Too bad about the weather (click to enlarge).
Industry types have Eurobike and Interbike. For everyone else there is Outerbike. The annual three-day consumer demo event in Moab, Utah, offers fat tire enthusiasts the chance to ride next year’s hottest bikes on some of the world’s most iconic trails. Some come to do serious comparison shopping. For other it’s a friendly alternative to the brain damage of flying your bike across country.
On hand this year were nearly all the industry’s big hitters (Specialized, Giant, Cannondale, Scott, Santa Cruz), plus many of the hottest mid-tier players such as Pivot, Transition, Yeti, Ibis and Intense. Want to ride the new Mach 6? No problem. Same goes for the SB4.5c, Mojo HD3, Nomad or Bronson. Fat or Plus curious? Lots of options to chose from. Heck, there were even a few eBikes floating around.
Ride options included the nearby stacked-loop XC’ish Brand Trails, or you could jump on a shuttle bound for Captain Ahab, Mag 7 or the Navajo Trails. We opted to go long each day, logging significant time on the 27.5 Transition Patrol and Ibis Mojo HD3, and 29er Yeti SB4.5c. We’ll be posting a side-by-side-by-side comparison of those hot lap test rides soon. In the meantime, here’s a look back at some of the weekend’s highlights. Just be warned there are no riding shots. We were just too busy having fun to stop and shoot photos.
Our first Outerbike Moab test ride was on the highly capable Transition Patrol (30.5 pounds as tested). It’s no secret that the Bellingham, Washington-based company is set to launch a carbon version of this 160mm travel trail tamer, which will surely shed a little of that heft. But during our afternoon test session one thought continued to cross our mind: On a bike like this what the heck is wrong with aluminum and the few pounds that come with it? Do you really care about the subtle damping quality of a composite frame when you’re bashing through rock gardens on a 6-inch trail bike? Unlikely. But the difference in price with comparable carbon-framed offerings? Now that’s something to consider.
Besides bikes you could demo all manner of gear, including pads and helmets from IXS.
Colorado’s MRP was in the house, sending people out on these Stage fork-equipped Banshee bikes. We’ve been testing MRP’s 160mm travel fork for a few months now and have only good things to say. It’s vault door stiff and can handle high speed chunk like a runaway road grader.
The key to a good demo program: stems, lots and lots of stems.
The biggest news of the weekend came from the Bureau of Land Management, which announced a new mountain bike portal within its massive 90,000-page website. You can read all about it here.
BLM director Neil Kornze was on hand to unveil his agency’s new mountain bike-specific web portal. But before he addressed the Outerbike audience, he addressed his own need to shred aboard an Ibis Mojo HD3.
If you know anything about Moab’s mountain bike scene, you know we all owe the good people at the Trail Mix advocacy organization a debt of thanks. There was a time when the area’s trail building and upkeep initiatives waned. Those times are gone.