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E-bikes in spotlight once again as Eurobike 2015 gears up

Published August 25, 2015
Sunny Demo Day is a welcome break from last year’s rainy Messe debut.

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — High-profile bike brands may come and go from the Eurobike landscape, but the international trade show appears to be as strong as ever with 1,350 exhibitors, 45,000 trade visitors and — on the final day — 20,000 consumers expected to converge on the Messe Friedrichshafen from Wednesday through Saturday this week.

“The show ground is fully booked. We use really every square meter we can use for exhibitors,” said Stefan Reisinger, who heads the trade show as Eurobike project director.

Following in the footsteps of such fellow U.S. brands as Trek and Specialized, Felt Bicycles decided to exit Eurobike this year in favor of holding its own dealer events throughout Europe. “So in essence, Felt is turning from a global brand presentation at Eurobike with limited dealer benefits to a national/local dealer support strategy,” Felt GmbH president Michael Müllmann said in announcing the decision this past spring.

But Reisinger remains hopeful that Felt will return to the show in some capacity. 

“That’s another American brand opting out. They had quite a nice booth in the past at the show, and it’s always a shame to lose a longtime customer and brand,” he said. “But on the other hand, we have a very good relationship with their German distributor, so we’re still talking a lot and maybe we can find a way to get them back in the future. We’ll listen to their needs and see what the future holds.”

Not that Felt’s absence leaves a void in the exhibition halls. On Tuesday, Merida was busy setting up shop in Felt’s former space. Also, many new exhibitors have come in this year — particularly from the Far East, Reisinger noted — and ongoing brands including Cycling Sports Group and Germany’s Stevens have expanded their footprints.

Jens Haug, European marketing director for Cycling Sports Group, said that even though CSG has recently increased its number of regional dealer events, Eurobike still remains a valuable date on the calendar for the company’s brands and their European dealers. 

“We are also doing regional dealer camps in July timing, but Eurobike is actually a very important global show for us,” he said. “It’s a great platform to present your brands, meet various journalists, industry partners, opinion leaders and athletes. It is also a great platform for dealers where they get the opportunity to have a look at the entire competition landscape out there — not to forget the consumer day, where you reach more than 20,000 interested consumers.”

Electric bikes — particularly the emerging e-MTB category — had a huge presence at last year’s show, and Reisinger expects that trend to continue this year, with models sporting greater sophistication. 

“The whole electric segment is fast growing, and there are a huge number of models coming from e-mountain biking to city and trekking bikes. All the technical integration of the bikes and batteries is getting better and better. That’s the area where you’re seeing the most innovation right now, because it’s still a young category for the bike industry and there’s a lot to improve on and move forward on in the future,” he said.

At an opening press conference for the show Tuesday at the Messe, Reisinger said the growing presence of e-bikes and other bikes for mobility complements Eurobike’s roots as a “pure sports” trade show.

“It makes a contribution toward a healthy lifestyle, a more positive lifestyle,” he said.

Rain rolled into Friedrichshafen on Monday but cleared up by the opening of Demo Day on Tuesday, a welcome break from last year’s soggy affair. At the Messe’s demo grounds — home for the event a second year after moving from its former off-site location in Argenbuhl in 2014 — everything from 27.5-plus mountain bikes and recumbent fat trikes could be seen rolling out for test rides along with high-end road models and electrified city bikes.

"The better weather at demo this year is attracting more casual observers," said Aaron Abrams, road product manager for Marin Bikes. "Last year it seemed that only the people decked out in full rain gear were testing bikes.”

Lance Bohlen, managing director of FSA, had a different perspective.

“I’ve been to every Eurobike, and I think that demo used to feel busier when it was out at the old location,” he said. “And bad weather doesn’t really keep the Europeans away because they're used to it. But the sun and some vitamin D sure is good for jet lag!"


A bird’s-eye view of the Demo Day grounds Tuesday.
Topics associated with this article: Tradeshows and conferences, Eurobike

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