Interbike plans extensive indoor test track for e-bikes, fat bikes and more at this year’s show

Background Reading

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (BRAIN) — Interbike is partnering with Extra Energy Services North America to create a purpose-built indoor test track at this fall’s show. Shimano is the presenting sponsor of the track, which is being designed to test a variety of motor systems and bicycle designs, including e-bikes, fat bikes, and urban/lifestyle bikes.

“The Circuit, presented by Shimano” will be designed and produced by EESNA and will feature a 15-foot wide loop that travels more than 1,000 feet through a dog-leg left turn, s-curves, and a hairpin turn. In addition to the standard loop, the track will include an 8-foot wide E-bike Power Ramp that provides a 34-foot incline rising up 4 feet to an 8-foot long platform and a matching 34 foot down ramp. This ramp is specifically designed to allow riders to test the power assist provided by e-bike drives.

A dedicated Terrain Lane featuring a number of ramps and obstacles will be provided for riders wanting to test fat bikes. A non-woven floor covering will eliminate the challenge of the polished concrete exhibition floor.

“The addition of the new hall and space at Mandalay Bay is allowing us to create a legitimate, professional test track facility on the show floor in a cool, comfortable environment,” said Pat Hus, the vice president of Interbike. “We’re investing a lot here and we’re confident that the track is going to be a game changer and a new feature of the show that will be very important for years to come.”

Shimano has introduced its STEPS e-bike system to North America and is looking to this test track as a way to support the growing market.

“This track will provide the perfect setting for Shimano to showcase its STEPS E-bike groupset,” said Dustin Brady, Shimano American’s marketing manager. “We’re looking forward to engaging with retailers through this new and innovative feature of Interbike.”

The partnership between Interbike and EESNA came about as part of the launch of a planned promotional tour for e-bikes to be produced by EESNA, called The Electric Bike Expo. Following the launch at Interbike, the six-city tour will kick-off in January 2016 at The IBD Summit in Tempe, Ariz., and will focus on introducing consumers to e-bike technology. Additional tour stops are still being finalized and sponsorship opportunities are now available.

“There’s no better place to launch our six-city tour across North America than the ultimate gathering for the bicycle industry – Interbike,” said Ray Verhelst, CEO of EESNA. “Interbike attendees have never seen such an elaborate track and we’re confident that retail attendees who want to test the latest and greatest electric bikes, urban bikes or fat bikes will not be disappointed with their experience.”

For more information on Extra Energy Services North America or The Electric Bike Expo, go to www.electricbike-expo.com. Brands interested in demo’ing at The Circuit can contact their Interbike sales executive or Andria Klinger at andria.klinger@emeraldexpo.com or 949-226-5745.

Summary

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“The Circuit, presented by Shimano”

Interbike 2015 Updated Indoor Track from Raymond Verhelst on Vimeo.


TakeAways

There is likely to be a culture shift in the Urban Cycling Movement coming very shortly. It was reported this morning on the Chicago “Whine and Jeez Club” Cycling Forum that one or more riders were buzzed by a motorized bicycle (in the bike lane) on one of the busiest routes in Chicago. If you now the city then you know that Milwaukee is one of the longest stretches for cycling traffic.

Evidently the rider on the bike was speeding past the much slower riders and that got a ‘pissing game‘ started. Of course if you check the annals you will discover that it does not take a motorized bike of any sort to spark resentment between Urban Cyclists. They can have all sort of heartburn over ‘shoaling‘ for instance.

Well those sorts of interactions are going to ‘heat up‘ a bit. Because with an e-assist bicycle, tricycle or velomobile being the fastest in the bike lane, ‘filtering‘ towards the front in something wide enough to block late cycling arrivals will be common. I am hopeful that will not escalate into attempts to ‘pass legislation‘ in the city to somehow hamper these bikes.

But when you have a mix of performance possibilities you increase the likelihood that the kinds of interactions between bike and car will become more common between bike and bike. It is going to take some ‘good manners‘ on everyone’s part to insure that things do not get out of hand.

But I can foresee a time when areas like the 606 Trail will see an influx of not just motorized bikes but wider trikes, and even velomobiles all of which could be unmotorized but yet affect the ability of the ‘fix‘ bike crowd to slither between pedestrians with impunity.

Even the marvelous fat bikes are going to cause some heartburn for many cyclists who are both annoyed at the buzzing sound from the tires of these wonderful beasts, but will have to deal with the fact that speeds and maneuverability enhancements on icy and even wet roads will be sufficient to give the fat bikes the edge.

But what happens when these kinds of bikes start passing skinny tired fixed gear bikes with a plume of spray that is nearly a foot wide? That is really going to cause some heartburn. The level of testosterone is not going to be the only problem however. Older riders on wide recumbent trikes (or for that matter the wider upright trikes that ply Des Plaines) will make both ‘shoaling‘ and ‘filtering‘ much more difficult.

But what will probably be the single most unbearable thing for young guys on fast single speed brakeless bikes will be having anyone younger or perhaps even female pass them on an e-assist bike, that will be interesting to watch.

At any rate the Europeans have already been dealing with the insurgence of technology into the once semi-sedate Dutch Bike world. These e-assist bikes can in many instances not only be faster but wider than ordinary bikes. Learning to ‘be in traffic‘ in much the same as do cars, is going to be part of the skill set of cyclists going forward.