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Whatever the date, Eurobike is still key to many US brands

Published July 5, 2018

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — This year’s Eurobike show is set to open Sunday, a day after the Tour de France begins. That unusually early date offers both challenges and opportunities, exhibitors told BRAIN, and the challenges probably played into this week’s announcement that next year Eurobike will move back to August.

This year’s early July dates mean many European retailers are either on vacation or too busy selling bikes to find time to come to the show. Being in prime tourism season means flights and other costs are higher than Eurobike’s traditional early fall timing. And some brands who plan product introductions at the Tour, or have to support teams there, may find it difficult for staff to be two places at once.

"It’s a little bit challenging, but we’ve known these dates for a while," said Eric Richter, Giro’s global brand development manager. Giro typically launches new helmets at the Tour and supports several teams there, standing by, for example, to provide custom-colored helmets if a team or one of its riders takes the lead in a race category.

"It will be an opportunity to spotlight new introductions at both the Tour de France and a trade show. So we can tie our sports marketing to things that might be previewed at the show," Richter said.

Like other major trade shows, Eurobike has had many major bike brands pull out in recent years, in favor of private dealer shows and other events. This year, Campagnolo is a significant no-show, for example.

But the 2018 show is sold out, with about 1,400 exhibitors signed up and a waiting list of companies looking to get into the Messe Friedrichshafen. New exhibitors this year include Kona, for example, which is coming back after several years of sitting out the event. The company plans to show off its new e-bike offerings to European retailers. Eurobike will also feature some new brands, like Rubber Kinetics, the U.S.-based company that is introducing Goodyear tires to the bike shop market. 

U.S. brands say, regardless of timing, Eurobike remains the best place to meet with their global distributors — especially European distributors, of course. (The Taipei Cycle Show remains the show to conveniently meet with Southern Hemisphere and Asian distributors.)

"It saves us a lot of 14-hour flights," said Jake Pantone, Enve’s vice president of product and consumer experience. "Whether we are shopping for a new distributor or doing maintenance with a current one, there is that kind of efficiency there."

Pantone said Eurobike also remains a place to see new products and trends in person.

"For my part on a product development and strategy side, to be able to see trends in one place and in person is valuable. You see a product then find yourself talking to a product manager or an engineer and having a conversation you would otherwise never have, if you just saw the product launch online."

Besides the road products launched at the Tour, July might be an unusual time to introduce new products. But Eurobike remains enough of a stage, with hundreds of attending journalists, that many companies have planned launches there, if only judged by the hush-hush invitations filling up BRAIN staffers’ inboxes in the weeks and days before the show.

Many companies profess to introduce new products only when they are ready, not on a model year cycle, and Eurobike’s new date offers one more spot on the calendar to align with the development cycle, along with earlier-season events like Sea Otter as well as the fall shows.

Besides the date shift, Eurobike this year eliminated its consumer day and its outdoor demo. The combination returned the show’s focus to manufacturers and distributors, the show’s Klaus Wellmann said soon after the new dates were announced last year. 

"We are giving the original function of Eurobike back to the manufacturers and importers: namely the first publication of the new collection and the associated exchange with trading partners for seasonal planning," he said. 

The show also is increasingly focusing on e-bikes and e-mobility products and services, said Eurobike’s Stefan Reisinger.

"The bicycle market is changing very dynamically," Reisinger said. "On the one hand, the e-bike boom is generating record revenues for many market players, but also considerable shifts in market structures. With the changed concept for the show and a clear focus on trade visitors and e-mobility topics, we are addressing these changes in the bike and e-bike market. The strong positive reception from established as well as new market players shows us that we are on the right track with this concept." 

The show is increasingly focusing on e-bikes and e-mobility products and services.
Topics associated with this article: Tradeshows and conferences, Eurobike

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