LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN)—If Monday’s motto at Outdoor Demo was “true grit,” Tuesday’s was “true fun,” as the sun shone less fiercely and the crowds were denser.
“It’s a lot more pleasant today than it was yesterday,” said John Percy of the Olympic Bike Shop in Tahoe City, CA. Most riders who braved Bootleg Canyon on the demo’s first day left with a patina of hot dry dust left by afternoon winds.
Percy demoed gravity-oriented bikes for his shop, which serves enthusiasts at Tahoe ski areas. Although sales of expensive downhill bikes have slowed, “we have hopes that it’s going to start up again,” Percy said.
Southern Florida doesn’t have much of a downhill market, but Chris Garcia had fun trying out bikes he normally doesn’t get a chance to try.
“I got killed yesterday on the mountain,” Garcia said with a grin. The manager of RB Cycles in Dorel, FL., Garcia was finishing up a test ride on a Specialized S-Works Enduro. “You don’t get to ride them very much in Miami,” he said.
For some exhibitors, Outdoor Demo is becoming more important in relation to the floor show, which opens today.
Scott USA doubled its demo space and offered 40 bikes for test rides, but it’s cutting its floor exhibit to 100 bikes this year from 300 last year.
“I think Outdoor Demo works,” said Scott Montgomery, general manager of bikes for Scott USA.
Norco is not even exhibiting at the floor show, following the lead of Trek and, this year, of Giant. Instead, Norco put all of its Interbike resources into an expanded presence at Outdoor Demo, the company’s Dustan Sept said. He said Norco believes it reaches retailers more effectively at the demo because they can ride the product.
“We understand that not one size fits all,” said Andy Tompkins, the Interbike show director.
First-day attendance rose 8 percent over last year, and Tompkins said overall demo attendance is expected to be flat or slightly up over last year’s 4,900—“which is great, given the scope of what is happening,” he said. “It shows that the cycling industry remains relatively healthy.”
Electra made its first appearance at the demo in five years to show off the new Ticino line, its homage to classic handbuilt European bikes of the past, but with modern components.
“Everything’s good. We can’t ask for anything more,” Electra spokesman Chris Holmes said. “Based on today’s experience, I can’t say for certain we will be here next year, but I don’t know why we wouldn’t be here.”
Meanwhile, a record group of nearly 400 early birds took part in the Tour de Lake Mead Tuesday morning. Riders had to make a 6:30 a.m. shuttle from the Sands to do the 24-mile, out-and-back ride to Lake Mead.
Interbike attendees will now gather today through Friday at the Sands Expo Convention Center to continue with three packed days of exhibits, product launches, insightful seminars, meetings and celebrations.