Interbike 2016: We’ll always have Parris

Masi's Adventure Series bikes.

Masi’s Adventure Series bikes.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (MDM) — Ah, so this is what it’s like to have a job. Toting that barge and lifting that bale from sunrise to dark-thirty, lots of bad noise, and no time to play with the old blogaroo.

Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

There’s a new sheriff in town at Adventure CyclistNick Legan, once a top wrench on the racing circuit who went bad and signed on as tech editor for some Boulder-based cycling mag, and then for us — and frankly, the man is a slave driver, marching us around the Interbike floor like maggots at Parris Island (copy coordinator Dan Meyer, another addition, actually did five years in the Marines, but that’s another story).

As a result we have seen things — many, many of them — and more than a few are suited to the adventure-cycling crowd. Seems the industry has finally discovered what the Adventure Cycling Association folks have been all about for, oh, four decades now. Who knew?

Expect a review of the Moots Baxter (not from me, call the waaaaambulance). “Think mountain-bike capabilities in a mountain-cross build,” says the marketing copy, and it’s named for a dog. Plus it’s a Moots. This is all you need to know.

Also looking good are the Adventure Series bikes from Masi. We looked at but did not review the 2016 Giramondo, but it’s in the hopper for 2017. The Speciale Randonneur looks good, too.

Appearances can be deceiving: While there were times when the show floor seemed busy, overall I'd guess attendance is down, and I'm not the only professional pessimist out there.

Appearances can be deceiving: While there were times when the show floor seemed busy, overall I’d guess attendance is down, and I’m not the only professional pessimist out there.

For some reason the Bombtrack bikes didn’t grab me when I first saw them online, but they’re mighty sharp in MeatWorld, especially the Beyond.

Marin, which did such a fine job last year with the Four Corners Elite, is back for more this year with a wide range of adventure-capable machines, from that Four Corners to the insanely affordable Nicasio.

Also priced to move: Breezer’s Radar Pro. The colors are a bit loud for a subtle fashionista like me, but it’s hard to complain about the price.

The fine folks at Panaracer have plenty of adventurous tires (check out the Gravel King SK); Ortlieb has moved into bikepacking gear; and … and … and I’m sure there’s more to report, but right now I need some breakfast and then it’s off to the show for the final day of Interbike 2016.

• Thought of the Day: Is everyone who works at Rí Rá really Irish or are they putting us on? Seriously, it sounds like “The Commitments” in there. It’ll break me heart if it turns out they’re all from Jersey or Iowa and just takin’ the piss.


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17 Responses to “Interbike 2016: We’ll always have Parris”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Beautiful bikes that have a serious and strong purpose in life. Not just another pretty face…

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      For reals, Sharon. This show reminded me of the days when everyone in the industry was trying to dive into the cyclocross category. Now it’s “adventure bikes,” which are a shade more versatile.

  2. Larry T Says:

    Well, that explains why I’ve not seen or heard from you. Whooda thunk you could be turned into an industry-shill so quickly? I suspect your new corporate masters will keep you away from the Italian Pavilion where I hang out ,as I don’t think the “adventure” angle is much of a thing there…yet anyway.
    But if you do stagger by Albabici’s spot in little Italy, I should be around there until midday at least.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, it was another one of those shows, Larry. Too busy whoring to have any “me” time. Looks like if we’re ever gonna catch up it’ll have to happen outside of Vegas. And who knows? Given the turnout this year, we may never have to go back there.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Thanks for taking the time telling us what you see that is interesting.

    As far a Ri Ra employees and their origins go, probably a bunch of immigrants taking jobs that real Americans need. You know, immigrants from New Jersey. Probably can’t even pour a Guiness Stout correctly from the tap.

  4. Herb Clevenger Says:

    Oh yeah… Interbike attendance is WAY down alright. But they will spin it differently you watch and tell you it’s not. After 35 straight years of attendance at various places I skipped it this year. So did almost every dealer in Michigan. Why one would ask. They’ve already got 2017 bikes on their floors and been to Trek, Specialized and other brand meetings ad nauseum. Interbike better get serious about getting the hell out of Vegas. It’s no longer cheap to fly or eat there and as you know it’s a hell hole

    • Larry T Says:

      I sort of agree with you Herb. ‘Vegas is a s__thole, but it seems a big portion of the industry likes that. The last time Interbike threatened to move to SoCal, there was so much screaming they chickened out. Personally I hate the place! Each year when I come home from Sin City, I think about having my clothes cleaned – and then burning them!
      Your other points are certainly valid as the bigs set up their own private showings and increasingly put the yoke on the necks of the IBD, who doesn’t seem so “I” these days. I’m wondering now that so many are selling direct, will the IBD’s cut their own bicycle inventory way down and use the bigs programs as “just-in-time” sourcing? If I had to live on bike mechanical and retail skills these days, one of the franchised mobile repair schemes would be looking VERY interesting as that’s still the only thing that can’t be shoved through a fiber-optic cable or delivered by a guy in a brown truck!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Attendance certainly seemed down to me and to everyone else I polled. Skipped Demo again, but I heard it was mostly tumbleweeds out there. Day one of the show proper looked more like a day two, day two looked like day three, and day three … crickets.

      I still think face time with industry people is a valuable thing, but I wonder how cost-effective Vegas is now. Rooms and eats cost more (we were billed for parking at Luxor for the first time ever), and as Larry notes, it’s not exactly a health spa. First thing I did when I got home was throw everything into the clothes washer.

      The dealers are the ones who are really in the shit here. I’m not certain how they’re going to fare going forward. But I think they might draw some clues from what happened to camera, computer and book stores. Remember those? Neither does anyone else.

      • Larry T Says:

        I admit I wasn’t there counting and most of my time WAS spent inside “Little Italy” but Interbike 2016 seemed about the same as 2015 traffic-wise. Nobody seems to trust the #’s the organizers publish so who knows?

        I think the thing could go either way, become obsolete as many predict OR perhaps it’ll stay alive as the Big-S, T, G, etc. move more into direct online sales. When the IBD’s figure out that this should free them up from having all that bike inventory taking up space (and money) their shop might also be freed from the hegemony that fills their shops up with so much “me-too” product (tires, shoes, etc.) with the big-brand’s name on it.

        This could make more room in the store for products from the little guys – the ones whose passion overcomes their lack of massive bank accounts. And perhaps when the fat-cats with the big expense accounts are no longer involved Interbike can get the hell out of ‘Vegas? I saw a restaurant bill for 9 people that showed $54 for “water service”. I realize we were in the desert, but how many bottles of Italian mineral water did we consume?

        As to IBD’s in general, if you leave the customer to choose only on price rather than your product selection, expertise and most importantly, technical service skills, you’ll go the way of the video rental store. You must concentrate on things that can’t be shoved through a fiber-optic cable or dropped off at the customer’s door by a guy in a brown truck.

        My latest blog post is here

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        They should move it around to get the best deals for the exhibitors and dealers. One of our LBS hasn’t gone in years.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        PO’B – It ain’t that easy. I’m no apologist for Interbike as I hate ‘Vegas as much as PO’G, but this show is BIG. Bikes and stuff take up a lot of room compared to consumer electronics and such so there’s just a few places with the capacity to put it all under one (sort of at Mandalay Bay) roof in the US of A.
        They talk of Denver but then folks say there ain’t enough hotel rooms, then talk of SoCal (Anaheim) which trades the smokin’ greedy gambling culture for bad air of another sort combined with the awfulness of the Walt Disney kingdom. Perhaps if interest goes down a smaller show could be held in a smaller venue?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Yeah, it’s a tough nut they’re trying to crack. Vegas is made for stuff like this, with an airport that’s pretty simple to negotiate; a ton of hotel rooms, bars and restaurants; easy access for trucks (just off I-15 and Tropicana); the whole enchilada.

        You can actually do the show without ever leaving the Luxor-Mandalay Bay Dante Alighieri Memorial Circles of Hell (Two Through Four Inclusive).

        That the place sucks is pretty much irrelevant, I guess.

        Denver’s too scattered, with an airport here and hotels there and food-and-drink somewhere else. The Outdoor Retailer show does SLC, but I’ve never been there and don’t have a feel for the size. And as Larry notes, Anaheim would not be trading up; I did my first couple of Interbikes there and don’t have much interest in returning.

        Should be interesting to catch all the post-mortems. One dude told me that if Interbike were to make a move, it would have to happen most ricky-tick, as in yesterday. So don’t touch that dial.

  5. Ryan Says:

    Overheard in the staff room at Rí Rá “Don’t use your own accents! it’s not Ride Sally Ride it’s roid sally roid!”

  6. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Good morning. Hope your drive back was a pleasant one. That Bombtrack Beyond is pretty neat. Interesting that they use a through axle in front and a QR in back. Like the Spyre brakes though. Did you notice a general shift away from BB5/7 brakes in the bike spec you saw?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Pat, we saw more hydraulic brakes (SRAM Rival, etc.) with the ProMax stoppers on lower-end bikes. A few of the Shimanos, too. I’ve heard good things but haven’t tried ’em yet.

      I’m not sure how SRAM is structuring its line these days. Avids for mountain bikes and SRAM for road, maybe? I should really ask someone.

      We also saw a ton of 1x drivetrains. Lots of product managers like the simplicity of a single-ring setup. And wide, wide tires, as in 50mm.

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