Demo hopefuls line up at the crack of dawn for test romps on one of at least fifty Pivot models that evaporated into the desert landscape in less than an hour. Most popular? Mach 5.5 and Switchblade.
Interbike 2017 marks the curtain call for the largest bike expo in North America, and also for Outdoor Demo (Dirt Demo to most), which will be remembered as the most important innovation to spring forth from the show's organizers since its inception in 1982. Bootleg Canyon's now popular trail system was slated for development when local trail builder Brent Thompson and his friends rallied Boulder City residents to set some of the land aside for mountain bike riders and outdoor recreationists. His dream came to fruition and Bootleg Canyon was designated as an official park. Boulder City became a mountain bike destination and shortly after, the Interbike las Vegas Expo adopted it as their outdoor annex for two days each year.
Crankbrothers came through with their promise of a longer-stroke version of their Highline dropper: 160mm travel.
Flat pedals at four price points, from $80 to $350 USD.
The new 160mm Highline joins their 100mm and 125mm options.
Outdoor Demo at its peak was crammed with exhibitors large and small, and its interlocking circular walkways were jam packed with bike-curious retail employees. most of whom begged or coaxed their bosses for passage to Las Vegas for the opportunity to actually test ride bikes and gear that, in many cases, they would never have run across in the wild. Busloads of roadies and mountain bikers made the 35-minute journey, suited up and ready for action and, while many returned to the air-conditioned halls of Interbike with limbs bound and bandaged, the novelty to try before you buy was a win for retailers, for bike brands, and for the show itself.
Lilly ran alongside Dirk Kosechoreck for almost 13 years on trail, now she rides with him on her B.O.B. trailer.
Changes in both wholesale and retail buying, the direct access that the web provided to customers, and the fact that most brands were releasing new products much earlier in the season all began to take their toll on Interbike and one by one, larger brands began to opt out from the big show. But even then, most felt that Outdoor Demo's hands-on experience was essential to their message and many maintained their presence there.
The secret stash of low-calorie donuts in the media tent. Outdoor Demo treats us well.
Christopher Wiggins, CEO of Glide Cruisers USA, shows off his prototype EX-1 electric powered utility bike.
Wiggens says the aluminum trailer is perfect to haul, "a lot of trail tools up the mountain."
The aluminum chassis uses a steel Surly fork. The racks are Blackburn's toughest off-road touring models.
All good things usually come to an end, and last year, while the indoor show reportedly did well, attendance by both exhibitors and retailers at Outdoor Demo fell noticeably. Not being privy to the business end of the show, I can't speculate if the downturn was due to a business decision or a change in the wind, but it was disheartening to see. This year, attendance seemed to drop further, but it wasn't for lack of enthusiasm. Retailers who did show up ready to rock were as stoked as ever, and the solitary circle of wholesalers who were on hand were standing in empty tents waiting for their charges to return.
Best known among cross-country and road riders, Speedplay is pushing into the gravity realm with its Brass Knuckle flat pedal. To reduce friction, each axle rides on three sealed cartridge bearings instead of the bearing/bushing combo most flat pedals feature.
Brass Knuckle's replaceable pins are available in 2mm or 4mm lengths and can be mixed and matched to simulate a concave platform.
The pin's star pattern is a reverse of the T25 Torx driver. this is the 2mm length.
Interbike announced that its new home will be Reno, Nevada, and Outdoor Demo will be staged at Northstar California Resort, a proper lift-access bike part 30-minutes up the mountain, near Truckee, California. The ski-area venue is expected to breathe new life into the outdoor event. The trails there offer something for everyone, and the scenery is wonderful. Better still, the dirt will be more forgiving for riders who fail to keep the rubber side down. Boulder City's volcanic rock was like falling on chipped porcelain.
Shimano had a cutaway XTR crankset on display to illustrate its myriad of construction techniques.
The hollow-forged arms are made from different pieces, smashed together in a giant press.
Look closely: the outer chainring's teeth are bonded to various layers of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber.
The axle is hollow steel, butted thicker where the splines receive the left crank-arm.
So, goodbye Bootleg Canyon, you've been a good friend. We're pullin' up stakes and heading north for greener pastures and a new batch of casinos. Before I leave this town, however, I'm raising my glass to Brent Thompson. Cheers mate! To you and to the trails you carved into the history books.
Outdoor exhibitors often offer special deals. At Zoic, You could trade up for new shorts worth over $100 USD. No photos, please.
Tomo Ichikawa, the man from Clever, who invented tire levers that double as pliers to disengage master links, has developed a 27-gram chain tool.
It's called the Chain Barrel, and it works on any width bicycle chain.
Soon it will be available with an internal handlebar attachment.