Words: Paul Boyle
Video: Scott House
I’m sitting in my “office” right now wondering what to write about Outerbike. There was so much to do and learn that it is hard to get it all down. Good times with friends, awesome food, and a bunch of dope bikes made the trip really fun and I think that we have to do it again. Enough of this emotional reflecting, lets get down and highlight the good stuff.
Outerbike is the opposite of Interbike. (Who would have thought?) Instead of being stuck in crappy Las Vegas inside a giant convention center stumbling over industry insiders you are outside with the public, riding bikes, and learning from people who are trained by their brands to give you an education about features, specs, and the fit of each model. It isn’t all about making orders and ogling the latest and greatest. It’s about riding, which is what you are supposed to do on a bike anyway.
And Outerbike is a great deal! For just upwards of $160.00 you get full access Friday through Sunday to a ton of great manufacturers. Osprey was there renting free hydration packs. Native Eyewear was there with a plethora of riding glasses you could demo. The venue took great advantage of Moab’s diverse mountain biking trail network. Situated on a giant dirt parking lot and adjacent to the Bar-M trail network, over twenty vendors set up camp with a huge amount of bikes for everyone to try. The Moab Brands Area Trail Network boasts eleven trails of varying difficulty and technicality. And daily shuttles took you up to the Magnificent Seven Trail Network, Chili Downhill Trails, and the world-renowned “The Whole Enchilada” which begins in the far-reaching La Salles mountain range and connects Burro Pass, Hazzard County, Kokopellie, Upper Porcupine Single-track (UPS), Lower Porcupine Single-track (LPS,) and Porcupine Rim for twenty-six miles of some truly rippin’ trail.
There were four of us on this little trip to the desert that is Southern Utah; Mike the camera guy, Kevin is one of the best bike mechanics in Utah, Scott who put it all together and helped Mike, and me, the lowly writer/note-taker. I have to give a shout-out to Scott House. He is the Communications Director for the greater Jans family and he did an awesome job of organizing, schlepping us around to the venue, bars, after parties, and campsite, and cooking amazing food with his myriad of awesome camping gear. All his prep work really made the trip a great success and let Kevin, Mike, and myself really concentrate on our tasks at hand. Check out Scott’s Jans bio here.
We arrived midday Thursday and stayed through Sunday afternoon. One of the coolest things about Outerbike is that it is in the Fall and in Moab and not in Vegas or on the ass-end of the hot summer. We camped for three nights on Sand Flats road for really cheap; no crappy motels/hotels with weird people gambling and drinking. My tent every morning faced the beautiful morning sunrise. I don’t know if all you people out there on the inter-web have been to Moab, Utah but it has some killer sunrises (and sunsets).
After setting up camp, we were able to snag a Tallboy LT from Abbey and Ariel at Santa Cruz for the first day. We hit up Deadman’s Ridge and really put the twenty-niner craze to the test. Full of ledgey rocky turns and some aggressive slick rock, Deadman’s is a lot of fun and really lets you put a frame and components to the test. We shot some video here and snapped a few photos of Kevin tearing it up. After a couple hours of hard work we hit up the trusty White Pine Touring van for some cold beers and snacks. Here we met a couple awesome dudes from Canada that came down for the event. And we saw an old friend and mechanic, Justin Semrau, who had come down, unknowing of Outerbike, just to ride. The cycling community at this event was off the hook. All of us met a lot of cool people every day. We were able to connect with company reps and talk bikes, moto, and trail design.
The second day we hit up the Scott bikes booth and got our hands on the Scott Genius 650b (27.5 inch wheels). The new wheel size is a nice compromise between twenty-nine and twenty-six. You are able to accomplish the rolling speed and monster-trucking capabilities of twenty-nine inch wheels with some of the control and maneuverability that is championed by twenty-six inch wheels. We were all in agreement that the 650b Scott Genius trail bike is worthy to check out due to its versatility. After getting some filming, photographs, and all around shredding done we hit up the Specialized booth.
Specialized, the powerhouse, puts out a lot of great bikes in every discipline of riding. I personally got my hands and pedals on a 2013 Stumpjumper Evo. Talk about fun. Pedaling around those trails, it conquered the climbs with ease. The descent was too much fun thanks to the dialed short stem and wide bars that come stock. I am about 5’11” and the reach was perfect. While I am one of “those people” that like a 50mm stem and wide bars on all of my bikes I was totally at home on the Stump Evo even with the stem being out of my preference. Its versatility in the climb and descent made it my favorite bike of the event for sure.
Due to time constraints we were not able to ride everything we wanted. I looked longingly at the Trek and Cannondale booths. The Claymore and Jekyll were there in all their glory and the Fuel EX was begging for a test ride. Maybe next year! We were able to branch out a bit and test the waters though. Kevin rode a 650b carbon Jamis and I got out on the Intense Spider Comp 29 and Carbine. Both of those bikes ruled the trails and I plan on keeping an eye on them for sure.
But we weren’t only riding. I was able to sit down with educated people who could answer my questions about suspension, different component specs, and the design characteristics of all the different bicycles I got to ride. These guys and gals were patient and excited to work with even the overly specific folks in the cycling world.
All-in-all Outerbike was a success. In my opinion it takes the cake over Interbike. Good times, food, camping, friends, and the all-important après ride beers. Beautiful Moab is always a good time and I can’t wait for next year.