Intimate and deliberately small, PressCamp is a chance for boutique brands to get quality facetime with US bike editors. Carlton Reid tags along.

Press camp 2012: new products revealed to captive media

The first PressCamp was held in Sun Valley, Idaho. The second and third were staged in Deer Valley resort, Park City, Utah. This year’s fourth annual staging of the meet-the-press schmoozefest was also held in Deer Valley.

Deer Valley is a ski and bike resort in the Wasatch Range, located about 40 minutes east of the international airport at Salt Lake City. Down the hill from the plush resort is Park City, a former mining town with a Main Street lined with Victorian wooden houses that would have once been miners’ cabins, but which now retail for upwards of a millon dollars apiece.

The Sundance Film Festival is staged in Park City each February. It’s an upscale town, with dining to match. Close to town is the Mid-Mountain Trail, a 20-mile MTB trail that starts in Deer Valley, stays at about 8,000 feet and is twisty, turny, swoopy and all the other sweet singletrack adjectives you can think of.

Park City has 400 miles of mountain bike trails. That’s worth repeating: 400 miles. Even for a ski town which wants to suck up to mountain bikers, that’s a lot. And the length and quality of the trails is the reason Park City is the one and only gold-level ‘ride center’ in IMBA’s rankings.

The format of PressCamp is simple: host 25 or so influential bike editors and writers in a luxe resort and make sure they book one-on-one time with a select group of exhibitors wishing to reveal details on their 2013 lines. Journalists and industry types stay in the same luxe condo, eat together and, most importantly, ride together. Mornings are spent photographing, taking notes and videoing; afternoons are spent riding. It’s a tough life, but somebody’s got to do it.

A full gallery of images from Press Camp can be seen here.

The cult Oz brand was at PressCamp for the first time. Oz founder Hugo Davidson said he was blown away by the quality of the journalists present (LA Times, Outside magazine, Bicycling, you get the picture) and was extremely happy with the online coverage that started to appear during PressCamp itself.
Knog was showing its new products, including the Milkman retractable cable lock; the Kransky, part of the Sausage line of silicone-covered shackle locks; and the USB-charged Blinder LED lights (demoed in the condo presentation by being dropped into a glass of water). Blinder 1 has one LED; Blinder 4 has, you guessed it, four.
Knog’s packaging is made of biodegradable sugar cane pulp wrapped in recyclable PET clear plastic. A new POP display holds 40 Blinder 4 lights.

Naturally, the French-tyre-company-founded-by-an-American is keen to show off the latest road tubeless tyres, now said to rival tubulars for performance. The 23mm Galactik weighs 245 grams, less than a lightweight tyre and tube and it’s claimed to have lower rolling resistance than a standard tub. Plus, late into 650B, the company is now an evangelist, offering three tyres in this old/new size.

Aerodynamics consultant Simon Smart was again at PressCamp for Enve. He was helping the Utah composites company explain the details on the SES 3.4, 6.7, and 8.9 clincher wheels (not new) and Enve’s AM Tubeless wheels, which are available in 26, 650B and 29-inch diameters. I also learned that the YouTube video of Smart that I shot at PressCamp last year is used by Enve to explain the science behind its wheels.

Long in the tooth trade types will remember the GT Edge titanium road bike, a departure for the BMX company. GT has reintroduced it, but with new geometry, disc brakes and a composite fork. The triple-triangle design stays. There’s also a 29er ti version of the 1990s Xizang hard-tail. GT has been sponsoring Hans Rey for 25 years and to celebrate this has three signature models, with part of the profits going to Rey’s Wheels for Life charity.

Standing for Steel is Real, the S.I.R 9 is a 29er that might be made with a ‘heritage’ material but the frame – with triple-butted Reynold’s 853 front triangle – has a whole slew of not-heritage features, including 142/12mm Maxle rear axle, and a through-axle rigid composite fork. Niner has been able to bend the heat-treated Reynolds 853 down tube, said to add strength in the head tube junction. The bike’s rear dropout features cast stainless steel inserts that convert the bike from single speed to a geared bike. According to Niner, the S.I.R 9 is a ‘quiver bike’: one of a stable of bikes for any one owner.

Born 25 years ago, Sugoi is celebrating the fact with a Silver Edition road clothing line, based on the high-end RS road clothing line. Sugoi reps were also keen to point out the RSE line gets a new three-layer, Italian chamois that’s not made from moulded foam but has been CNC-machined with a graduated edge. Sugoi’s MTB lines now have the X suffix. The RSX jersey will feature Icefil fabric and this is said to be similar to a menthol rub, and can cool a hot rider.

Integration. Integration. Integration. That’s the long-held mantra from Gore Bikewear. Items work as part of a system: jersey shoulder seams won’t snag on a matching jackets; arm lengths differ so there’s no overlap.
The new Active Shell fabric is a windproof packable material that is said to be 50 percent lighter than the company’s previous Pack Light fabric.
The Alpe Cross is a high-end drop-tail MTB jacket with shoulder stretch panels designed for use with a hydration pack.

Ex downhill pro Jill Hamilton, formerly brand manager at Haro, was at PressCamp to help relaunch Shebeest, the women-specific clothing brand that ceased production some years ago, but has now been resurrected by LeeMarc Industries, the company behind Canari Cyclewear.
Shebeest was founded by Claudia Ried, a New York fashion designer who was restyling Wrangler jeans when she realised cycle clothing didn’t offer the same women and bike-friendly fit. Shebeest became an instant favourite with US women and Ried later sold the business. In new hands the brands withered. Now with Canari as the owner the brand is being resurrected. Ried is a consultant on the brand relaunch but doesn’t have any equity in the company.
Playing on the name, Shebeest garment feature some animal prints. The ‘S’ curve in the Shebeest logo is based upon the curvy female cut of jerseys. The new Sheebeest line is due in Spring 2013.

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