- Buyer's Guide
Carryology Interbike Show Report
We were fortunate enough to have Andy Storms attend the recent Interbike show for Carryology, he got to peek out a few new things that are happening in the world of carry and bikes.
Somewhere along the mind-numbing wander through the air-conditioned Las Vegas sprawl, the bike people begin to outnumber the Vegas people. People get fitter, tattoos get more interesting, dudes get beardier. It is a welcome change.
I’m pleased to be delivering the show report for Carryology this time around. As with my Winter OR report, I’ll be focusing on what struck me as truly innovative and thought-provoking, rather than trying to give you a comprehensive rundown of what the major players are doing. Let’s get started…
Brooks, oh Brooks. You make my heart ache longingly. Clean silhouttes, gorgeous materials, hell, even the packaging is sexy. (I couldn’t help but fixate on their new saddle box, but since it’s not exactly carry-related, I’m putting it over HERE. Managing Director Christina Würdig walked me through the line and shared some interesting facts. Their stable of classics still holds up: gorgeous stiff leather pieces made in England, and buttery waxed canvas bags sewn in Italy. Great new color pops on both sides:
GREEN LEATHER, COME ON!
They’ve added a “Utility” line which is a bit more relatable and accessible to the average bike shop, swapping leather and canvas for synthetics with some nice price point pieces. What really floored me, though, was their new Expedition line: welded waterproof panniers made in collaboration with Ortlieb. Yes, you read that right. Christina explained that rather than try and compete with the industry leader in this niche, they decided to leverage both of their strengths and create something better than either of them could do on their own. The result? Gorgeous Brooks details, sewn in Italy, then shipped to Germany where they are integrated into welded constructions featuring Ortlieb’s best-in-class rack attachment hardware. Rear panniers run $155 each, and the front ones are $140.
And again with the packaging!
I spent the rest of the day with their oversized catalog sticking out of my backpack because I couldn’t bear to crease it.
Speaking of lovely heritage things, even though Tanner Goods weren’t officially showing at Interbike, their beautifully crafted bags were featured in Chris King’s Precision Components booth:
Timbuk2 CEO Mike Wallenfels walked me through the high points of their line, and I was impressed. I’m a huge fan of convertible carry gear, especially in the case of waterproofing, since access is usually hampered by weathertightness. Why fiddle with a roll-top when the sun is shining? They are releasing the Claro messenger bag at $129-139, and the Vuelo backpack at $149, which operate both as roll-tops and as quick-access flap-over bags.
I always look to the Dutch for great bike-related carry, and I loved seeing Yepp‘s cheerful design solutions. With the popularity of cycling in the Netherlands, parking your bike with a basket big enough for your cargo can be problematic. The solution? Again, convertibility!
The other innovation I enjoyed from Yepp was their child carrier that converts to a high chair…just pull it off your bike and pop it on the accessory stand.
Chrome has pushed technology forward with their new line of welded bags, which feature “knurled” weldments. They added small bumps to the welding tooling, creating indentations that greatly increase the adhesion and longevity of the weld. I am confident that this will very quickly become the industry standard; it’s a brilliant tweak on the process. The whole welded line is clean and tight with solid detailing and robust materials. Absurd and cheeky booth design as well…
They are also rolling out Chrome Moto, their line of motorcycle bags featuring more robust heat and abrasion-resistant materials, and motorcycle-specific functionality. They are offering both backpacks and messengers with “military-grade” 18 oz. truck tarp liners, as well as windproof strap keepers. I love to see anyone tackling the issue of excess strapping; I am certain I’m not the only one in the Carryology community with this peeve. The backpack features an integrated tool panel, and they also offer a stand-alone tool roll, as well as their Moto Dirt Bag: a roll-top bag designed to carry dirty parts and rags, plus a quart of oil. You can see all of this, as well as their tank bag, below:
Osprey always impresses me with their details and functionality; most of the technical pieces in my personal carry arsenal are theirs. Their bike line is no exception: clever helmet holders, retractable keyrings, integrated tool rolls, as well as my favorite hydration system in the industry.
Ergon is a new-to-me German brand with interesting ergonomics and customisation. They make a lot of human-factors-focused parts for bikes, such as grips and seats, but they also do hydration and cargo packs, all featuring adjustable back panels and configurable padding.
One great innovation I saw across several lines was the advance in reflective materials that don’t scream I’M REFLECTIVE! in the daylight. Chrome, Ortlieb, and Timbuk2 all featured them prominently, and Ortlieb had the best demo: a black box with selectable lighting.
Though Smith doesn’t generally make what we think of as carry gear, they have come up with a brilliant way for carrying your glasses on your helmet. There’s a perfectly-sized groove around the helmet that securely holds them. Well done, Smith.
I really appreciate a good philanthropic project. My favourite at Interbike was Zambikes, an organisation helping get rural Africans to medical treatment facilities. They have built a two-wheeled ambulance trailer that attaches easily to a bicycle or motorcycle – certainly one of the most interesting carry solutions I saw at the show. Want to support something cool? Head to www.zambikes.org
Finally, if you need a carbon-neutral carbonator and carry system for your cerveza, Xtracycle and New Belgium have it dialed in:
Welcome to Flavor Country.
I always approach trade shows with the intent of being inspired by design and technical innovation that inform my own work. Interbike 2013 did not disappoint; I came home inspired and energized about my own projects. I’ll be ready for my next dose in January…see you at Outdoor Retailer!
Andy Storms is an industrial designer and fabricator specialising in technical soft-goods. He’s into Solidworks, Hypalon, silnylon, and 6061 Aluminium, as well as foraging for free food and coffee at trade shows. He was awarded a patent for a dog sleeping bag design, and his tattoos include a bust of MacGyver, and a six-armed centaur with the head of Buckminster Fuller.
You can find out more about Andy at the below links