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Bike Week sets earlier 2012 schedule

Published December 5, 2011

TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN)—Taichung Bike Week moves two weeks earlier next year as organizers strive for better balance between American and European spec calendars.

The new dates will be Nov. 13 to 16, falling a week before the American Thanksgiving holiday. That should appeal to U.S. product managers under pressure from increasingly earlier spec deadlines while not landing on the calendar too soon for Europeans working on a later schedule.

“This is a compromise that should work for everybody,” said Pro-Lite’s Katerina Rejchrtova, a volunteer organizer of the annual OEM fair.

The new dates should also ease congestion at Taichung area factories where product teams often schedule visits around Bike Week. With the new timeline, Americans would likely come to Taiwan earlier and leave sooner in order to get home for Thanksgiving while Europeans would arrive and depart later, spreading the crowds out over a longer period, Rejchrtova added.

Ride On, a concurrent spec show supported by eight key industry brands, will move its dates to coincide with Bike Week next year, she said.

Adam Micklin, Hayes’ director of global sales, said he’s amenable to the earlier dates so long as his key customers still plan to show up.

“For me, Ride On is 90 percent international and 10 percent Americans. As long as we don’t lose the Europeans’ attendance then it’s a great move. If the European customer tells me and tells us that December is better. then I think it’s a big mistake,” he said.

Eric Kimble, the American owner of Colmax, a Taiwan-based distributor of international brands including Campagnolo, Park Tool and Continental, said Europeans he polled reported that they could live with dates even if they’re not ideal.

This year’s Bike Week wrapped Friday with 2,000 to 2,500 industry folks scattered through the halls and hotel rooms of the Tempus, Evergreen and Splendor hotels along Taichung’s bustling Port Road, talking product, pricing and forecasts for 2013 bike spec. That’s up from about 1,500 last year, Rejchrtova said.

Evergreen and Tempus were at maximum exhibitor capacity with 80 and 40 brands, respectively. The Splendor, which is about a 10-minute walk from the two centralized hotels, played the role of overflow again this year with 15 exhibitors. Rejchrtova and co-organizer Steve Fenton, Pro-Lite’s owner, expect that number to swell to at least 80 next year based on early indications of another growth year in 2012.

“I had 10 or 11 companies that visited here say, ‘This is my card. I want to exhibit next year,’” Rejchrtova said. “Everybody exhibiting now will also be here next year.”

Ride On also had record turnout during its four-day run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 thanks in part to a move downtown to the swanky Hotel One from the Freshfields Resort and Nan Shan Educational Center, about a 45-minute drive outside of the city.

Organizer Luca Conte tallied nearly 200 visitors on opening day—not including visitors to the Chinese-only language presentations at Taiwan Day—and expected another 160 by Saturday’s close.

“It was a good decision to come down here,” Conte noted, adding that the event will stay at Hotel One next year.

—Nicole Formosa

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