For me, it was a last minute decision to go as I was on the fence about going and I have to say I was glad that I went. The vibe was much more low key than in years past. Well, at least from the vendor standpoint. For the most part, the booths weren’t all big and flashy like in years past but were effective enough to grab your attention. The attendance and vibe seemed pretty chill and there were plenty of people that attended. Business went on as usual and there seemed to be less pressure and distractions.
My big takeaway from Interbike was that electric bikes and gravel bikes are starting to really make a push to appeal to the dealers and consumer.
Here is what I can see in the future of electric bikes! You read it here first, when I covered an event, the Solar Decathlon, five years ago in Irvine where quite a few electric bike manufacturers presented their electric bike offerings. The manufacturers let consumers demo their electric bikes and you could see the excitement on people’s faces when they tried the electric bike demos. The 2018 Interbike attendees who got to demo the electric bikes in Reno, had that same experience that brought a smile to their face, but with lighter bikes and more choices as the technology and e-bike options have just gotten better.
In the future, I can see more events similar to what Sea Otter has done with adding electric bike category races and can even see adding an electric road bike category as a separate category to race electric bikes. I can also imagine the bikes will get souped up and raced on motocross tracks and electric bikes racing on speedway and road tracks typically used for Moto GP.
The electric bikes are starting to look more and more like a regular bike with the batteries and motors becoming almost unnoticeable unless you really start taking a closer look.
I find the gravel segment to be almost trendy at the moment and somewhat confusing to the consumer. It seems like many cyclists are confused about if they can just use their road bike with a wider gravel tire, or if can they just hop on their mountain bike, or can they use their extra cyclocross bike that they own to fill the gap or should they to buy a gravel specific bike to ride in a gravel grinder.
The one thing I can say is – the bike market is constantly changing and it’s hard for the bicycle retailer and dealer side of the industry to keep up the pace, with consumers being exposed to so many choices and options.
All in all, the new venue for Interbike in Reno was a nice change in a mountain and bike-friendly town.
By Frank Sarate, SoCalCycling.com