Loop frame love in Madison- Her name is Cocoa. I met her at a the Trek World 2012 convention in Madison, but she hails from Waterloo. Don’t let her small town background and inexpensive tastes fool you, Cocoa is just as chic as Chanel. Dressed in black and accessorized with just enough gold not to be gauche, Cocoa is cosmopolitan enough to fit in on the streets of Copenhagen, but sturdy enough to bring home the produce from the farmer’s market on the square.
All right, forgive me, but although I was surrounded by some of the most cutting edge carbon fiber and titanium racing bikes on the planet at Trek World 2012, I was smitten by an inexpensive European-style commuter bicycle named Cocoa. The Cocoa model comes equipped with a three-speed Shimano internally geared hub, a full chain case, fenders and a skirt guard. I guess I’m a sucker for anything that takes me back to Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
After I tore myself away from Cocoa, I drifted around the floor filled with bikes at the convention center at Monona Terrace in Madison. Trek World is the bicycle manufacturer’s annual dealer convention. More than 1,000 dealers and distributors from around the world come to Madison each year to see the next year’s product line and network with other retailers. The convention is not open to the public, but since Trek is one of the Bike Fed’s best friends, we were allowed a sneak peek behind the emerald curtain.
The next bike to catch my eye was the Gary Fisher designed Sawyer, a modern 29er mountain bike styled after the old balloon tire bikes Gary and friends modified to race their way into cycling history as they let it all hang out down the Repack. Other than the classic good looks, one thoughtful feature of the Sawyer stood out when I looked it over. The bike comes with a split drop out in the rear, which allows you to separate the chainstay from where the wheel attaches so you can run a carbon belt drive system if you want to ditch the chain. I also liked the slick way they routed the cables between the twin top tubes.
While I love the history, look and simplicity of steel hardtail mountain bikes, I can’t deny the performance and comfort advantages of a lighter-than-air, carbon, dual suspension ride. The 29er Superfly is handbuilt in Waterloo, Wisconsin and the bike just screams go fast. Where is the drool bucket? I need to empty my cup.
Next stop Luxembourg for a look at the ‘Schleck Edition” Trek Madone 6 series SSL P1. The bikes come in both “Andy” and “Frank” editions. These bikes are as high zoot as a formula one race car and they look just about as fast. The perennial crowd favorites at the Tour, I’m betting that the gorgeously fast Andy and Frank Madones will be all over the tarmac next season.
I could go on forever if I talked about every bike I liked, but all good things must come to an end, so I will finish up with Lara and Zara, a father couldn’t ask for two more perfect to bicycles to escort his daughters safely to school. Bikes like these help kids learn to be independent and get where they need to go on their own. Your kids may not notice they are learning the rules of the road and personal responsibility when they ride, but they will love all the nice girly details, from the “I love my bike” on the practical fender stays to the cute names painted on the chainguards.
The only problem I have with my experience at Trek World is that I left with a nagging desire to go out and buy a bunch of new bikes I don’t really need. It is so much fun looking at and riding different bikes, I almost wish there was a lease program so you could keep them for a year and get the new models when they come out.