Interbike 2012—A Great Bike Show.
I had chances to attend Interbike the last couple years, but somehow my schedule kept me away. Since I haven’t attended once this millennium, I really wanted to go. This year everything aligned and I had the opportunity to be a part of North America’s largest manufacturer and dealer bike show. Here is some insight of my time there and the many activities I enjoyed. As this show is not for the general public, it was an honor to be invited.
I knew I would only have one day to roam the halls, as I had already planned to spend the second day in seminars with the LEVA (Light Electric Vehicle Association). They are an organization you will being hearing a lot about and have many programs and plans that will help advance the E-bike world. In my final session with them on Thursday, I earned my level one E-bike technician certification.
Once I got to the Sands Expo center, I could get a feel for the scope of this giant show. So many companies and people attend this event, that it makes you remember all over again how important biking is to so many people. My main goal was to visit the people and firms who have graced the pages of my bike blog through these couple of years. Those encompass E-bikes, folding bikes, vintage appearing bikes, and some other good bike products. Plus there were many new items I wanted to get a closer look at.
The Pashley Cycles booth was my first stop. Not only are they England’s longest established bicycle manufacturer with some awesome looking bikes, they were giving out nice canvas carry bags with their logo on them I could use to carry my swag as it piled up. The Virtue Bicycle booth was next, again some classy vintage looking bikes were on display. These were on the upper level where most of the bigger companies had booths, with many more firms exhibiting downstairs.
As I stopped in the Pedego area, I got a great surprise. Not only did I get to view their new Destroyer fat tired E-bike, I was presented with their new catalog. What’s so special about that? My photo and an excerpt of my article on their City Commuter are the centerfold feature in full color. Wow! The Pedego family has treated me like a VIP and I got the same handling at Interbike. Great E-bikes and people were everywhere as I viewed their products.
I saw David from E-Motion presenting their new selection of E-bikes, but he was too busy with potential dealers to break-away to talk to me. Good for him, as these E-bikes have a lot to offer. Next up was the Brompton booth. I saw some of their new up-dates, talked at length with the crew there, and snagged a couple of nice posters. The Sun Bicycle booth was filled with many of their bikes, but time was short, I had to move-on quickly.
After I grabbed a bite to eat, I headed downstairs. It took me a while to make it to the busy E-bike test track, as I stopped at many booths that had offerings of E-bike drive trains, batteries and other new E-bike products. Juiced Riders were on hand with their newly redesigned cargo E-bike. I had run into Tora while I was out riding last week, but he wouldn’t let me photograph the new bike until its introduction at Interbike. I loved the first version, and the new one looks that much better. Watch for my review when I finally get to ride it.
I checked out a E-bike share system and found out the next day that it won’t be long until one is introduced in San Francisco. A2B had a great booth and later I got a closer look at those E-bikes at the test track. While I was spending time with the Ridekick folks, Russ and Laura from the Path Less Pedaled walked up. We talked about his new Brompton touring book. I can’t wait to read it. Of course, I got all the new up-dated info on the Ridekick E-trailer from Dee and Chelsey during my stop at their booth.
Sean at the BML booth flagged me down, I was easy to spot because I was wearing one of their T-shirts that day. I have been testing the Ferei lights he imports and will soon be doing an extended test on one of the E-bikes they offer. At the e-Joe booth, I met up with Willy, the owner, and got introduced to one of the factory owners and some other folks high up in the design program for e-Joe. I even got invited to visit the factory in China, should I go?
Polaris is new to the E-bike industry and had a large selection in their booth. I didn’t spend much time there, but will learn more soon, I’m sure. I saw several firms that offer high-performance off-road E-bikes. I didn’t catch all the names or see each one, but there were some wild looking bikes. One guy was doing wheelies on the test track on one of them. The last thing I eyeballed before I made it to the test track were some driveshaft systems that replace chains. You should see more of those as bike-share programs expand through the nation, as they seem to be the preferred drive on the those bikes.
The test track was hopping when I finally got there (and all show long from what I heard). A couple dozen E-bike companies had most of their selection on hand ready to ride for lots of takers. I opted out of any riding, but stopped at each mini-booth and talked it up with the vendors and snapped tons of images track-side. What a giant cross-section of E-bikes where here. I heard 77 E-bike vendors exhibited, maybe three times what has been on display in recent years.
After watching the folks enjoy the E-bike rides for quite a while, I went upstairs again. A stop at the crowded Electra both gave me a chance to see the new Electra GO, their first E-bike, just introduced at this show. As I chatted with one of my friends at Electra, she promised me some personal and up-close time with the Go as soon as they show up on the showroom floors in San Diego. I can’t wait.
The accessories at the show were everywhere. Planet Bikes’ new wood fenders looked awesome. The fat-tired sand bikes are a hot new item and many booths had them front and center. I picked-up a couple new NiteRider headlights for Barbara and I at a special Interbike price. They are a local company here in my town and have treated me well, so a new pair of super-bright lights from them made me very happy.
My last stop of the day was at the big Currie Technologies’ booth. They have so many different E-bikes already, but the new E-Flow and E3 Compact will be out soon. A few months after that, some even cooler E-bikes will hit the IZIP floors. I tried to soak it all up as the lights started blinking to tell all the show visitors to call it a day.
On Thursday between seminars, I checked out the Tern booth. You have got to know how much I like my Tern folding bike, and seeing the whole line-up was exciting. I snuck a quick look at a few more of the many, many booths that day, but the seminars took up almost every minute of day two for me.
As many things as I did see, I still missed so much. I never saw the Linus or Public booth. I had hoped to match-up with Pete from the Electric Bike Report. You may know that I have written for his site and we are planning some joint projects for the coming year. My friends from Momentum Magazine were there, but we didn’t cross paths. By the way, keep an eye out on that magazine, as they have approved the feature article I wrote for them. It will be published soon.
As I boarded the plane home that evening, I reflected on all that was said and done. I promised myself that next year I will find a way to spend all three days to really see it all. We’ll see if I can pull it off when the time comes. If you nave never had the chance to do Interbike, work hard to find a way to make the show.
A great year of new bikes is on its way and I’ll do my best to report on as many as I can, Turbo Bob.
“If you worried about falling off the bike, you’d never get on.”—Lance Armstrong.
I posted several videos of my day at Interbike 2012. Link to this one and then look around on my You-Tube channel for the rest.