ONTARIO, CA (BRAIN)—For two days 166 attendees with notebooks in hand went back to school taking in six classes—in the form of the Park Tool Tech Summit.
“I think having all the different manufacturers in one place is what really got us down here,” said Brian Cashore, co-owner of Aerohead Cycles in Bishop, California.
The Ontario Summit, held at the convention center, wrapped up yesterday as eight brands discussed the technical elements of their products. Presenting brands included Avid, Campagnolo, Fox Racing Shox, Hayes, Park Tool, Rock Shox, Shimano and SRAM.
The Philadelphia event earlier this month actually sold out with 240 attendees, as they not only got to receive instruction, but also got to work on the components to really see how they worked.
“It went great on every aspect in terms of how smoothly it ran from an event standpoint,” said Bill Armas, marketing manager for Park Tool of the Philadelphia event. “The content all the presenters provided was great and the level of instruction. The dealers that went we’re really happy with the level of instruction they received. The hands on format was really appreciated. It was unique in our industry to have so many companies with a hands on format in one location. They really come away with practical knowledge and not just a PowerPoint presentation.”
Armas said he was happy with the two cities chosen for the first annual Summit. “We have to take a hard look at that,” Armas said of picking next year’s cities. “It’s probably the most important decision we have to make. The idea is you want to have a city that’s around a lot of shops so people can drive to it, with affordable hotels by the airport, and have an easy flight in.”
Cashore said it was a learning experience getting to work on Avid brakes including the relatively new Elixir.
“I’ve never been familiar with either one of the brakes we used, and it was all new, getting down to the small parts, and how to pull them apart, get it back together,” Cashore said. “It was good to see how to do that. For me I was pretty green on the hydraulic stuff.”
For James Jonke, owner of Portland’s Oregon Bike Shop, he found Shimano’s Di2 (electric Dura-Ace) technology informative. “I thought that was great,” he said. “I can’t wait to try it. I’ve been texting [my employees] as soon as I got out of there.” Di2 actually starts shipping this week.
It wasn’t only retailers who found value with the Summit. “It’s a great way to get three hours with people,” said Dave Arnauckas, multiservice supervisor for Shimano.
Many retailers could see themselves coming back.
“If there was a new leap in development technology-wise I could see coming back next year,” said Jim Light, owner of The Repair Hub in Carmichael, California. “I could see doing it every couple of years just for a general tune up.”
According to a Park Tool survey conducted after the Philadelphia Summit, 86 percent deemed the event an “excellent” or “good” value, with 84 percent planning to attend next year.
PHOTO by Ray Keener (SRAM's Mike Reisenleiter overseeing his students as they get some hands on training.)