Ask the press: Has the bike show calendar shifted in relevance?

On the back of our last segment with our press panel CI.N dives deeper into the topic of how the bike show calendar has shifted in relevance.

With product launches seemingly coming earlier in the season each year has the relevance of some bike shows shifted for you?

Jon Woodhouse,
We’ve really noticed a trend that big brands who are able to run their own press events will do so, which means that many trade shows are becoming less relevant. We’re not going to attend a trade or consumer show and find a load of new products being launched, though they are often still do well for us if there’s lots of smaller, interesting new stuff being revealed.

CoreBike is always a solid show to attend. It’s in one location but has multiple brands from multiple distributors and you can usually find some interesting new stuff that’s being launched. London Bike Show has also delivered some good stuff for us, same with the NEC – they give smaller brands the chance to get their stuff out there and people seem to like reading about it. They also tend to be very time efficient – you can get multiple stories from a single day, rather than getting a single story from multiple days.

Chipps Chippendale, Singletrack
I reckon that Sea Otter in April is now the sweet spot for timing of things. Earlier events like the Core Bike show, IceBike and Bike Connection in February can work, but often the products are embargoed until April. If there are products we can talk about early that’s great.

I really enjoyed the Malverns last year, as a relaxed place to catch up with the trade, though it’s not great in terms of seeing anything new.

However, I think that events where there’s a more sociable aspect to it can work well; I’m thinking of the late Lifeboat Events PressCamp, Bike Connection and things like SRAM’s Trail House, or YT’s recent Jeffsy launch. Especially it’s the multi-day, multi-brand press launches, as they can give you a chance to meet people from companies you wouldn’t normally bump into, and to spend time with them, sit next to them over dinner or ride bikes with them. That can give you far more insight into a company than ten years of ten-minute chats at Eurobike. Instead of doing the whole ‘And who do you work for again?’ you can cut straight to ‘When is that new project coming out?’

Oliver Woodman, Bikeradar
Yes, with many brands choosing to launch new products at their own events, or away from bike show environments, we are having to be pickier with what we attend. However, shows are still important to us as they’re a great place to meet up with our key industry contacts and readers of our website and magazines.

An example of a good show for me would be the Bespoked Handmade Bicycle Show in Bristol. It’s got a great vibe, plenty of enthusiastic people and each year there’s some genuinely unique items.

From a press perspective, what is the most natural environment in which to get the content you seek?

Jon Woodhouse,
To be honest, getting product sent to us ahead of the embargo or public launch allows us to do a very thorough job of reviewing it on trails we’re familiar with. It allows us to get unique photo and video content so what we write doesn’t look and sound just like everyone else’s. This is an issue with some product launches where you’ll all have lined up for the same action photo at the same spot, often wearing the same things.

Having new kit in our hands at the office or our local trails is less time consuming and more efficient for everyone involved, orders of magnitude cheaper for brands and also for us. It’s a win-win.

Chipps Chippendale, Singletrack
It always depends on the product and the timing. If we’ve got a month until the new product launches, then we’d prefer to get it in to the office to try on our own trails. We have all the camera/video gear on hand and know all the good photo spots. If timing is tight, then, (while a foreign trip is always fun) it can be a long way to go in order to see a powerpoint and get two hours of riding on loose, dry, blind trails on a bike we’ve only just got on that morning. It can be almost impossible to get more than just a first-look impression on it. Given that sometimes the embargo lifts a couple of days after the presentation, it often needs to be written up on the plane home.

Oliver Woodman, Bikeradar
It’s always a great feeling to catch a scoop by using our instincts as journalists, be that at a show environment or through contacts we have in the industry. Saying that, much of the news we come across now lands in our inboxes and is often controlled with embargoes. Even if a story has come to us in this way, we always make sure that our copy is original and contains insight readers won’t find elsewhere. Whenever possible we shoot our own images.

Keep an eye on the homepage for a final segment with our trio that touches on the hot topic of embargoes.