Sitting around press events gives us a good chance to not just see new products but usually learn a bit about the companies presenting them. SKS is a German plastic molding company that offers a range of cycling products largely aimed at the commuter crowd. They or their affiliated companies also make parts for BMW, Audi and others in the automotive industry. They’ve been in the bicycle industry for 80 years. They were the first to create a long frame pump and provided Eddy Merckx with floor pumps back in the day. Now, they do a range of floor and mini pumps, CO2 inflators, mini tools, fenders and mud guards, saddles bags and other accessories.
In the US, they’re mainly known for their fenders. They offer clip-on and bolt-on versions with various degrees of coverage. One of the better commuter features is the extended Long Board fenders with a flared section at the bottom rear to prevent water spray from hitting your shoes. It comes way deep on the front wheel. They worked with Grant Peterson at Rivendell to develop it, and it stops just short of where it’d hit a curb if you were to ride off one.
On to the new products: Race Blades are clip on fenders and were introduced about three years ago. Now, they’re introducing the Race Blade Long (above) that has about 7″ more rear coverage with a wide rubber flap. It also uses a new quick release system that mounts several parts on the bike permanently (and rather unobstrusively) for quick fender mounting. Useful if, say, you wake up and it’s raining unexpectedly. It’s available in a 35mm wide version now for road bikes with a 45mm wide version coming. Comes in Silver or Black for $49.99 for the set.
Quick release tabs mount at the axles and brakes for solid support.
The new Velo 42 Urban comes in cheap at $19.99 to $24.99 and will come in 28″ lengths front and rear. It’s plastic, black and comes with U-stay mounting hardware.
While not new, the Race Blade set caught my eye for it’s cleverly simple mounting system. If you need to throw some fenders on quickly, these strap onto the seatstays and fork blades for easy mounting on any bike.
For mountain bikes or fat tire commuters, they have a wide range of clip on mud guards for tires up to 2.4. The rear clips to the seat post, the front uses an assortment of plugs to attach to the bottom of the fork crown. New for 2012 is a 29er version of the Shockblade, which uses flexible sections and adjustable pivots to work with full suspension designs. $29.99, not shown.
The AirKompressor 12.0 is a new budget floor pump with massive air pressure gauge. It has a steel tube and their multivalve head that works with any valve type in a single hole (and it clamps on quickly rather than threading on like some other high end pumps). Max pressure 174psi and the super long chamber moves a lot of air for quicker fill ups. Retail is $49.99 and we soooo want one of these.
The new Spaero mini pump has an extending flexible hose with a dual sided end that twists onto either Presta or Schrader. What’s unique is the positioning of the hose exit. It’s surrounded by small supports that let you put the pump on the ground or your rim and use that as a base to pump against, sort of like a small floor pump. Retail is $29.99 for the black plastic one (134g) and $35.99 for the silver alloy barrel one (160g). Max pressure is 73psi (5 bar), so it’s designed for mountain bikes and commuters. A higher pressure road version is in the works. I’ve used this already and it topped off a 29er tire with reasonable ease and speed. The valve head tucks away nicely when not in use.
Lastly, they have a new add-on bottle cage mount that can strap to any tube, most likely on a seat tube. Cagebox, bottle or travel coffee mug not included. $9.99.