Las Vegas Interbike was a corker again; tons of goodies on display from almost all the manufacturers worldwide. I say "almost" because the biggest USA maker was noticeable in its absence. Trek decided that they don't need the show to serve their dealers and apparently don't want/need new dealers...It created a bit of a stir as much of the rest of the industry viewed the move as damaging to the show and the industry, thus creating an even more pronounces "Us against Them" mentality.
The other of the "Big 3" makers, Giant & Specialized, were present.. Giant with a huge display of hot stuff. Few other makers can compete with Giant's in house top to bottom carbon manufacturing; for instance a $1600, full carbon, complete road bike is still only available from this innovative company. And the super refined model "Advance" is still one of the lightest-in-production frames in the world. Giant is indeed a hot brand.. Click here to see Giant highlights
Specialized Company had a more modest display but one with a different slant. Dr. Roger Minkow was on a special stage loaded with high tech instruments, bikes and test riders. Minkow is the key force in the Body Geometry saddles and gloves made by Specialized. He conducted demonstrations using sensors in bike saddle showing blood flow and heat build up in (ahem) sensitive body areas. The results were dramatic when comparing famous brand saddles to those designed by Dr. Minkow.... click here to see Specialized highlights
Once again, there was carbon fiber every where.. frames, components made out of the wonder material. Road bikes are still in the ascendancy, with mountain bikes strong and steady. The "chopper" bike fad of last year had almost vanished! But consistent with the gasoline prices, commuter stuff seemed to have a new focus.. bikes with fenders, racks & lights were everywhere. And, maybe it's just my particular bias, but "traditional" style bikes and parts still seem to be coming back. Touring & track bikes are coming back and leather saddles, lighting and bags are looking "old style". In the overview, there's something for everyone!
I tried to photograph the items that you will not likely see in every shop around the country. Trek offers a very nicely made product and is a dominating brand, but their withdrawal from the show is just another indicator of their trending to a somewhat boring sameness of all those Trek dealers, who are all buying the same narrow choices as offered by "Big T". I wanted to picture the innovation and variety in our bike industry that exists outside the cloistered world of Big T.
Click here for Wednesday Sept 28 photo gallery
Click here for Thursday Sept 29 photo gallery
Click here for Friday Sept 30 photo gallery