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Cool products and cool weather at DealerCamp

Published July 26, 2012

DEER VALLEY, UTAH (BRAIN)The second day of DealerCamp launched under bright blue skies and cool temperatures without a hint of thunderstorms. And dealers took full advantage of the day taking dozens of bikes—mostly 29er mountain and high-end road—out for a spin.

While there are fewer exhibitors here than last year, the mood is upbeat and vendors have ample time to meet and talk with retailers. Mike Kleinhenz, national sales manager for Cardo, maker of Bluetooth communication systems for cyclists, said he’s had time to explain the system to interested dealers.

And Adam Micklin, director of global sales for the Hayes Bicycle Group, said retailers have come by to review the company’s new products, but it’s also been an opportunity for him to meet with a variety of suppliers interested in spec’ing Hayes products.

As for retail attendance, it’s too early to talk numbers. Suffice it to say that dealers like Jeff and Leslie Latimer, from Gus’ Bike Shop in North Hampton, New Hampshire, love the event and they’ve picked up lines from Club Ride, Zoic and Shebeest while here.

Lance Camisasca, the event’s founder, has a dealer tracking system in place and said he would have a definitive count once DealerCamp closes Thursday evening.

In the meantime, there are some new products to look at. Perhaps one of the most intriguing and popular is Shimano’s new Dura Ace 9000 group. The company has only one bike set up with the group and it’s firmly locked into a trainer. No test rides.

But it’s clear after spending time riding the setup that the 9000 is a stellar addition to Shimano’s lineup. The shifting is so smooth and quick that it’s as close to Di2 as a mechanical system can get. Shifting chainrings is quick and smooth with minimal effort thanks to highly refined cables that pull as smooth as hot butter.

(As an aside, rumor has it that Shimano has an Ultegra system in development that combines shifting and braking with its hydraulic brake system—another sign that road disc brakes are becoming a factor in the marketplace. The system would work on both road and cyclocross bikes.)

One of the early developers of bikes to combine road frames with hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes, Volagi, has a prototype steel frame model that rides like silk. Robert Choi, the company’s founder, named the new steel frame models Viaje, Spanish for “the journey.”

One frame uses Taiwan double-butted steel and the other is spec’d with triple-butted tubing from Columbus. The lower-price-point model, about $2,000, features the SRAM Apex group with Avid mechanical brakes. The next step up, approximately $3,000, comes with Shimano’s Ultegra group and TRP’s hydraulic brake system. Both have braze-ons for fenders front and rear and sufficient clearance for super-fat 42-millimeter tires, plus proprietary carbon forks that Choi designed.

In keeping with the road/cyclocross trend toward disc brakes, Luke Musselman, sales manager for Hayes, said the CX5 disc brake is earning some OE spec from Ridley and others. The unit competes with Avid’s BB5 and BB7 disc brake systems. The spring tension is high to compensate for pulling cable through cable housing and it also features a barrel adjuster. “The market is accepting discs for road and 'cross and this is just part of that evolution,” he said.

And as cyclists continue on their path to becoming human cyborgs, Cardo’s Bluetooth communication system lets riders be one with their Apple iPhones (and Androids), their iPods and other must-have music systems, as well as receiving in-ear GPS navigation instruction. Hands free.

But as East Coast rep Mike Abrams points out, the ear pieces are outside the helmet so riders can hear oncoming traffic or chat easily with friends while riding. The two-helmet system retails for $469.95 and offers dealers a 37 percent margin.

Cardo, an Israeli company, is the leader in this type of communications system in the motorcycle industry, with about a 50 percent market share. The Cardo BK-1 was first shown at Sea Otter.

Topics associated with this article: Tradeshows and conferences

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