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ExpoCycle 2008 – Days 1, 2 Report

September 10, 2008 (Montreal, QC) – The 9th annual ExpoCycle Show opened at Place Boneventure in Montreal on Sunday, September 7 with a much more upbeat mood than in previous years. Several ongoing issues still linger such as increased freight costs from higher gas prices, raw material price increases, and more competition in the Canadian retail market as MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) announced it will now include bicycles in its array of cycling products. Still the general overall feeling at the show was very positive as cycling is becoming more popular around the globe.

While increased gas prices have driven up some costs for all players, those same increases have also brought a new wave of customers into Canadian bicycle shops looking for economical means of transportation. Many retailers have reported increased traffic which is good news for the entire industry. The initial effects are readily apparent in commuter, hybrid and cruiser bikes. Andrew Gomez from Revolution Sport Supply, the distributor Electra bikes, said he couldn’t get enough of their popular Townie and Amsterdam bikes for retailers.

There was plenty of activity in the aisles with companies like SRAM returning after a one-year hiatus displaying their new wheels and Truvativ Hammerschmidt transmission system, while the Shimano booth featured the Canadian debut of their Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting system. There were countless bikes, components, parts, and accessories in all shapes, sizes, colours, and styles and here’s a look at the some of the items that caught our eye – more photos and coverage to follow..

SRAM was back at ExpoCycle showing off a number of new goodies from across their various lines including the new Truvativ Hammerschmidt front transmission system. The derailleur-less system uses one chainring and allows you to shift under any load while pedalling backward, or even if not pedalling. There are two options: a beefier model for freeride use and a lighter option for all-mountain use. SRAM also had one of its new wheels on display. Following their acquisition of ZIPP last year, the company will now offer three SRAM-branded carbon clincher wheelsets with aluminum braking surfaces with an S40, S60 and S80, referring to the wheel depths.

Felt Bikes
Canadian distributor Spaso Sports had a full lineup of the Felt Bikes on hand including the Garmin-Chipotle team bike. For 2009, you’ll be able to get the famous orange, white and blue colour scheme on four bikes ranging from the $1,100 Felt F95 Team up to the $10,949 Felt AR Team – the exact Shimano Dura-Ace Di2-equiped bike being ridden by American Dave Zabriskie and the rest of the Garmin-Chipotle squad.

Jamis distributor RB Inc. is hoping to have a great year in 2009 with some big changes across the lineup. The XCT is their new free-ride line with 130mm of front and rear travel and build options starting at just $1,300. For the less mountainous types, there’s the Beatnik, an old-school steel single speed messenger bike for $780 or the Commuter 4. On the road side, Jamis was showing off its 12-pound Xenith SL equipped with a SRAM Red build. For triathlon or TT types, the Xenith T2 will have wider availability in Canada this year – a georgeous $9,900 TT build with SRAM Red and an FSA NeoPro crankset. New as well for RB Inc. is the belt-driven Spot Brand bike line.

The new commuter-focus among riders across the country has made Electra bikes more popular than ever. For 2009, the Amsterdam lineup of steel bikes receives new colours and some new cosmetic features. The Townie lineup has a few new options, including a 700c model. On the cruiser side, the least expensive 12 models in the line have been revamped, and added to the lineup are new Men’s Delivery Bikes, which retail for $939 and come with large front and rear trays. There are even extra options to hold things such as a surfboard on the bike. Very cool.

Canadian manufacturer, Cycles Devinci, has added the Helsinki, a full-carbon frame and fork, to its performance hybrid line. “Performance hybrids are hot so we decided to raise the bar,” said Maxime Lamirande, Devinci’s marketing manager.

Devinci presented their top-of-the-line Leo road bikes in a separate display intending to create an exclusive brand within its line up. The high-end Leos features a tapered head tube and will be available in a semi-custom program to dealers. Customers can choose between four colour schemes, four wheelsets, four grouppos and a variety of sizes. The retail prices range from $4,000 to around $9,000.

Also new is the Nomad, a funky new inflatable travel bike case that retails for $599, folds up small when not in use, and is lighter than many other cases on the market.

Orange Sport Supply
Celebrating their 10th anniversary, Canadian distributor Orange Sport Supply displayed the $140 Niterider Minewt Mini, an amazingly small LED commuter light that recharges with a USB cable; Velocity rims; new forks from Magura and a pile of new offerings from Full Speed Ahead. The big news for 2009 is that Orange is now the exclusive distributor of Titus Bicycles, the much sought after Arizona-based high end brand. The focus will be Titus mountain bikes, and Orange will offer them as framesets only, which is typical of the brand.

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