2012 All Mountain Bike Tests at Interbike Outdoor Demo

26er 27.5 29er Enduro

We had dinner with the great KRob as we’ve been fascinated with the bike comparison he publishes on mtbr every year.  He is a bike geek that lives in the Nevada desert and he knows his stuff. We asked him a bunch of questions about how he sets up the bikes, Dirt Demo loops and we quickly realized that he is the one person that is able to squeeze the most knowledge and experience at the Interbike Dirt Demo.

He shows up early, gets two or three bikes at a time with his buddies and they go on the good loops as they swap and compare bikes. So without further ado, here’s the 2012 KRob Dirt Demo impressions.

francis@mtbr

I’ve been going to Interbike a few years now and am still surprised how much I enjoy it. I was only able to make the first day of the Outdoor demo this year due to a planned trip for Whistler in another week, so not quite as many bikes as usual. Yes, it was hot. Yes, the trails were loose and dry. Yes, there were still hoards of seething humanity. Yes, I got up at 3:00 am, traveled 3.5 hours to get there and then after riding bikes for 8 hours traveled back home that night so I could work Tuesday. But there’s just something that really makes me happy about being able to ride a bunch of new bikes on fun trails.

Before I get into the reviews I always like to get my disclaimers out there so no one gets too excited about my lack of in-depth details and professional perspective. I’m just a guy who likes to ride mountain bikes…a lot. Over the years I’ve ridden a bunch of different bikes and spent a lot of time riding a bunch of different trails. I’m not particularly observant to every little nuance and gadget on a new bike…. but I think I know what makes for a good mountain bike and I think I’m reasonably good at getting a sense for how a bike performs as a whole and what its strengths and weaknesses are. But remember, these are just first impressions from limited test rides so take what I say with a grain of salt. I don’t work for or get bro deals from any bike company, which is not to say I don’t have any biases, just that my biases are hard won through personal experience, friends, and too much time on the boards.

A couple of main themes from this year’s demo:

  • 650B! Seems like everyone’s got one….. except the big companies. That’s 27.5″ wheels for those who might not know. Momma Bear half-way between the two current standard wheel sizes..
  • I’m not sure if it’s the cost, the timing, or the hassle involved, but I was surprised at how many companies aren’t doing the Outdoor Demo. Last year there were 4-5 of my favorites missing. This year there were 8 or 10 that were AWOL including Banshee, Transition, Norco, Trek, Cannondale, Ventana, Canfield Bros., Knolly, Niner, GT, and Ibis.
  • And, as always, thin tubes in Bootleg rocks equals pinch flats. We got two.
  • Wide bars. All the bikes we rode were sportin’ the long horns. I didn’t notice this immediately until someone mentioned it because both my bikes already have wide bars and I love them.
  • Did I mention it was hot?

I met up with fellow mtbr member and co-reviewer craigstr Monday morning at 8:30 only to find a pretty long line snaking out of the registration tent. They decided not to mail out badges this year but used e-mail confirmations with bar codes to access and print your badge on site (after you signed the waiver). Sounds easy enough but they had a bit of a computer glitch at first which backed things up, but once moving it went smoothly enough.

I think we stood in this line about 30 minutes.

Badges in hand, I made a beeline for the Turner tent way at the back corner of the demo area to check out the new Burner 650B while Craig headed for Giant to pick up the new Trance 29er.

Follow the 2012 Interbike Outdoor Demo! forum thread!
Read the 2011 All Mountain Bike Tests at Interbike Outdoor Demo article.

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