Interbike is a bicycle tradeshow that’s been held at various places in the western United States since, well, it started, I believe. It’s an enormous show with vendors from all over the world presenting their best and brightest bicycle bits, big and small. Retailers, product developers, marketing-types, journalists and all other sorts of general bicycle industry hangers-on flock to Interbike each year in a pilgrimage to worship at the altar of the human-propelled two-wheeler.
I’ve been to Interbike too many times to count, and have sort of become a bit jaded with pretty much every aspect of the show, inside and out. Yet there is still a big part of me that is humbly awed by the size of such a spectacle in which shiny new bicycles and components are presented to the public for the first time.
Since I now live in Europe, I had the perfect excuse to make my way down to Friedrichshafen, Germany to attend Eurobike tradeshow. I walked into the first of fourteen exhibit halls of the show, and was stunned. Simply put, this show is about four times the size of Interbike. I spent a day and a half roaming the halls, and I still didn’t get to see many of the exhibits.
I could into some serious detail about the differences…and similarities…between these two industry events, but I’ll save that for another time. One interesting difference I must share is my lodging. Hotel rooms in Las Vegas can be either really expensive or really shady…or both. Hotel lodging is sort of tough to find in Friedrichshafen because it’s a small town, but camping is easy. I rented a bicycle for 8 euros, used it to get back and forth to my 5 euro camping spot both nights.
There are a million products shown at Eurobike that will never be easily available in the United States. I could write a book about all of them, and how I don’t really know how we can live without them. Additionally…since Eurobike is held about three weeks before Interbike, many companies debut new goods at this show earlier than the Interbike audience will get to see them. And finally, I’ve always found some European products and marketing come across as funny to us Americans. Alright…let’s get on with the show.
Here’s a photo of my view from my lodging at the show.
Chris King was here and they’ve had their sweet new bottom-brackets on display.
DT Swiss unveiled their new Tricon tubeless wheels for both mountain and road bikes. It’s an interesting and original system where the spoke is connected to the rim with a unique anchor still using a traditional nipple. The hubs are essentially three-piece affairs, which allows DT Swiss to easily configure them for different price points.
Years ago, Timbuk 2 would set up a mini manufacturing facility right at the show. They would take orders from people at the show, and custom-build bags right there. It was pretty neat. Europe does lots of cool things…like this guy custom-making leather bags.
While the 29″ mountain bike phenomenon hasn’t really reached Europe with any strength yet, the fixie scene has. And has done so with style. Viva had some amazingly beautiful bikes. And yes the rims are wood.
Europeans know how to use human power to get themselves, their kids and their things around, and how to do it in style:
Johnny Loco was one of the first cargo bikes that I saw when I moved to Belgium. I consider them the Cadillac of cargo bikes, and I want one bad.
ReSkin is a company that makes, umm, a product that promises to substantially reduce friction in the most sensitive areas on the male and female cyclists. They’re definitely sincere in their promises, but there’s not a lot of humble ways to market such a product. As evidenced by the most unique mannequin positioning I’ve ever seen.
I love my Kona Paddywagon, and I suppose I’m not alone since Kona has a couple more versions of it for this season.
Some Eddy Merckx track bikes
Here’s a sports nutrition company who has a graphic designer who has a sick sense of humor in their logo designs, or doesn’t know a lot of English slang. Or both.
Ghost bikes have a completely, and more somber, meaning in the United States.
Aside from the plentiful hefe-weizen (and the lack of shame of having one at 10am), the food on-site at Eurobike was fantastic and cheap.