Wow, I got the opportunity to visit Interbike this year in Las Vegas. Way cool event. Interbike is an annual trade show for bicycle manufacturers, sales folks and support activities involving cycling.

I got a chance to meet a few of my engineering favorites.

  • I met one of the guys from Surly bikes. I just love their philosophy. I’ve got three Surly bikes parked in the garage. Attitude you say? Reminds me of the Surly Color “Skidmark Brown” It was this beautiful metal flake root beer color. I worked at an automotive OEM once, and they had a $40,000 car that was exactly the same color that year. Really nice. Needless to say the OEM didn’t call their color “Skidmark Brown”. Gotta love it.
  • I also ran into Jeff Jones. God, but I love his bikes. Jeff is my hero. His design ethic is just nirvana.
  • Other interesting conversations:

    Remember Phil Wood components? I had a very nice discussion with a gentleman from Phil Wood, displaying an very impressive spoke cutting and thread rolling machine. I’d never seen machine threads formed that way. Wow. The dies are small plates with a series of grooves at a slight angle.. the spoke is rolled up the die under pressure and the V grooves form threads. Here’s an image I grabbed online that shows how threads can be rolled.Thread Rolling Dies

    I also spoke with a company that has a pretty cool google glasses type of eyewear, Recon Jet. I was interested in their developer tools, and it sounds pretty interesting. Start at that link, click on “Developer”. Seems to be a reasonable open source attitude towards developers. In their words “totally open to app developers, thanks to its Android foundation and our open SDK.” Yipee. (Why is that so hard? There are a couple of companies that don’t do this, to their detriment.. I’m thinking Polar Heart Rate stuff, and Ford Sync technology…)

    Observations:

    There were a lot of bikes there, but it was sort of odd. There was a lot of electric bikes stuff and a whole of fat tire’d bicycles. Clearly those two elements (electric and fat bike) are the flavor of the month. Oh, and there were some electric fatbikes. Go figure. How much of a market can there be for that stuff? I saw lots of interesting gizmo’s and gadgets. What I didn’t see was a single 36″er, or anybody even remotely playing with multi-feet walkers. (ha.)

    One thing I did not see much of was any type of internal geared components. With all the advancements in heat treat lately, I would have thought there is space there for others to join in the competition of internal hub, or bottom bracket devices. There may have been stuff at the show, but I certainly didn’t see it. I did see a whole lot of electric motor drives, in both bottom bracket and internal hub styles.

    I did run into one guy who was hoping to sell off his show bikes (to avoid having to package them up and ship ’em off) and I thought long and hard about making that purchase (Fat tire with carbon fiber frame and carbon fiber rims) but it was still a pretty significant expense. I got to thinking… if I had extra money to burn on a bike, I’d run right back and pick up a Jeff Jones Steel Spaceframe and Truss fork bike. I really do love those bikes.orangesfrear

    And it was just money to burn on anything, I’d definitely run out an buy a Miller Dynasty Inverter Tig Machine. (280 AMP?) That’s what I really want, don’t really need it, just want it…