Friday, September 21, 2012

Interbike - So Much to See

I returned last night from two tiring but fun days at Interbike Expo. This was my first time going but my initial impression was "Wow, this is huge." To give you an idea, there are over 1200 exhibitors at Interbike, representation from over 4000 retail stores and over 20,000 attendees. Absolutely massive.

Interbike is held every year for the benefit of North American retailers so they can check out current and 2013 products, meet with their sales reps to plan their orders for the coming season and catch up with old acquaintances. The range of exhibitors is overwhelming, sort of like a massive street market  with vendors plying their wares of bikes, wheels, components, apparel, nutrition, etc. from every corner of the world.

Chinese and other Asian manufacturers had a significant representation, likely due to the fact that a lot of cycling gear is manufactured in Asia and shipped overseas. Take carbon bikes. The carbon fiber is manufactured in Japan by a company called Toray and then shipped to Taiwan or China, where more than 80% of all carbon frames are molded then shipped to the supplier for finishing and assembly. And this is just carbon fiber bikes. Now think about clothing, carbon fiber wheels, components.

My purpose for attending Interbike was to meet with selected suppliers who might have an interest in forming a strategic partnership with Cycling CEO. I had a lot of meetings, got a lot of business cards and follow up work, made new acquaintances and connected up with some old ones including George Hincapie, Todd Gogulski and Chris Carmichael. Mario Cipollini was at his company's booth for a brief autograph/photo session. Rumor had it that Miguel Indurain was also wandering the floor.

Bike fitting and power measurement seemed to be everywhere. SRAM showed off their new Quark power crank that eliminates confusion with other ANT+ receivers by providing a unique ID during pairing. Another power meter that might, if it works, have an opportunity to take market share is Stages StageOne PowerMeter. Bicycling Magazine provided a detail overview of the product HERE.

Bike fitting appears to becoming more mainstream as Specialized announced they are purchasing Retul and Cannondale is purchasing Guru's bike fit business. What this likely means is that you won't be able to get a bike fit using by a Retul fitter without also getting a Specialized bike.

Interbike also managed to add some bike racing to the mix with the Cross Vegas event kicking off the 2012 Cyclocross season. I caught the elite women's and elite men's races. It was like watching a criterium on grass. Fast and furious action throughout the event and a great set-up as a spectator.

I've uploaded my Interbike photos to my Photobucket album. Feel free to jump over and check them out.

Thanks for reading. Comments/questions are always welcome. And, as always, if I can help you in any way, don't be shy!

- Mark

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