Interbike Moves … and Then Some

So the folks at Interbike announced yesterday that they are moving the industry’s largest trade show from the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas to the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim. The Sands has been Interbike’s home for the last 12 years, so this is a big change.

Not only are they moving the location, but they also chose to move the show’s date up—to early August.

It’s a mixed-bag announcement. For entirely selfish reasons, I like the fact that the show is being moved back to California. It’s much closer to home for me and I doubt I’ll miss all the cigarette smoke.

More objectively, Anaheim was the show’s home before it moved to Las Vegas and in the interim the facility has been improved and added to. That should prove to be helpful to the show. My greater curiosity is what this will do to exhibitor costs. If the new/old location proves to be less expensive than Las Vegas was, then the move could help lure manufacturers who stopped exhibiting back into the folk.

Hotel costs are likely to rise for most folks. Vegas has been hurting and sites like Travelocity can lead the frugal to hotel rooms going for less than a half-tank of gas.

The real question the announcement raises is just who will be served by the new, early-August dates. It will certainly help some manufacturers with their introduction of new products. It will be much more convenient to the production cycle for some, though definitely not everyone.

What doesn’t make sense is asking retailers to vacate their stores during one of the 12 most important weeks in the selling season. The further north you go, the shorter the season gets and leaving a bike shop in August (no matter how capable the hands) is like hitting the jackpot on a one-armed bandit and then walking away before the silver dollars spill out.

Even if retailers attend, they can’t afford to leave their shops understaffed, so the number of wrenches attending the show will drop. While this will clear the floor a bit, shop staff are a passionate bunch eager to view the coolest and newest. Smart shop owners have always used their staff as their eyes for new products and trends. Their effective reach will be cut.

I know RKP has a number of readers working in the industry. Whether you’re on the retail or the manufacturing side, we’d love to hear your opinion. To my eye, August seems a terrible decision, but I’m just one guy who can’t be trusted to watch American Idol without my wife forcing me.

Let us know what you think, and which side of the fence you sit on.

, , ,


  1. Rod Diaz

    August – seems like terrible timing… why not do it at the very end of the season when everything is quiet anyway? I would push it to November, in time for holiday shopping.

    Here in Canada the season’s peak is in July/August, so it seems like terrible dates. But I doubt throngs of Canadians roam IB.

    But what do I know?

  2. Jacques Custodian

    I’m guessing they’re trying to combat the impact Eurobike has on them. Now that everyone can get their new product information via the internet, whoever shows the new stuff first steals the thunder of anyone hoping to show it anytime in the following 6 months. I’m guessing attendance is down partly because there’s less new stuff to see at Interbike now that everyone’s just seen what came out of Eurobike. By moving to August, Interbike jumps in front of Eurobike.

  3. kyle

    August, bad time. Anahiem bad place. My reps are going to have to make extra visits because as much as I love the event, I won’t be at the show.

  4. michael

    This is very much the route that Outdoor Retailer has taken with an earlier show in late July. Can you imagine vacating your outdoor/paddle sports/mountain gear store at the end of August for a week to plan your following year?

    Add to that the fact that many manufacturers have rolled back their booking deadline dates to PRIOR to the show for the following Spring/Summer Season. You haven’t even finished your current summer sales season, still have a good 5-6 weeks to go that you somehow have to magically gaze into a crystal ball to project sales to submit bookings before you even see the line?

    These earlier trade shows don’t benefit anyone; smaller shops are no longer attending shows, smaller manufacturers are no longer presenting at the shows as the shop owners are no longer showing up…it’s a vicious circle.

    The whole concept of “seasons” needs to end. It’s utter madness from a retail perspective.

    @Rod – Canadians mostly attend Eurobike now, or BTAC which is held in Montreal this coming week. Most every shop owner I know from out east attends those. West Coast based shop owners tend to go to Eurobike and use Interbike as a staff “incentive” trip to corral the crew and set-up next years season and make final decisions on new or existing lines with the help of senior staff input.

  5. michael

    oh and to add, terrible move from Interbike to move it up. I think they feel very threatened by Eurobike and are hoping to attract more vendors and scoop new product launches away from the biggest and best trade show out there.

  6. Robot

    I would think that the best way to compete with Eurobike would be to move the show further East. If I’m a shop owner on the right coast, I’m more interested in Eurobike, cause it’s in Europe, than I am in trekking out to Vegas (or CA). Sure you’ll miss some product lines and look at a bunch of cool stuff you can’t actually put your hands on, but based on the inventories in most of the shops I frequent, not too many folks are straying from the Pearl/Shimano/Trek/Specialized path in this economy anyway.

    Perhaps I’m wrong. I’m usually wrong.

    1. Author

      I have my doubts that Eurobike has had much impact on Interbike. Most retailers need to meet with their reps, and the reps aren’t going to Eurobike. According to Interbike, attendance numbers were up last year, so there’s no big exodus to Europe. Anecdotally, I don’t know a single retailer who goes to Eurobike; the only people I know who go are journos and manufacturers employees.

      Michael: You bring up an important point regarding forecasting.

      Moving up the ordering deadline for dealers is terrific for the manufacturers because it cuts down on their need to forecast. However, it forces retailers—who aren’t nearly as sophisticated in their forecasting—to do forecasting further out, i.e. with a dimmer bulb. And while the manufacturers push their ability to make mistakes in ordering down the line, they end up paying for the retailers’ mistakes nonetheless. When a retailer over-orders one of the problems that comes up is making those payments. The upshot is that inevitably some shops get sideways with a supplier and sometimes that ends in bankruptcy.

      Again, Interbike’s primary mission is to give retailers a chance to meet with the lines they sell. Given the choice of Interbike or a week’s sales, I don’t see how you leave the sales floor. Moving the show’s date to November is a bit much, but late September/early October seemed to spread the forecasting risk somewhat evenly between manufacturer and retailer.

  7. MarvinK

    I almost wonder if they shouldn’t stop trying to compete with Eurobike and just do it in the early spring… there will be new products that will be ready for a spring Interbike that weren’t ready for fall.. like this year, we probably won’t see much in the way of discs for cyclocross, but I bet by spring there would be some cool prototypes. I think it might be a little late for forecasting, but they should definitely have a better idea in the spring what they’re going to do for peak season.

  8. dvgmacdonald

    MarvinK – I couldn’t agree more. Move it out to 6 mos. after Eurobike. That way, the new stuff is evenly distributed between the shows, it’s a better time of year for owners to be out of their shops, airfare is cheaper (generally there’s a travel slump after the winter holidays are over), and, hey, people from the north like to go to CA or NV when it’s lousy weather up here.

    I suppose the down side is that new bikes would be 16 mos. out from delivery, since the coming summer’s order was placed 6 months ago, but, hey, at least you’d see what you were ordering for next year before you had to order it, right?

    I work retail in a different industry, so maybe my thoughts don’t translate well to bikes, but it makes better sense to me than trying to put it in August.

    1. Author

      I’m amazed by all the folks who think Interbike competes with Eurobike. Retailers aren’t sitting around deciding whether to go to Las Vegas or Europe.

      “Hmm, should I head to Sin City or the show all my reps won’t be attending and therefore can’t write orders, not to mention seeing product lines and color schemes that won’t be available back home … ”

      Rick Vosper, who is in my opinion one of the smartest guys working in the bike biz, thinks the move is good. I don’t really agree with everything he has to say in this post, but it’s a different opinion and one intelligently stated. It’s worth a read:

  9. bradyja

    Don’t like the move at all. But then again, I’ve only gone when its been in Vegas. Part of the fun has always been that its in VEGAS! What the hell is there to do in Anaheim after the show closes at 5?

    Also, no more Cross Vegas. And that’s just sad.

  10. Mick

    I won’t be attending 2011…
    Not a chance I can play hooky from the shop in early Aug, so the date change alone is a deal breaker.
    Vegas was damn convenient for me… quick to get to, easy to get around…& for the last number of years, CHEAP(!). In 12 years, I never had to rent a car in Vegas… Anaheim… Ha!
    I didn’t miss Anaheim when it moved to Vegas, now I miss Vegas already.

    Interbike is the Daytime Emmys to Eurobike’s Oscars…
    InterBike is having a hard time coping with that reality, unfortunately that the way it is & will be…
    I don’t enjoy the show any less because of it.
    I don’t write any fewer orders.
    Moving the show earlier will not make me write more orders.
    Of course if I’m not there somebody will lose a potential order (can’t buy what I didn’t see)

    It’s highly unlikey that moving the date up in the calender is to going to change the deadlines for my preseason orders, but it will stale-date some of my inventory in the eye’s of some consumers.

    Trying to coax Trek, Specialized, etc back with a date change is not going to help.
    I didn’t miss their presence the last few years, coaxing them back won’t have any effect for me.

  11. randomactsofcycling

    Keep in mind that I am saying this from Sydney, Australia….moving the show back to California – the biggest economy in the USA – where the most bike shops are? Makes sense to me. California is probably pitching their Convention Centres to all and sundry in an attempt to attract people. It’s well known that ‘Business Travellers’ spend a lot of money (’cause it’s all on the Corporate AMEX). Anaheim have probably cut their rates to attract the show.

  12. Mick

    InterBike & Eurobike don’t compete against each other in the eyes of the dealers…InterBike is trying to compete with Eurobike for ego.

  13. msoup72

    What happened with the Salt Lake City choice? And why hasn’t anyone considered Chicago? Chicago’s in the center of the U.S. and has plenty of opportunity and entertainment for everyone. The date change does seem to be a bit of a problem – I hope it doesn’t hurt the retailers.

    Interbike is important and very special to the industry. I hope that messing with what has been a pretty good formula doesn’t ruin this important tradition.

    1. Author

      While I haven’t personally investigated other options, I’m told that the trade show facilities in Chicago and Denver simply weren’t big enough. People speak of the Javitz Center in New York as being huge, but it is tiny when compared to the Sands. As for Salt Lake City, the facilities there were judged not to be as good as those in Anaheim.

      As to whether it has been a pretty good formula or not, there’s been a lot of grumbling and exhibitor erosion over the last five/six years. This might help, but it won’t satisfy everyone.

  14. MCC

    I can see both sides of the argument. Back when I was in shop retail, I found the timing of Interbike to be slightly awkward because I had already placed many of my orders for the year, and I undoubtedly would stumble upon a hidden gem that I found myself wishing I would have had the foresight to order in place of something else. The earlier August date might help to remedy some of this by allowing time for order adjustments.

    That being said, I know a great number of shops simply do not have the extra hands to send off to a trade show during the peak of sales. We certainly wouldn’t have. In some of the colder climates, we only get a few months to really make a splash for the year, so it’s definitely tough to justify squandering any of those precious resources.

    As for the relocation, I won’t miss Vegas…

  15. msoup72

    I hear ya. Thank you for the reply I don’t think I’ll miss Vegas much either. I have heard some of the grumblings and have also been very discouraged as to the diminishing numbers of retailers and exhibitors alike. The U.S. really should put on the THE show for the world to look up to – kind of frustrating that Eurobike seems to outshine Interbike every year. I have family in southern CA, so the move will be nice for me. What do you think will happen to CrossVegas? It’s become a bit of a highlight for the season. New York would’ve been cool. I imagine Anaheim has a good spot for demo? And do you know if exhibitor fees will increase, remain the same, or be lower? What remains to me now is the question of the date? Why earlier? I may have missed the answer. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

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