APEX September Blog – When in Vegas

Interbike 2017

In Interbike’s “sunset” year in Las Vegas, the event had many attendees who were sad to see it leave the city, while others can’t wait to get a breath of fresh air in a new location for 2018 (Reno). For me personally, it is clear that Interbike needs a “spark” to re-stimulate excitement amongst dealers, manufacturers, and customers alike for years to come. That being said, Interbike was ready to rock at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino for another year, and attendees from around the world had an opportunity to network and experience the latest and greatest in technological innovation within the industry.

First Impressions

The expo floor had downsized by nearly 40% from 2016 to 2017; a jaw-dropping percentage when considering the sheer size of Interbike. The good news, however, is it seemed as more exhibitors opted for smaller booths, rather than choosing to pull out of the event all together. While manufactures from all four corners of the industry attended, some areas showed a particularly weak presence. In particular, big-name bicycle manufacturers did not attend in favor of Eurobike and private dealer events instead. Some areas that showed a strong presence were pedal systems, e-bikes, tools, accessories, and bicycle computers/head units.

On another positive note, local Boulder, Colorado companies were represented very well, and many industry professionals from the area made the trip down to Vegas. Stages Cycling, Rocky Mounts, Feedback Sports and others all made a great impression on the expo attendees, and backed it up with well reputable products. Many of the suppliers APEX Coaching relies on in our day to day operations also attended, such as Wahoo Fitness, MotionLogic 3D, Park Tool, Garmin, and various power meter manufacturers. All in all, the industry is alive and well, and as competitive as ever. The environment is changing with the ever-increasing implementation of technology and direct to customer sales, but the industry is adapting.

Diving In – Notables

Let me begin by apologizing for not mentioning ALL of the new, amazing products entering the market. There are so many! In my four or so hours at the show, I can happily say I made it around to every booth, but they were short visited stays.

Brilliant Reflective

Even in the mecca of cycling and triathlon, Boulder, safety has taken on a new importance in recent years for everyone on two wheels. Brilliant Reflective has a quick and easy solution for anyone looking to be a little more visible. Sold as either stickers or iron-on strips, Brilliant Reflective introduces some of the easiest (and brightest) safety add-ons to your cycling arsenal. I tested them out with a flashlight, and man, they are bright. Do you or someone you know ride in low-visibility conditions? These make a quick and easy gift!

Garmin

The most notable product at the Garmin booth isn’t a new one, but rather an improved version of the Vector Power Pedal system. The power system is now fully integrated into the pedal, much like PowerTap’s pedals, and super clean. Garmin claims improved accuracy and connection to their head units, and something the APEX staff will surely be testing out.

Pearl Izumi

After taking a long break from the casual apparel category, Pearl Izumi steps in with a big statement with their Versa line. Filling a much needed gap in the endurance sports industry, their Versa line is attacking the high end of the spectrum. From polos and “dressy” pants, to winter jackets, Versa can clothe you from head to toe. Pearl Izumi dubs the line as cycling clothing made for entirely “nothing specific.” Pieces are cut to fit someone in a riding position, and also suitable for off the bike (has strategically placed reflector strips too).

Oakley

The iconic brand has made the jump into helmets, and also cycling soft goods. All of their helmets seem to have aerodynamic aspects to them, especially their Aro 7 TT helmet. I tried it on and have to say it fits very similar to the Specialized McLaren TT helmet, which is arguably the fastest helmet on the market. It’s rounder and shorter shape compared to the McLaren will make for some interesting testing in the wind tunnel for us this Spring.

Oakley has had sunglasses with integrated headphones in the past (like the Thump), but the Pace brings in some other features for cyclists. Workout guiding is one of those features, for someone looking to have a “coach” talk them through each interval. The bad – you’re wearing headphones while riding. This is a much politicized and debated topic that I won’t get into, but lets just say the headphones included with the Pace are VERY noise cancelling. A no-no in my books for road riding. I have not looked into if they offer any non-noise cancelling options, but if they do, definitely opt in for those.

SRAM

SRAM has been known to have one of the biggest booths at Interbike year-to-year, and this year was no different. Aside from plenty of innovative gear, such as their E-Tap Hydro component group, they had arguably the coolest displays. They had Tony Martin’s Canyon SpeedMax TT bike on site, as well as Nino Schurter’s Mountain Bike. And on a side note – check out that chainring on Tony’s bike!

Vision

In my opinion, this was the greatest product I was able to check out at the show this year. Yes – a bit “un-exciting” of me, but check out that integration! This Aero/Drop Bar set up would be perfect for the serious triathlete who may only be able to afford a road bike, but wants maximum integration. Look for Vision to debut an ITU legal version in the future too.

Feedback Sports

As a bike fitter, good tools are a lifeline. As bikes (mostly TT bikes) get more difficult to work on, smaller and smaller wrenches are needed. Feedback Sports is producing a great go-to allen key set, that any bike fitter would appreciate. The “T” handle makes it unique, and more handy as needed.

Clif Bar

Ginger Ale Clif Bloks! Not everyone is a ginger fan, but these bloks rock. Super light flavor for anyone who has trouble getting strong-tasting food down during a hard workout. If you’re a fan of Clif Bloks, give these a try.

Park Tool

Have you ever dealt with the frustration of not having a great screwdriver to true your rear or front derailleurs? I have. If you’re a DIY mechanic, these are a great add to your tool kit. Notice the tiny circumference around the handles for quick, fine tuning, and also the longer stem.

Lazer Helmets

Not a product on this one, but it was good to see Lazer advertising with USA Track Cycling, and more so the Sprint discipline. Shown below is Matt Baranoski, a 2016 Rio Olympian who APEX Coaching has had the pleasure of working with at World Cup and World Championship events.

Speedplay

I had the pleasure of meeting the mind behind the pedals, Richard Bryne. While we chatted about all of their pedal systems, the SYZR pedal was most interesting. The pedal has been around for roughly 2 years now, but has since gained a following in the gravel bike market. Think of a blend between a road pedal and a mountain pedal – that’s the SYZR. With adjustable float, good stability, and the mud-clearing capabilities of a mountain pedal, this is a perfect option for any serious gravel racer. To clip in, it is a toe-first system (like a road pedal), so some mountain bikers may avoid the SYZR for that reason. Speedplay has also been an innovator in aerodynamic pedal systems, which APEX is always on the lookout for.

Wahoo Fitness

I walked up behind a certain bike shop owner taking a look at the KICKR Climb and overheard him say, “That’s the stupidest thing I have ever seen.” To be honest, I wasn’t surprised to hear that from a shop owner, and I laughed it off. The KICKR Climb is extremely innovative, and will change the way we will all ride bikes indoors. You heard me right. The Climb is an automated climbing block that will sync with your favorite Sufferfest video or Zwift race, making indoor cycling that much more realistic. They are due to release before the holidays, so plan to stop by the APEX Hub to try one out for yourself this winter.

Let me leave you with this point, addressing the unnamed shop owner – The more people we can get on bicycles, the better. Indoors or outdoors. The world will simply be a better place.

Fabulous CrossVegas

           

As every Interbike should end – Fabulous CrossVegas. APEX had several athletes compete, alongside being a sponsor of the event. The course was complete will lots of grass and elevation change, while also sporting barriers, sand, and bridges. Next year the race will be in Reno, following Interbike, but the name will remain the same. Expect more great CX racing at CrossVegas next year!

Check out our Instagram post on the Elite Men’s Race: https://www.instagram.com/p/BZTen7aFsC8/?taken-by=apexcoachingco

Thanks again Vegas – See you again soon.

*All opinions shared in this article are those of Cody, not necessarily APEX Coaching


Cody has coached for APEX Coaching since 2014, and is always looking for the latest and greatest innovative products in the cycling industry to help APEX’s athletes train and race at their best. He is APEX’s Administrative Manager and Fit Specialist, with a coaching emphasis on cycling and triathlon. Cody is also an MBA Candidate at the University of Colorado.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *