Well, I recently came back from my second Interbike trade show. It was a lot of fun, seeing the various companies and their wares. As I'm sure is true for most folks, there were some areas that held more interest than others. I work at a shop that specializes in recumbents and folding bikes, so those booths obviously attracted me. It was good to visit the folks at Dahon, and see what they have coming up. Nothing earth-shattering, but some nice refinements of their products. It's amazing to me how far they have progressed in 25 years! The earliest models were frankly pretty crude. Here's a nice display they had at their booth.
To the left is a reproduction of an old "high wheeler", on display at the Kool Stop booth.
John (my boss) and I spent a good chunk of time at the Rans booth as well, and found out that we sold the second highest number of their "crank forward" designs in the entire US this past year. We've been pleasantly surprised at the interest in these bikes. If you haven't had a chance to try the Rans, or another vendor's crank forward design, you should. It's a fun ride. Definitely more comfortable and safer than this high-wheeler!
Speaking of crank forwards, the Electra folks have added some new variations to their Amsterdam line, and it's nice to see. Last year they introduced the line, in basic tones of black, red, blue and white. This year they have a much wider variety of paint schemes as well as technical variations, including some with derailleurs and cantilever brakes. Given the additions, and the fact that John actually got to see them this year, we're thinking more seriously about adding their line. I think.
One of my favorite booths was the Brooks Saddles booth (not a big surprise to those that know my taste in bicycles). Like last year, it was done in a "English Drawing Room" style, with various bits of product scattered about, and displayed in glass cases. The most interesting new product to me was the waxed cotton messenger bags, the Barbican. Very classy looking, and very well made. You could even go into a "grown up" meeting with this bag. Not that I do a lot of those these days. In addition they also had a special display that you could buy as a package to show in your store... a funky bike with their new metal basket, roll up panniers, saddle, grips, etc., along with a poster. Very nice, but you'd have to sell a LOT of product to pay for it I bet.
The event is in Vegas every year, and I have to honestly say, it's not my favorite place in the world. I really just don't like the visual and aural cacophony that surrounds one everywhere you go. I'm a quiet guy, and I like my world pretty quiet.... and Vegas is not quiet. Ah well... I spent most of the two days at the show, and the rest of the time asleep, it seems.