Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Interbike '15: WTF

Is that a new Beargr....wait....what?!! (Image from the Heller site)
Interbike proper starts this morning in Las Vegas, Nevada, but surprises have already been sprung. The weird and the woeful have been witnessed already, and this might go down as one of the oddest I-bikes in many a year.

First, a bit of back story: Interbike has a "swag bag" for attendees. It is a plastic bag with various promtional materials, a schedule for the shuttle busses to Bootleg Canyon, information on the show, a water bottle, maybe, and some nutritional products, or some small trinket. It changed year to year, but one thing that was a fairly consistent item was a sock that had a tag attached to it. You could get the matching sock to it if you stopped by the vendor's booth when the indoor show opened, and showed the tag. Of course, this was going to guarantee  you a sales pitch, but for a free pair of socks!  After a year or two of that, I never bothered anymore. How many socks with weird Vegas motifs does one need?

Part two of this story is that Interbike, and the "Industry" as a whole, has been courting women cyclists and telling everyone that would listen how shops and companies needed to up their game in terms of reaching women buyers. So then this happens........

 This year's sock caused quite a ruckus.  It showed two bikini clad women laying side by side in an embrace. (See the sock, and a fantastic response to this incident here.) The image got tweeted, and social media went into hyper-mode, decrying the sexually charged promo-sock as being the antithesis of what the Industry was saying it stood for. Which, of course, is absolutely true. Interbike scrambled to de-sock the goody bags, but not before the end of the first day. For their part, Interbike had the following to say via Twitter:

"Interbike ‏@Interbike 10h10 hours ago

We are very sorry about the socks in the ODD bags. Socks were rec'd by third party & we didn't review. This is not how @Interbike rolls."
So, there ya have it. Big whoops, bad form, and an apology. Will this make it "all better"? No, and it shouldn't. This isn't a one timer. It's a pariah on this industry, and it also stinks of Las Vegas, where the show has been for far too long. I could go on and on, but I'll let this excellent post from Surly, (which I also linked above), stand as a response I can get behind 100%. Read it.  I'll maybe return to this theme again in a future post.

UPDATE: I got a peek at the Interbike "Show Daily" for the trade that is handed out at the show. It had an entire paragraph dedicated to the offending socks, glorifying them as being "naughty" marketing with a tongue in cheek tone. Nice. Tell me again how Interbike didn't know what was going on here. 

Typical Interbike extra-curricular activity announcement.
Then the other thing that happened, and will be fleshed out in a presser today, I am told, is that Quality Bicycle products has announced a new brand.

I know, I know...... big whoop. Quality does this all the time. They must have a  "Executive Brand Creator" position up there and a department full of fresh-outta-college business degree grads working overtime to come up with all the reasons to create a new bicycle brand or bicycle accessory brand. It's crazy, but a lot of the time, it makes sense, (Surly, Salsa, Problem Solvers), and sometimes it is weird, (Mechanical Threads, Cogburn, Civia), but usually I can find a reason that makes me think something they come up with is a worthwhile attempt to make it a brand.

Now we have a new bicycle brand, and to be quite honest, I don't get it......yet. Obviously, I don't have the whole story, as this is still breaking news, but Heller Bikes just debuted with a ........carbon fat bike? How this is something that compliments what Salsa Cycles already seems to have covered is beyond me at this point. Besides the fact that fat bikes are a saturated market, which makes yet another, trail geometry carbon hard tail kind of a ho-hum affair. This seems to be an odd debut bike to push out the brand with. Again, with more back story, this may all start to become a clearer picture than it is now.

All I can say now about Heller Bikes is that I once knew a girl back in high school whose last name was Heller and she filled my belly button with beer once. I know.......weird, huh?

Hey, that's no weirder than what is going down in Vegas with the cycling industry these days!


Wally Kilburg said...

TMI about the belly button....:)

Guitar Ted said...

@Wally Kilburg: Ha!

Joboo said...

The price point is what caught my eye!!!

FarleyBob said...

Is the beer still there?

youcancallmeAl said...

Great post!!

sniffer said...

AHTBM! Respect

Barturtle said...

They probably also didn't approve the ISM ad on page 31...

Guitar Ted said...

@Barturtle: Yeah, I saw that as well. Another thing that needs to go away is adverts like that,