I’m fortunate enough to be located within a few hours of Crested Butte, CO, the Summer venue for Outerbike. For the uninitiated Outerbike is a multiday bike demo, organized by Western Spirit with hundreds of demo bikes at some of the most iconic riding locations in the United States. This was my first opportunity to attend and I’ll be back with details on the bikes I rode but I wanted to give an overview of my experience at this demo event.
Outerbike is a 3-day event with really all your needs taken care of for you while demoing bikes. There is a registration fee for the event. This covers your lunches for 3 days at the event, lift tickets and unlimited bike demos from all the brands at the event.
Lodging for the event is the participants responsibility. This means that you have a number of options. The Crested Butte Outerbike is located right at Crested Butte Mountain resort so hotel/condo stays are simple. Alternatively, camping in Crested Butte is available outside of town. This is the option I chose and I was able to find a site Thursday night for myself and a couple of my riding friends (The Crashing Dad & Unprofessional Kyle) about 15 minutes from the event venue.
When you check in at Outerbike you are given some swag, a lift ticket and a special card. This card is your ticket to demo bikes. And boy are there a lot of bikes to demo. I ended up riding for 2 days of the 3 day demo event an got on bikes from Evil, Fezzari, Rocky Mountain, Transition, Marin, Niner and Alchemy.
Lines and Bike Availability
When I came up to the first day of demos I was a bit worried. The line probably had 50 to 100 people in it waiting to get into the demo area already. Would there be enough bikes? As it turned out my fears were unfounded. I was able to walk… not run like a crazy person on Black Friday and get on my first bike, the Fezzari La Sal Peak.
The Demo Experience
Each bike company handles their own demos so the experience is unique to each vendor. Some companies require you to fill out an additional form while they set up your bike. You’ll want to know your riding weight (your weight plus everything you carry while riding) as this will allow the staff to set up your suspension properly. It’s also a good idea to bring along your own pedals. All of the companies will have their own but being on your own pedals allows you to feel the differences in bikes more easily.
I would also recommend bringing along a multi-tool, shock pump and mini-pump. The demo staff at each manufactures tent will do their best to get the bike set up for you, but there will most likely be small tweaks you want to make once your get on the trail.
After you’ve obtained your bike the Crested Butte venue offers just about everything you could want for testing bikes. The venue offers lift service access to miles of both cross country trails and downhill trails. This means you can test bikes all day without getting tired. It also means that a quick bike swap is relatively easy as unless you wander further away, your never more than a few miles from the event area. I was able to test about 4 bikes a day putting in multiple laps at the bike park.
I handled breakfast and coffee at my campsite every morning. Then, lunch was provided every day. The “big white tent” housed a buffet style lunch with several options every day. This meant that it would have been relatively easy for someone with dietary restrictions to find options, plus you could go back for seconds!
At the end of the day free beer was also provided in the big white tent for those over 21. Just another added perk! I did bring along some bars and my own hydration pack. However, Tailwind Nutrition was there for the entire event providing drink samples and there were also Cliff bars often hanging around in bowls around the venue.
Overall the value of the Outerbike event was great. For $240 you get three lift tickets that would cost about $120 on their own, all the bike demos (so no rental bikes needed) and lunches and beers. I would recommend Outerbike Crested Butte to anyone that is looking to make a larger ($3000+) bike purchase. In addition I would also recommend Outerbike Crested Butte to anyone who perhaps has a hardtail or cross country bike that they would not be comfortable riding on downhill trails. When you factor in rental costs of around $100 a day, Outerbike is a no brainer for riding some lift-access trails even if you aren’t planning on buying a bike.
I had a blast at Outerbike Crested Butte. You’ll be seeing ride reviews of a number of the bikes I tested popping up on the site soon. Stay tuned for more from Outerbike Crested Butte 2019!