Our first stop during the Indoor Demo at Interbike 2012 was a visit with our sponsor Kenda. I met up with Ben Anderson, their marketing guru, to chat about what’s new from Kenda for 2013.
The biggest news from Kenda is the introduction of the Honey Badger trail/all-mountain tire. It is designed for riders tackling a variety of conditions during their ride or for those that want a tire to do it all. The Honey Badger has been tried and tested by Eric Porter from Diamondback, who loves the versatility the tire has to offer. Kenda has an impressive selection of tires for all wheels and sizes, but the Honey Badger is the first trail/all-mountain tire available for the 29er. Sizes include 29×2.2, 29×2.0, 650Bx2.2 and 26×2.2. They are still working on the weight, trying to decide between going with the straight sealed compatible casing (SCT) version or going to a two type offering, so no confirmed weight numbers at the moment. First offering will be the 29×2.2 available to distributors in January of 2013, followed by the 650Bx2.2 and 26×2.2 by mid-March, just in time for the Sea Otter Classic.
For those into gravity riding you’ll be happy to note that Kenda is pursuing the 650B for the downhill market, working with their partner KHS on this project. For now, I would highly recommend checking out the Nexcavator and Excavator. I’ve been using the Nexcavator 26×2.5 and just love it! It’s a great tire with an open tread pattern that offers a large bite in loamy and muddy conditions; great during the wet spring. The Excavator is better suited to dryer and dustier conditions offering a good grip on this type of trail.
Last but not least for 2013 is the new Turnbull Canyon cross country tire from Tinker Juarez for both the 26er and 29er in 2.0. This is a quick and fast rolling tire designed for speed.
New for 2013 from Five Ten is the introduction of the Freerider VXI. I’ve ridden with the Five Ten Freerider Pro all season, reviewed by me here, but now Five Ten has taken it a step further enhancing these already sweet kicks. Designed for the bike park rider, freerider and all-mountain rider in mind the Freerider VXI still offers the same Stealth sticky rubber compound, but now the circular dot tread pattern stops under the forefoot where a smooth section of rubber is found. The point of the smooth section is to offer the rider more maneuverability without the tread catching the pins on your pedals. It also has a breathable, abrasion-resistant upper, and an asymmetrical welt that provides durability.
For those that want a shoe that sticks, but also offers up more maneuverability when your foot is stuck to the pedal, this shoe is worth checking out. The Freerider Pro retails for around $99, while the new Freerider VXI is expected to be around $120; both models come in four different colour options. I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair to test them out on the bike.
POC a Swedish company known for their helmets also has some great body protective; including new for 2013 a fully revised collection of bike gloves. The new line of gloves fit very comfortably all while offering great grip and protection. A neat feature is the touch screen compatible thumb on all their full fingered models. Now I know that will come in handy when I’m out on the trail trying to access my iPhone to post an update.
If you’re in the market for light, durable, sleek and extremely nimble body armor, you might want to check out POC’s options. The Spine VPD 2.0 Jacket or Spine VPD 2.0 Vest offer two extremely comfortable options, for those hitting the resorts or shuttle trails. VPD stands for Visco-Elastic Polymer Dough which can easily transition from soft to hard, while offering extreme shock absorption properties. I personally hate wearing armor, but do it because as I get older I know I won’t bounce back as well from an injury as I might have in the past. What I don’t like about typical armor is that it’s heavy, bulky and too tight when I’m wearing it. I also find that the straps dig into my shoulders and arms, or worst yet the strap around my waist constantly rises. The Spine VPD 2.0 Jacket felt quite the opposite when I put it on, flexible and light, offering up freedom of movement. Now that’s what I’m talking about.
New in helmets for 2013 is the Crane. It’s light and very durable offering solid protection for your noggin. The Crane is equipped with a considerably thicker shell and with a liner that provides two densities; a stiffer outer liner and a softer inner, making the helmet extremely durable on the outside allowing it to deal with harder hits. The inner liner helps protect against softer impacts. Both layers work together to stop heavy blows to the head. This one is more for the dirt and trail riders among us and is available in six colour choices.
If you’re looking for a new pair of riding glasses, consider the Cébé line from Bolle. A popular line in Europe, the Cébé glasses offer lightweight, durability and protection for your eyes. There are three cycling specific options from Cébé; the Eyemax, Cinetik and Wild. All weigh around 58 grams and come with interchangeable lenses. They fit comfortably, offer UV protection and most importantly look great. For a more casual look check out the S’Teem designed for off the bike activities.
Have you seen this! New from JVC the world’s leading electronic manufacturer is the Adixxion action cam. This baby is tiny, yet offers all the bells and whistles of others in its class. Watch out GoPro, I think this new kid on the block might be a worthy contender. Now to be fair, I’ve not had the pleasure to test out this beauty. But, what struck me about the camera right off the bat was the small size, the LCD screen built right into the camera, no need to purchase separately, and the durability as there is no housing required. The camera shoots in Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution at 30fps and at 1280 x 720 resolution at 60fps. It also comes with built in Wi-Fi and you don’t need to buy any extra accessories to make it work. The built in Wi-Fi allows you to stream and frame your shot using your smartphone or tablet. And you can even stream your adventures live to a PC or Mac or the internet via USTREAM. Did I mention the camera is waterproof up to 5 metres?! I’m looking forward to testing this one out on the trail.
Now that Interbike is over and I’m back in Canmore, I’m feeling a bit relieved. I love attending the show, being around the bike buzz and seeing what’s new; however, the lights and sounds of Vegas are a little too much for me to take after four days straight and I’m happy to be back in the tranquility offered by the surrounding mountains of my home town.
~ Peter Oprsal