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Interbike 2013: Electra’s new e-bike

Electra’s big news at Interbike was the release of their Townie Go! e-bike:

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This pedal-assist bike, featuring SRAM’s E-Matic System, seems like a no-brainer for the urban bikes juggernaut. When we received the press release on the Townie Go! prior to our trip to Las Vegas, we wondered, “why didn’t Electra jump on this sooner?” A pedal-assist kit seems the perfect fit for the Townie. In any case, we’re glad to see Electra got into the e-bike market with this model. It’s available in men’s and women’s versions, with color-matched fenders, dynamo front hub, cargo rack, and a lot of other utility-friendly features.

We didn’t get a chance to ride the Go! out in the Paddock…we simply ran out of time. Hopefully we’ll be able to get our hands on a tester to share with you at some point.


Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky
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Interbike 2013: KHS Bicycles

From the KHS Bicycles family comes the Manhattan Cruiser line. These beautiful classic styled bicycles will be available in both Men’s and Women’s (mixte) frames and various colors. I really dug the colors they had. I’m sure these will be a big hit.
Mahattan cruisers

Fender freaks, notice how these models have fenders! Check out the rack on this one. Best of all, both rack and fenders are color-matched to the frame.
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The KHS TR101 is ready for your bike commute! It’s got rack and fenders; all that’s missing is you, the rider.
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For you single speeders, the Flight 100 has been part of the KHS catalog for over 7 years. It remains a popular bike for them.
khs flite 100

Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky
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Interbike 2013: New Motiv Shadow E-Bike

Remember those Motiv e-bike spy photos we showed you a couple weeks ago? Well, we got to try the new Motiv Shadow out in person at the e-bike paddock just outside the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Motiv’s goal is to produce a pedal-assist e-bike that is a bit more stylish than other offerings, and we think they’ve succeeded — the Shadow takes many of its styling cues from the hot urban cycling market, including deep V wheels and color-matched decals, cable casings and other accessories.

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The Shadow will be available with the choice of three battery types: 36V, 36V Long Range, or a tire-smoking 48V. Those batteries are coupled to a rear hub 500 watt geared brushless motor. The bike was a blast around the paddock area!

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Motiv also had a dashing hot-pink e-cruiser for testing:
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Stay tuned for an upcoming detailed review of the Shadow; RL took delivery of a tester the other day and is enjoying zipping around the streets of SoCal as we speak!


Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky
Black Tiger Jerky

Interbike 2013: Straight from the oddball files…

Interbike is always full of creativity, technological wonder, and a good bit of wackiness. This next product falls squarely into the latter camp. Meet the Spruzza:

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Spruzza (meaning “spray” or “mist” in Italian, depending who you ask) is basically a stem-mounted squirt gun that’s pointed at the rider. In theory, periodically spritzing yourself with this device helps keep you cooler on hot rides. Who doesn’t like the sound of staying cool on a sweltering day?

Got to hand it to the Spruzza folks — yes, this thing is nuts…but it is a creative solution nonetheless, and that is often how real advances occur in the cycling world. Another thumbs-up to their “guerrilla marketing” strategy; as Interbike show space is tremendously expensive, the Spruzza marketer just brought a big display box with him and buttonhooked people in the aisles for demonstrations. No floor space or expensive booth trappings required!

The Spruzza appears to come in enough colors to match almost any bike, and it only weighs about 200g. As ridiculous as many of you (and we) think this device may be, credit must go to Spruzza for making it about as stylish as possible…carbon-look plastics and colorful inserts:

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What do you think? Is this the next “killer component” that the cycling world has been waiting for?


Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky
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Interbike 2013: Hydraulic brakes on the road

Three years ago when the UCI began to allow disc brakes for cyclocross racing, it opened a floodgate — a number of manufacturers rushed to adapt discs for road/cross disciplines. Quick advances in brake assemblies, frame fittings and forks, hubs and all the other attendant bits occured. Still, many people wondered if brakes were really needed for road bikes…and if mechanical (cable-actuated) brakes were up to the task. A couple boutique manufacturers developed mechanical-to-hydraulic adapters, such as the TRP Parabox, among others.

And that set the big manufacturers to putting their R&D muscle behind the idea of hydraulics for the road…but how to fit a master cylinder into the shifter body? It took a couple of years before it was ready, but things are finally starting to make it to market.

SRAM came through first with the “Hydro R” setup in two versions: RED for the well-heeled, and the S-700 for a somewhat more affordable option. The master cylinders are contained in the brake/shift lever bodies, and here’s the really interesting thing: they come in disc OR hydraulic rim brake options.

Forgive these somewhat awkward photos, but SRAM’s display made it difficult to get a good shot of the brake options. Check SRAM’s website for all the lurid details and better product images.

RED rim brake:
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RED disc:
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S-700 rim brake (left) and disc (right):
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Over at Shimano, things are not quite ready for release. They had prototype Dura Ace Di2 hydraulic brakes/shift levers on display, and they felt good in the hand. They’re not scheduled for release until spring 2014, according to one of the Shimano techs I spoke to. Visit Shimano’s site for more details on the brake systems they will offer for the road.

Here are the shift levers with master cylinder hidden within:
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And the brake bodies/discs as installed on a road bike:
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The brake bodies and discs borrow technology from Shimano’s mountain groups, namely the ICE heat management system. Road discs can get extremely hot during prolonged descents, and that is the Achilles Heel of hydros, according to a number of sources. Shimano’s ICE system should help alleviate heat-induced brake fade.

I asked the Shimano tech if this hydraulic wizardry would trickle down to more affordable options for “regular folks” who can’t afford Dura Ace/Ultegra. Alas, Shimano plans only to offer hydraulic discs on their two upper-end Di2 groupsets…not even mechanical Dura Ace will be graced with a master cylinder setup. The reason for this is that they wanted to maintain the existing Di2 lever shape without a “unicorn bulge”, according to the tech I spoke to. SRAM’s shifting assembly and the master cylinder together take up a lot more room and necessitated a lever redesign on their end.

Finally, for those of you who use other components, or dig your current brake/shifter setup, there’s hope for you. TRP has unveiled their HY-RD system, which is cable-actuated and has the master cylinder mounted to the brake body itself. TRP claims this HY-RD system will work with any current mechanical shifting system.

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TRP also still offers their Parabox adapter system.

We’re curious — are road disc brakes in your future? Any thoughts on mechanical vs. hydraulic? We’d love to hear your thoughts/gripes/concerns/WTFs. The technology still has a bit of refinement to go, but it is great to see the big component makers getting behind this new application for hydraulics.


Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky
Black Tiger Jerky