** EDIT 10/18/16: NSR Riding is a Korean company and not a Chinese company as I previously published.
It has been 2 years since I’ve been back to an Interbike Show, and all the excitement from the first one seemed subsided in this year’s convention. The general buzz and the sheer amount of people walking the hallways in 2014 clearly were more than the attendance this year.
Before I jump right into what I got to see and what types of trends were prevalent on the bike touring side of things, I want to cover how I got here. To tell you the truth, this event wasn’t even on my radar until August when a buddy of mine who works for Tern bicycles asked if I was going to the show. I told him I wasn’t planning on it since I didn’t have a way of getting in. He, in turn (pun intended), told me that he can help me with my admission. After a flurry of Facebook messages, I was added to Tern’s roster for the show.
I did inquire about getting in as press, but the red tape and requirements that they make you go through were way too complicated compared to just asking to be part of a company. For that, I am truly grateful to have options.
The other reason I decided to go was that the schedule aligned perfectly with my travel plans. I was going on my Sierra Sampler bike tour and then had to transfer an Adventure Cycling van across 4 states before ending up in the same state as the show on September 20th.
So with a few more contacts with friends who lived in Las Vegas, I found a place to stay and was going to Interbike for the second time in my life.
Day 1 For Me
Interbike actually started for vendors and exhibitors on September 19th with outside bicycle demonstrations. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of that.
My start of Interbike was on September 21st. I made it to Mandalay Bay by noon and immediately saw people with the conference lanyard and familiar identification strung around their necks. I sought out the registration area to get my own identification.
The hallways were bustling. Not as busy as I remembered from 2014, but people in the bike industry were milling around glancing at every booth to see what they had to offer. Many sat down to discuss distribution and supplying deals, while others were just curious about new products companies were offering.
Bike Camping Anyone?
One thing that was obvious was that the adventure bike market is hot right now. Many booths featured bikes outfitted with saddlebags, frame bags, and handlebar rolls.
The tires were as wide as they come, as fat bikes and knobby tire bikes with drop bars dominated the stage.
This is good news as it introduces more options in the market in terms of bicycles and the gear that carries your stuff around. I’m just wondering if we’ve hit the peak of this trend since I didn’t see anything innovative in this realm.
Handlebar Cooler from Ortlieb
One thing that was intriguing was Ortlieb had a handlebar insert that was made out of light styrofoam-like material which was intended for you to throw in some ice and act as a little cooler. Very convenient if you want to keep your food and beverages cold.
The only situation that I can see something like that being useful in would be on a tour where fresh food and supermarkets are abundant. I can’t see myself sacrificing my handlebar bag which is usually full of electronic gear for an ice cooler that can hold about 2 days worth of food.
Not 1, But 2, Integrated Bike Tents
I did see 2 different approaches to using your bike as an integrated structure of a tent. Bicycle accessory maker, Topeak, pitched up their bike tent named Bikamper which requires a mountain bike without its front tires to guy out one side of the tent and the front tire attaches to the other side.
The other company was a Korean company named NSR Riding which had their own take of an integrated bike tent. This pre-production tent allows you to store the entire bike inside the tent and even has an insert for the front wheel so it doesn’t fall down on you during the night. Great idea if you want all your gear enclosed from the elements or for security.
Both tents weigh a little over 3lbs, 1 person occupancy, and 3 seasons. No pricing information was shared by either company.
Great ideas, but I feel you’re still better off finding other tent solutions that are lighter and versatile than what is offered here.
The second day of Interbike on September 22nd started with me moving my home base from my friend’s house to the Motel 6.
Because it was too early to check-in, I parked my car at the parking lot, unloaded my bike and rode to Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The wind picked up today, and I was struck by the wind in every direction.
They either relocated the bike valet or took it down because of the wind, but I couldn’t find it. Instead, I found a row of bikes perched next to the fence of the Mandalay Bay pool area.
Garmin’s Edge 820 Bike Computers
Both GPS offers a feature called GroupTrack which allows you to track others in your group while you’re on a bike ride. This would be fantastic for my monthly bike tour or even with Adventure Cycling.
Of course, this assumes other riders have either one of these models. At the cost of $350 and $400 for each of these units, I’m thinking it will take some time before everyone has it or any other future units capable of doing this.
GoPro – Hero 5 & Karma
These action cameras are waterproof right out of the box, so you don’t need a separate plastic case like their previous models. They are also voice controlled with built-in image stabilization, which means hands-free operation and no more head-induced footage.
The Black will sell for $399 and the Session will be $299. They’re actually not too bad of a price considering how much I paid for a Hero 4 Silver.
Their biggest announcement this year was when they introduced their first aerial drone named Karma. This is a drone that has collapsible arms, making it portable. Unlike all the current drones in the market today, you are able to fold and store it away without the bulk.
It also comes with a stabilization gimbal called the Karma Grip which allows you to use it with the drone or as a handheld gimbal with your Hero 4 and 5.
All this, plus a carrying case (dubbed the Karma Case), extra propellers, and remote for only $800 without the camera.
Launch date is October 23rd for the drone, but there are many YouTubers like Casey Neistat who had a sneak peak of the drone ahead of time.
Happy Hour & A Bike Ride
The day ended with almost every other booth in the convention hall having happy hour and free beer. I stood in line at GoPro and was gifted a beautiful aluminum cup with a matte black finish and the GoPro logo on the outside. I later gave that cup away to a close friend of mine after I had finished my beer.
I visited my buddy at the Tern booth and asked about the ritual ride through the strip. He confirmed and asked for some help to push bikes out of the show floor.
We were met by security who insisted on taking our pictures for security purpose. I obliged and we made it out to our staging location. The wind had died down and many people showed up with their rides for the night.
Many familiar faces and familiar characters from the ride 2 years ago were there. The crowd wasn’t as big as it was before, but New Belgium awarded people with tokens for a beer at the end of the ride if you completed a waiver.
I decided to ride with the group until we made it back to my motel before I retired for the evening. I was just too tired from the previous days on the road and wanted to have some alone time to rest.
My pal Justino ended up crashing in my room when he came back at 4 in the morning from the ride. He got about 4 hours of sleep before we left the room and grabbed some food. I offered to go back to the show if he was willing to pay for parking. He agreed and we were once again in Mandalay Bay.
I didn’t bring my gear and backpack with me as I took this opportunity to let him walk the show floor since he didn’t get to do that. This was the last day of the show where people were selling their products and the show was opened to the general public.
I picked up one of those plastic skateboards made popular by the Australian company Pennyboard. We also added a good selection to my swag from the show this afternoon and made connections for future product reviews.
One major one was Kryptonite, the lock company. The representative was eager to show me their new locks specifically made for travelers and commuters. They even have new sets of lights out this year. Hopefully, I can get some samples to review for you guys.
We didn’t leave Las Vegas until 2PM that Friday, September 23rd. I was thoroughly satisfied with the trip but felt I could have prepared more for it by targeting specific companies to learn more about their new product line-ups so that I have specific questions to ask.
What I could have also done better was to have more camera time with the vendors and attempt to interview more people for my videos.
Did you go to Interbike? What were your highlight and favorite things from the show? What else did you want to see? Please leave a comment below and let me know.
Check out my vlog from the show.