Frostbike 2013: Report #2- by Guitar Ted
The annual dealer only show at Quality Bicycle Products in Bloomington, Minnesota has concluded, but we have some more to show you besides the stunning Carbon Beargrease fat bike we showed you yesterday. Here are the rest of the notable things I saw for 29″ers there.
Salsa Cycles: This stunning variation on the tandem Salsa Cycles has been working on for a couple of years made a bow at Frostbike. This is the next generation after the version noted being ridden last summer on Tour Divide. The same Alternator drop outs are here, but there have been a few tweaks.
The tandem was shown with the White Brothers Loop dual crown fork, but will also be tested with a steel unicrown fork. The fork features a through axle and tapered steer tube. Salsa had no estimated time for a possible production model, but the intention is to move forward with this flat bar version and finalize a production version in the future.
By far and away the most news was found in the tire segment. We got our first glimpses of some previously announced tires and a couple of new ones were seen at the show as well.
The first tire we hadn’t seen before was WTB’s “Vigilante” model. This is a 2.3″er, All Mountain tire with aggressive block tread styling. The tread compound is WTB’s “Dual DNA 50/60 type, and it is a TCS, (tubeless compatible), tire, of course. The tire also features a nylon protective sidewall treatment for rough, rocky, and abusive terrain. The weight is a claimed 940 grams and expected MSRP is $74.95 USD. We were told the tire is available now.The 27.5 “Beeline” was also shown at the show. This is a 2.2″ tire that will be offered in a TCS and Race version. The TCS version will feature the Dual DNA compound and weigh in at approximately 740 grams. The next version on offer is the Race version with a single, “DNA” compound, and should come in at about 670 grams. The two versions should retail at MSRP $67.95 for the TCS version and $64.95 for the Race version. There are no current plans to offer this tire as a 29″er.
We got our first look at the Hutchinson Mamba, which a XC racing tread featuring low, small blocks, a triple compound, and is tubeless ready. The triple compound consists of a typical dual compound tread block set up: Outer knobs are softer for grip and the middle stiffer to lower rolling resistance, while the third compound is an underlayment to support the tread blocks in cornering.
Commuter Tires: It may be strange to think of, but commuter tires for 29″ers are becoming more commonplace than ever. Here are a couple I noted:
The Schwalbe “Big Ben”, which is offered in two different versions and four different colors, is a new tire for Schwalbe and slots into their “balloon” tire line with the well known Big Apple. The Big Ben will be offered in creme, (shown), Anthracite, “Braun”, (a sort of brick red hue), and black.
WTB showed the “Slick 2.2″er”, a thickly treaded commuter smoothy that should weigh about 824 grams and will retail for MSRP $34.99.
WTB also has an urban line called “Freedom”, and there is a commuter/slick tread model offered under that branding as well, which is a different tire altogether.
The Frostbike coverage for 2013 will close out with this peek at SRAM’s XX-1 group, which was available to check over closely by the show attendees. We heard that this group will see heavy spec throughout many of upcoming 2014 lineups. We also were tipped to fully expect it to trickle down a couple of levels, (at least), which should see the revolutionary ideas presented in XX-1 available at lower price points.