lack of ‘geekness’ to this folding bike. At $3000 it isn’t cheap, but  less than a car and very impressively equipped. The gearing was altered to allow for the 20-inch wheels. FSA equipped it with a 55/42 crankset paired with the wider 11/28 or 11/30 cassette to allow for a wider gear range and less shifting into overlapping gears-something I think would be useful in busy, congested traffic situations. The ultralight wheels were specially designed by Rolf Dietrich, one of the cycling industry’s well-known wheel experts. The result? Strong wheels with only 14 spokes in the front and 16 in the rear- very aero, super sleek. Folding was easy and quick, but would probably take a bit of practice on my part.

MOST IMPRESSIVE BIKE FOR NEW IDEAS

The BMC GranFondo GF01 was simply one amazing ride, and one I feel that will allow women to embrace the BMC brand in a whole new way. While not specifically designed for women, this bike is a compact style with a full-size run from 48?61cm to suit any woman, or man for that matter. I was especially pleased to see the Continental 4 Season 700x28c tires, which will allow for a smoother ride quality. I’ve come to prefer greater rubber surface on the road and the added confidence it instills on descents. The BMC was fast in the descents, smooth on the corners and nimble for climbing. Equipped with the Ultegra Di2, shifting was effortless. I look forward to riding it on a future test to see how my body feels afterwards. Prices vary according to equipment choices. Available in carbon and aluminum.

STYLE AND SAFETY

Every year I come back to KASK helmets. Having seen firsthand the crash-related heads saved from this helmet maker, it’s hard to wear anything else. As always, KASK is innovating all the time and improving on both design and comfort. The added reinforcement around the helmet’s rim is both comfortable and functional. Replaceable gel pads at the front eliminate some of the hair-pulling of the past, but the easy-touse ponytail access remains, as does the innovative fit design. Custom helmets are all the rage, and KASK’s custom program shows no shortage of beautiful, creative designs. The ‘Bambino’ TT helmet has a shortened tail and is getting rave reviews for the speed improvements it has contributed to at triathlons.

INNOVATION FOR WOMEN

Finally we have a ‘boy short’ with a reasonable chamois to wear under a dress for the beach-cruiser ride, or even under jeans for the daily commute. The Club Ride DamselCham has the perfect inseam to feel like a boy short panty without the largeness of a longer short with a thick chamois. Aside from the not-very-attractive gray color, I think the DamselCham is an invaluable piece to a woman’s cycling wardrobe. Hopefully we’ll see these soon in some fun colors and prints. One pair is just $34.99. Giro turned up this year with the women’s Series line in road/tri and mountain shoes, helmets, gloves and shoes that are all aesthetically pleasing and functional. At a brief glance, it looks like lots of thought and purpose went into this line.

LOVE THE POSTERS

Interbike is always full of great wall art, but this year, more than ever, the giant wall-size pics/marketing pieces appealing to women were simply strong-from the almost ceiling-size photos of Lea Davidson and Rebecca Rusch to the inspirational messages of Pearl Izumi and Shebeest. Everywhere you turned, a strong, beautiful woman was staring out at you as if to say, ‘Go ride!’

EVENTS

I think the big event on the showroom floor was hosted by the Spokeswomen group, spearheaded by April Lemly of ChicksOnBikesRadio, Robin Lennon Bylenga of Pedal Chic and the OIWC (Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition). It was a packed happy hour with women from all aspects of the industry, mingling and finding opportunities to meet and work together. Dotsie Bausch, silver medalist at the Olympics, was present and inspiring as always. Let’s hope that women in cycling continues to grow and become a voice for the women who ride.

BIG NEWS FROM AN OUTSIDER

Event 360 owners Jeff Shuck and Mike Murphy were at Interbike this year spending time and getting to know women in the cycling industry. They announced formation of their new event for women: La Bella Preme, Women’s Cycling Challenge, set for June 1, 2013, in Malibu, California. They promise a special event like no other ride, designed by women to celebrate women. An upscale winery location, challenging routes for the beginner to pro rider, as well as lots of fun, wine, mountains, ocean, great food, a charitable aspect and dancing-sounds good to me.
For more info: La Bella Preme

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