FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN)—Comments about the massive size of the Eurobike trade show echoed throughout Messe Friedrichshafen’s 14 exhibition halls as the indoor show kicked off on Wednesday morning.
“It’s been 12 years [since I’ve been to Eurobike] so I’m blown away. I’m completely floored,” Scott Rittschof, president of Focus Bicycles USA, said of the show’s size.
A record 1,028 vendors are exhibiting at the show, which is spread among 14 halls in more than one million square feet in the resort town of Friedrichshafen, Germany.
This year, two new halls and a new entrance helped handle the growing demand for booth space.
Eddy Merckx Cycles used the venue to launch its new line of women’s road bikes, as well as two new carbon fiber road frames. Merckx's attendance at a press conference on Wednesday morning to introduce the 2010 line elicited constant camera clicks as photographers clamored to snap photos of the cycling legend.
The brand has picked up South Africa’s Mtn Cycling Team, and expects to announce the sponsorship of a pro tour team in the next month. That exposure will hopefully spark sales of the brand in the U.S., which has performed poorly over the last five years, said Pieter Vansynghel, chief executive officer of Eddy Merckx Cycles.
The brand, which is distributed by Gita in the U.S., has sold fewer frames in the past five years than it did a decade ago, when it was known for steel frames, Vansynghel said.
“It’s not well-known. Everyone knows Eddy Merckx, but they don’t know he’s a frame builder,” Vansynghel said.
Zipp also launched a host of new products at Eurobike, including the 101 wheelset—its first fully toroidal aluminum wheelset —, the Super 9 Disc Wheel and the RZR Shifter, which offers triathletes and time trialists aerodynamic bar end shifters.
The Speedway, Indiana-based company brand is forecasting flat growth for 2010 due to uncertainty about how the industry will continue to be impacted by the global economic downturn.
“That to us is very, very unusual. We’re used to double digit plus growth,” Brian Gavette, national sales manager for Zipp, said while taking a break at the SRAM-sponsored café behind the Zipp booth.
Zipp has seen average growth of 30 percent annually for the past four years, and is on track this year to match 2008 revenue. Zipp hopes to maintain that pace in 2010, Gavette said.
The brand, which SRAM bought two years ago, is partnering with its parent to help grow its OE sales—which account for 20 to 25 percent of its overall revenue—while assisting SRAM on the aftermarket side.
One way it’s done that is tapping its sales force of about 30 Zipp reps to support dealers with SRAM’s Red, Rival and Force road components, Gavette said. That program began earlier this year.
The trade portion runs of Eurobike runs through Friday, followed by a consumer day on Saturday.
PHOTO: Cycling legend Eddy Merckx is flanked by Peter Vansynghel, his company's CEO, on the right and a representative from South Africa's Mtn Cycling Team on the left during a press conference Wednesday morning at Eurobike.