13 Cool, New Urban Cycling Picks From Interbike


Ortlieb High Visibility Line Bags

Bag maker Ortlieb introduced a line of panniers and bike bags that combine the legendary durability and water-resistance of their roll-top bags with one of the best reflective treatments we’ve ever seen. The new range includes the $260 Back-Roller High Visibility rear pannier set, the $220 Front-Roller High Visibility front pannier set, the $165 Ultimate6 M High Visibility handlebar bag, and the $200 High Visibility Office-Bag QL3 which can be slung over the shoulder or mounted on a rack. The bags are available in either neon yellow or black with the exception of the Office-Bag which is a black-only offering. Regardless of base color, these durable, polyurethane coated Cordura nylon packs visually pop when hit with light thanks to a reflective yarn interwoven throughout the bags’ fabric. ortleib.com

Giro Civila Cycling Shoes

Giro may be best known for helmets, but they’ve been on the charge the last couple seasons with bike clothing and shoe offerings. Their Civila women’s shoes are an example of the latter, and feature good looks and smart features. While cleated cycling shoes are usually at odds with the ability to walk, Giro eliminates the issue by recessing the cleat and surrounding it with a rubber coated, high-standoff outsole. An equal opportunity manufacturer, Giro also makes the Republic, a guy’s version of this shoe retailing for the same $150 price. giro.com

Opus Zermatt 1.0

Canadian brand Opus impressed us with the utilitarian styling and reasonable $739 asking price of their Zermatt 1.0 urban bike. The bike’s stout-looking aluminum frame and beefy rear rack give a sense of durability, while its fenders and mechanical disc brakes speak to its all-weather capability. A soundly spec’d SRAM/Shimano drivetrain and cushy 35mm wide tires complete the package. opusbikes.com

Smith Forefront Helmet

We know Smith intended its new $220 Forefront helmet for the growing enduro mountain bike market, but like many lids in this category, there’s a lot to like about it for urban riding as well. While the Forefront’s aesthetics seem to be a love-it-or-hate-it proposition, we can tell you it looks better in person, and that anything with less road racy styling ranks high in our book. Add in the comfy fit, light weight, and dedicated mount for a headlamp (or POV camera), and–Lego Star Wars comparisons be damned–this thing might just be a streetwise hit. smithoptics.com

Pure City Cycles The Bourbon

Los Angeles-based Pure Fix Cycles used Interbike to launch a five-model, geared city bike brand extension dubbed Pure City Cycles. Among the new models is a Dutch-styled city bike called The Bourbon, which comes in three sizes–50cm, 54cm, and 58cm–and in either an internally geared three-speed configuration, or an eight-speed derailleur version. A leatheresque brown saddle and handlebar grips compliment the stealthy matte black paint and silver component accents. Fenders, a chain guard, and a rear rack add practicality to $500 package. purefixcycles.com

Thule Pack ‘N Pedal Handlebar Mount System

The launch of Thule’s modular Pack ‘n Pedal system last year marked a significant departure for a company better known for carrying bikes on cars than gear on bikes. Pack ‘N Pedal wasn’t just Thule slapping its logo on “me too” product, but a systems approach resulting in racks that better accommodated the wide variety of bike frames, as well as a more modular, intuitive bag and pannier mounting system. For 2014 Thule continues to build on Pack ‘n Pedal’s success, adding a variety of complimentary accessories to the mix. New for the PnP Handlebar Mount are the $20 Smartphone Attachment, the $15 Action Cam POV camera mount, and the $15 Light Holder. We particularly liked the latter which snugly holds the external battery packs of high-end light systems. Other additions to the line include a rack-mountable Pack ‘n Pedal Basket ($60), the Pack ‘n Pedal Commuter Panniers ($120), a rack mountable Pack ‘n Pedal Tote ($80), and the Pack ‘n Pedal Basic Handlebar Bag ($60). thule.com

Electra Townie Go! Pedal-Assist Bicycle

Before you start with the e-bike bashing, consider the power in numbers. Motor-enhanced bicycles mean more folks joining us on the collective ride. To paraphrase a line from People for Bikes, more people on more bikes more often makes it more better for everyone. Over it? Good. Now e-bike offerings multiplied like rabbits over the past few years, and after an awkward adolescence they’re starting to blossom. Emblematic of such is Electra’s $2,300 Townie Go. Unlike some e-bikes, the Go’s aesthetics are subtle despite being built around SRAM’s new, very high tech E-matic system. Consisting of a rack-mount battery and their whiz-bang rear hub drive unit, the motor kicks in automatically and feels like someone’s giving you a subtle push up to speed rather than a fistful of throttle. The bike itself is a slightly modded version of the Townie, one of Electra’s more modest balloon tire bikes. Put together they create a certain understated magic. That the bike’s self-powered front and rear lights attract more casual notice than its electro features is exactly the thing. That there’s no throttle or gears to change, or anything remotely techy looking puts a fine point on the simple beauty of it all. The Townie Go is clean, nonchalant, and inviting–and maybe just what we need to get people hooked on bikes again. electrabike.com

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry that landed him at his current gig with Santa Cruz bicycles. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.

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