PARK CITY, UT (BRAIN) — The fifth edition of Lifeboat Events’ PressCamp wrapped up last week as a total of 30 editors, representing 37 media titles, sat down for their final meetings with more than 60 brand representatives serving 26 companies and 31 brands.
Noting that several of this year’s supplier participants have asked to return in 2014, Lifeboat Events founder Lance Camisasca said: “PressCamp 2013 was our finest effort to date. The Deer Valley facilities, trails, roads, weather, brand mix, media quality and quantity, event logistics and plain-old vibe were all excellent. Never satisfied with even the best of results, Chad [business partner Chad Battisone] and I already have several tweaks in our plans for 2014 as we continue to strive for perfection.”
Look for a photo wrap-up in the July 15 issue of BRAIN. In the meantime, a few more product highlights from PressCamp 2013:
There seems to be no ceiling on growth for Enve. Even after completing a recent expansion of its factory and office in Ogden, Utah, the made-in-USA carbon fiber wheel and component brand is already looking at adding more space to keep up with demand, said Jake Pantone, sponsorship and marketing at Enve.
Following the success of its Smart Enve System aero wheels, which pair a slightly shallower front wheel with a deep-profile rear, the company pondered what it could next in aero. Enter the Smart Enve System Aero Bar unveiled at PressCamp.
The sub-600-gram TT handlebar package includes extensions with cut lines so they can be used as J-bend, S-bend or flat. Convex pad mounts mean cyclists will feel no sharp edges on their arms, and the pair of pad towers comes with 5-, 10- and 15-milleter spacers, offering height adjustment at 5-millimeter increments up to 35 millimeters.
The Smart Enve System Aero Bar should be available by mid-September at a suggested retail price of $1,300.
Enve also showed off the new 350 Classics series, its first road wheels priced at or below $2,000. The company worked with its suppliers to bring cost down, Pantone said, spec’ing DT Swiss 350 hubs rather than pricier 240s or 190s and using a different bladed spoke than found on previous Enve road wheelsets. The rims, however, are the same handmade ones, with molded rather than drilled spoke holes for added strength and increased spoke tension, found on Enve’s higher-end wheelsets.
The 350 Classics started shipping a month and a half ago at a suggested retail of $1,850 for tubular versions and $2,050 for clinchers.
U.K. road brand Boardman Bikes comes to U.S. shores with a bit of a name recognition problem, admits industry veteran Fletch Newland, North American sales director.
“A lot of people in the U.S. don’t know Chris, that there’s heritage there,” he said.
“Chris” would be Chris Boardman, the British time trial specialist who won the men’s pursuit at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and who still holds three of the top four prologue records at the Tour de France despite his retirement from professional racing more than a decade ago.
During his storied career, Boardman earned the nickname “The Professor,” not only due to his detailed race prep, but also for his penchant for commissioning his own bars and other equipment to meet his exacting standards. When he decided around 2006 to launch his own bike brand, “it was not going to be a badging job—picking a frame off the shelf and putting his name on it,” said Andy Smallwood, director of operations for Boardman Bikes.
So it is that Boardman brings its truly distinctive Elite Series of two road bikes and one TT model to the U.S. market. (Boardman also sells a Performance Series in the U.K. through retailer Halfords, but is not bringing those bikes or its mountain line to North America at the moment.)
All Elite Series frames feature monocoque construction, a one-piece BB30 shell and oversize chainstay section with a sharp taper at the dropout for optimum power transfer and strength at the stays’ key stress point, and Teflon-coated internal cable routing. Each model comes in four spec levels, plus options for electronic shifting.
Aero model the Elite Air is tunnel-engineered for real-world variable wind conditions, Smallwood said, and has a proprietary seatpost shape and full-carbon fork with legs that taper toward the rear for improved airflow. Prices start at $3,000 for the Shimano Ultegra-equipped Elite Air 9.0 and top out at $7,700 for the SRAM Red- and Zipp 404 Firecrest-outfitted 9.8, which tips the scales at 14.3 pounds.
The Elite SLR is Boardman’s lightweight all-around race and sportif bike, with a neutral geometry to cover a wide range of riding and racing conditions. The medium frame weighs just 895 grams, with no rider weight limit. A Di2-specific version of the bike mounts the battery on the non-drive-side chainstay for a cleaner look and improved aerodynamics. Prices start at $2,700 for Shimano 105 spec and go up to $7,700 for the 14.2-pound Red-equipped version.
Just like the Elite Air, the Elite Air TT time trial bike is designed for real-world wind conditions rather than just straight-on headwinds. The 1,250-gram frame has a downtube, seat tube and seatpost shaped for maximized airflow, and a rear brake mounted under the bottom bracket. A specially designed TRP integrated front mini-V-brake tucks inside the fork to further reduce wind resistance. Prices range from $2,700 for SRAM Rival spec and Mavic Aksium wheelset to $11,000 for Zipp/SRAM Red drivetrain, Zipp Sub 9 rear disc wheel and Zipp 808 deep-profile front wheel.
Boardman is currently sold at five select U.S. retailers, but Newland hopes to have as many 25 to 30 dealers signed up by this time next year.
Folding bikes can tend to look a bit stodgy, acknowledges Ken Fagut, director of sales and marketing for Dahon North America. That’s why Dahon is shaking up its line for 2014, offering a hipper look and higher-end componentry on some models.
The Mu SL rolls on 22-inch wheels, rather than the typical 20s for city folders, and gets internal cable routing, matching white rims and handlebar post, anodized nipples and chainguard accents, eye-catching spoke lacing, SRAM Apex drivetrain and brakes, and a sleek brushed alloy frame finish with racing stripes. It retails for $1,600.
“These will never take the place of full-size bikes—that’s not the point. It’s to have something fun and versatile,” Fagut said.
Still, that didn’t stop him from hitching onto pace lines aboard a Dahon at last month’s Five Boro Bike Tour in New York City, where Fagut was among the first 500 finishers out of 40,000 riders.
At PressCamp, Dahon also showed off a new balance bike equipped with an encased drivetrain and optional cranks and pedals. Leave the cranks off to get a young’un comfortable with kicking down the sidewalk, then use an included Allen key to install the cranks in seconds when the kid is ready to pedal. An extra-long seatpost further extends the age range of the bike, which is also equipped with both a coaster brake and front rim brake.
“Now we have something for kids that can be sold in any bike store. And it’s gender neutral,” said Fagut, who hopes to have the bike available by the holiday season. It will retail for $249.95.
Meanwhile, Dahon is looking to offer an alternative to traditional bike-share programs. The Dahon Dock-in Station is a small-footprint set of lockers containing folded-up Dahons that can be rented at an adjacent kiosk accessed via smartphones and tablets. In addition to municipal bike-share programs, the station is targeted at hotels, college campuses, campgrounds and corporate campuses.
Fagut hopes to get a pilot program under way this summer, and has spoken with a handful of universities about partnering. Cost has not been set, but Fagut estimates it will come in around 60 percent less than typical bike share programs.
’Cross isn’t what it used to be in the U.S. Not only has the sport exploded to unprecedented popularity, but courses have become firmer, faster and more fan-friendly to accommodate rising spectatorship.
Ridley recognizes that with its redesigned top-end X-Night cyclocross racer. The Belgian brand has switched from tube-to-tube construction to a stiffer monocoque frame that is 480 to 500 grams lighter than its predecessor. The X-Night gets quicker handling and a more aggressive riding position, with a lower BB height, shorter wheelbase, and a headtube that measures 15 to 19 millimeters less than the 2012 model. For the first time, cables are all internally routed.
The X-Night is offered in SRAM Red for $5,695 or Ultegra disc for $4,695. Framesets come in braking option for: canti ($2,595) and disc ($2,695).
Timed with the 100th running of the Tour de France, Ridley will launch on July 1 a limited edition of its Fenix road bike with spec picked to resemble, as closely as possible, the bikes ridden by the team Lotto-Belisol. Campagnolo devotees will be particularly interested in the run of 20 to 25 bikes headed for the U.S., given the Italian component brand’s unusual presence on a Ridley bike. Equipped with Record groupset and Fulcrum wheels, it retails for $5,295.