SCHWÄBISCH GMÜND, Germany (BRAIN)—The European Handmade Bicycle Exhibition has canceled its 2011 show due to low registration numbers, according to Indra Sarkar, who organized the event with business partner Ingo Brandtl, of 2SoulsCycles.
The show had been planned for May 20 to 22 in the town of Schwäbisch Gmünd, about 50 miles east of Stuttgart. Instead, organizers invite framebuilders to gather for a meeting on those dates to discuss the future of the organization and possible other projects between the group.
Despite success in its first two years, Sarkar said he believes the event did not attract the same turnout this year for several different reasons. For one, there was a difference in opinion among framebuilders about how professional the show should be; how selective admissions criteria should be; and whether the small town of Schwäbisch Gmünd—where 2SoulsCycle is located—was the right place for the show.
“Our original intention with the event was not to become event managers and promote whatever comes our way. We wanted to bring all those small framebuilders together who don’t have a large, if any, marketing budget, and together through shared activities, bring public awareness of the branch,” Sarkar said.
Also exhibitors had differing expectations of the number of consumers coming to the three-day show. Some bigger brands felt their return on investment wasn’t worthwhile because there were too few visitors, while small framebuilders preferred less traffic and appreciated the few who took the time and effort to see them instead of thousands of people walking by, Sarkar said.
The exhibition launched in May 2009. It was the first show of its kind in Europe and aimed to follow in the footsteps of the successful North American Handmade Bicycle Show. After a sellout show in its first year, the show returned in 2010 with 90 exhibitors, 12 of which traveled from the U.S. to attend including Seven, Serotta and Independent Fabrication.
There was less interest this year from the U.S. brands, Sarkar said, because with the exception of Matt Klucha of MHS1, they were represented at the show by sales staff who cannot profit by networking with other framebuilders and whose companies are not in a stage where there’s an advantage for shared publicity.
“Maybe for them, it’s more reasonable to exhibit in bigger cities and established events,” he said.
Other exhibitors included 18 Bikes out of the U.K., Italy’s De Rosa and Tommasini, Julie Racing Design and Ulrich Vogel. More than a third of the exhibitors were from Germany.