Sep 20, 2012 article & images by Nick Salazar

Vision Tech has several new bars that will hit the market in 2013. The new Trimax Carbon comes in two versions ...
Vision Tech has several new bars that will hit the market in 2013. The new Trimax Carbon comes in two versions ...

Our second day on the Interbike showroom floor was another great harvest of gear photos and new info. Today we looked at a variety of things, from Campagnolo EPS all the way down to a simple BTA bottle from Profile Design. There's plenty of great stuff in the gallery - have a look, and check back in tomorrow for our final gallery.

  • Vision Tech has several new bars that will hit the market in 2013. The new Trimax Carbon comes in two versions ...
  • ... the Trimax versions are a flat bar (below) and a drop bar (above). Both have flat hand holds with no upturns, my preferred geometry.
  • The Vision Tech TFA bar was shown at last year's Interbike, but production delays have prevented anyone from actually riding the bar. Vision promises that production is just around the corner and we should see bars by the beginning of 2013.
  • The Vision TFA has internal cable routing that exits right at the back of the port. Of course, it works with cabled drivetrains only, and Vision would love it if you used their own Metron group.
  • The Metron rear derailleur has a faired cage for the jockey wheels, much like the custom Berner cages that were popular in the Tour de France a couple years ago.
  • The Metron rear derailleur also uses an oversized lower jockey wheel - it has 15 teeth, to provide a larger turning circle and supposedly lower drivetrain friction. SRAM has publicly stated that they have tested this setup, but chose not to implement it for the new RED.
  • Selle SMP had this very ... um ... interesting display to show how your ischial tuberosity bones contact the saddle. Nice.
  • KMC makes some of the best chains in the business - I put them on nearly every build I do. Their top-of-the-line X10SL is being ported to 11-speed drivetrains, and is appropriately being called X11SL.
  • Here is the new Merckx TT bike. I'll refrain from saying everything I really think about this bike, but I'll put it this way: the bike's design goes AGAINST every bit of what you might call 'conventional wisdom' about TT bike design. It's very wide, it has a lot of sharp angles, and it leaves a lot of cables exposed to the wind. But so far, Merckx has not presented any comparative data showing how its bike stacks up against other bikes in the wind tunnel.
  • I turned the front wheel and got this shot of the down tube. As you can see, it's VERY wide, and they put a bunch of holes in it, which Merckx says allows them to direct the wind ... but they don't say WHERE it allows them to direct the wind. This design makes no sense to me, and as I mentioned, Merckx has not presented any data about it.
  • One last shot of the Merckx: it uses the TRP TTV brakes, which seem to be growing in popularity among frame designers ... but no one seems to notice that using these brakes virtually requires that you have some kind of crazy ugly cable routing - either a horrible loop of cable coming in from the side (as most are using), or an asinine routing through the steerer tube (as used on the Cannondale Slice RS). Again, I have a big bias here because I sell the TriRig Omega. But I'm definitely not the only one who thinks these things are a poor choice for a front brake. They make a LOT more sense in the rear, where the cable can be hidden in the much wider bottom bracket envelope. But Merckx STILL didn't do that here - they put a TTV in the rear, but not at the bottom bracket - they put it in the traditional rear brake location, and then used another big loop of cable. One thing is for sure: they did not consult me when designing this bike.
  • This is the new Profile Design Aeria. Overall, I think it is a VERY well-designed aerobar. It's sleek, versatile, and light. The extensions and arm cups rise together, via a spacer system that stacks in under the extensions. And everything bolts directly to the base bar without any bulky external hardware. Total weight is 590g, which puts it in line with the lightest bars out there.
  • Here's a slightly closer look at the bar-extension-clamp interface.
  • This is my one gripe about the bar - I don't like upturns on the base bar. Profile Design, however, says that their upturned base bars outsell the flat versions by a wide margin, so they chose to go this route. And no plans to make a flat version. Too bad.
  • Here's the underside of the bar, showing where the bolts come in.
  • Look carefully, and you'll see there's no split in the extension clamp. It doesn't operate like a clamshell - instead, a hidden wedge beneath the extensions are pushed up as the bolt from underneath is tightened, which pinches the extension against the top of that circular clamping area, and simultaneously affixes the whole assembly to the bar. Pretty clever, and it's what helps keep everything light. Overall, as I mentioned, it's a very well-thought-out bar, and by far my favorite offering from Profile Design in years.
  • Another great product from Profile Design - the HC Bottle. HC stands for Horizontal Cage, and Profile told me it's their BTA bottle, having adopted my term for a 'Between-The-Arms' hydration solution. I think this is a VERY cool bottle, if a little pricey for what it is. The system will cost $75 for the bottle and a mount, or $40 for the bottle alone. I'd go for the latter option, and then just use a bottle cage and some zip ties to affix it to the bars. But it looks like a great little refillable bottle, complete with everything you need to get going.
  • The refill section is very low profile. The only comparable product right now is the Speedfil A2. The A2 has a bulkier refill section, but its benefit is absolute bomb-proof watertightness. The A2 will never leak. I'm looking forward to testing the Profile HC Bottle to see how it compares.
  • The bottom of the HC Bottle has a little divet to make it compatible with a bottle cage. Profile was careful to say that it will work with most bottle cages, but not all of them.
  • After seeing Shimano's new E-Tube platform, Campy appears to be truly behind the curve with its electronic shifting platform. Still, they do have two full groupsets that work - Record EPS and now Athena EPS. But sadly, the systems are completely incompatible with one another.
  • The Athena EPS rear derailleur is definitely a good looking piece of kit.
  • Now, one thing I think is GREAT about Campagnolo's electronic kit are the TT shifters. Both work on the R2C concept originally introduced by SRAM, and then copied by Campy in their R2Z shifters. I think it makes perfect sense for electronic: a small tilt up shifts one way, a small tilt down shifts the other way. It's a really nice feel from an ergonomic perspective. But in a perplexing choice, Campy made the Record shifters really short, as seen here, and the Athena ones are longer. Maybe it was just to make sure Athena weighed more?
  • Here's another shot of those Record EPS TT shifters. The blades are MUCH shorter than the Athena EPS shifter blades.
  • As mentioned in the previous pictures, the Athena EPS shifters are significantly longer than Record. Maybe this was for weight reasons, or maybe it was because the Pro Tour teams would all be on Record, and the UCI rule about shifter length would have been a liability with longer blades. In any case, it's not a big deal, because both shifters feel great in the hand. You just wrap your hand around the front of the pod, and leave your thumb and forefinger gripping the base of the blade.
  • The new Bullet crankset is a BEAST. It's big, smooth, gorgeous, and is probably an aerodynamic beauty. The only drawback of this otherwise fantastic piece is that there's no way to turn it into a power meter at present. But if you don't need a crank-based power meter, this is a pretty sweet-looking crank, and probably stiffer than anything. It's much like the recently-discontinued Zipp Vumachrono.
  • The Campy EPS base bar shifters work just like Shimano's version. The buttons have a slightly different placement, but that's about it. That's a good thing - it ain't broke, no need to fix it. Base bar shifting is one of the big advantage of electronic shifting, and it's good that Campy retains it.
  • Here's what I consider a big drawback of EPS - that battery is rather fat and chunky. And unlike the Shimano battery, which can rather easily be replaced by a hidden seatpost battery, the Campy battery has integrated electronic chips, meaning it's a bit of a black box that's harder to hack. In any event, that battery looks kindof ugly in that spot right there, which was originally designed for a Di2 battery.
  • EPS also seems to have more wired than Di2, especially now that E-Tube has been released. Campy smartly chose to display Speed Concepts for its EPS TT builds, because the Speed Concept has great internal routing for Di2 - you can basically hide everything. And still, Campy has this junction box sitting out in the air, looking pretty ugly. Can this thing be tucked away in the frame like the Di2 box? I have no idea. My guess would be that it CAN be hidden, but for those considering electronic groups, I'd strongly recommend going with a Shimano E-Tube system (meaning Dura-Ace 9070 or Ultgra 6770).
  • Another shot of the Bullet crank, and the Super Record 11-speed EPS front derailleur. One thing is for sure, the Campy stuff looks good. And don't get me wrong, Campagnolo's electronic shifting works beautifully. It's a great system. I just think Shimano has a very clear upper hand, especially now that E-Tube components have some future-proofing via firmware updates and the plug-and-play upgrade path.
  • Know what else is awesome? The Kask Bambino helmet! I've been waiting for this sucker to come out for over two years, and am told it's now right around the corner. I WANT ONE.
  • This particular lid is a replica of Leslie Patterson's helmet, complete with the logo of her manager, Sean 'Wattie' Watkins.
  • The Bambino is a very large, smooth canvas for custom paint jobs, like this very morbid little number. I think I'll take mine in a more straight-laced color scheme, if that's all right.
  • One more Bambino shot, this one's just a black-and-white. They have this same version in an inverted color scheme (white on the outsides with a narrow black stripe). I'm really looking forward to reviewing one.
  • This is the Fernweg, the new Carbonsports Lightweight wheel that has the blunt-inner diameter so popular on modern rims, but maintains a narrow profile for good low-yaw performance. A lot of people are very excited about this wheel.
  • The Fernweg has muted graphics, which are actually a lot more stealthy in person than they appear in this photo. It's very hard to see the logo unless you blast the color like I did when processing this image. The stealth job is pretty awesome in person.
  • I'm delighted to be able to say that Blue is going to stock the TriRig Omega on all Triad SL bikes next year, and even include it with the Triad SL framesets. Please forgive the fact that this one is on just a little bit crooked, and that the cable is a little long (I didn't set this bike up). But notice that not a single millimeter of the brake exceeds the width of that fork - it's a perfect match for this bike, and I think Triad SL customers next year will be delighted with the brake.
  • The toned-down color scheme on the Triad SL is fantastic. That's actually not matte black - it's exposed unidirectional carbon. AWESOME.
  • Here's a closeup of the side profile of the brake on the Triad SL - I think the result is beautiful. This also gives you a good look at what the nude carbon looks like, on the head tube at least.
  • X-Lab is making a few custom pieces for the Cervelo P5, including this bento box to mount on the top tube bottle bosses.
  • X-Lab is also making a P5-specific rear bottle holder. This one is a very nice solution. It's simple, elegant, and puts the bottle right where it should be - centered and tucked in close.
  • SRM is very quick to update their collection as new cranks come out. They've already released a version compatible with SRAM's new YAW-compatible chainrings, although they aren't using the hidden bolt pattern that SRAM uses.
  • SRM clearly knows that certain color options are too important to skip - and I'm hoping to get one of these bad boys to review in the near future.
  • SRM's come in two different 165mm options. One is Rotor, and the other Dura-Ace (interestingly, they still use the old 7800 crank from 2004, because that's the only one that still works with their technology. But they are fitting on the new rings. You have a 7800 crank arm with a 9000 chainring. They had one there, but I didn't take a picture of it.)
  • Calfee was promoting its size cycle. While it doesn't have the robust simplicity that the Retul Muve offers, it's also a bit cheaper, at just $2100 for the frame (and more like $3000 as shown).
  • The front end of the Calfee fit cycle has an adjustable angle, adjustable reach stem that makes handlebar placement a cinch.
  • Both the seat tube and head tube are on pivots that allow you to adjust the bike's geometry. This is useful, but represents an older school of thought on bike sizing. I personally find it easier to think of tri bike sizing in X-Y coordinates, which is the philosophy behind the Retul Muve as well.
  • Keywin was on the floor with some new fit accessories for their pedals. They have tiny 1.5mm shims to compensate for leg length discrepancies. The shims lock into each other and the cleat itself - no more sliding around as with other brands' shims.
  • Keywin's various spindle options.
  • Keywin's sizing kit has a bunch of different spindles, and extra-long threaded bosses to allow for lots of Q-factor adjustment.
  • While using those extra-long threaded bosses, the fitter will use these half-moon clips to adjust the effective Q-factor during the fit, and then give the rider the appropriate standard spindle afterwards.
  • The Romer is this robotic arm that performs 3D scanning of complete bikes, just like you've seen used for the production of motion pictures when they scan actors' faces. These are used to validate bicycles after stage races - to make sure the riders were really on what they said they were on.
  • The robotic arm knows its position in 3D space, and scans the bike with a laser.
  • The image is then built up in layers on the computer. Pretty cool-looking, although it seems to me that the applications are limited.
  • Here you can see where the laser light is hitting the frame, bisecting the word Garmin in a line that looks pink in this photo, but appears bright laser red in person.
  • This is what happens if you stay at Interbike too long. So with that said, I'm signing off for Day 2. But make sure you check back in tomorrow - Some of my very favorite finds from Interbike 2012 have been saved for last. See you tomorrow, and thanks for reading!

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