by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Bootleg Canyon, Nevada
The two-day warm-up to Interbike, know casually by most as 'dirt demo,' was the usual ruckus of dirt, bikes and more dirt. Companies brought out their newest wares for dealers and other industry people alike to spin around for a few minutes. The biggest representation this year was by Cannondale, who is forgoing a traditional Interbike booth and spending the money on the demo days. Cannondale's Scott Struve told Cyclingnews that it just makes more sense for them this year, as they are following the model of other companies that bring dealers to their own site to unveil new product lines outside of the busy days of Interbike. "We have 230 bikes out here," he said. "That is what the dealers really want to do, ride the bikes."
One noticeable difference this year compared to the recent past was the presence of cyclocross bikes. Many vendors had cross machines available for testing, including Scott USA, Felt, Blue and Raleigh. Raleigh's ride is billed as an introductory model at just US$1,200. Norm Krisher, Raleigh's marketing coordinator said that the idea was to offer the best frame and fork possible and make the rest upgradable to lower the initial cost. "We are really trying to design it to be an affordable bike that can be used for things other than cross racing. We wanted to get the best frame and fork possible and make it completely upgradable. You can race it right out of the box or make changes to the components."
On the higher end of the spectrum is Geoff Kabush's new Van Dessel -- painted in bright orange to match his Maxxis team kit. Kabush was not loaning his bike out for test rides as he just got it himself today. "I just put the bar tape on and got the position dialed in," he said. Kabush also said that he had some input in the design process. "I had a bit on input on the dimensions because I am a little large -- I got the top tube lengthened by a centimeter so it fits me better. Other than that it is stock geometry. It's the nicest cross bike I have ever had."
For the complete look at the cyclo-cross bikes of Interbike, click here.