Interbike 2011 Carrology Report
For those not aware of Interbike, it’s North America’s largest bicycle trade event and show. Offering 1000 suppliers, representatives from 4000 bicycle retail stores, and draws over 20000 annual attendees – pretty nuts huh. So we got pretty excited when one of our contributors, David Vo, let us know he was hitting it this year. Below is his experience from a Carryology point of view.
I spent some time at yesterday’s Outdoor demo and today on the main floor of Interbike to find the latest scoop on bag offerings from our favorite companies and new ones to market. It’d be impossible to cover everything but here are some highlights for me.
Osprey is introducing three new bike specific packs this year. They continue expanding into the casual and bike markets, building from their experience of building packs for backpackers and hikers.
The Zealot is a freeride pack (and possibly appealing to cross-country riders) with a attachment support for a full face helmet. Once you load up your gear in the front, the whole pack actually opens via a U-shaped zipper, granting access to the middle. A 100 oz Nalgene reservoir is included as well as a roll-up toolkit in the larger size. It also has an interesting blown-up graphic based on a Santa Cruz mountain bike; perhaps to help you figure out which parts go where during a road side repair.
The Escapist is a bike-packing pack. It looks more like a traditional or travel backpack rather than the hydration type packs we’ve seen for downhills or commuting. The two models have sizeable volumes and is meant for bicycling touring or camping. It includes a high visibility rain cover and the larger size even includes a sleeping bag compartment on the bottom!
Lastly, the Synchro will be immediately recognizable to those who have seen the Manta. It takes its roots from the Manta but Osprey has made this pack more streamlined in order to make it more bike specific. The Manta, in contrast, is half a cycling pack and half a light trail running or daypack. The Synchro offers a ventilated back panel, rain cover, and also comes with a reservoir.
All the Osprey packs are available January 2012.
Deuter the German pack company we all took through Europe has quite an extensive offering of bike specific packs. The one that really stood out for me was the Superbike 18EXP. Of course, it includes the regular perks like a helmet holder and rain cover but what really puts this over the top is an integrated windshield vest. Imagine having a wind/water-resistant vest built right into your pack? It retails for $119.
Most of the packs fall under one of two categories – Airstripes or Aircomfort. Airstripes bags have slits for air circulation and it reduces perspiration by up to 15% while the Aircomfort system reduces it by 25%. The Superbike bag uses Airstripes while an example of the Aircomfort system are the Compact EXP Air 8 (women) and 10. They are compact, streamlined bags that sit further off the back for high intensity rides, while still offering enough volume for things you’ll need on the ride. They retail for $125 and $129 respectively.
YNOT Cycle, a relative newcomer to the industry really impressed me with their enthusiasm and pack designed. What started out as a small company has now turned into outgrowing their space and being forced to expand twice. The bags are all handmade in Toronto and all feature floating liners. What this means is you essentially have a bag within a bag, offering improved waterprofness. The Gulper is their flagship backpack and comes in two sizes (medium and large). The large size is 30-50L and the size range is explained by the fact that the bag converts from a standard fold down attachment to a rolltop bag for inclement weather. The bag is made from Cordura and has Bio Proof treating which helps resist mold and mildew. Like their other backpack offerings, it can take a (removable) waiststrap.
Their messenger has a reversible left/right strap. They also attached the strap at a different point than other packs which reduces on the choking up feeling when the load increases. Another neat feature are velco straps located on the inside, under the flaps, which hold the excess strap tails and prevent them from flapping around. We are seeing more and more strap management features like this and loving it. Apparently, this pack is so popular they can barely keep the bags in stock in the stores. They don’t even sell it on the website!
I was really Keen (haha get it?) on the Keen Harrison 15 pack, obviously named because of its ability to hold a 15” laptop. Honestly, it looks like a conservative,well designed backpack, which is true of their whole pack line as of late. I mean this in a completely honest manner – this is good news. Compared to the packs Keen produced when they first got into this business, these are much more approachable.
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