Interbike 2016 Outdoor Demo: Lucky 7
Seven new bikes with a lot of adventure potential from the 2016 Interbike Outdoor Demo…
There was an odd coincidence that inspired this sequel — in case you remember the theme from last year. In 2015, the first bike I decided to ride at the Interbike Outdoor Demo was the Surly Wednesday. To keep track of their fleet, Surly had tagged each bike with a number, and that particular bike was assigned ’77’ with a little yellow sticker. I’d forgotten about that until this year’s first demo bike — a shiny new Surly Krampus, which was labeled with number ‘7’. Perhaps irony, perhaps a Surly sleight of hand.
All happenstance aside, showing off seven new bikes is a fittingly gaudy theme for such a post from the sin city. So, without further adieu, here’s a group of bikes we found that look interesting and were fun to ride:
2017 Surly Krampus
Upon arrival at the Outdoor Demo I beelined to the Surly tent. The original Swamp Green Krampus was my main rig for a couple of years, so I was eagerly anticipating Krampus redux. So as I threw my leg over the bright red #7, I mentally recited the few geometrical changes that were told to me and hoped that it didn’t change too much. You can’t mess with perfection, right? To summarize, it didn’t disappoint. The Surly scientists made some worthwhile modifications to the frame including a slightly dropped bottom bracket, 5mm shortened chainstays and a few nice touches, including Gnot-Boost rear spacing, allowing it to fit whichever mountain bike hub you want… 10 x 135mm QR, 12 x 142, or 12 x 148 Boost. They also changed the tube set to the same trumpeted tubing as the new Karate Monkey, and the production version will get the same rigid fork, with triple-pack bottle bosses. The Krampus will be available in March.
2017 Marin Rift Zone
A trail 29er. Nothing too new, right? Honestly, what got me on this bike in the first place was someone saying, “You have to give SRAM [1×12] Eagle a try; find a bike with it, and demo it.” Otherwise, I may have overlooked the Rift Zone. Although, Marin has been making some very interesting rigs lately. And the Rift Zone Pro is a nice looking bike with a few intriguing perks, including the Eagle drivetrain, a nice triangle for a frame pack, and Stan’s Flow wheels. In short, the ride great. The suspension felt dialed, and the ride was comfortable and extremely fast. The Rift Zone has the potential to make a nice long distance bikepacking race bike. It’s an investment though; the Pro model I rode will set you back about $6,199.
2017 MASI Giramondo 650b
Masi Bicycles, a brand now under Haro, has a pretty big history. Faliero Masi started making bicycle frames in Milan in the 1950s and moved to southern California in 1973. The company is know for its steel frames and offers bikes for both road, track, and off-tarmac adventure. The Giramondo 27.5 is marketed toward the ‘adventure rider with broad ambitions’. It features WTB dirt-drop handlebars, a wide-range 3×9 drivetrain, Kenda Slant Six 27.5 x 2.10 tires, and all the mounts you can shake a stick at. I’ve had my eye on their bikes for a while, so I was happy to find that the Giramondo was a fun to ride, do-all bike, with the nice price tag of $1,049.00.
2017 Otso Voytek 27.5+
Otso is a new bike brand from the engineers at Wolf Tooth. They claim no “me too” products, and judging by their initial lineup, I can see why. In addition to their new stainless steel gravel bike, they had the Voytek on hand, a carbon fiber hardtail designed around a proprietary Plus-Fat concept. It’s a 27.5+ or 29+ trail bike that can also accommodate up to 26 x 4.6” tires on 70 mm rims. One thing that makes the Voytex Unique is that it maintains a narrow Q-factor by employing an offset 83mm (downhill) bottom bracket. In addition, they added the Tuning Chip dropout technology which allows you to change the chain stay length. There was a nice little buzz around about the Otso Voytek, so I gave it a spin. Although I tested an XL and probably should have been on the large, the Voytek rode really well and could be a good one-bike solution for those interested in having a plus-tire trail bike and a fat bike for the winter.
2017 Ritchey Break-Away Ascent
The Break-Away Ascent is Ritchey’s take on an adventure frame. As the name suggests, the frame decouples for easy transport. There are two fittings, one at the seatpost clamp and another pipe-fitting at the bottom bracket. It is sold as a frame and comes with it’s own case, which is a pretty nice touch. The version I rode is set up as a 27.5 off-road rig with Ritchey flared Logic dropbars. Overall, with a solid geometry that’s reminiscent of the mountain bikes of Tom Ritchey’s heyday, it seems like a great solution to a do-all bike that could be set up with a flat or drop bars. And with the added benefit of being a coupled travel bike, it makes a great solution that could save a lot of airline bike fees. The frame will be sold with a case for around $1,800.
2017 Marin Four Corners Elite
The Four Corners series debuted last year, but this year with a lot of new details and one hell of a paint job, the 2017 Elite model stole the show. Although I didn’t get to ride it, it is definitely worth the inclusion. While the Four Corners is a steel gravel tourer at heart, it looks like it could tackle a lot of terrain. The frame is constructed of Columbus Thron butted and formed CrMo steel tubing with investment-cast, thru-axle dropouts. A few stand out kit features include tubeless-ready WTB KOM rims with big 45c WTB Riddler tires, flared drop bars, and SRAM’s Rival 1×11 drivetrain — with a nicely specced 38x42t granny gear. The Four Corners Elite retails for $2,249.
REEBdikyelous 27.5+ with Pinion Gearbox/Gates Drive
REEB and Gates get the freak-beast award again this year. This particular REEBdikylous is built around a Pinion transmission — an internally geared, 12-speed system, designed and manufactured by hand in Germany — potentially giving it maintenance-free long-distance reliability, similar to that of a Rohloff. This is my first experience with a Pinion and I must say that having the gearbox low and center gives the bike a really nice balance on the trail. The twist-shifter works just like a Rohloff, although with 12 speeds instead of 14. And the REEBdikyelous… on first impression, a really nice trail-worthy 27.5+ frame. Hopefully we’ll be able to test both the Pinion and the REEB more extensively in the future.