The Best Of CABDA
Our top picks from the industry trade show.
Trade shows are an interesting phenomenon. It's one of the few places brands really put themselves out there and showcase their best. They take long trips, stay in cheap hotels, set up inside a venue and put on a friendly face to get retailers to carry their products that they've often times devoted their entire livelihoods to. After a long day on their feet, they break down their displays and repeat the process at the next trade show.
With the absence of Interbike, CABDA seems to fill the void for brands finding a way to come face to face with the public. Granted CABDA lacks the magnitude and the flair that Interbike had but it carries heart which came through with the people behind the brands. In an atypically rainy day in Del Mar California, people showed off their stuff. We've compiled a list of what we think was some of the best products and innovations from the show.
#1. It seems there is a new brand entering the highly competitive and scrutinized head unit market. Pioneer has created the CA 600. It is a fully decked out Ant+ color head unit with a wahoo style mount. It does everything the other competitors do but also features proprietary software which measures stroke levels. Screens are fully customizable on your device and ride data can be synced with your favorite social app. It boasts a 12 hour battery life and the best part is you can share data in real time with your friends on your next group ride. That means if you know the rider pulling in front of you is at 85% of their maximum and you are at 75%, you have the edge with a bit more left in the tank. No sweat though, your friends have to agree to share their data with your head unit. The Pioneer CA 600 is a bit bigger than a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt and is but has an extremely similar interface. Pioneer CA 600
#2. How many times have you been on a ride and wanted to let people know you're coming. Bells are becoming more widely used with more serious cyclists and the Close The Gap mounts are perhaps the most integrated. The bell sits discreetly under the mount without taking up any handlebar real estate. They have mounts for just about every kind of bar and also have a third option if you want to run an action camera. Our personal favorite is the spoon style mount for integrated bar and stem combos. It weighs in at a svelte 51 grams and comes with all of the mounting hardware. ESM Bike
#3. Selle Italia is a staple in cycling saddles. They launched the Flight Titanium saddle more than thirty years ago and it's a saddle people still use today. The current crop of innovative saddles includes the Tekno Superflow Saddle. It's unique design offers two independent areas of the saddle that allow give for each of your sit bones. The rest of the saddle is mostly carbon and also features a gap that resembles a car exhaust at the rear of the saddle. It was an insane 130 grams but be prepared to sit on $500 dollars worth of saddle. Selle Italia
#4. In perhaps the smallest piece of kit, Feedback Sports based in Colorado has created a handy and svelte little package torque wrench and ratchet wrench combo. It's aptly named the Range and it features a visual gauge for those unpredictable spots on the bike. It also comes with a cool zippered hard case with a huge array of attachment pieces. Throw it in a travel bag to your next race or event. Feedback Sports
#5. Clothing brand Assos boasts a 40year heritage but is reinventing itself in new ways. While they have the "Old Guy on a Pinarello" nailed, they are reaching out to more diverse riders with the introduction of new clothes that cater to women and gravel. They also started the Assos Speed Club which is a Rock and Roll style club where they offer memberships and access to VIP offerings and group rides in a number of cities. It's a new and edgier look that pits the Assos rockers against the Rapha mods. Assos Speed Club
#6. Boyd Wheels from South Carolina is a smaller wheel company that still competes with some of the bigger wheel brands in both design and price. No industry show would be complete without a set of gravel offerings. Boyd delivers in spades with a number of Gravel wheels that are offered in 650b, asymmetrical hookless and hooked rim styles. The wheels are featured in the Pinnacle Hookless and the Jocassee lines. The difference is being able to run higher volume tires with lower tire pressure offering a smooth and supple ride. In analogy to the ride feel Boyd says to think of an Ostrich running versus a Kangaroo jumping. Boyd Wheels
#7. Sage Titanium Bicycles, based out of Portland Oregon has a great line of Titanium bikes for every discipline. Somewhere in between a custom NAHBS frame builder and mass production, they have created some beautiful bikes that can go anywhere. Frames are named after famous routes near the Portland area and the Barlow is an eye catcher. The frame boasts sexy welds and enough clearance for 40mm tires. They come in complete bikes as well as frame sets. You can customize just about every aspect of the bike right down to the decal color. They also make saddles too! Sage Bicycles
#8. FSA and Vision hit CABDA with their complete group sets competing with the big three component groups Shimano, Sram and Campy. FSA featuring a electronic and wireless shifting customizable options such as levers coming in multiple sizes, they continue to push the envelope. Look for FSA and Vision on the bikes of the new Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling Team. The Metron line of Vision wheels are equipped for disc, tubeless and can be ridden on any of your favorite gravel trails. The trend seems to be going wider and Vision adopts it across all of it's high end wheel sets. Vision Wheels, FSA Components