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Interbike show -
Las Vegas, Nevada USA, September 25-29, 2006
Interbike Part 1 – Day one is all about the demo bikes
By Steve Medcroft in Boulder City, Nevada
The Interbike trade show opened on Monday with the first of two-days of its popular Outodoor Demo where 130 bike and accessory manufacturers’ setup camp on 61,200 square feet of outdoor exhibit space in dusty Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada.
Demo’s was the key word for the opening day of the U.S. market’s largest bicycle trade show. Retailers, industry insiders and media had numerous chances to test products like bikes, shows, clothing, helmets, pedals and supplements.
Looking over the bike choices alone, there had to be as many as 1,000 mountain, road and everything in-between bikes available for the steady stream of riders to take into the surrounding hills and neighborhoods.
The immensity of the effort these companies have taken to provide demo ride opportunities to the trade show’s attendees represent a huge but worthy effort. Jake Pantone, Sales Manager for the Biker’s Edge in Kaysville, Utah, said that he planned to “ride all the bike lines we carry in the shop and understand the products better then try some new stuff; look for new lines to fill our customer’s needs.”
Pantone and eight of his colleagues from the Biker’s Edge, three-quarters of the shop’s entire staff, are in Boulder City and plan to take full advantage of the largesse of the bike industry. “I’m going to get in as many rides as possible,” Pantone says, “try and ride ten or twenty bikes.”
We caught him just coming in from a ride on Maverick’s six-inch all-mountain bike, the ML8. “It’s an awesome bike,” he said about a model his shop carries but he hadn’t had a chance to test until Monday. “It’s capable of pretty much anything. You can climb on it, you can downhill on it. It fits the heavy-duty cross country and lightweight freeride category.”
Pulling it off
What was interesting about Outdoor Demo was the sheer number of companies with demo fleets. It seems like every major manufacturer bought into the concept; Felt, Shimano, SRAM, Giant, Trek, Colnago, Fisher, and on and on, had impressive fleets of bikes and dozens of staff to keep the line of riders moving on and off their test bikes.
Even the boutique builders managed to pull fleets together. “We brought ten bikes here,” says Noel Buckley, President of Knolly bikes, a new, niche manufacturer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. “A few of the riders are people that are familiar with us through word of mouth. Which has always been a major part of our sales. But being a new company (the company only produced it’s first North-short-style full-suspension freeride frames 20 months ago) we’re seeing a lot of people that may have heard of us but because we haven’t reached a lot of places, haven’t seen the bikes.”
By far the largest demo bike setup was put together by Cannondale. “We have somewhere between 200 and 250 bikes,” says demo program manager Andy Schiffler.
Schiffler, who used to be the team mechanic for the East Coast Sobe/Headshock mountain-bike team, says he and the demo team have been working on the plans for their massive Outdoor Demo (70-feet x 40-feet) setup for three months. “We collected bikes from three of four different locations - from all of our demo fleet trucks, from our corporate office, from our factory - and had some special made for the show.”
The manufacturer’s putting in the effort to demo bikes at the show expect it will pay off in greater numbers of people getting practical experience on their products. “We did 675 test rides last year,” Cannondale’s Schiffler says. “And we did it in a smaller setup with fewer bikes. We’re hoping to break 1,000 this year.”
Interbike continues on Tuesday with a second day of Outdoor demo.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Steve Medcroft/Cyclingnews.com