Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ausbike 2009 - Melbourne, Australia

Held at the Melbourne Showground’s over Sunday 16 and Monday 17 August, Ausbike Australia 09 was a bike expo covering all things cycling, including BMX and even a little flatland.

Mike D and Kickass were there, Kickass had probably the best range of flatland gear at the show with Taka’s seat tubeless Giga frame and slotted everything from St Martin as well as nice stuff from Mankind.

Ummmm, and that’s about it. In fact that is the total extent of flatland specific stuff on show at Austbike 09.

However had Mike’s van broken down on the Hume it is completely likely that an event essentially designed to bring everyone involved in the industry together would actually be an event the brought everyone in the industry together, except flatland.

Whist physical flatland product was lacking, talk abounded… well, talk only abounded when people were poked for it, as it turned out.

In media news, a prominent flatlander is getting a feature article in the next 2020.

Both 2020 and Rebel Yell had stands at the event and both were probably the best stands at the expo. 2020 had a Spartan setup with a sofa, free copies of the mag and a camera so you could take photos of yourself sitting on the sofa and presumably doing any number of wacky things.

Rebel Yell had a fair bit of furniture that looked like it came from the op-shop arranged in their space as well as free back copies of most editions of the magazine and even stupidly small free coffees. The coffees were stupidly small because of expo politics and when it was suggested that they setup a bar instead, Pollack said that he had planned to but were told they could have nothing so they bargained to the 30mil cups of espresso.

The rep at the DK stand said that they had about 50 complete flatland bikes for sale at $699rrp. The bikes are the model after the DK Signal and contain a number of upgrades including three piece cranks but they did not bother bringing them to the show because they were part of the 2009 products.

Paul Knox from Elite Cycle Imports informed us that that he was expecting another child, that S&M were doing more LTF’s and that he was unaware the Paul Chamberlin had left the country six months ago saying “that would explain why he hasn’t been round to pick up his wheels”.

And again, that’s about it. Attending these events really shows the third world country that Australia is when it comes to flatland.

Whist you often come across riders complaining about the lack of flatland products available locally, a trade show like Ausbike reveals the other side of the coin.

Almost every distributor had a well founded horror story about loosing a large amount of money on flatland products. Whether it is because of low consumer numbers, high minimum stock purchases or the way the Aussie dollar goes up and down like a hookers panties, each seemed reluctant to invest large amounts of time and money in flatland products.

But can you blame them? Scottish John from Triple Six said anecdotally “for every 1000 BMX frames we sell, only one would be flat”.

The non flatland news worth mentioning to come out of Ausbike is short and sweet. The SE PK Ripper and Quadangle re-releases are a mish mash of the old and the new with things like US bottom brackets, 48 spline three piece crank sets and external headsets. There were a lot of cool arty helmets available for the consumer including some sparkly Nazi style ones. There were some cool wooden bikes for toddlers with 12” wheels and inflated rubber tires. The most contrived head tube ever invented (even for a track bike) was on show. And lastly there were these cool camper trailers for bikes that include a huge bed and solar panels (the perfect Christmas gift for Ben Moran).

The highlight of the event was the Freestyle BMX Australia stand which was completely empty except for a large steel crowd control barrier and whilst it was not great in the traditional sense, it did set up a fantastic metaphor and made important self comment on the relationship between FBMX Australia and the rest of the community.

The biggest trend for the event was plastic pedals, fucking plastic pedals, everywhere you looked it was plastic pedals in every imaginable colour. Matt Holmes said all the plastic was part of a twenty year cycle in BMX part design however it is possible that BMX riders are just cheap.

Last observation, it is unknown why a bicycle expo, held in Australia and called Ausbike would need to suffix its official title with “Australia”, but a guess would be so nobody confesses it the Austrian event of the same name.

Ausbike is set to be in Melbourne for the next five years as well as another expo type event in Adelaide in January 2010.


Photos appear courtesy of: David Apostol

No comments:

Post a Comment