So I never go to bike shows. Never. I hate them. I spend too much time on my feet, destroy my vocal chords, and start to hate bikes from talking about them so much (which makes you wonder why I post so much to the blog, no?) I posted this in response to the NAHBS show prizewinners on a thread on MTBR. For the record, I think NAHBS is a great idea - but you'll never see me there.
I doubt anyone who attended would say that NAHBS sucks (though of course this statement screams "selection bias"). And I'm probably the wrong person to ask, since I avoid bike shows like the plague (hate traveling, hate crowds, don't really want to spend a nice weekend talking about bikes instead of riding them).
Shows and awards are an interesting problem with bikes - they want to make headlines and draw attention, but if they only give awards to crazy/weird stuff, they risk making the entire weekend into a freakshow rather than a bike show (didn't a highly decorated $3k kids trike win one year?).
The Naked bike is the most "innovative" one there in terms of appearance - but it's pretty much a standard single pivot suspension setup that's been gussied up with chrome and _wood_ (not sure I see the point of a wooden seatpost, except to get attention). Not sure you want to continue too much farther down that road - I'd rather ride most any of the other bikes given awards, personally, because I'm not the type to spend much time looking at my bike while I'm riding it, and I don't trust wooden parts all that much.
Personally, I think that they should *only* give awards to bikes that have been ridden at least a little, and preferably quite a bit - the IF carbon bike that was glued together the week before the show (and may very well never have been ridden) is truly a dumb choice, but I'm guessing not many carbon folks show up, and they can't give Crumpton the award every year.
So no, I don't think NAHBS is retarded. I do think giving out awards is a process fraught with problems, but it draws attention, which is the point of the show. So it's something that they will probably continue doing.
As for me, I'll be out riding.