FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — Occasional rain showers and cool temperatures didn't stop showgoers from getting on the trail for Eurobike's Demo Day on Tuesday. For the first time, Demo Day was held on show grounds, adjacent to the Messe where the Eurobike expo takes place in Friedrichshafen.
At an industry panel discussion held Tuesday morning, Eurobike show director Stefan Resinger told the media that moving the demo venue from its previous location near the town of Argenbuhl was a difficult but necessary decision.
“The logistics have always been very challenging with the demo area being 45 minutes away from the show hall,” Resinger said. “We had a lot of feedback and decided that moving the demo closer would make it easier for everyone.”
Simplified logistics and convenience were enough to attract a record number of exhibitors to Demo Day. “This year, 147 companies and brands registered for the test event, which has grown in area by more than 17 percent,” said Dirk Heidrich, project leader for Eurobike.
Aaron Abrams of Marin Bicycles said the bigger venue afforded the company a more spacious booth. “It's more open and there is better access,” said Abrams, road product manager for Marin. “We have double the booth space we had last year — which is nice because we have the same number of bikes.”
Abrams, who has attended Demo Day three times before, said the opportunity to test different e-bikes attracts a number of showgoers — including his own father, Dan Abrams. A longtime retailer in the U.S. and now resident of Costa Rica, Dan Abrams came to Eurobike this year to get a pulse on the e-bike scene.
“I've been working with e-bikes for more than 20 years, and this year I wanted to see the state of the e-bike market in a place that has really embraced them,” he said.
Dan Abrams sold his Sierra Vista, Arizona, shop Sun and Spokes, which he operated since 1976, three years ago and retired to Costa Rica, where he opened Playa Bike, a bike rental and maintenance shop. Seeing a need for e-bikes in his hilly, rural beach town of Nosara, Abrams bought six Pedego e-bikes and five fat bikes for beach riding, which he rents to tourists who come for the surfing and a number of yoga retreats held there.
“It's amazing the number of different technologies now. I've seen them come a long way in 20 years,” said Abrams. “And to see so many companies here with e-bikes — and we know it's all coming to the U.S. eventually, which is exciting because it's really a brand new industry, so we can guide it, change it and watch it grow around us. How many opportunities do we really have to do that in our industry?”
And e-bikes dominated on the test track, located in and alongside a strip of trees bordering the demo area. Non-electric bikes seemed to be the minority leaving the demo as showgoers cruised out of the venue on a plethora of electric city and cargo bikes, electric trikes and even an electric unicycle, while e-MTB riders rode the new singletrack trail that winds up to an overlook above the demo area.
Also with a record number of exhibitors, the 23rd annual Eurobike show kicks off Wednesday morning. Reisinger said 1,320 exhibitors from 54 countries will set up for the indoor expo, a 3 percent increase over 2013. About 45,000 retailers, suppliers and consumers from 100 nations and 1,800 journalists are expected to attend the show.
Eurobike runs through Saturday, Aug. 30, the day the show is open to the public.