MILAN, Italy (BRAIN)—Some exhibitors might have frowned on the Milan bicycle show’s later dates and dropped out, but that didn’t seem to hamper the crowds of buyers and press that filled the halls and subway stations into the Fiera Milano and at nearby cafes and restaurants yesterday—when it opened to industry buyers and media.
Race announcements and rumbling of bikes around the new wooden velodrome track could be heard throughout—infusing EICMA with new energy. Though much of the crowd was consumers visiting the adjacent motorcycle show, there’s no denying that for Italians, EICMA also is an important bicycle exhibition. One example of its clout: local newspapers gave it front-page real estate, calling it the “prima conferenza nationale della bicicletta.”
“The timing is slightly late but it remains an important show for people who love handcrafted bicycles,” said Valentino Campagnolo, president and managing director of the renowned Italian componentry company bearing his name. “We’re here to introduce the new product range to shops and bicycle enthusiasts.”
For many exhibitors, Eurobike, Interbike and the Tokyo show have gained in importance as far as international shows go. But in their backyard, many Italian companies feel they owe it to their dealers and consumers to be here.
“Image is important. They have to see the best of us,” said Alessandro Colnago, who handles U.S. sales and distribution for the company founded by his uncle. And Colnago dealers are sure to be impressed with the company, as it had one of the biggest booths on the floor and was bustling with activity.
Campagnolo said his company used the same booth it did at Eurobike—though at some point it considered shrinking it for the show. “Our presence here costs money but enthusiasts expect to see Campagnolo,” he said.
Tomorrow EICMA opens to the public. And while most of the country’s dealers have already seen 2008 product lines at suppliers’ open houses or in the industry press and Internet, much of what’s on display is new to consumers, which is something Christiano De Rosa of De Rosa bikes identifies as one of the show’s biggest strengths.
“We agree this show isn’t to sell. We sell to dealers in July. It’s for consumers. But it’s possible to change Milano’s identity" to reflect that, he said.