INTERBIKE: The stands that deliver (and why bikinis can still pull in the crowds)

“We could have put 400 saddles out and had a cramped booth. Instead we did this.” Those are the words of Clark Kent lookalike Steve Carr, a Geordie, ex of Shimano Europa, now with Italian saddle maker Selle Royal SpA. His stand demonstrates that, just like in retail store display, less can be more. But there are also other ways of impressing the crowds...
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Brasher than the Selle Royal stand is the blow-up one from Giro. Others of note include the Tioga stand which features semi-clad females, and the see-through bikes atop the Rock Shox stand. But, first, Selle Royal...

It’s a big white box. Inside, the white walls are covered with classy black and white photographs of cyclists from around the world taken by a venerable Italian photographer. It’s more like an art gallery than a trade show stand.

The stand is getting its first outing at Interbike.

Its aim is to shine a spotlight - figuritively and literally - on Technogel, Selle Royal’s bottom-saving saddle gel. Tastefully ring-lit from below, the main seating arrangement in the enclosed stand-cum-gallery is topped with fat gel squares.

Close to the walls, offset from the photos, are long thin poles holding Selle Royal saddles. Each day a new set of saddles are displayed. Yesterday the highlight was a snakeskin saddle (pictured below). Not faux skin, the real stuff. But no pythons will die to make production snakeskin saddles, the fi’zi:k saddle was a trade show one-off.

Stand visitors could chill out on the Voyager Nest chair by Italian artist Gaby Fois Dorell. One of these amoeba-looking contraptions recently sold for $14 000. It’s topped with Technogel.

Over on the Giro stand, things have been blown up out of all proportions. The stand is covered in a giant see-through li-lo. Helmets are displayed in recesses in plastic walls. Headline helmets are displayed in perspex globes.

Another Perspex user is Rock Shox: their latest suspension units are displayed to great effect on see-through perspex bicycles. They've been used before at Interbike, but they're still dramatic.

Resorting to more traditional ways of attracting the attention of (mostly male) trade show visitors, the Tioga stand scores, ahem, a double whammy: not only can teenage staffers lust after the scantily-clad pair of ‘page three stunnas’ they can race each other with small radio-controlled cars on a Tioga themed table-top race track. The ‘porn stars’, as one wag called them, were there – in their chequered-flag bikinis – to officiate.

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