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CABDA West opens with good weather ‘for a change’

Published January 10, 2024

ONTARIO, Calif. (BRAIN) — Stormy winter weather is to be expected at CABDA Midwest, the reborn Chicagoland show. But since CABDA launched its inaugural California show in 2019, the show has endured several winter storms that hampered retail attendance. This year appears to be the exception, show organizer Jim Kersten told BRAIN on Tuesday. 

“The weather looks good for a change,” said Kersten, taking a short break from show setup at the Ontario Convention Center. The forecast is for temperatures in the high 50s and sunny conditions for the show. 

About 490 stores pre-registered, equating to around 1,475 attendees depending on how many employees each store brings, Kersten said. On the exhibitor side, the show sold 76 booths, showing an estimated 120 brands, about a 20% increase over last year. 

Retail attendance depends heavily on the weather. Kersten said California retailers respond differently than those in the Chicago or New York City area, home to the other two CABDA shows. “In Chicago and in the East, if it’s 35 degrees and raining, the retailers say, ‘great, let’s go to the show.’ Here (in California), if it’s a little drizzly, the retailers say they don’t want to drive and they stay home.”

He said many stores in the Chicago area will close shop for two days and bring most employees to the show. California dealers, in contrast, stay open and send one or two employees each day. But he said that might be changing as the show builds trust with regional retailers. 

This year’s CABDA West includes more retailer education than previous editions.

“We’re going pretty heavy on the education schedule,” Kersten said. “We are trying to push education on inventory control, business skills, marketing. Coming here is not just about seeing exciting shiny bicycles but it’s about trying to get some skills to weather what’s coming.”

This year’s show is open Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with networking breakfasts from 9 to 10 each morning. 

Product launches

CABDA shows typically are dealer events that lack the "exciting shiny bicycles" and media-facing product launches of past national shows like Interbike. But at least a few brands planned significant launches around CABDA West this year. 

Stromer's ST5 Pinion will make its North American debut at CABDA West.Stromer is using CABDA West as the North American launch of its ST5 Pinion commuter e-bike — only two of the models are currently in North America and both are at CABDA West. 

The new version of Stromer’s ST5 model now comes with the Pinion Smart.Shift electronic shifting system, integrated Blubrake anti-lock brakes and a new Stromer sound module to provide acoustic notification signals, and a long mudguard. 

The Class 3 bike features the electronic Pinion Smart.Shift system with a 9-speed Pinion C1.9i gearbox, Gates beltdrive and a 750-watt rear-wheel motor. A suspension fork and suspension seatpost are optional. Pricing starts at $11,990. The launch bikes at CABDA features an Imperial Red paint scheme, with production bikes in Aventurine Green.

Haro Bikes announced its new Saguaro “hardcore hardtail” aluminum 29ers earlier this week and is featuring the line at CABDA West. The launch timing was intentional, said Lars Hjort, Haro's new chief commericial officer. 

Haro is showing its new line of Saguaro 'hardcore hardtails' at CABDA West.


“Because we value our relationship with the IBD we want to launch together with them and where they are. We will reveal a new bike at every CABDA as we continue to expand Haro into new categories to be the preferred supplier of all bikes to IBDs,” Hjort said.

Haro says the Saguaro is not an XC hardtail. Instead, it has “an aggressive geometry and slack head angle that is more inclined to hauling down hills than pedaling up them.” The Saguaros have hydroformed aluminum frames mated to 140mm-travel forks and are available with three build kits, with MSRPs of $1,899.99, $2,399.99, and $3,999.99. They come in four sizes and two color options.

Canada’s Envo Drive Systems is showing three of its newest models at CABDA West. The brand, which made Deloitte’s list of the 500 fastest-growing tech companies last month, is showing its D50 and ST50 e-cargo/commuter bikes; its compact, folding e-bikes, the Lynx 20”;  and its lightweight STAX e-road bike.

Envo Drive Systems expects its Veemo e-trike to be a crowd favorite.“We definitely expect a lot of retailer excitement around our booth,” said ENVO COO Kayvan Pishghadam. Pishghadam said he expected the company's new Veemo weather-protected e-trike to grab attention from CABDA visitors. ENVO acquired VeloMetro, the Veemo's developer, last summer. The brand is hoping to expand its North American dealer base, which is currently about 140 retailers.


Haro is showing its new Saguaro line at CABDA West (Photo courtesy of Haro)
Topics associated with this article: Electric bike, CABDA

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