Last year marked the start of a new era for Eurobike as it relocated from its long-term home in Friedrichshafen to one of Europe’s financial hubs in the German city of Frankfurt. Daniel Blackham sat down with Eurobike head Stefan Reisinger to look back at 2022 and preview this year’s edition.
This piece first appeared in the June edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here
Like many trade shows in 2020, Eurobike was forced to change all of its plans due to the coronavirus pandemic and had to cancel.
Rather than resting on their laurels, the team behind one of the world’s largest bike and mobility events started to develop proposals to relocate to a new site.
“The show started in 1991 and it was always in Messe Friedrichshafen,” explained Reisinger.
“But it had kind of outgrown the infrastructure it was able to handle. With the show becoming so successful and international, it was the right time to bring it to a bigger city, to a bigger venue with better infrastructure, more hotels, easier access from all over the world.
“So that was the main reason to make that move and we used the two years in the covid pandemic where it was very difficult for all events and trade show organisers.
“We said then that was the right moment to make the move.”
The 2021 edition was again impacted by the pandemic with restrictions on international travel, social distancing, and face coverings among other safety measures.
As the final chapter of Eurobike at Lake Constance closed, the wheels were firmly in motion to create something special at a new home.
A new chapter
The first Eurobike at Frankfurt exceeded expectations set by the organisers with 33,780 trade visitors attending over the five days of the trade fair, and 27,370 bicycle enthusiasts visiting at the weekend.
The demo area saw 106 brands carry out 19,280 test rides from more than 12,000 people.
More than half of trade visitors attending were from outside of Germany with that number expected to grow again in 2023 as international travel becomes easier.
“It’s not easy to take such a big show which has been in one location for nearly 30 years to another place. That was a really big task and in the end I think it worked out very well for us as a team, but also for the industry,” said Reisinger.
“All the feedback was positive so people liked the new venue and the new opportunities in Frankfurt with the easier access.”
Among the positive comments was the site’s accessibility for international visitors but also its proximity to the city.
“This was also really important for us,” said Reisinger.
“We wanted to move the show to an inner city location where access is easy and where bicycles are playing a major role in getting from the hotel to the fairground or from the train station so that was part of the idea and the concept.
“For that, Frankfurt is perfect. It hosts a lot of international trade shows over the year so it has all the infrastructure to host an event like Eurobike.”
A new location presents new challenges, and Eurobike was not immune to these.
“Of course there was a long list of things to improve for the future, so not everything was smooth,” said Reisinger.
With four major exhibition halls across six levels and spanning more than 100,000 square metres, the 2022 Eurobike was the biggest in the event’s history.
“Orientation was a big issue. In Friedrichshafen, everyone was aware where brands had been located over the years and that was all new in Frankfurt,” explained Reisinger.
“The halls are much bigger and the overall fairground is much bigger so overall orientation and signage was an issue, and that is one of the tasks we are aware of and have been working on for this edition.
“Of course we as an organiser have to make sure we have the right tools implemented and in place so people can find their way easily with the opportunity to use the interactive hall plan in advance of the show to make preparations.
“On the other hand, I also believe there are a lot of people who are returning for the second time and they will have it easier because they learnt from last year’s edition.”
The 31st edition of Eurobike shows that the industry’s appetite to be a part of it is still growing despite tough market conditions.
This year’s show will have an additional floor specifically reserved for suppliers and component manufacturers to improve B2B exchanges, increasing the space to 150,000 square metres.
Exhibitor spaces sold out in February with more than 400 new participants getting on board, so more than 1,800 exhibitors will be displaying the latest and greatest products at the event.
The Future Mobility Hall is continuing to gain momentum with startups and innovations, light electric vehicles, infrastructure, a cargo area as well as sharing and service offers meaning Eurobike is the complete package for all types of mobility.
Reisinger said: “It has the full range of products from parts, accessories, components, apparel to complete bikes, electric bikes, cargo bikes to light electric mobility vehicles, so it’s even bigger and a wider scale than in the past.
“Last year we still had some major restrictions regarding travel plans, for example from the far east because of covid. Now, we are fully open and we will have a lot of far east customers at the show this year.”
Although the head of the event, Eurobike presents the same unique opportunity for Reisinger as it does to so many from the cycling and mobility sector.
“I am a big fan of the industry and I always love to see many of the people I only meet once a year at Eurobike,” he said.
“One of my personal highlights is the open area and the opportunity to test bicycles but also light electric vehicles so there is a lot of new stuff for me to see also.
“And maybe I’ll get the opportunity to ride something for the first time and I’m really looking forward to that part.”