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Some big names skipping Eurobike

Published July 23, 2021
Travel restrictions, COVID-19 concerns, inventory challenges among reasons given for bypassing this year's expo.

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — Eurobike released its initial exhibitor list this week for the upcoming 29th edition of the expo that will be held for the first time in two years following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The list is almost as notable for who's missing as for who is attending the final show at its longtime home on Lake Constance. Eurobike moves to Frankfurt next summer. Eurobike officials were unavailable this week. The show released the preliminary list earlier this week; however, the link to that list was broken Friday morning. A cached version of the list is attached.

With about six weeks left until the Sept. 1-4 expo begins at the Messe Friedrichshafen, the list was not final, but BRAIN has confirmed that some industry stalwarts, who were at Eurobike's last in-person show, in 2019, don't plan to attend in 2021. They include: Bianchi, Fox Factory, Wahoo Fitness, Lezyne, Zwift and SRAM.

The list of confirmed attendees includes Shimano Europe, which typically has a large presence at the show. FSA also was on the list, along with an array of European distributors and micro-mobility vendors. Other brands on the list who will be familiar to U.S. retailers include Abus, Alligator, Bafang, Blubrake, Bryton, Burley Design, CatEye, Challenge, DT Swiss, Feedback Sports, Gates CarbonDrive, Goodyear, Greyp, Huffy, Industry Nine, Intense, Jagwire, KMC Europe, Lazer Sport, Magura, Motorex, Niner, Panaracer, Pearl Izumi, Rohloff, Sapim, Schwalbe, Sena, Sidi, Sqlab, Swisstop, Tektro, Robert Axle Project, VAAST, Velotoze, WD40, Wilier Triestina, and Zefal. 

Eurobike concedes a lot of names are missing.

"A whole host of brand entries are still missing, as we continue to be involved with the process of stand approval and media entries for many exhibitors," according to a Eurobike release on Tuesday. "During these times, everything has to be planned at shorter notice, and planning in advance is less reliable than we were used to before the pandemic. It goes without saying, though, that we are happy to take on this challenge as well."

BRAIN contacted a few companies who attended in 2019 who either aren't attending this year or still undecided. Reasons vary from pandemic travel restrictions, anticipated lower attendance, global inventory challenges, and concern over the Delta variant driving another COVID-19 surge.

"We made the decision to not participate this year, but will continue to evaluate for the future," said Pat Hus, CEO of Bianchi USA. "The decision was driven by our leadership in Europe, and I think it had a lot to do with global inventory challenges, concerns on attendance based on COVID, and product introduction timing."

Dillon Clapp, Lezyne marketing manager, said the accessory company will skip Eurobike after attending in 2019 and "go big" at October's Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California.

"For us, it was still the uncertainty of the pandemic, and also not nearly enough of our key distributors/customers are planning to attend. We may still have one or two of our Europe- based sales guys go for some meetings, but we decided against a booth and sending our usual trade show team."

Scott Montgomery, CEO and founder of consulting agency CrankTank, said he's still on the fence. In 2019, CrankTank participated in Eurobike's Bike Biz Revolution program.

"The good side of going is we work closely with the Eurobike folks, and I know they would appreciate it if anyone comes because we tend to help them out and present during their Bike Biz Revolution," Montgomery said. "The downside is with all these variant discussions and more things shutting down ... What is ultimately going to drive whether we go or not is what our clients in essence demand. We're clearing every client we have who is European-based and weighing out how many are going and how many are not. I really do need to make a decision by the end of the month."

Zwift, which drew some of the biggest crowds at its booth in 2019 — featuring a 30x11-foot video screen with its indoor cycling platform displayed — will not connect with the expo this year. A spokesperson said it's because of travel restrictions for its UK-based team.

Another company that attracted a lot of attention at 2019 Eurobike was Wahoo Fitness, which debuted the KICKR BIKE to a large audience. It won't be there this year, a decision made based on who else was attending.

"I think there's a chance their German distributor may have a small presence, but that's not confirmed," a Wahoo spokesperson said.

Stan's NoTubes, which unveiled its DART Tool during the last Eurobike, remains undecided, "weighing a combination of factors vs. any one thing," said Chris Currie, creative director.

Fox Factory confirmed it will not be there but preferred not to state why.

Eurobike said the exhibitor list is being updated continuously with a variety of last-minute options to participate, including the Business Lounge for B2B meeting and event performance in the Demo Area.

It also previously released safety and hygiene regulations for attendees at the Messe Friedrichshafen venue. 

The event's first two days (Sept. 1-2) are open to trade visitors only. The third day (Sept. 3) is open to trade visitors and consumers. The final day (Sept. 4) is open to the public and includes festival events, demonstrations, races, and test rides. On Aug. 31, Eurobike will host an industry summit with live and digital events for media, institutions, associations, and politicians.

Attendance ultimately could be dependent on how widespread the COVID-19 variant becomes, Montgomery said.

"It's basically coming down to the powers that be of the governments more than anything else," he said. "If stuff stays open, then I think you can still go. But if there's more negative press, which it feels like with the creeping numbers and the lack of getting vaccines distributed worldwide, (it will be harder). That combined with everybody's over-return to normal is now naturally exposing a lot more people to a lot more people."

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