by Josh Liberles
Showers Pass “VelEau” Hydration Pack
The best way to describe the VelEau hydration pack is a combo between a tri-geek’s bar-mounted sipper and a Camelbak hydration pack. But it’s actually way cooler than that. Frank Bretl and Mark Proia came up with the idea when looking for something to use while doing long mountain bike rides and races. Grabbing a drink from the “suicide” bottle cage under the down tube of full suspension bikes while on the rivet is both not fun and potentially dangerous, and wearing hydration packs on a hot day just plain sucks. Introduce the VelEau (pronounced like “Velo,” and combining the French words for bicycle and water for you non Francophiles). It looks like a good-sized saddle bag which includes both a hard plastic bladder and plenty of room for tubes, tools and whatever else you usually lug along. Running from the 42oz reservoir is a tube and bite valve similar to other hydration packs that runs along a bike’s top tube. What’s innovative is the two nifty retractable reels which snap the hydration line back onto your top tube when you’re done drinking, and the two strong magnets that keep that line relatively fixed once it snaps back down.
While the VelEau is sure to be a rarity in cyclocross races – except perhaps endurance events like Three Peaks and Iron Cross – it looks like a great training tool. If you take your bike on technical off-road terrain and still want to hydrate, this could be a good solution. It also goes on just about as easily as a water bottle cage, and most of us are taking those on and off between races anyhow. Look for a review from CXM soon!
MSRP: $74.95 (available soon!)
More info: http://veleau.com
Not all of the products on display at Interbike are new technology. But some of the coolest stuff is decidedly old school – and it can’t get much more retro than leather handlebar tape, right? “Adarga” is the Spanish word for those ancient, oval-shaped leather shields, and this bar tape is tough. Ryan Law is a cyclist, and his family’s business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is leather – Law Tanning Company. He found a way to unite the two, and he describes his product as “three-year bar tape.”
“It’s great for ’cross,” said Law. “It stays really grippy in the wet, it cleans right up, and I even snapped my handlebars in a crash and the tape was a little scuffed, but basically totally fine. It’s rugged!”
The tape comes in colors ranging from traditional leathers to sparkly silver and fuschia, and it’s available in a full grain or suede finish, with the full grain perhaps the better choice cosmetically for the rigors of cyclocross.
Tire levers may not be something most people get excited about – until they finally find some that work well. The Prestalevers definitely take a unique approach. Rather than hooking onto a wheel’s spokes, they latch onto the inside of the rim. Slide it under the tire bead to the rim hook, then slide and “unzip” the tire. To disengage from the rim/tire, rotate the lever 90 degrees and it pops out. According to Prestaflator, the honeycomb design on the thick plastic lever make them more robust and durable than levers with steel cores.
MSRP: $7.95/ea Prestacycle Home / Portable Nitrogen Tire Inflation System
Cyclocross racing is all about dialing in your tire pressure, and Prestacycle is tackling inflation at events with its new portable nitrogen tank system. One tank, made of brushed aluminum alloy, holds 29 cubic feet of nitrogen under pressure and should meet most racers’ inflation needs for an entire season, no power or compressor needed. The canisters are relatively small and can be filled inexpensively just about anywhere (check here for locations near you). [See our “Pressure Refresher” article, CXM Issue 13]
MSRP: Nitrogen Inflation system only – $279.95. With Prestaflator – $319.95 Improved Prestaflators
Other cool new products include a revamped Prestaflator head for compressors with a more rugged hose. The Deluxe model has a right-angle head, making it more convenient to access a wheel, especially when it has disc rotors. The gauge has also been beefed up and the exterior is now metal instead of plastic.
MSRP: Standard Prestaflators are MSRP $39.95 while the Deluxe models are $49.95
Want to see more of Interbike’s cyclocross offerings? We have a full list of some of the best new products we saw at Interbike, with more being added every day.