Slots a fun!


We’re stuffing our pockets with chain lube and promotional energy bars.  Lael scored a free pair of merino wool socks and a t-shirt, and I filled my 64 oz. Klean Kanteen with New Belgium brew as they closed down the event space following the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductions.  Officially, we’re riders and writers.  At Interbike, we’re called “schwaggers”.  I try to explain that I just wore out a pair of wool Patagonia socks and my blended bottle of T9/ProLink is about empty, but they’ve heard it all before.  “They’re free.  Just take one.”

There are bigger and bigger tires and new colors for this year. Lots of things are lighter and stronger and better, although nobody really needs a new bike.  There is a “string-bike” at the Chinese compound, and characterful helmets.  The “Taiwan Excellence” booth is excellently well-lit, but dull.  A small contingency of humble Japanese exhibitors such as Dia-Compe and Nitto have been showing the same kind of high-quality parts for decades, and should never change.  There are more electric bikes than you could imagine, and they populate almost half of an addition floor.  I’ not opposed to e-bikes, but most of them are ugly.

Surly released the new Moloko handlebar with a similar geometry to their Open bar, but with a construction similar to the Jones Loop bar.  It is made of Cro-Mo steel. Surly is also showing a 26×3.8 Knard tire, which features the all purpose moto-inspired pattern first designed for the Krampus.

Vegas is colorful, and lots of fun!


The String Bike.


Always in your hand!


Woodman headsets are of French origin, although manufacturing is now in Taiwan.  They incorporate some unique design features.


The new Surly Moloko handlebar.  Moloko is Ukrainian for milk.


Ride with great idea.  Thanks for the advice, China.





Solar and USB rechargeable lights.


A modified Lefty suspension fork on a Mukluk.




Kashimax plastic saddles with ergonomic handle.


The Nitto RM-014 Dirt Drop handlebar is more to my liking than other off-road drop bars.


The thinnest pedal on the market ranges in thickness from 4-7mm, and features an outboard bearing.  It is designed to improve ground clearance over obstacles.


—-Zooming.  Another version of Lael’s new helmet.


Twin-Six t-shirts.  Nice.8697WP

What Surly considers a bar with lots of hand positions.


Hand-machined pedals and stems from Bozeman, MT.


Surly 26×3.8 Knard.


Origin8 fatbike with NuVinci hub.


Fat Frank in new colors– brown with a white sidewall.  This would look absurdly excellent on a 65mm Surly Marge Lite rim.


Dia-Compe Gran Compe Pro NJS track hubs.




10 thoughts on “Slots a fun!

  1. Moloko is also milk in Russian. I saw the bar on the Surly site yesterday, but you have a better shot of it. I definitely like the looks and have thought of my Open Bar as having the same general profile as Jones bars, minus the crossbar.

    Great photos again. Nice world traveler saddle, and Team Z Greg Lemond era graphics on that helmet. I haven’t quite worked out the mechanics of the string bike yet. A little like a rowing machine, perhaps. I especially like both of the flat pedals, as well as the sleek Dia Compe levers. Here’s to thumbies making a comeback!

    Keep having fun and load up on as much free stuff as you can. Even better if it’s useful and/or consumable. Good score on the beer!

    Are you experiencing any culture shock, what with going from the natural settings along the CT to possibly the most artificial city on earth?

    • Vegas is great! It may be that everyone insisted it was going to be awful that I am enjoying it, but I think it is fun and funny. I’m not gambling or doing the Vegas “thing”, but the spectacle is a show in itself. The grandiose architecture is a lot of fun too. The Venetian has a shopping area which simulates daylight and night. You never even need to go outside here.

      The string bike confounds me as well, even though I pedaled it by hand and watched the gears go round. As opposed to the “dead spot” in a normal pedaling pattern, there is a tight spot in the system at the apex of the cam shaped “chainring”. I assume the whole system becomes more smooth at speed. It claims efficiency uphill, and multiple other virtues. I’m not sure of the real-world benefits however.

      • Sounds like the string bike functions with an intended purpose much like the way Biopace cranks were designed to function; to deal with that ‘dead’ spot. I’m sure that with your affinity for ’80s mountain bikes, you’ve encountered either Biopace (Shimano) or Ovaltech (Sugino/Suntour) before. BTW, there’s a pristine 22″ ’85 High Sierra in metallic green on Craigslist here.

        Visiting Las Vegas on a bike would make for a more enjoyable experience. I’ve been there twice via car and was appalled by the overindulgence for the sake of overindulgence. However I was probably more acutely aware of things as it wasn’t long after my Peace Corps experience.

        The 1×1 that you talk about below and the Microshift/friction shifters sound enticing. Keep up the good reporting work.

      • The 85 High Sierra show much higher manufacturing quality than the 84, and uses standard cantilever brakes unlike the 86 or 87. The 1985 is the “sweet spot” High Sierra.

        I’ve used plenty of BioPace and OvalTech, and while it doesn’t bother me, I prefer round rings. I saw a few off-brand oval rings at the show in the China/Taiwan booth.

        The MicroShift shifters will be available separately at some point with a 9sp index or friction option. Previously, as on the Ogre, they were 9sp index only.

  2. The Reverb helmets are quite nice, and use an elastic retention strap in the rear which is comfortable.

    Team Z makes me happy too. You could built a really happy bike from all the fun stuff on display here.

    Surly had a 1×1 with Marge Lite rims and Kenda 2.5″ Slant SIx tires on display at the dirt demo. Pugsley comes stock with Marge Lite rims and new Microshift thumb shifters (friction option on the new MS shifters). Pugs is matte yellow and fire engine red for this season. It might finally be the year of the Pugs for you, no?

  3. Mrs. continues to insist that I finish my thesis before buying a proper fat bike, so I’ll continue doing the best that I can this winter. I did persuade my cousin to trade his fargo for a fatback, and he’s frequently out of town so I’ll likely be doing a fair bit of fatbike sitting.
    The red frame is perfect for Mrs. She’s a sucker for bright red.
    I rode recently with a guy who has a large or xl fatback custom painted pink. He says he’s had a hard time selling it, nobody big enough to ride it wants a pink frame so he might make it a worthwhile deal. I’ve got not shame about a pink frame, I’ve always had a thing for those old pink 1×1’s.

    • I had similar conditions prior to the green light for my Pugsley. I say, if you can do it, go for the pink option. Although green is my referred bike color, I agree with you on the pink 1x1s of days gone by. For what it’s worth, I have a pink bike that I got for a great deal that would have cost about twice as much were it any other color.

      • I particularly like the pink 1985 Specialized Stumpjumper Team. There is a nice one at Absolute Bikes in Salida, CO. I like purple bikes too, and the new Troll is a rich eggplant color.

        Nate, the pink Fatback sounds sweet! Of course, the Mrs. will be happy with the Marge Lite rims on her new red Pugs. Much improved over Large Marge.

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