Industry News 10/14/2004

Interbike 2004 proves to be the center of cycling

Las Vegas, Nevada (October 13, 2004) -- Once again confirming itself as the premier trade event for the bicycle industry, Interbike, North America's largest bicycle trade show, concluded on an exceptionally high note last Friday - after five days filled with exhibits, product demonstrations, buying meetings and social gatherings.

The annual trade show, which showcases the latest in cycling products and trends from over 1,000 exhibiting brands, attracted over 21,000 retailers, distributors, manufacturers, media, cycling celebrities and industry influencers from around the globe. Featuring a larger-than-ever OutDoor Demo and an Interbike Expo that covered more than 15 acres of floor space, Interbike 2004 was the ultimate industry gathering of the year.

Held in Las Vegas' Sands Expo, the three-day Interbike Expo was a frenzy of manufacturer exhibits, seminars, tech clinics, product presentations, cycling celebrity appearances, after-hours parties, and industry camaraderie. Many exhibitors took note of the high buying activity and the constant flow of foot traffic.

"I've been coming to this show for 11 years and this is the busiest one I've ever seen," said Rusty Triebert of Jamis Cycles. "We've had a tremendous amount of walk-in traffic and I haven't had the chance to take a break since I got here this morning."

"This is my first time exhibiting at Interbike and it's been an awesome experience for me," said first-time exhibitor, Steven Caro of SGC Shoe Company. "I've had a lot of shops expressing interest in the line and I'm confident that I'll have some new dealers. Definitely will be coming back next year," Caro said.

"Awesome, awesome, awesome," said Scott Montgomery of SCOTT USA in regard to the interest coming from retailers. "I think it's important to have a strong presence at this show, so we used it as our coming out party. More than we could have ever anticipated - it was a total homerun."

"This show has been excellent for us. We did as much business in one day as we have all year," said Ben Parlee, of Parlee Bikes.

Prior to the expo, Interbike held its popular two-day OutDoor Demo testing event. Now in its second year at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada, OutDoor Demo drew nearly 150 exhibiting companies and approximately 3,000 buyers eager to test the latest in bikes and cycling equipment. New this year, Interbike added attractions like the Kona Dirt-Jump Demo and a Redline sponsored cyclocross-specific testing course. Many of the exhibitors at OutDoor Demo said the event allows them to connect with retailers in a different way than they do on the show floor.

"OutDoor Demo is a huge benefit because we can reach shop employees at a level that is so much more tangible," said Christina Orlandella, marketing director at Crank Brothers. "The indoor aspect of the trade show is, of course, great, but OutDoor Demo has been phenomenal for us," Orlandella said in regard to the hands-on, testing aspect of the outdoor event.

"Everything we've been hearing about the demo has been very positive," said Joe Sandschulte of Redline Bikes - who sponsored the cyclocross course. "Next year I'd like to bring out a full run of bikes and come down early and help make this aspect of the event even bigger. We had a great time - it was fantastic."

Many retailers attend OutDoor Demo to get a better feel for the multitude of bikes and products that will be available for the upcoming sales season.

"The demo is really useful in deciding what bikes I am actually going to stock," said Stephen Newhall, manager of Rob & Charlie's in Santa Fe, New Mexico. "The number of models is mind-boggling, and part of my job is just to figure out which ones are likely to sell. And if you can actually ride a few of them, it makes it that much easier."

"I own a bike shop and bring all of my employees out to Interbike. OutDoor Demo is good motivation for them to come out, ride the bikes and better understand the products that they'll eventually be selling," said Rob Stotts, owner of H&S Bicycles in Burbank, California.

"The event is setup very well and Interbike has done a great job growing this segment of the tradeshow. It's a very important aspect [of the show] because people actually get hands on experience," added Tom McKee, of River Valley Cycle in Edmonton, Canada. "They could not have picked a better spot. Great trails with a ton of variety,"

Beyond the activity that took place throughout the day, one highlight of the show was InterBash - the year's massive industry party. Presented by Shimano, InterBash was an all-invite, after-hours party that gave attendees the chance to network, while taking in a Fender sponsored battle-of-the-bands contest (won by Stayte, a band from Nirve Bikes), free beer, silent auctions and raffles. One high spot of the party was the live auction of a Lance Armstrong autographed Trek Madone bicycle frame, donated by Trek Bicycles. In the end, InterBash generated nearly $30,000 to benefit the bicycle advocacy organization Bikes Belong.

Many of cycling's top stars were also on hand at Interbike 2004, making themselves available to greet with fans, sign autographs and promote the brands that support them. In attendance were some of the biggest names in cycling - like Olympic gold medalist Tyler Hamilton and bronze medal winner Bobby Julich. Other cycling star sightings included Eddy and Axel Merckx, Phil Liggett, Floyd Landis of US Postal, Gilberto Simoni, Damiano Cunego, world mountain bike champion Julien Absalon, pro BMX rider Dave Mirra, and countless other industry icons.

"From a manufacturer's point of view, we provide support for a ton of the world's top riders and they represent many of the successes we've had throughout the season. For us to get athletes like Gilberto Simoni and Damiano Cunego to our booth helps us to celebrate these successes," said Suzette Ayotte of Fiz'ik.

Nearly every attendee had something positive to say about this year's show and reiterated its importance to the industry.

"From a magazine standpoint, Interbike is a great place to see all of the newest products" said Mark Riedy, director of product testing at Rodale's Bicycling and Mountain Bike magazines. "The show offers us the chance to catch up with everyone in the bike industry in order to firm up our testing schedule for next year."

In addition to product launches, order writing and celebrations, Interbike also offered a strong educational component through the NBDA Super Seminar series, as well as a chance to learn about initiatives that are important to the sport and business of cycling.

"Every one of our retail seminars was completely full, far exceeding our attendance from last year," said Fred Clements, executive director of the National Bicycle Dealers Association. "The keynote presentation drew a standing-room-only crowd."

"It's been a great show - the bike industry is on a high and I think everyone is having a strong year. Sales are up and you can really feel the positive vibe in the expo hall," said Pete Webber, director of communications for the International Mountain Bike Association.

With all of the activities and events surrounding the show, Interbike was one comprehensive gathering of the bicycle industry this year.

"More than ever before, this year's expo was the industry's show," said Lance Camisasca, Interbike show director. "Thanks to the collaborative effort by many different companies, this show called attention to the fact that the bicycling industry is a united front with a true sense of community."