26 September, 2007

Interbike Report, Day 1


I just got to Interbike and I've already found a few products that might be worth stocking.

Parsons saddles are made from water buffalo hide (I'm not kidding) in India. The quality seems OK and the price is right. They might make a nice budget saddle.

Brooks has some new panniers, messenger bags, toe clip straps, and a few other new products. I was underwhelmed. And the prices are totally nuts. More info here.

I think we may carry Strida folding bikes. I really love the design.

The Suntour Superbe crank is back. I'll wait for a sample before deciding, but they do look nice in the display case. If the price is right it might be a nice alternative to the Sugino cranks we stock.

Dia Compe had some interesting brakes and levers that are worth a second look. I also like their Gran Compe crank and seatpost.

I'm meeting with several Japanese and Taiwanese manufacturers tomorrow. We'll try to clear up the last few details of the VO production rando frame and order a sample city bike frame. We'll also have several smaller projects to discuss. Maybe we'll soon have have a replacement for the TA pedal, but made in Japan using NJS quality sealed bearings and spindles. And we'll chat about possible VO brand tires to compete with Gran Bois.

I forgot the my camera cable so these are press release photos; sorry.

34 comments:

Don said...

Yeah, I'm smitten by that Strida design also. I can't take my eyes off of it.

Ed Felker said...

keep the news coming Chris!

Ed Felker

Jay said...

Hey, I wonder why you don't stock Lepper saddles. The quality is at least that of Brooks, with prices about 60%.

Monts said...

The Stridas are very cool. I wish I had use for one. Forget Segways. People should be using these. I met the former US distibutor years ago who used to be based in Somerville, MA. Nice guy. I see these bikes around NYC more often than I would expect, which makes me think that people actually use them and they are effective.

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

Looks like a roll up suede rain collection bin. Brilliant. I wish people would stop designing bags with simple flat top flaps like that. Box lids please.

What's far more interesting is the chaincase on the grey bike. It would spare one the trouble of having to get rid of or modify the chaincase elbow when retrofitting it to a bike. Much like your chaincase.

James said...

Do you mean persons as in permaco?

Anonymous said...

I actually like the looks of those roll-up panniers. Yeah, they aren't waterproof and they must flop around a bit much but they look good and you only unroll them when they are full of stuff so flopping isn't a huge issue... Also, they are clearly more for a grocery getter/errand runner than touring. That said, I only like them under $50 - not for whatever crazy price Brooks will charge. Otherwise I'm very interested to see the Suntour and Dia Compe items.

johnson said...

i have a persons saddle, its easily the worst saddle i have ever ridden. looks good, until you look under it and see the horrible riveting that looks like its on the edge of failure. as soon as you ride it, the finish starts to crack like 100 year old house paint. the saddle sags after one ride, and can't be retensioned without putting a hump where you dont want it. the sit bone area becomes worn out after a few rides. the one nice thing is the allen key tensioner. that's it. i would rather ride an avocet saddle than a persons. heck, almost any saddle...

i have 5 brooks saddles, some from the 60s, and none have the same issues. the b-17 retails for 13 bucks more, and is far nicer.

Andrew Karre said...

Dear Brooks,

You are a saddle company. The other stuff is cute and whatever, and I'm sure it has great margins, but your main job is to make saddles of consistently high quality.

Thanks,
Andrew

(Who finds recent reports of inconsistent quality control in new Brooks saddles troubling.)

johnson said...

brooks used to make toe clips (i have some from the 70s), bags, but not messenger bags, and not racks. i dont really think this new stuff is out of line. no everyone needs super waterproof bags, ect, because not everyone is a tourist or even rides in the rain. some people like nice looking stuff that doesnt reek of touring, for getting a book at the store, or some milk, ect. its just like you dont always wear your newest blingest addidas/nike/whatever running shoes when you go for a walk: because A. its unnessesary and B. you look like a toolbox.

its ok to buy things cause they look nice and work ok, if thats what you are going for. if we only bought practical things we would all ride primer gray bikes and wear
janitor uniforms...

Monts said...

The only things that are out of line with Brooks are that fellow in the messenger bag shoot, the prices and "aged" saddles. I'll never understand "distressed" or "aged" goods... "please, halve the useful life of this already expensive saddle for me." And do people actually buy these things and put them on antique bikes? For the people that are that into antique bikes, it seems like putting a repro, "aged" saddle on it would be a serious faux pas, non?

johnson said...

the saddles arnt really aged, in that they are basically just sueded. as they break in, they get a nice, weird beasage spot where your sit bones are, and where you sweat. personally, i dont like them, but i could see why people do. the 'aging' doesnt effect the durability or lifespan. i dont think the market for the aged saddles is antique bikes, because they dont look like old leather saddles, they just look like suede.
considering it only takes a year of riding to make a brooks look like it could be 25 years old, i think the suede look just appeals to a different market. as for the prices, i mean, the stuff is made in england, not china, and our current exchange rate sucks.

Anonymous said...

'...i mean, the stuff is made in england, not china'....

for now.

Watch, as Brooks succumbs to its new-found and temporary, popularity. They will 'follow the market' of people who like the idea of a handcrafted-in England saddle, but only want to pay $45 for it, or will see that they can still charge whatever they charge for them, and pay for Chinese (or vietnamese, or...) labour, instead of English.
A gambling man would put money on it.
M Burdge

johnson said...

on the flip side of that,
filson, long standing maker of good quality classic outdoors gear in america, was fairly recently bought by ralph lauren. RL decided to introduce a watered down 'lodge line' of apparel, presoftened old fart clothes that had no functional value.
this line was all made overseas. the lodge line bombed, and filson is phasing it back out to get back to what matters, good, classic, american made clothes.

not all reputable makers sell out.

johnson said...

basically, FYI, thats what the persons saddle is: an overseas knockoff, by the ex-marketing director of brooks, no less. and it sucks.

BG said...

Love the chain case on that "Brooks" branded bike.

Anonymous said...

How much does Brooks want to charge for the panniers? They are not unlike a pair I crafted from two book bags joined by a panelof cotton duck fabric with brass grommets. Total cost $29.00

A saddle is one thing, but paying the Brooks prices for the leather mini-bags or the vinyl useful bags is CRAZY.

I haven't experienced the deformed saddles reported here and elsewhere but I'll be quite p.o.'d if it happens.

johnson said...

so, the total cost of the panniers, material wise, was 29 bucks. labor is usually twice that of material, so your bags would retail for 90 bucks, roughly. not quite as cheap, then. clearly, when we think of how pricey brooks's tiny saddle bags are in relation to say, a jannd or even carradice bag, we think, wow, that's alot of money. what we need to realize though, is that these bag are not unlike 150 dollar sunglasses that alot of folks wear. do 20 dollar glasses do 98 percent as good of a job? sure. do they look as nice or have the same style points? no. unlike sunglasses though, the brooks bags will last for generations, and still be stylish. just like old touring bags from the 80s that arnt french look dated today, so too will other stylish facets that we put so much stock in today.

C said...

I think I saw a couple of Strida bikes in Paris last month. They had monoleg forks with discs. It was strange seeing them parked next to a pink Merckx city bike!

Nice to see names like Superbe and Gran Compe coming back but what I'd love to see is Sugino bring back the PX.

Anonymous said...

$29 included:
$16 for 2 bags(clearance);
$1.00 for cotton duck;
$5 for grommets
$7 for a tailor to sew bags to panel

I did not include my labor for installing the grommets (30 minutes)or some Nikwax to waterproof $10

Much less expensive - not as luzurious - almost as good looking - just as useful.

Does anybody know what Brooks wants for their panniers?

Bruno

neil berg said...

Frankly, I like expensive bicycle excessories. If I didn't, I'd be over on the iBob site discussing where to get a good deal on used underwear.

Yann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
France Gall said...

Perhaps we should talk about vintage french underwear?

neil b. said...

Only if it's wool.

Anonymous said...

Any chance you'll find someone to make more of the chain guards you were carrying earlier (and which I didn't leap fast enough to buy)?

Chris Kulczycki said...

I am searching for a chainguard manufacturer and have some promising leads.

David said...

Chris,
Definitely consider carrying the Strida. I for one would consider purchasing one if I didn't have to purchase from Canada or eBay.

Chris Kulczycki said...

We are now a Strida dealer and I'm picking up my own bright orange Strida to ride back to the hotel in a few hours. We will have two demo bikes at the shop next week and we'll have Stridas to sell in a couple of weeks.

Mike Myers said...

If you look at the .pdf on the Brooks site Chris linked to, you'll see that Brooks has other rear panniers "coming soon". They look like they would be more waterproof than the roll ups. It's nice that someone will compete with Carradice(I know the Ostrich bags are cool). I've been looking for Carradice Kendal panniers for months. Nobody has them, not even Carradice. I just want a set of cotton duck panniers with leather straps----but modern mounting hardware. Carradice is the only source.

Robert Hudson said...

The Brooks roll-up panniers are a nice idea, but under-detailed, and the fabric completely cheesy.
The bicycle is a prop being offered to Brooks dealers to showcase the luggage items. Dealer cost is about $450 as I recall. Not a bad bike for $450 IMHO.
I overheard one of the English Brooks reps comment (loudly, and with a sneer that only a proper English accent can enhance) that the exchange rate between the dollar and the pound was not HER problem. I wonder who's problem it was then?

rod termaat said...

Sweet, a good guy Strida dealer. I have been reluctant to send my money to just anyone. I would love to here your impressions. I will buy one irregardless, they are just too cool looking - rod

thatcher said...

hi, I'm very interested in the Strida bikes. I'd really like to know what you think about comments made in a great review:
http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/Mike/strida3.html

The two issues that I would really like to hear peoples' opinion on are:
1)The distance between the seat and handlebars for taller riders (as the seat goes up it also gets closer to the handlebars).
2)How the ride is compromised by the fact that the seat needs to be set low enough to have both feet comfortably on the ground.

It would be especially great to hear from a 5 ft. 11 in. (180cm) person who could comment on the ride. :)

Chris Kulczycki said...

Thatcher, I'll post a Strida review in the next week or two. But I'll say that I'm 6'3" and I'm comfortable on it.