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Interbike 2002

Las Vegas, USA, October 5 - 8, 2002

The Chris Davidson diary

Chris Davidson is a mechanic for Bontrager Racing Service, which provides neutral tech support provider for US domestic races.

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Photo: © R. Gilbreath
Click for larger image

Hi again, it's Chris with Bontrager Racing Service. I am in Las Vegas for the industry show this year. I thought that I would give you an insider look at the Demo Day.

I flew in to Vegas on Friday night and promptly went to bed as we were scheduled to get up at 5:00am and be on the road to Blue Diamond at 5:30am to set up. Bontrager is part of Trek Bicycles so I was there to help out with the demos for all Trek's brands (Trek, Fisher, Klein, and so on). In the dark on Saturday morning we got to Blue Diamond and started to unpack. Trek had sent an 18 wheeler from Wisconsin full of approximately 70 bikes for the demo day. We had about 75 percent mountain bikes, split between Trek, Klein and Fisher. Additionally we had about 15 Trek 5200 and a few Klein QPro Carbons.

Photo: © R. Gilbreath
Click for larger image

As we unload the truck and start setting up the tent, Gary Fisher himself rolls up and looks for a stand to replace a cable on his prototype white 29" hardtail. It is still dark as we get done with setup and Gary offers me some food and heads off to the trails. A not so quick tune, pump and polish for the bikes and the sun starts to come up. People are already in line to demo bikes. At 8:00am we start sending people off on new demo bikes and the line starts building. Most of the day we would have 40 or more people in line waiting for a specific bike, and for some of the new Klein dual-suspension bikes with the Maverick rear-end, people would wait 90 minutes. The day started to get hot about 10:00am as the desert sun stretched overhead, but the lines of people kept in the 40-50 range. Bikes were starting to get pretty dusty by midday; we guessed that we had sent out about 500 test rides by noon. It seems like a majority of the test riders here at the show are riding Shimano SPD, with Time ATAC being the second most popular off-road pedal.

Photo: © R. Gilbreath
Click for larger image

The tent was full of celebrities all day, as the diversity of people that are sponsored by Trek brands was evident. George Hincapie came by and got fitted for a Fisher 29" hardtail and headed out to try the desert. Greg LeMond came by and fit up a Klein/Maverick dual for a ride. Over in our Nike section, Mike Tillman, just back from the Track worlds, was trying on some Nike road shoes. Mike is a huge guy and I overheard some test riders remarking about the size of the guy's legs with awe. Gary Fisher and Gary Klein were there on and off all day, checking out bikes, riding, and talking to test riders.

Midday relief came in the form of free beer in the Trek tent, and our already-huge line swelled with the prospect of a free cold one after a test ride. I fitted some people and set saddle heights as they held on to a tent pole in one hand and a beer in the other. By closing time at 4:00pm we guessed that we had moved between 800-1000 people through on test ride bikes. I was caked with the fine dust from the desert and the bikes were almost unrecognizable. It took about another hour to get all the bikes back in. All the bikes had to be back in Wisconsin by Tuesday, so as soon as we tore down, we reloaded the 18-wheeler and it headed out. It was close to 7:00pm when we were ready to head back to Las Vegas.

Photo: © R. Gilbreath
Click for larger image

It looks like turnout was huge for all the vendors at the Demo Day. The report was that over 4000 people attended. We were maxed out all day, but conditions were great for test riding bikes. The little town of Blue Diamond got totally over-run by the show goers, but the local businesses were very happy.

Another night of heading to bed early and passing on the legendary Vegas night life, I was so tired by 9:00pm that I had no will to go out. Tomorrow the indoor show starts at the Sands Convention Centre, lots of very shiny new products to fondle.

Until then, thanks for reading


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