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Cool, rain-sprinkled Demo a tonic for exhibitors, riders

Published September 9, 2014

LAS VEGAS (BRAIN) — Hank Glowiak, owner of Chuck's Bike in Morrisville, Vermont, was astride a Transition and taking a short break before dropping off the edge of Bootleg Canyon's Red Mountain.

"I love this event," said Glowiak as several dozen riders jumped off the shuttle near the top before descending back to OutDoor Demo on trails snaking down the mountain.

Shuttles were running up and down the badly rutted road all day. Fox Racing also had several pickup trucks offering VIP shuttles to the top. One rider joked that the shuttle trip was the most dangerous ride on the mountain.

Glowiak, like others, loved Monday's weather. Overcast. Cool. And just enough rain to have knocked down the dust while adding a slight edge to the dirt. And it was much the same Tuesday with temperatures touching 90 degrees mostly under blue skies.

OutDoor Demo has traditionally been spent under an unrelenting sun with temperatures spiraling above 100 degrees. And with that heat came whip-like gusts of wind that left eyes sand-blasted and lips cracked. As for trail carnage, only a few scrapes, bruises and no Medevacs.

While the weather gods may have played havoc with this year's selling season, retailers got a break at OutDoor Demo. Pat Hus, show director, said the weather couldn't have been better. While torrential rains shut down I-15 at times on Sunday and Monday, an array of thunderstorms left Bootleg Canyon mostly untouched—much to exhibitors' relief.

Many had anchored their tents with extra buckets packed with dirt and rock. While this year's event was slightly smaller than last year, most exhibitors seemed pleased with attendance and bike racks were mostly empty. Interbike will have attendance numbers Wednesday, Hus said.

Matt VanEnkvort, Marin Bikes' chief executive officer, rode his BMW touring bike, joined by his wife, out to Las Vegas from the company's headquarters in Novato, California, a trip that has become a regular must-do for him. "It's a great chance to clear your head," he said as staff sent out retailers on test rides.

While there was little at OutDoor Demo that could be classified as a surprise product, the volume and variety of fat bikes rolling around the exhibition site and on the trails signaled a shift in the category. What had mostly been derided as a niche for winter-bound Midwest cyclists has gone mainstream.

And while much attention has been paid to electric-powered mountain bikes, only a few brands—most notably Haibike, Lapierre, Polaris and Felt—had mountain bikes on hand for testing. And there was an array of fat bikes getting as much juice from leg muscles as they did from batteries.

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