Interbike 2015: Outdoor Demo Lucky 7

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Seven bikes that are worth noting from the 2015 Interbike Outdoor Demo…

Open U.P. (Unbeaten Path)

The Open U.P. caught our eye when it won ‘best in show’ at this year’s Eurobike. Open call it their ‘gravelplus’ frame – a gravel grinder without limits. To see how it fared, we tested it on road, gravel and singletrack. True to its name, it got on well on all of the above. Built around a technology-laden carbon frameset with a superlight spec, we loved how light it felt to both shoulder and ride, though its quick handling felt a little twitchy until we were used to its geometry. Definitely a bike with lots of potential, not least because it’s drawn to take both 700c road wheels, or 650b mountain bike rubber up to 55m (2.2in) wide. The frameset will set you back $2900.

Open U.P. Unbeaten Path Bike

  • Open U.P. Unbeaten Path Bike
  • Open U.P. Unbeaten Path Bike
  • Open U.P. Unbeaten Path Bike

Jamis Dragonslayer 27.5+

Jamis’ Dragon steel hardtails have always had a great reputation for how they ride, and the Dragonslayer is the company’s 27.5+ version. It’s a bike with promising adventure potential, given its full set of bottle bosses – including under the down tube – and rear rack eyelets. In fact, the Jamis website even features it clad in bikepacking gear. All in, it’s a nice package: good climbing efficiency, the added float and grip of 3″ tires, and a solid performing Fox fork. This one costs $2700. Read our full review here.

Jamis Dragonslayer 27.5+

  • Jamis Dragonslayer 27.5+
  • Jamis Dragonslayer 27.5+
  • Jamis Dragonslayer 27.5+

Surly Wednesday

The Wednesday is Surly’s latest addition to their ever expanding fat bike lineup. New for the brand, it uses a 170mm symmetrical rear end that features a nifty dropout, allowing it to run both 170/177m hubs, and 10/12mm thru axles. The bike is suspension compatible, and features a trail geometry commonplace in several of their fat and midfat bikes, such as the Krampus and Ice Cream Truck. We took it out on a couple of laps of the demo loop – and it’s a whole mess of fun. True to Surly ethics, it’s also a real do-it-all machine – there’s even braze-ons in all the right places to for bikepacking. And for $1500 complete, you might even have some spare cash for a trip too…

Surly Wednesday Fat Bike

  • Surly Wednesday Fat Bike
  • Surly Wednesday Fat Bike
  • Surly Wednesday Fat Bike

Scott Genius Plus 27.5+

This bike was a surprise – it was hands down the funnest one of the group. The long travel Genius Plus has a dialed in suspension, a playful geometry, and confidence inspiring stability that leads to approaching new lines on the trail. Schwalbe’s 2.8in Nobby Nics are also worth noting, as they make for a surprisingly fast tire with outstanding traction. If there’s one gripe about the Genius, it’s that it doesn’t have bottle mounts on the down tube.

Scott Genius 27.5+

  • Scott Genius 27.5+
  • Scott Genius 27.5+
  • Scott Genius 27.5+

Cannondale Slate

One of the most talked about bikes of 2016, the distinctive-looking Slate sits in a new category called All-road – bikes designed to offer great performance on asphalt, but with the added capability of taking on trails and forest roads too. Typical of Cannondale, the Slate doesn’t shy from innovation, with a 30mm Lefty fork designed to take the bite out of the trail, along with large volume 27.5, 40mm slicks – similar in size to a 700c road tire, albeit with a good deal more comfort. This, along with a steep head tube and short chainstay, provides an amazingly manoeuvrable yet stable platform that feels comfortable on tarmac and gravel alike. We can imagine this bike being a load of fun on a ride that’s say, 70/30 in ration between asphalt and dirt. We love the way it looks too!

Cannondale Slate

  • Cannondale Slate
  • Cannondale Slate
  • Cannondale Slate

REEB Donkadonk (with Bluto, Rohloff, and Gates Carbon Belt Drive)

How’s this for an eclectic, grin-inducing mix? This particular build is a product of the folks at Cycle Monkey. The Donkadonk has it all: a Rohloff Speedhub, Gates carbon belt drive, and a Rock Shox Bluto fork. This thing was a blast, though the VEE rubber tire fitted had a tendency to wash out on loose stuff. REEB frames are made in the USA and are part of the Oskar Blues brand. Frames start at $1600. The complete bike, similar to the one we rode, is around $2900.

REEB Fat Bike, ROhloff, Carbon Gates Drive

  • REEB
  • REEB
  • REEB

Marin Pine Mountain 2 27.5+

Unfortunately, Marin didn’t have a demo of their Pine Mountain plus bike for anyone to ride. But in the flesh, it looks like a promising adventure bike, thanks to its full compliment of bottle mounts on its Chromo frame, as well as provision for front and rear racks. Graphics are inspired by the classic Marins of the late 80s and 90s – celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary. What’s more, the fully rigid Pine Mountain 1 (not pictured) is just $989 complete, with the higher end Colombus Thron version (shown below) available with a Fox Float 34 fork.

Marin Pine Mountain 27.5+

  • Marin Pine Mountain 27.5+
  • Marin Pine Mountain 27.5+
  • Marin Pine Mountain 27.5+

Tags

  • http://www.worntreads.com Patrick Dowd

    That Slate looks so silly. It looks like a hybrid I can’t take it serious at all. I’m not a huge fan of Rohloffs, but every other bike on this I’d ride the hell out of.

    I am seriously debating getting a Wednesday.

  • http://www.bikepacking.com/ BIKEPACKING.com (Logan)

    The Wednesday is a good one. The Slate is pretty fun though. An inventive bike that’s super stable…

  • Mobilophil

    I need to know that lens!
    These pictures with this bokeh.. gorgeous!
    Could you please tell me?

  • http://www.bikepacking.com/ BIKEPACKING.com (Logan)

    Sure, these were shot with the Canon ‘nifty fifty’ 50mm f/1.8. $125 and super compact.

  • Mobilophil

    Wow, I didn’t expect that.
    Wonderful!

  • mikeetheviking

    Suuuper excited to see so many manufs. on board w/ + sized tires! I too love the Surly Wednesday, a great bike for adventure, very well thought out, ready for a 29+ summer wheelset built on extra wide hubs. This is your go anywhere do it all machine. I’m also really excited to see Marin offering kick ass models also at KILLER prices. The cannondale slate looks like it would make a rough city street urban commuter destroyer. No excuses for not making it to work on time there.

  • Scott Aubuchon

    You have any pics of the dropouts on the Wednesday? I’m curious how they work, saw a spec drawing but wasn’t entirely clear.

  • http://www.bikepacking.com/ BIKEPACKING.com (Logan)

    Hi Scott. Check out the post we added today, there’s a shot of the dropout there: http://www.bikepacking.com/gear/bikepacking-awards-interbike-2015/

  • Scott Aubuchon

    Thanks. Would like to get a look at them in person. The Wednesday definitely looks like a great bike, and at that price point is pretty remarkable.

  • http://www.uninspiredramblings.com/ Chris

    I’m quite intrigued by the Dragonslayer, but note that it didn’t make it onto your awards list… ;-) Any further thoughts on this as a trail bikepacking machine..?

  • http://www.bikepacking.com/ BIKEPACKING.com (Logan)

    Hi Chris. I liked it a lot, but not a fan of the Vittoria tires on first ride. With the sliding dropout it has some Rohloff potential as well (as long as someone figures out the 142 to 148 spacers). It has all of the right dropouts and brazeons. I would definitely like to give it a proper shakedown. P.s. Email me your mailing address.

  • http://www.uninspiredramblings.com/ Chris

    Will do. Wonder if Maxxis is going to produce a 2.75+ version of the Chronicle……

  • http://www.bikepacking.com/ BIKEPACKING.com (Logan)

    They did. Also, the Schwalbes are nice and the new Trail Boss from WTB looks like a winner.

  • http://www.uninspiredramblings.com/ Chris

    Ahh, great. I’d looked at their site but didn’t see 27.5+s on there yet. Cool :-)

  • Jon B

    I have a Scott Genius 730 (which is very similar to the Genius Plus on this page) and am brand new to bikepacking and haven’t decided on a load layout just yet. I see there is one on this list and was wondering, now that everyone can easily see the layout, what veteran bikepackers would suggest I start with. Longest trip I would go on would be a 3-5 day trip and I am going with a 1 person tent. I haven’t bought any bags yet. Anything is appreciated!

  • http://www.bikepacking.com/ BIKEPACKING.com (Logan)

    Jon, the nice thing about the Genius, as well as the Horsethief, among others, is the the open area provided by the suspension design. That allows a small framebag to be constructed that has a surprisingly generous amount of space. See the sketch on the Bikepacking 101 page: http://www.bikepacking.com/bikepacking-101/ For that you’ll need to get a custom bag made. I’d recommend Oveja Negra or Porcelain Rocket (links in footer below). A frame bag is key for moving some weight below. For a handlebar roll, depending on who you use for the framebag, try and find a relatively narrow solution (this will allow some space for the front fork to move). If you have a one man tent, a handlebar harness (both of those companies make on as does Revelate Designs) can carry a tent and a sleeping bag (if rolled up in a thin, tubular drybag). Otherwise you could also stow the poles in your backpack and then quadruple the tent over to make it a thicker roll, then have enough space for both a sleeping bag and tent in something like the Revelate SweetRoll. All three of those companies make seat packs, but with rear suspension, you’ll want to get something thinner, like a Viscacha, Mr. Fusion V2, or medium Gearjammer. There’s more info here on various bags: http://www.bikepacking.com/gear/bikepacking-bags/

  • Jon B

    Would you recommend a feed bag, two stem bags, a stem tube bag under my seat, and a revelate bag pocket for the revelate handlebar harness? Or am I getting carried away? LOL. I am getting all my gear based off the reviews on this site. There is so much great information.

  • http://www.bikepacking.com/ BIKEPACKING.com (Logan)

    For a cheap and easy, no-wait FS rig, I’d get a Revelate Viscacha, Revelate SweetRoll (or Harness), a Feed Bag, and a Gas Tank. With that and a backpack, you can pack enough gear to get you through a couple nights (granted it’s light and minimal gear). I wouldn’t forego a seat pack though…

  • Jon B

    Thank you so much! I’ll do that plus get the seat bag. Next step will be figuring out my kitchen!

  • http://www.bikepacking.com/ BIKEPACKING.com (Logan)

    That’s the easy part. I recommend starting with a .8 to 1L titanium pot, a Trangia spirit burner, and a Spork…

  • Jon B

    I have been eyeballing the Vargo kitchen items in that review. So compact and light!

  • http://www.thcbiketours.com THCBikeTours.com

    I really love riding my new Marin Pine Mountain 2. Another bike I’d like to try out would be the Surly Karate Monkey Ops.

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