SAN DIEGO, CA (BRAIN)—Triathlete Magazine's Kona Demo Days saw a 15 percent increase in the number of vendors attending this year’s event.
Brands such as Cannondale, Cervelo, Fuji, Kestrel, Orbea and Scott hit Kailaa-Kona late last week so that athletes could test the latest in high-end bikes, wheels, pedals, components, helmets and running shoes.
“The event is getting some serious traction after its second year,” said Sean “Wattie” Watkins, vice president of sales and marketing for Triathlete.
According to Fletch Newland of Cervelo Cycles, the company’s staff conducted more than 100 demo rides leading up to the race, hosting 18 professional athletes—that represented more than 50 Ironman wins—at the Cervelo signing booth.
Kestrel’s brand manager Steven Harad said it’s the best expo the company has ever attended. “A solid test ride show with our local dealer [sold] six Kestrels in three days,” Harad said.
Fizik marketing manager Suzette Ayotte feels that the tri market has barely been tapped. “Triathlon is a unique population with an insatiable appetite for technology, innovation and information,” Ayotte said. “We want this segment to know that our intention is to treat them separately and distinctly with respect to product development. I think for all of us, it’s an exceptional opportunity for market and product research.”
Nic Sims, who handles global marketing for Specialized, said Demo Days is a wonderful opportunity to meet consumers. “Having that interaction is a great chance for us to show people who we are and also show off the latest products,” Sims said. “The SHIV was getting a lot of attention. We didn’t actually run a tally but the Wednesday was the quietest day for test rides, then Thursday obviously people heard we had arrived because we had a constant stream all day. We even set people up on bikes to race on Saturday.”
Cannondale marketing manager Bill Rudell said this event gives consumers a chance to ride several new model year bikes from top manufacturers back to back to compare what works best for them. “After three days of answering questions and sending consumers out for test rides we sold more Slice bikes than we had in the prior three years of being in Kona,” Rudell said.
For the Official Kona Bike Count presented by Triathlete Magazine, look to the BRAIN Blog to the right of this story.