10 Notable Steeds Of Interbike

Favorit F3 Adventure Interbike 2018

I, too, just got back from Interbike and it was undoubtedly smaller, as you have probably already heard. But there was still plenty of gear at the show to drool over. There were bikes that have already been announced, and then there were steeds that were totally new. In either case, it’s always better to see them in person than just reading up marketing copies. Here are ten bikes, well, not counting the Merlin Newsboy we highlighted in another post, that caught my attention.

Basso Palta

Basso Palta Interbike 2018

I ran into the Basso folks during media review on the eve of the show and on the table was the company’s new Diamante road bike with this hot electric sky paint. Beneath the booth was the company’s 2019 catalog, flipped to the page of an even more interesting bike. Palta, a local Italian dialect for “dirt, mud or similar,” is Basso’s gravel bike. I visited the Basso booth the next morning and my, it looked even better in person. The term “made in Italy” is often a marketing catch phrase, but Basso products are still proudly produced at their own factory in Northern Italy. The company is quite open about its manufacturing process, down to their specific layups for each frame. Besides the radically shaped Palta fork, the 1x specific, full thru-axled frame can be fitted with up to 42mm tires, a removable chainguide, as well as mounts for three bottles with three mount holes on top of the downtube for more available position. The Palta uses a proprietary-shaped seatpost secured with a triple bolt hidden clamp and a vibration-reducing rubber gusset sandwiched in between. Four sizes will be available and the bike can also be purchased with two add-on kits: An “endurance pack” with the addition of a 20mm vibration-reducing spacer, or the “mudfest pack” that includes removable front and rear fenders.

Dean El Diente Super Lite

Dean El Diente Super Lite Interbike 2018

Dean showed off a 13.14lb El Diente Super Lite complete with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and über bits such as Lightweight Meilenstein carbon clinchers, THM Clavicula SE carbon cranks, a semi-integrated Chris King headset on a 44mm straight tapered-headtube, a carbon-railed Selle San Marco Aspide saddle, an ENVE fork and Schmolke seatpost. It’s a fully ridable machine owned by one of its employees. Dean is happy to custom build one of these 3/2.5 titanium rider-specific tubbed frame for $3,200 including customization such as choice of bottom bracket, brake, cable routing, dropout, geometry, and seatpost sizing. How much does the pictured super bike cost? Well, enough to purchase a number of wickedly fast motorcycles.

Ritchey Ultra

Ritchey Ultra Interbike 2018

Tom Ritchey sold his first Ultra mountain bike frame 30 years ago and the American innovator who forever changed the landscape of mountain biking with the first production mountain bike is back with a new iteration of the Ultra. No, the frame is not carbon, it’s still being built with tried-and-trued Ritchey Logic steel tubing but with a modernized geometry to accommodate both 27.5”x2.8” or 29”x2.4” wheel sizes depending on the terrain or the rider’s preference. The update didn’t stop there though. It’s got a boost 148×12 rear end, an internal dropper post routing, and a forged and machine tapered headtube. The new multipurpose Ultra comes in three frame sizes and is designed around a 120mm suspension fork. It is also competitively priced at $999. It’s been a while since we got excited over a steel mountain bike and we can’t wait to get our hands on one of these.

Donnelly C//C

Donnelly C//C Cyclocross Interbike 2018

Better known for its tires, Donnelly announced their foray into frames at Dirty Kanza this past May and the cyclocross-oriented C//C and the gravel-specific G//C frames are finally shipping. The C//C, shorthand for Cross Carbon also just won the inaugural RenoCross by factory rider Lance Haidet so rest assured, this bike is no fluke. Besides it’s race-specific geometry, clearance for up to a 700x40c tire with thru-axles front and rear, and flat mount disc brake mounts, the C//C looked very clean with its integrated cable routes and sharp limited edition Amy D Blue. The C//C will retail for $1,999 as a frame set in five sizes, with complete build starting at $2,999.

Cannondale SystemSix

Cannondale SystemSix Interbike 2018

The wait is over. Cannondale finally made an aero bike with a rather familiar name: SystemSix. First introduced in 2007 as an aluminum and carbon venture, the SystemSix takes Cannondale’s integration philosophy to heart where frame, fork, handlebar, seatpost, stem and wheels, basically all major components were designed together as a system. Highlights on this disc-only bike include the 64mm deep KNØT64 carbon clincher wheels plus a massive KNØT bar-stem combo to which all cables stay hidden to reduce drag. The Inclusion of Speed Release thru axle should also boost stiffness and make wheel change a breeze. The higher end models such as this $7,500 SystemSix Hi-Mod Ultegra Di2 will be pre-installed with a Power2Max powermeter that can be activated by Power2Max for $490.

Van Dessel Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – Urban Gravel

Van Dessel Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - Urban Gravel WTF Interbike 2018

Van Dessel has been expanding their lineup of gravel bikes and the Urban Gravel build is an interesting one. While it uses the same 4130 Double-butted Cro-Moly frame as the drop-bar and 700c wheels equipped, do-it-all Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (WTF, get it?), the WTF-Urban Gravel edition is spec’d with a 1x Shimano SLX drivetrain, 650b wheels and riser bar for more upright riding. It can do a bit of cross, gravel, commuting, and grocery runs and it’s $1,799. The Indigo Candy Blue fade shown here, however, is limited only to 50 units. Further, if you’d like a higher-end frame, Van Dessel can also apply the same Urban Gravel treatment to its A.D.D and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 853ltd frames.

Riese & Müller Multicharger

Riese & Müller Multicharger Interbike 2018

I was bombarded with emails about eBikes weeks before the show even started so I was pretty turned off by them by the time the showed started. I didn’t spend a ton of time at the e-Bikes section but the Rise Müller Multicharger reminded me a lot of the Tern GSD I recently reviewed, yet it was so different at the same time. It’s got 26″ wheels, a Gates belt drive, a Bosch drivetrain with dual battery option, Magura disc brakes, Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost, suspension fork, and cargo racks that can be added with two custom 33-liter bags and a passenger kit rated to carry up to 132lbs/60kg. The Multicharger will be available in 5 trim options starting at $4,989. A cargo-capable eBike that can pull double-duty on the dirt? Yes please.

Favorit F1 Classic

Favorit F1 Classic Interbike 2018

I must admit I didn’t notice the 92-year old Czech company until the Basso guys stopped by to borrow a pump while we were off shooting the Palta. It was a bright booth with a ton of good looking bikes like the gravel oriented F3 (Top) with a Lauf Grit suspension fork in matching paint, but the most unique one has to be the F1 classic. It looks as if the bike is made out of steel with what appears to be an old-school flattopsteel fork and its seatpost/seatstay junction. Not so. The F1 Classic just happens to be a classy-looking carbon steed. The 7.7kg/16.9lb bike shown comes with a tan leather saddle, tan bar tape, a silver cockpit and Campagnolo Potenza silver 11-speed mechanical grouppo with rim brakes.

A Pair of Custom Painted Felt Bicycles

Custom painted Felt Interbike 2018

I am a sucker for a good paint job and these two at the SmartWasher booth sure got a lot of buzz. First, a wood-themed Felt TK2 track bike with matching saddle bag, helmet, crank arms and pedals. Second, a Wonder Woman-themed Felt TT bike. Enough said.

Custom painted Felt Interbike 2018


A Sea Otter Retrospective

Last year’s Sea Otter Classic was a breather that I desperately needed and treasured. There was no PressCamp this spring so my schedule has been a bit bare, but as April inched closer, Sea Otter came tugging at my heart saying I should really go. Whether I like to admit or not, attending Sea Otter has turned into a yearly pilgrimage, an excuse to get out of town. Heck, it doesn’t even feel like work (until I have to sit down and type it all out).

This year’s Sea Otter, or Sea Weasel as some like to call it, was in a way more or less the same: Always held on the third week of April at Laguna Seca, lots and lots of walking, the dust bowl. The only difference was that I spent two days there instead of the usual one so I that I could pace myself between checking out gear, trying to get some general photos, and even some racing action.

If next year’s edition is as busy as this year’s then I think I need to be there for its entirety. Here’s a quick, off-the-cuff photo journal of my two days, minus the gear of course.

First, the expo was lit. (Overheard at some point: InterBike’s dead.) I don’t recall seeing that many booths in past years and we were told by the organizers that all the booth spaces were sold out this year. I believe them because I kept getting lost. It was a great workout, but terrible when you have to run to an event or a meeting. You know those wavy flags that booths like to put up so they can be easily found? They don’t work because everybody’s got a few, if they didn’t get blown over by the wind, that is.

Flag or flag-less, however, the place was buzzing. Look, there’s Rebecca Rusch talking about nutrition while cranking out smoothies effortlessly at the Clif booth, kids watching dirt jumps at the always popular Subaru booth.

And how can I forget the happy hour giveaway raffle at Fox? Thankfully, no RC cars or Float 40 were thrown off the roof of the truck, much to the dismay of the bros amongst the huge, energetic crowd (who doesn’t like free stuff?).

2018 Sea Otter Classic
Steel is real and this gorgeous orange Von Hof Cross bike deserved to be placed high up for all to marvel at.

Not far from the Fox crowd, however, was this quiet booth with two whiteboards full of ordnances found on Fort Ord, where Laguna Seca rests upon. Now, the ones shown are obviously inert but they served as a great reminder to stay on them marked trails.

As visitors continued to trickle in on Friday, the number of bikes with for sale signs chained to various fences also increased. Matt, your Demo 8 looks sweet and all but do those roadside ads ever work? Asking for a friend.

Besides the obvious information overload on gear, the riding portion looked good too. Throughout the first two days, I spotted plenty of juniors buzzing around on race courses going faster and being more enthusiastic and more organized in ways I only dreamt of when I was racing in their categories 15 years ago. I wish my parents would have allowed me to take days off from school to go racing, too. Nevertheless, it was an encouraging sight to see.

Sea Otter Classic 2018
The juniors warming up. Together.
Team Swift with the 1-2-3.

Moving on to pro racing. It dawned on me on the second day that Laguna Seca was a rather difficult place to photograph racing since getting from point A to point B “down the road” often means 15 minutes of walking in circles. My schedule was packed as if I were at InterBike, so I was only able to catch the pro women slugging it out on the short track aka criterium on dirt.

Sea Otter Classic 2018
The CLIF Pro Team were all smiles before racing in the Pro Women Short Track event.
Sea Otter Classic 2018
Kate Courtney (Specialized Factory Team) getting ready for her STXC race
Sea Otter Classic 2018
The kids were out to cheer for the women’s short track.
Construction Zone Racing-Scott
2017 US National STXC Champion Erin Huck (Construction Zone Racing-Scott) at the start line.
Sea Otter Classic 2018
19 year-old Sidney McGill (Focus CX Team Canada) in the pain cave.
Specialized Factory Team
But it was Courtney’s teammate Annika Langvad winning the event.
Sea Otter Classic 2018
That’s a lot of racers.

Lastly, don’t forget to pick up a bag of kettle corn from Cliff & Jan’s. Typically located at the bottom of the walk bridge off  Wolf Hill, these two grade-school sweethearts have been steadily popping corns at Sea Otter for the past 12 years and I can’t avoid getting a bag year after year, much like attending Sea Otter itself.