THE CONVENIENT CYCLIST

Seattle Bike Show: Everyone’s a winner!

I’ll be honest… When I first walked into the Seattle Bike Show as a first-time vendor, I wasn’t impressed. Apparently, there’s a general trend to co-deliver trade shows that feature both golf and cycling… and nobody’s Bike Show entry wristband even mentioned bikes. Just golf.

Bikes are a great way to explore, and you have to travel to find golf courses, so it’s the same audience, right?

To me, this felt a bit like a combination meditation & marathon running event–they both get “in the zone”, right? But there must’ve been over 100 booths, just on the biking side, and it wasn’t long before I was packing my bikes in and setting up my five CHANGE bikes for demoing.

Five bikes for a single bike show booth is insane, but because I had CHANGE bikes, they folded neatly out of the way when not being demoed. And I didn’t need to be part of the traffic jam at the loading dock either; Just carry them down from another floor of the parking garage, two at a time. I’ve become a big fan of the free carrying bag that comes with each CHANGE bike.

Activity on the floor…

In the 100+ demos Flatbike did over the two days, there were some common questions that would be good to answer for everyone:

  1. Does this work well with boats? Keeping your biking investment down below and out of the corrosive salt air? Absolutely. And it’s a great ride once you unfold it.
  2. Does this fly well? A frequent goal here is to avoid exorbitant surcharges of $75 to $100 for oversize baggage. Airlines have coalesced around 62 inches (Length + Height + Depth) as a max size.
    So do the math with a 26-inch mountain bike wheel, gear cassette, and 11-inch axle: 26+26+11 = 63 inches, making just a solo wheel “oversized”–even without the bike! Your best bet is to fold your bike into the original box without tools and ship it by bikeflights.com. (We just shipped a bike from Seattle to Orlando for $50, beating the oversize charges for airlines.)
  3. Do the pop-off pedals come in SPD? We’ve heard rumors that they do, and we’re working on tracking this down, along with distribution.

At some point during the demos, I realized that the CHANGE commuter bike’s combination of 30 teeth on the chain ring and 32 teeth on the rear cluster gave it a better than 1:1 hill-climbing ratio. Combine that with 4.6:1 at the high end–that’s 4.6 wheel revolutions per pedal turn–and this bike can hold its own against any bike in the show for all-around commuting ease on any paved surface. Folding is just an extra bonus.

Speaking of gear teeth and folding…

There were quiet moments before and after the show, when we got the chance to explore other booths. Like the “classic bikes” booth behind us, which included this early 1900’s racing bike. Not only was it from a time before derailleurs, but even the chain was strange, designed back when teeth were an inch apart, and multiple links fit between them.

Oh yes… and the rims? Those are wood.

These rims also got my attention. They’re on the Propella electric bike, which set up across from Flatbike.

This bike is well-designed, electrically engineered to perfection, lightweight, priced well, electric-assist… and a one-speed bike that still requires a bike rack or large car for transport.

Naturally, as we stood in the bike show aisle between the CHANGE folding frames and Propella electric bikes built around a frame, we wondered… should we do a joint prototype sometime?

We also got a visit from the maker of a shock-absorbing stem designed to make long rides more comfortable on any bike. Time for road-testing to see if we should carry it!

And last but not least…

We also raffled off a new CHANGE 702 commuter bike.

It was hard to do the raffle randomly, knowing some folks wanted it so much, but those are the rules…

In the raffle video below, I thought there were 80 entries, but upon closer inspection after the random selection, we had 127!

Everyone’s a winner.

Bottom line, it was a great weekend. Lots of people got to see a CHANGE bike in action. Some people rode a couple of them once the crowds died down; one rider even got admonished “Slow down!” by Security when she tried to open up the gearing. And everyone who participated got a special bike-show discount at Flatbike.com.

We also got some great feedback on what other great components might make biking easier. And I got to make a wonderful phone call at the end:

“Hey, Scott Renz. This is Bob Forgrave from Flatbike. How tall are you? These CHANGE bikes come in four sizes, you know…”.    “No way! Are you serious???”

Thanks for the chance to meet, and let’s have a surprisingly good Spring together.

Bob Forgrave's Signature

Bob Forgrave
President, Flatbike.com

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