Bikes, nutrition, apparel, and the craziest fork we’ve ever seen — we trudged through the pouring rain and muddy grounds of Outerbike to find the coolest products on display.
This year’s Outerbike in Bentonville, Arkansas, was one to remember. A week’s worth of rain turned the expo grounds into a 6-inch-deep field of boot-sucking muck.
But we made the best of the weekend and sacrificed our shoes and socks in search of the best bikes and accessories at the show. And we were not disappointed.
Here’s the top gear you can find right now (and one sweet bike coming soon)!
Thomson Ti MTB and Gravel Frames
Known for its bombproof cockpit and seatpost offerings, Thomson enters the framebuilding space. The Macon, Georgia, brand’s first frames will be a trail-worthy hardtail and a gravel option. Engineered and built with Thomson’s well-known attention to detail, the 325ti frames appear built to last.
Plus, Thomson aims to bring both frames to market below $3,000. The mountain bike builds will include bars, stem, and seatpost; gravel frames will also include a carbon fork. They will be available in spring 2020.
Floyd’s of Leadville CBD-Infused Coffee
CBD continues to be a huge topic for discussion at cycling events. Industry nutrition stalwart Floyd’s of Leadville’s line continues to grow and now includes Stage 17 CBD-infused ground coffee ($30/pound). That complements the brand’s Recovery Tonic (think CBD energy shots) released earlier this year. I’m a believer in the benefits of CBD, so it’s great to see more ways to include it in daily activities.
While in Bentonville, I was lucky enough to take the Allied Able on a long gravel ride through the pouring rain. I’ve had my eye on an Able for a while, and it performed as good as it looks.
The eye-catching raised stay provides ample tire clearance while keeping the backend short. And the overall geo of the bike feels confident on fast gravel descents and snappy on the climbs. I enjoyed the ride and was frankly bummed to give it back.
Fox Apparel Adaptation Line
Fox bolsters its cool- and cold-weather clothing lineup this fall with a full range of options spanning cold, dry, windy, and wet conditions. The new All Weather System includes shorts, pants, jackets, and jerseys. The whole system works together to get you through most weather conditions.
I tried some pieces on and found the fit and feel of the full line was dialed. I look forward to spending some time in the system this winter.
UnTapped Better Packaging and New Flavors
UnTapped Maple showed off its new packaging, promising an easier-to-tear tab and faster delivery of the maple goodness. It may sound simple, but this is a big improvement over past packaging, which inevitably left plenty of nutrition trapped in the packet. Plus, the packaging is also made in Vermont, which results in a cheaper price for the consumer (from $1.99 to $1.75 for a single serving).
The brand also recently launched a Mapleaid that offers some electrolyte replacements in the form of sea salt. Look for new flavors coming in December, including Salted Raspberry-infused maple syrup (with 60 mg of caffeine) and lemon waffles.
Trust Shout Fork
One of the busiest booths at Outerbike was Trust Performance. Something that looks this different is bound to attract some serious attention. But it’s not just for looks. “Shout” is the latest trailing multi-link front suspension design from Trust Performance, the latest new project from Dave Weagle, creator of the DW Link suspension used on many top brands (Pivot, Turner, Ibis, and Salsa to name a few).
With the Shout, Trust rethinks the front suspension fork by altering the movement of a telescoping fork. In short, it allows the wheel to move backward as well as upward. This allows the front wheel to track the shapes of the bumps. And since the fork is designed to move independently of the chassis, there’s virtually no stiction.
The combo of more natural movement and reduced binding and stiction should result in both a stiff and compliant fork that delivers a more predictable, connected ride. Trust released the 178mm-travel Shout this summer for $1,975.
Revel bikes may only be 8 months old, but it’s making a name for itself. The Rascal and Rail trail bikes were very popular at this year’s show. The unique Canfield Balance Formula points the chainline and corresponding drivetrain forces around the top of the chainring through 100 percent of the travel, resulting in maximum pedaling efficiency.
Basically, the power you put down is always going straight to the rear wheel regardless of what terrain you’re on or where you are at in the suspension travel. The Rascal and Rail are available for purchase now, with framesets starting at $2,799 and full builds at $4,999.
Revel and LoveYourBrain also teamed up to raise money to help build awareness as well as aid those suffering from traumatic brain injuries by auctioning off a custom pink Rail, which you can enter to win here.
Canyon Shape Shifter
Originally released on the Canyon Strive in 2014, ShapeShifter gets a full redesign for 2019. With the press of a shifter-like button, you can adjust the rear travel from 130 to 150 mm and vice-versa.
Unlike locking your rear shock to get a stiffer rear end, the ShapeShirter uses a secondary actuator to change the position of the shock’s upper mount on the linkage. This seemingly small adjustment significantly changes both the bike’s geometry and travel. More simply put, set it to 130 and climb up steep hills or ride more XC-oriented trails; open it up to 150 and rip the downhills.
Check out ShapeShifter on the new Canyon Strive.
The Big Sugar-NWA Gravel Race
Outerbike is better known for mountain bikes, but Life Time Fitness announced a new gravel race, set to take place with next year’s Outerbike festival. The 50- and 100-mile options will take riders through the rolling hills surrounding Bentonville and up into Missouri.
Weather this time of year can be unpredictable, so plan for a little bit of everything. We had the opportunity to preview the course, and it’s one I’d definitely make the trip for. Registration opens on November 15. See you there!