Interbike, for our readers who are new to this event, is a trade only exposition for the bicycling industry. It is attended by a world wide audience of retailers, manufacturers, distributors, and the cycling press. It has been held in Las Vegas since this reporter has attended the event. The first two days of the event are held outdoors, at Bootleg Canyon in the hills surrounding Boulder City, so that the attendees can actually get an opportunity to test ride the products represented.
It is actually quite serious business. The manufacturers who present their products have at their disposal a field of more potential customers than literally anywhere else on the planet. It is extremely important to remember that before you buy that priceless biking bauble, that the retailer from whom you purchase it has already bought a number of them with which to stock their shelves - or not! So, the manufacturers, take the reactions of the test riders, your bike shop owners, employees, and bike journalists seriously.
Every time I stepped off of a bike returning it to the manufacturers booth, they asked, "How'd you like it?" But the really important part, is that they listened intently to the answer.
Many products get first blush at Interbike, most of them, fail to get a second visit. But those that do have typically gotten their start here at Interbike. This is the perfect mechanism of a free market allowing the very best to survive and prosper and the ultimate winner is the consumer, whose bicycling choices have already been filtered through the skein of an industry that generally loves what they sell.
A few years ago I had the chance to ride a Trek Madone, it was the first year of the carbon fiber revolutions, and although the review was mixed, the product I rode this year was a completely different, and far superior product.
So, there you have it. Interbike is the process through which the bicycling industry determines what is worthy, intriguing, and, ultimately, salable.
But for me, well.... OK where else could I get the chance to take out a Trek Madone, a Giant TCR Alliance and a TCR Advanced, a Scott Addict, a Litespeed Archon and an Icon, all in one day. Plus, I get to ride a smooth closed course in the middle of great desert mountain views...
Monday at the interbike demo is kind of a warm up to the entire event, by Tuesday the real crowds appear and the opportunities to chat and ride relaxed, diminish. But hey, we were among the lucky ones, we were there today.