The Best of the BC Bike Show 2023
The BC Bike Show is the biggest bike show in Western Canada and happened this past weekend. Barry headed to the show with a camera and without a clue. He came out with a new appreciation for the cycling industry of British Columbia and a few new friends. There was a lot to see including tons of great bikes and gear. Let's Go.
It's been ages since I've been to a bike show, and I was super stoked to attend the BC Bike Show in downtown Vancouver for the first time. For me, going to Vancouver is "going to the city," so I was buzzing for this event. I had no clue what to expect, but with the show situated across the water from some of the best trails on earth, I knew it was going to be amazing. I must admit, I didn't do much homework beforehand, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the bike show was paired with an outdoor gear show, perfect for anyone interested in bikepacking.
The BC Bike Show was a veritable who's who of local bike companies, including Brodie, Landyachtz, NOBL, We Are One, 7Mesh, and many more. It was absolutely fantastic to have all these folks gathered in one spot if only for a weekend. It's easy to forget that behind these brands are real people, so I was thrilled to finally put faces to the names I've been emailing with over the past couple of years. It was great to see so many passionate individuals dedicated to their craft, and I left the event feeling even more enthusiastic about the BC bike community than I was before.
While the show was an awesome event overall, one thing immediately stood out to me: there was almost no mention of bikepacking anywhere. Unfortunately, none of our local bag companies were able to make it to this year's show. I have an idea for next year: all you bag makers out there should pool together and get one booth. Despite the lack of bikepacking at the show, there was still some great representation from local outdoor gear companies, and I was able to find a few neat things for this year's bikepacking setup. But first, let's start by taking a look at some of the standout bikes that were on the floor...
Landyachtz Gold AB-ST
I couldn't contain myself when I found out that a new production color of the Landyachtz AB-ST (full review here) is going on sale this week. As someone who absolutely adores my AB-ST, I was over the moon to see this new color, and I'm crushing hard on this bike. But it's not just about the color—the team has also locked in the build kit, which wasn't an option during the pandemic shortages. Everything you see in the photos is stock, with some great choices in build, including those sweet Ritchey Beacon bars that will literally change how you ride. The team has also adjusted the rim and tire size for some front fork clearance issues, something that I'll probably be doing to my own bike at home. Overall, I'm blown away by the attention to detail and thoughtfulness that the team put into this new version of the AB-ST.
Landyachtz Custom Ti Hardtail
It's no surprise that Landyachtz had more than one amazing custom Ti bike at their booth—they're kinda known for it. Most of the custom bikes on display were the personal gravel bikes of the team, but the one that caught my eye was a custom progressive ti hardtail built for Mike, the owner of Landyachtz. Honestly, this thing hits all my pleasure centers, and I would love nothing more than to rip some trail on it. I even begged the team for a production model of this bike, but they just smiled politely as if to say "not gonna happen" ;)
We Are One 130mm Arrival
We don't typically cover full-suspension bikes on this site, but the Arrival from We Are One is one of the coolest machines on the planet right now and I was thrilled to meet the team. Owner Dustin Adams showed me their new 130mm rear travel Arrival and briefly described how the linkages and shocks in the Arrival can be swapped out to have anywhere from 130-170mm of rear travel. I was out of my depth in our chat and stupidly asked if they had any plans for a hardtail. Dustin mentioned that they were interested in going in the opposite direction and creating a downhill bike, with hopes of having a World Cup bike by 2025. This would be fantastic for the brand, British Columbia, and Canada as a whole.
I was also thrilled to meet Vlad, the designer behind the Arrival. Together, Vlad and I took some photos trying to find the best light to showcase the raw carbon frame. As a designer myself, I loved hearing Vlad's story and getting to know more about his design process. We discussed how he and the team at We Are One are pushing the boundaries of what's possible with carbon fiber, creating bikes, wheels and everything else that are not only high-performing but also stunningly beautiful.
Reform Tantalus Saddle
One of the seemingly larger successes of the show was a new mtb specific saddle from Reform called the Tantalus. If you're not aware of who or what Reform is, simply put, it's a saddle that uses thermo-molded plastics to shape to your butt. The technology was created by the wizards at Landyachtz, but for business reasons, Reform is its own company and brand. Almost every bike worth mentioning at the show was rocking the new Reform Tantalus saddle, noticeable by its stunning anodized titanium rails. Apparently this new saddle was co-designed with the Rocky Mountain world enduro team. We hope to try one out soon and will let you know how it feels on the undercarriage.
Bicycle Broker Insurance
During the show, I had a great conversation with Nick & Mike from Bicycle Broker regarding modern bike insurance. As someone who owns multiple bikes and is always worried about theft, I was interested to learn more. While it's true that most house insurance policies cover bike theft, these huge companies may not be willing to replace the high-end components you've added to your bike post-factory. Bicycle Broker's policy, called Bike Plan, not only covers theft but also damage and injury in a comprehensive way. I plan on doing some more research into this policy to ensure my bikes are fully protected.
Mint N' Dry
It was a genuine pleasure stumbling upon Mint N' Dry at the show, as discovering Canadian cycling-related businesses is one of my favorite things in the world. Mint N' Dry produces environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and plant-based degreasers, cleaners, and lubricants. They have been in business for five years out of Montreal, where their products are made locally. Meeting the team, Pascale and Marie Claude, was a delight, as they greeted me with genuine smiles. As someone who struggles with keeping my bike and drive clean, I'm excited to provide a full review on Mint N' Dry products, and I hope their products will make me a more responsible bike owner.
Ace Camp Stove & Flamesticks
Over the last three years, my go-to cooking setup for bikepacking has been my trusty Jetboil. However, I've been pondering the idea of exploring portable wood and alternative fuel stoves as a more sustainable option for cooking on the go. Serendipitously, I stumbled upon a compact stove made by gear manufacturer Ace Camp from Vancouver. What's unique about this stove is that it is powered by clean, waterproof, and slow-burning fuel sticks from Germany called Flamesticks. The entire unit folds down to hold the fuel sticks, fire starter, and a flint stick. I can't wait to put this little guy to the test and see how it performs as a primary cooking stove during my upcoming bikepacking adventures.
While browsing through the booths at the show, I stumbled upon Gogglesoc and was impressed by their stylish and easy to use ski goggle covers. Although not particularly relevant for cycling (unless you're an avid winter biker in Montreal), what caught my eye was their line of straps for sunglasses and regular glasses. The straps reminded me of my old Croakies that I used to wear as a kid when racing XC, and I absolutely loved them. All of Gogglesoc's products, including the straps and socks, are designed in Canada and the company is committed to environmentally friendly initiatives like 1% For The Planet.
The Mindful Oat
When it comes to bikepacking, one thing that's always on my mind is meal prep and cooking. As someone who loves to find ways to make healthy and portable foods, I've been considering using powdered milk to create quick and easy breakfast options. However, after discovering The Mindful Oat at the show, I may have to reconsider my plans. The Mindful Oat is the first instant, organic oat milk powder in Canada, and I'm excited to see what I can create with it. With this new ingredient in my arsenal, I'm looking forward to experimenting and finding new ways to make delicious, nutritious meals on the go.