Shows are odd places that function below the surface in ways you wouldn’t naturally expect them to. Where are the big brands? That’s a question we get asked a lot and from the public’s POV it can often be a bit baffling that the really big names don’t usually show themselves at public outings like expos. It’s frequently not because the brands are ‘busy elsewhere’ since most of the staff and sales guys are to be found walking the aisles anyway. The reality is that very often the big brands don’t actually need to be at these things. They have networks of dealers who all hold stock of their brands and they have mags and websites like us who post from product launches on the latest gear. It can be a frustration that you can’t touch the model you are thinking about buying next at a big show like this and especially so when almost no dealer can present any brand’s complete range, but sadly, for the big brands it sometimes isn’t worth the massive expense of exhibiting to the public, when pretty much all the public know who they are and what they have to offer.
Shows are about awareness and smaller businesses, without large brand scale distribution networks, need to get their wares in front of the public to get them started. That’s why shows are mostly made up of the small businesses and those just starting out. The result is a great many weird and wonderful products on display – some quite bizarre. As one exhibitor told me earlier, ‘It’s like parade of Dragons Den candidates.’
So here’s a selection of some of the less mainstream stands that have been trying to put themselves in the publics’ eye at the London Bike Show.
First off is the Velocitylight. It’s a tail light that displays your actual speed to the drivers behind. But why? Well I asked. Apparently, drivers act on a subconscious level to actual numbers, especially changing numbers, and so you become more visible… apparently.
The light also brightens as your speed decreases giving a sort of brake light effect. Essentially it’s a bike computer that sits on your seat post, in fact the sensor can double as your proper bike computer so you too can see what speed you are doing – not just the police.
Here we have tins of spray on reflective paint. Classily daub your existing clothing and you too can look like a 3 year olds interpretation of an extra from TRON.
If your helmet isn’t quite coordinating with your outfit while you commute to work you can dress it in one of these extraordinarily large hats from Rocki Noggins.
Next we have the jetwash that uses a combination of water and air. Apparently, many pro CX racers will use airlines at races to clear their bikes of mud rather than water. Nick Craig told us that so it must be true.
It uses a small drinks bottle of water combined with a 1500w air compressor to both wash and dry your bike. Design wise we aren’t sure about the ‘probe’ style handle although we reckon any Blakes7 fans may be currently having flashbacks. Looks aside, the thing certainly seems to work going off the on-stand demo we were given.
Sometimes all the space doesn’t get sold or someone backs out at the very last minute and the organisers are left with a few days to try and not leave an embarrassing sized hole in the floor plan. That’s when you get exhibitors like these. Oak dining tables anyone? Very good prices.
Summit Finish. These guys are just down the road from us in Halifax and they will custom make you a little tombstone to mark your latest summit. www.summitfinish.co.uk.
Aftershox are headphones apparently copied from the earpieces used by secret service agents. They don’t sit over the ear – instead they contact the boney bit just in front of your ear and the sound travels to your brain (inner ear actually) without going down your ear canal. The relevance here of course, is that your ears are left clear for sounds of that skidding truck behind you while you dodge buses.