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Extended demo days at Eurobike get mixed reviews

Published September 1, 2016
Signs throughout the demo grounds cautioned riders about speeds.

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — So how successful were Eurobike’s efforts to offer more demo riding opportunities by extending its demo to all three days of the trade show as well as its consumer festival days? It’s still a bit early to tell, but so far supplier reaction is mixed.

The expanded demo area, located between and behind the B halls on the exhibition grounds, offered more than 3,000 bikes and parts for testing.

On Wednesday, as rows of bikes sat idly on racks, some companies felt disappointed by the turnout.

Marin’s Chris Holmes said the company had only done five demos for the entire day on Wednesday. But the company still had to staff the demo booth on top of the inside trade show booth. “One downside is myself and product managers can’t go out to talk to media or dealers because we have to be at the inside booth — we are booked with appointments,” he said.

Ridley had also only offered about five demos on Wednesday. But by Thursday, traffic was picking up and more suppliers were reporting a steady stream of testers.

“It’s not what we thought it would be,” said Frank Aldorf of Canyon, about the traffic at the demo booth. “Maybe it’s because it’s spread out over five days. But it’s good to have an outside area for conversations.”

Show organizers set up signs throughout the demo area reminding dealers to ride slowly. But several exhibitors showed concern over the number of e-bikes being ridden at high speeds and the potential for crashes between pedestrians and riders.

Pivot had about 20 demo bikes on hand and Ben Webster, who was manning the booth, said that so far the company was sending out more demos than it had anticipated. “Maybe we’ll bring more bikes next year,” he said.

Webster said the surrounding trails weren’t ideal for putting some of Pivot’s longer-travel bikes through the wringer, but dealers could at least get a sense of sizing and general feel of a bike. “At Interbike’s demo, we’re slammed all day. Here we sat two hours in the morning and had one demo,” he noted. “But from midday to about 5 p.m. it starts getting busy.”

Webster also said that many riders show up in jeans, collared shirts and casual tennis shoes or sneakers to test a mountain bike, which is unusual for a demo. Most don’t bring helmets.

“I think the format of a dedicated demo and separate dedicated inside show is the way to go,” he said, so riders can come better prepared and not have to walk around the show in their riding kits or sweaty after demoing bikes. 

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