which took place October 4 to 8, is billed as the world’s largest
bicycle show, with over 1,000 exhibitors, 15 acres of Las Vegas’ Sands
Convention Center filled with bikes and accessories, and 21,000 attendees.
For the last several years, Interbike has begun with a couple of days about 30 minutes outside the Strip at Boulder City for the Outdoor Demo (Interbike busses everyone out there), which has become a major reason many folks attend the show.
The tent city (photo, below left) has enough booths to keep you busy studying the latest and greatest for the full 2 days. But, the real fun is in trying the different bikes.
This year, they had nicely designed courses including a surprisingly exciting singletrack, a wonderfully smooth and car-free pavement stretch and a downhill course and BMX track.
Mavic was buzzing around on support motorcycles loaded with spare wheels to fix flats. Interbike even offers a taxi service, at least for getting to the downhill course (photo).
I took the chance to try Giant's new Advance carbon-fiber wonderbike (the frame weighs 1.9 pounds!). It's the same full-Dura-Ace thoroughbred raced by T-Mobile this season (it rode fantastically). Then I hopped on a Salsa dualie to check out the trails everyone was raving about.
Thursday and Friday were indoor show days back at the convention center.
If you love bikes, it’s a toy store for adults, though you can only
buy things by order or on the last day of the show, should you get lucky
and find someone willing to sell something to ease their load. Then you
have to get special paperwork to carry the product past show security (or
sneak it out of the show).
The following 4 photos, designed to give you a feel for the show, were shot from a catwalk high above the show, accessible via a secret door and only with the permission of the official Sands security department, after signing an insurance waiver and getting an official escort to show us the hidden pathways and unlock the doors (seriously).
|It would be fun to stop at most of the booths and talk to the resident experts, yet the reality is that there’s barely enough time to simply view each booth. So, this report just scratches the surface of what’s at Interbike. Mainly it’s a record of some of the fun stuff that caught my eye.|
favorite booth this year was a Taiwanese company called Elixxir
(photo, below left), but not because of their titanium tubes, frames and
products, but because they built their entire show space out of tubes and
lugs. While it must have taken a tremendous amount of work, it resulted
in perhaps the most distinctive booth at the show upstaging even the Oakleys
of the world.
Another special booth was Bianchi’s, but not their main one on the showroom floor — the one they had in the mezzanine you enter before getting inside the show. Here they had several historic bikes in glass cases to commemorate their 125th anniversary. My favorite was the 1954 Tour-winning Fausto Coppi model in as-raced condition (photo), a priceless treasure with a wonderful picture of the Campionissimo who looks like he’s admiring his bike.
always looking for practical innovations and I found it this year in Delta’s
belt drive. I did not get to ride it, however, it’s being
used on the new iXi,
a clever city bike I’d enjoy owning. What’s so attractive about
belt drive is that no lubrication is required, so you can forget all about
grease tattoos and those annoying chain lubing and cleaning chores. It should
run more quietly than metal chains, too.
Less practical perhaps, were some of the crazy seats, such as the skunk special below spotted on the gorgeous Pegorettis, among my picks for the finest finishes at I’bike every year.
haven’t a clue how these bikes ride. They sure look great standing
still, though. By the way, if you like the wood fenders,
they’re available here.
of beauty, you can always count on the Italian pavilion, a special show
section, to spot bold, bright and brilliant finishes. Here’s
one by Cinelli and Colnago. What I like about the Colnago is that it wouldn’t
be too hard to do this with leftover paint since all you’d have to
do is paint little stripes with a brush.
Robert Studdiford grabbed me as I walked by his booth to show me his home-grown
paint job and surprised me by explaining I had inspired it! He read a tip
I wrote about using nail polish to touch-up a chipped paint job and it led
to his Revlon Dream masterpiece.
He rounded up a huge supply of nail polish samples and proceeded to paint the complete frame one drop at a time. This took him over 200 hours and makes for a finish you have to see to believe.
Great paint will only get you so far if you don’t have the right accessories, so I was delighted to see some new/old accoutrements, such as Brooks’ saddlebags, which are just like the originals we used in the sixties.
if you prefer classic French bags, check out those offered by the classic
randonneur-bike company Gilles
For pure function and fashion, you can’t beat the stylish baskets I spotted in the Two Fish/King Cage booth.
of the biggest trends at this year’s show was the deluxe cruiser.
Felt had an entire line including the gorgeous Concept Stretch Cruiser
(photo) and a series of fifties-style models with aluminum tanks. I also
like Giant’s line of High Fashion bikes. One of the girls’ models
sports wood running boards, a wood rear rack and wood rims with internal
gearing and 3-inch-wide tires, giving it a beautiful blend of cutting-edge
and retro design.
Because Bianchi was one of the first to mass produce the bicycle, I thought I’d close with their commemorative Fausto Coppi bobblehead doll, a nice gift for that Italophile in your cycling family.
Jim & Bib say goodbye for now from Interbike!
~Click for more Interbike 2004 coverage~
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