Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) is an overarching parent company behind brands such as Salsa, Surly, All City, Foundry, and Civia. They also work as distributors for a host of other companies, acting as the middleman between brands and bike shops.
Every February, QBP hosts Frostbike, an industry trade show in their headquarters in Bloomington, Minnesota (just outside of Minneapolis). This show is mainly directed at dealers and retailers, providing an opportunity to form face-to-face relationships and offering a chance for buyers, shop owners, mechanics, and bicycle salespeople to gawk at new products and a plethora of brands all in one place.
But QBP does invite media as well, and thus, I kicked off my 2017 travel season with a trip to what was supposed to be a very “frosty” place. Minneapolis happened to be in the middle of a winter heat wave though, so with temps in the 60s, the name Frostbike wasn’t exactly fitting this year.
Anyway, on to some of the new and/or cool stuff I saw on the show floor.
New clothing brand: Ketl
There wasn’t a ton of brand new things to be explored, but the clothing brand Ketl was one of them. They’re coming out with their first line of apparel for this spring.
The brand appears to be focusing on mountain bike apparel that doesn’t look like mountain bike apparel. In fact, it looks more like urban commuting wear than anything. The stuff looks and feels pretty nice, like it would be comfortable to wear on the trail but also be fashionable enough to wear out to grab a bite and beer after.
Offerings include sleeveless and 3/4 sleeve jerseys for women, long or short sleeve jersey options for men, and baggy overshorts, long-sleeve button-downs, and bibs for both sexes. The women’s bibs include a flap for “easy nature breaks,” and both bibs feature rear pockets.
Women’s clothes come in sizes XS-XL, and men’s come in S-XL. These threads should be available for purchase next month.
Various bits from Problem Solvers
In similar fashion to companies like Wolf Tooth, Problem Solvers creates innovative little oddball pieces that…well, solve problems! They were showcasing four new products at Frostbike:
New tires from Michelin
As we at Dirt Rag got invited to a Michelin press camp that’s coming up in a couple weeks, we knew they had to have some new treads on the horizon. They had some examples on display at Frostbike, and while they wouldn’t reveal specifics, I did get to gawk at them. Be sure to stay tuned for our ride impressions in a few weeks!
Surly Moloko Bar
You can always count on Surly for the different and weird, and nothing is different with the Moloko Bar. This 735 mm-wide CroMoly steel bar allows for the mounting of many accessories and plenty of hand positions. MSRP: $95
Smaller bike sizes from All City
The bike industry could generally improve on its inclusivity of really small adults (aka generally women) with bikes that fit properly but don’t compromise on quality. It’s nice to see some brands coming around and offering extra-small sizing with smaller wheels to retain the same ride quality as on larger sizes.
All City is now offering extra-small sizing on a number of its models, and spec-ing the two smallest sizes with 27.5 instead of 700c wheels to provide reduce toe overlap and provide a more maneuverable and fun bike for the vertically-challenged.
Heads Up Helmet Design Contest
Unfortunately, these sweet lids are the results of a design contest and not production models, but they’re fun to look at anyway.
So there you have it. Just a few of the new things I saw on the show floor at Frostbike. As press camp and trade show season ramps up, stay tuned for plenty of new stuff coming your way here on our website. Sign up for our e-newsletter and get the coolest stories of the week delivered directly to your inbox every Tuesday!