Posted by Editoress on 09/16/04
Bicycle Trade Association of Canada Dealer Show
by Mike Badyk
The Bicycle Trade Association of Canada (BTAC) annual show just wrapped up after 3 successful days. If you're not familiar with BTAC it is the association that bicycle dealers and suppliers belong to. The show is a chance for the bicycle industry to view next year's products. It isn't open to the public, just for industry types. Some of the product you may have seen at various manufacturer's web sites, but others are brand new.
Trends and Impressions:
Everybody has a cruiser type bike. Some look really neat and would make a worthy addition to your personal collection. Others are just plain silly and will probably never be ridden or perhaps even produced for that matter. Think six foot long forks sticking out the front. You could probably get the thing in motion but that's about it. Others look really cool, with much in the way of wild paint, faux gas tanks and wide tires. Lots of fun. Here's one example that a lot of people seemed to like. PHOTO This is the GT Kustom Kruiser Slick Daddy. Only partially silly, but with gorgeous paint.
Carbon, carbon and more carbon. Road, mountain, BMX Ã‹â€ it doesn't matter. Frames for every application. Cranks. Rims. Bars and stems. You name it. Even helmets. Yes, they are light. Much drooling was done in the Cervelo booth with the Tour de France CSC frame on display. Frame, fork, headset, stem and seat post weighing a mere 4 pounds. Unheard of in a production bike until recently. Many companies have full carbon bikes at the upper price points, with alloy main frame and carbon stays/fork also being common. Hopefully technology and thorough testing has been applied appropriately.
Maybe we're showing our roots, but the really exciting 2005 bikes for us were road bikes. It wasn't just the standard assortment of companies we're used to though. You'll be able to get bikes from Felt, Orbea, Principia and others that you'd never thought would make it over to Canada. You've got so much choice in road its unbelievable. Even if you're not a racer there is a road bike to appeal to you. Triple cranks are common. You can even get a good road bike with a flat handlebar. Frame materials have been used to make the bike ride more comfortably. You might sacrifice a bit of performance, but you won't be all beat up at the end of the ride. Geometry has even been changed to make you sit a little more upright. Trek, for example, has a new series called the Pilot. They are high end carbon frames with great components, but things have been tweaked such as a higher head tube and a slightly slacker seat tube. I'll suspect that this is going to get many more people back to road riding.
There are a lot of really good looking mountain bikes out there this year. Rocky Mountain bikes look very good, and the new logos for Kona (done in a stencil style) go well with their paint colours. If you want to go one step further pay about an extra $100 and you can get a custom paint job done on your Brodie. PHOTO Gorgeous stuff.
The value you get in bikes is also something else. Norco had an attractive North Shore hardtail called the Tactik on display. For a suggested retail price of $1250 you get a 26" front and 24" rear wheel, Avid 8" mechanical disc brakes, a Manitou Stance Flow 120-150mm fork and more or less a bike you could go and thrash straight out of the box. This is just one example though. There are lots of bike companies with some great values out there for next year. If you're thinking of replacing your current ride, 2005 is going to be a good year to do it.
Get used to the idea of SRAM components on mountain bikes. Lots of it on many, many bikes. The delivery problems that Shimano had last year clearly opened some opportunities for SRAM. We saw SRAM rear derailleurs and trigger shifters on bikes from Trek, Norco and Gary Fisher to name but a few.
That being said, Shimano still has a formidable array of components. There's a new LX group with Dual Control levers and Hollowtech II cranks. A new group called the Hone is a hybrid of Saint and Deore LX. I was impressed by the new Ultegra level road wheel set called the WH-550. All in silver with a gorgeous polished hub it makes a nice change from the world of black rims/wheels (although that is still available if you want it). PHOTO There's also a pile of new shoes for both road and mountain including a new high end carbon fiber reinforced MTB shoe called the SH-M225. It's really a work of art.
That's just a few things to whet your appetite. By most accounts it was a very good show with both the stores and the distributors feeling very good about next year. We were like kids in a candy store ourselves, something that doesn't happen every season. It was an embarrasment of riches and we here at Canadian Cyclist look forward to testing a lot of these really great products.
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