Now that the show in Vegas is over, presumably for the last time, here are some thoughts, impressions, and comments about the event.
Something Needed To Be Done: The "big" news going into the show this year wasn't about a big introduction, it wasn't about a cycling "star" that might show up, and it didn't feature anything product-wise that was set to be "the next big thing". Nope, it was about Interbike moving to Anaheim and changing its date.
That should tell you something. Added to that, the press release said something about the show's "relevance". This should also tell you something. Now consider that attendance was noticeably down again for the third year, (despite whatever spin the Neilsen Group wants to put on the numbers), and that there were far fewer vendors showing, and I think it is fair to say that the writing was on the wall.
Interbike and Las Vegas had grown to become a flash point with vendors who didn't like the exorbitant convention center fees and with the attendees that didn't like the darkness and slimy nature of Las Vegas and what it stands for. But make no mistake, this move had nothing to do with the latter. Interbike was losing money due to poor vendor turn out and poor attendance by the bicycle dealers.
Is This The Solution? Moving the date to the second week of August and to the new location of Anaheim, California is probably being done for two distinct reasons. #1: To make Interbike relevant to dealers, manufacturers, and ultimately consumers. The thing is that as of now, Eurobike and dealer camps have effectively gutted Interbike's impact in the industry. If it wasn't for the networking opportunities, Interbike would already have moved, or done something different. Interbike moving to an earlier date is thought to be a move to regain its former position as the prominent show on the schedule for the industry. #2: Anaheim Convention Center will (hopefully) be cheaper for the bicycle industry to operate in.
Sounds good on the surface, but I am hearing some grumblings from dealers and other sources. One dealer said to me that Las Vegas, although not a paragon of cycling culture and morality, is the cheapest flight and the cheapest stay for dealers. Anaheim will be more expensive, pricing some dealers out of coming at all. Secondly, the earlier date was pointed to as a reason that some dealers I spoke with were considering not showing up. Many are still in the meat of the selling season in August and thinning the staff at that time to send someone to Interbike is not an option.
Will It Even Matter? The biggest question still out there is "Will moving Interbike and its date even matter?" I would have to say that without the bigger companies commitment to coming to Interbike, and instead, having their own private "dealer camps", Interbike will be ineffectual as a place for the independent bicycle dealer to come to for an overview of what to expect in the coming year. The other thing is that with Sea Otter in the spring, and Eurobike located where it is, I don't see Interbike gaining back much, if any, relevance in as far as introductions of new products and innovations that would draw dealers and the media alike.
In the end, at least for now, we'll show up in Anaheim next year and find out what, if anything, really changes.
From A Big Wheeled Perspective: Interbike wasn't very noteworthy, unless you consider Salsa Cycles saving all their introductions for Interbike. (Someone at the Interbike home office should send Salsa Cycles a big fat "thank you check" for doing that for them.) Had Salsa leaked or outright introduced all they had to offer at Eurobike, (and they could have), there would have been nearly nothing to report on from my viewpoint at Interbike.
Certainly, the North American continent will always attract some attention from 29"er companies with introductions and innovations, but if Europeans start buying up 29"ers, like I think they will in 2011, you can bet that 29"er manufacturers will be lavishing attention on that market firstly, since there is a big potential for growth in that market right now. Eurobike 2011 could be very, very interesting from that standpoint.
Maybe the big wheeled party will be in Germany next year. Who'da thunk it!