FEATURES: INTERBIKE TECH REPORT. PART 1
September 13, 2011


Before the doors of the Sands Expo center open for Interbike 2011, attendees first have the opportunity to attend Outdoor Demo, located some 20 miles away in the Nevada desert town of Boulder City. It's become a miniature trade show in its own right as many bike and accessory manufacturers opt to unveil their newest parts and products at Outdoor Demo instead of inside the halls of the Sands later in the week. Here's some of the things that caught RBA's attention during Day 1 of Outdoor Demo.

One of the biggest reveals at Outdoor Demo came from Mad Fiber in the form of their all-new clincher wheel. Like their tubular design launched last year, the clincher version features a wild looking array of carbon fiber spokes. The unique design and construction even allows the use of a tubeless tire setup.


Mad Fiber designer Ric Hjertberg calls the new clincher wheel the "World's Happiest Rim," due primarily to the unique three-piece configuration involving an alloy tire bed. Specifically, Hjertberg mentions that "the rim itself acts as a spoke, because it is entirely under tension," due to their proprietary carbon bonding process.


This cutaway shot of the alloy tire bed yields a fairly straigh-forward profile and a rather subtle rim bead. The new clincher wheels will be compatible with tubeless tire setups, which result in lower overall rolling weight and a smoother ride.


Mad Fiber has redesigned their rear wheel spoke configuration. The drivesides of both the all-new clincher and the updated 2012 tubular version include what Hjertberg calls a "spoke nest." Whereas the previous Mad Fiber wheels has these rear driveside spokes crossing over one another, this new design has the spoke joined in a flush configuration, resulting in a cleaner look, as well as an overall improved ride quality.


Like the tubular version, a Mad Fiber clincher wheelset with steel bearing-hubs will run you $2800, while $3000 will get you a set with ceramic bearings. These prices include quick release skewers, brake pads and valve extenders.


Giant Bicycles had one of the largest fleets of road bikes on the first day of Outdoor Demo. Attendees had the opportunity to test ride both the 2012 TCR and Defy models.


Fluid has gained a large fan base in a short amount of time for their muscle recovery nutrition drink. Now the San Luis Obispo, California-based company has launched a line of electrolyte and carbohydrate-based beverages, designed for on-bike hydration. Flavors include Raspberry Lemonade, Blueberry Pomegranate and Passion Fruit Tea (which contains a trace amount of caffeine for an added kick).


We tested the Neilpryde Diablo in a recent edition of Road Bike Action and found it to be an all-around solid bike. The British company's newest creation is the Alize, which is their entry into the "aero road" market. It will come standard in two build options: Shimano mechanical Ultegra drivetrain with Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, and Shimano mechanical Dura-Ace with Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels.


Like many other aero road bikes, the Alize was designed inside a wind tunnel (deep in the heart of North Carolina's Nascar country, in this case). But unlike many other aero road bikes, the Alize was designed to be aerodynamic in nearly every wind direction, instead of just head-on. As such, all of the tube shapes featured sharp creases which Neilpryde reps claim help deflect crosswinds and reduce overall drag.


We glimpsed a peek at Mavic's brand new line of helmets for 2012 at EuroBike, and we've even had a test model of the top-of-the-line Plasma SL show up on the doorstep of the palatial RBA headquarters. But at Outdoor Demo, Mavic proudly displayed their entry-level lid, the Syncro. It's a unique looking helmet with plenty of features and will retail for $125.


The Raleigh Revenio has been updated for 2012 with new tube shapes, build options and color choices. The stealthy matte black color will be on offer, as will the optional Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain which should retail for around $4000 for a complete bike.


Raleigh was one of the only companies at Outdoor Demo featuring Shimano's latest Ultegra Di2 electronic drivetrain on select models of their demo fleet.


Another big design change for the Revenio is the flattened seat stays, which Raleigh originally featured on certain cyclocross models. The thin design is intended to help deflect road vibrations and ensure a smoother ride.

Check back soon for continuing coverage of Outdoor Demo and Interbike 2011!

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