Outerbike Offers a Chance to Ride the 2012 Bikes
Outerbike is a whole new concept. Whereas Interbike, the North American bicycle industry retail show is aimed at the insiders of the cycling world. Outerbike is a chance for the average cyclists to not only preview the line of newest bicycles and components, but to ride them. If you are looking to buy a new bike in the next year, this is a great opportunity to try before you buy. For a demo ride beyond the quick ride around the parking lot, some bicycle dealers charge $100 or more to check out a bike to give it a thorough demo for a week and if you want to try another brand, you’ll have to shell out more money. Outerbike not only offers all the 2012 bikes you could possibly care to demo, but three days of catered lunches, drinks, snacks, shuttle service to Moab’s best trails, evening entertainment and more for just a little more than what you’d pay for that bike demo.
The Moab, Utah location offers perfect riding weather in early October, a chance to ride “classic” Moab trails or try out one of the new mountain bike trails right by the expo site. A nearby paved trail for road cyclists gives cyclists chance to demo road bikes as well on rides to nearby Arches National Park or to Dead Horse Point. Many of the major bike companies will be bringing their pro riders, many of whom will take groups on rides or offer short clinics (last year, Rebecca Rusch lead a women’s mountain bike ride.) Prior to the start of Outerbike, Western Spirit Cycling, which puts on Outerbike, will offer full-day guided rides and mountain biking clinics which split riders up according to ability and offer chances to learn or improve on technical skills while riding amazing cinnamon-colored trails through an area so scenic it is surrounded by two national parks, a state park and a national forest.
I had the chance to attend Outerbike for its first year and found it was organized with just the right level of professional support. Walk around the expo area and enter the booth of any of the bike frame manufacturers and they’ll custom fit you on the bike of your choice for a demo ride. It’s your chance to test out the brand-new 2012 bikes and have first-hand experience with the latest innovations. Return the bike and try another one to compare or contrast. It’s the chance to become educated, so feel free to ask questions of the people who know the bikes and components the best. There is a great variety of trails near the Outerbike site, but shuttles will take riders to favorite Moab trails.
In addition to the demos, Outerbike offers a sweet swag bag, free Clif bar products to take with you on the trail, offerings of fresh fruit during the day, coolers of water or Acli-Mate (a new sports drink made especially for activities at altitude), a catered lunch, and as the afternoon winds down, riders can head back to the expo site to relax at the Beer Garden. The fun continues into the night back in Moab with movies. Watch Klunkerz, a documentary about the history of mountain biking on Thursday night, then on Friday check out the adrenalin-pumping “3 Minute Gaps”, and enjoy a party on Saturday night!
New this year is a morning yoga class especially for cyclists taught by Rita Leon of Bicycles, Yoga and You. Be there at 8am to start your day right!
Here’s a sampling of the bicycle companies who will be there: Specialized, Trek, Giant, Orbea, BH, GT, Kona, Rocky Mountain, Pivot, Santa Cruz, Yeti, Ibis and more. Plus there are gear and apparel companies as well!
How to Take a Test Ride
Here’s a few tips to get the most out of your bike demo:
1. Wear the right clothes, shoes and helmet. At Outerbike, you’ll want to bring your own pedals.
2. Do a quick pre-ride check. You’ll get a quick basic fit, but make sure you’re comfortable with where the saddle is set. Ride around the expo area for the first few minutes to get the feel of it. If it’s a mountain bike, check to see if the suspension feels right. (You can bring a multi-tool just in case. Rebecca Rusch lowered my seat an hour into our ride and it made a big difference!)
3. Don’t cut the ride too short. Give the bike a chance to show you what it’s capable of. Ride it up and down a hill and take that corner nice and tight. Put it through a few tests of your own.
4. If you are trying lots of bikes, take photos and notes to help you remember which bikes you liked the best and why. When the 2012 bikes hit the market, you’ll know what you want.
5. There are some awesome high-end bikes to try out. See what attributes they have that you like so much and compare them with the moderate priced models.
6. Have a conversation with the experts at the booth. Tell them about the type of riding you like to do, the areas you usually ride in and what you want in a bike. They’ll tell you about the cool features of the bike you’ll be demoing and you can ride more aware of the unique attributes of the bike. They’ll be interested in your feedback after the ride as well.
7. Get there early in the morning for the best selection of bikes.
8. This desert playland is scenic, but very dry. You will want bring a hydration pack to take on your rides. There are no water bottle cages on these brand-new bikes! Osprey and Deuter will be featuring their newest hydration packs at their booths so you can buy one if needed.