Back from Bootleg…
The Interbike show is held in Las Vegas every year, and although it’s what you hear a lot about the real interest is the Dirt Demo that precedes the show, and is located down by Boulder City out in the desert…
Boulder City is a weird place, in the middle of the desert in Nevada- situated right next to Lake Mead which is the huge man-made lake from damming the Colorado river. Although dubbed a city, Boulder is tiny. It was built purely to house the builders of the Hoover dam, which was built in 1931 and completed in 1936. The dam itself is monumentally massive- It’s is so vast it takes your eyes a while to figure out the scale- and the new road passing over the dam is incredible.
The dirt demo is great fun, but more hard work than many realise- we turn up on the Friday night (it starts on the Monday) and get straight to work racking up bikes from the demo trucks to get shot before anyone else even gets there. Starting at 4.30am we get the van packed and are at Bootleg Canyon in the desert by 5am before the sun rises- ready to catch the good light.
It’s usually about 20-25degrees at this time of morning- making it cool enough to get a lot done, although by 10am we’re digesting ourselves and start melting in the rapidly building heat- so it’s off to the Southwest Diner in Boulder to get fixed up out of the heat before more of the same until last light.
As usual, the bike manufacturers put coloured bands or numbers on the bikes to identify sizes and models- but Giant always individually name their bikes- I got Texas this year, an XL Trance 29er, which was one of the bikes I spent a fair bit of time on.
Getting back to Boulder from Bootleg Canyon involves hitting the freeway, or carving down the drainage ditch which is much more fun- and makes us feel like we’re in that scene from Terminator 2. Alex Rafferty accompanied us this year, and certainly looked like he’d had an encounter with a T1000 when he split a Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyre, ripping it off the rim and destroying a rather expensive carbon rim in the process. Oops.
It became a frustrating few days riding out in the desert, with punctures and tyre splits well in the double figures- and all except one case being Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres, whihc are great for certain riding, but frankly daft for use in the desert with it’s ultra sharp rock. When will people demoing bikes learn to fit suitable tyres for the conditions?
To be honest, it’s so sandy and traction free out here that tyre choice doesn’t make a huge difference for traction, but having a sturdy case and solid should certainly gives the chance to push the tyre and get some grip. We ride a few minimal tyres like Ardent’s and Crossmax from Maxxis, which worked a treat.
So the big news this year from the demo was the lack of 26in wheel bikes, and the increase in 29ers. Some manufacturers had 650b bikes, but the in between size had everyone talking.
We even heard talk of 26in wheels being gone in just 3 years. Either way, it’s bought the Turner Afterburner back to us, and it felt great- look out for a review soon in MBUK.
I’ll leave you with a few photos that speak for themselves.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 at 9:00 am and is filed under Blog, Mountain Biking Uk. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.