September 29/05 1:13 am - Interbike Report from Day 1
Posted by Editoress on 09/29/05
Interbike opened yesterday in Las Vegas; the annual gathering of the bike industry that exchanges gossip, drinks too much beer, boasts of the past season's successes (and makes big claims for the coming season) and, occasionally, actually does some business.
The first day was a time to "skim" the show, bump into acquaintances and get a feel for what is going on. Some initial "bytes":
- Lots of road. Lots and lots of road... Some industry numbers presented by the suppliers association (BPSA) showed that road has climbed from 20% to 36% of bicycle dealer sales in the past two years. Many call it the 'Lance' effect. However, there were also warnings that this bubble may be about to burst, since there is likely to be a glut on the market from both oversupply and the fact that everyone who wants a road bike has bought one (and they don't upgrade every couple of years.
- BMX is strong, with many suppliers showing and lots of traffic in their booths. A spillover also into the free ride/urban bike scene.
- Many shoe and clothing companies. Lots of new, small, speciality manufacturers trying to grab a toehold (sorry) in the market. Also a bunch of wheel companies all chasing the road market, and companies with software systems for training.
- Some big companies are scaling back participation in Interbike, going for private showings earlier in the fall to their dealers. Trek is not here at all, and Specialized scaled back their participation considerably.
- Sport updates: Nathan O'Neill is moving from Navigators to Health Net. The Australian, who won Beauce this year, reports that Health Net is taking a professional sanction this year, and hopes to go to ProTour level within three years. The Tour de Georgia will continue, and is going to announce the signing of a multi-year title sponsor next month. Lance is expected to continue his association with the event through his involvement with the Discovery Channel (which is a sponsor of the event). The Tour of California is also expected to make an announcement soon that it will be a go for next February.
- Ran into Chrissy De Jonge (nee Redden), who is looking fit, tanned and relaxed after her first post-racing season. Chrissy has been criss-crossing the U.S. with Trek as part of the WSD Fit for Women Bike Demo Tour. She has been attending events to demo Trek's WSD (Women Specific Design) products, offer clinics and generally encourage women to ride their bikes. Chrissy says that the program will continue next year. In between road sessions, she is building trails on the seven acre property she bought outside of Victoria.
- Beer. Normally at the end of day a few exhibitors crack a keg, however, this year it is starting really early (at least 3 hours before show closing) and everyone has a keg. This means that the aisles are full of mildly (and not so mildly) inebriated bike people...