Interbike 2015: Outdoor Demo Lucky 7
Seven bikes that are worth noting from the 2015 Interbike Outdoor Demo…
Open U.P. (Unbeaten Path)
The Open U.P. caught our eye when it won ‘best in show’ at this year’s Eurobike. Open call it their ‘gravelplus’ frame – a gravel grinder without limits. To see how it fared, we tested it on road, gravel and singletrack. True to its name, it got on well on all of the above. Built around a technology-laden carbon frameset with a superlight spec, we loved how light it felt to both shoulder and ride, though its quick handling felt a little twitchy until we were used to its geometry. Definitely a bike with lots of potential, not least because it’s drawn to take both 700c road wheels, or 650b mountain bike rubber up to 55m (2.2in) wide. The frameset will set you back $2900.
Jamis Dragonslayer 27.5+
Jamis’ Dragon steel hardtails have always had a great reputation for how they ride, and the Dragonslayer is the company’s 27.5+ version. It’s a bike with promising adventure potential, given its full set of bottle bosses – including under the down tube – and rear rack eyelets. In fact, the Jamis website even features it clad in bikepacking gear. All in, it’s a nice package: good climbing efficiency, the added float and grip of 3″ tires, and a solid performing Fox fork. This one costs $2700. Read our full review here.
The Wednesday is Surly’s latest addition to their ever expanding fat bike lineup. New for the brand, it uses a 170mm symmetrical rear end that features a nifty dropout, allowing it to run both 170/177m hubs, and 10/12mm thru axles. The bike is suspension compatible, and features a trail geometry commonplace in several of their fat and midfat bikes, such as the Krampus and Ice Cream Truck. We took it out on a couple of laps of the demo loop – and it’s a whole mess of fun. True to Surly ethics, it’s also a real do-it-all machine – there’s even braze-ons in all the right places to for bikepacking. And for $1500 complete, you might even have some spare cash for a trip too…
Scott Genius Plus 27.5+
This bike was a surprise – it was hands down the funnest one of the group. The long travel Genius Plus has a dialed in suspension, a playful geometry, and confidence inspiring stability that leads to approaching new lines on the trail. Schwalbe’s 2.8in Nobby Nics are also worth noting, as they make for a surprisingly fast tire with outstanding traction. If there’s one gripe about the Genius, it’s that it doesn’t have bottle mounts on the down tube.
One of the most talked about bikes of 2016, the distinctive-looking Slate sits in a new category called All-road – bikes designed to offer great performance on asphalt, but with the added capability of taking on trails and forest roads too. Typical of Cannondale, the Slate doesn’t shy from innovation, with a 30mm Lefty fork designed to take the bite out of the trail, along with large volume 27.5, 40mm slicks – similar in size to a 700c road tire, albeit with a good deal more comfort. This, along with a steep head tube and short chainstay, provides an amazingly manoeuvrable yet stable platform that feels comfortable on tarmac and gravel alike. We can imagine this bike being a load of fun on a ride that’s say, 70/30 in ration between asphalt and dirt. We love the way it looks too!
REEB Donkadonk (with Bluto, Rohloff, and Gates Carbon Belt Drive)
How’s this for an eclectic, grin-inducing mix? This particular build is a product of the folks at Cycle Monkey. The Donkadonk has it all: a Rohloff Speedhub, Gates carbon belt drive, and a Rock Shox Bluto fork. This thing was a blast, though the VEE rubber tire fitted had a tendency to wash out on loose stuff. REEB frames are made in the USA and are part of the Oskar Blues brand. Frames start at $1600. The complete bike, similar to the one we rode, is around $2900.
Marin Pine Mountain 2 27.5+
Unfortunately, Marin didn’t have a demo of their Pine Mountain plus bike for anyone to ride. But in the flesh, it looks like a promising adventure bike, thanks to its full compliment of bottle mounts on its Chromo frame, as well as provision for front and rear racks. Graphics are inspired by the classic Marins of the late 80s and 90s – celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary. What’s more, the fully rigid Pine Mountain 1 (not pictured) is just $989 complete, with the higher end Colombus Thron version (shown below) available with a Fox Float 34 fork.