The 29th edition of Eurobike was a welcome return to events for many after 18 long months of COVID-related cancellations. Rebecca Morley rounds up the industry’s trip to Friedrichshafen and looks ahead to the show’s next edition in Frankfurt
Lockdown restrictions across the world quickly meant event cancellations when the pandemic hit in early 2020 – and, with this continuing into 2021, this month’s return to Friedrichshafen was the first trade show back for many in the industry. And while the halls of Eurobike were quieter than its previous edition in 2019, it still exceeded expectations for international participation, with 18,770 trade visitors attending while 13,424 consumers came to the two Festival Days.
“With four days of high visitor numbers, Eurobike 2021 was a big success,” says Klaus Wellmann, CEO of Messe Friedrichshafen. “Despite numerous challenges, we were positively surprised by the significant international presence. “In sunny weather and a positive atmosphere, there was strong business drive, further underling the enormous potential for bicycles.”
The 2021 event also marked Eurobike’s farewell to Friedrichshafen, with the show announcing back in June that it will be relocating to Frankfurt from 2022. Organisers unveiled further details of the new concept at this year’s show, a vision which was met with ‘widespread interest’ across the international bike world, with a high level of support from both established and new customers.
“Our future location offers everything that bikes, the bike industry and cycling in general needs,” says head of Eurobike Stefan Reisinger. “The perfect location and a fitting backdrop – right at the heart of Germany and Europe. As one of the world’s most important international transport hubs, Frankfurt scores highly on accessibility, catchment and also as an authentic, urban scenario.
“In addition, Frankfurt is a city with a modern transport infrastructure, where urban mobility and the shift towards sustainable mobility is becoming more and more important. For Eurobike, this opens up new, future growth potential regarding the range of topics, exhibition spaces, international participation, reach and coverage.”
But what did the brands themselves make of the trade show’s final visit to Friedrichshafen? A total of 630 exhibitors from 68 countries were in attendance, including Weldtite, Schwalbe, Magura, Leopard Tech, Blubrake, PowUnity and more, and there were also numerous accompanying conferences, including the sold-out Bike Biz Revolution prior to the show, the Eurobike Academy, Travel Talk, and the fully-booked Start-Up Area, 36 Eurobike Award products and some 1,000 test bikes in the Demo Area.
“Although not as busy as usual, Eurobike 2021 was an important event on the Weldtite calendar,” says international sales manager James Buckle. “Meeting our long term customers face to face again was invaluable and provided a morale boost across the board. It was also important to showcase and display the development of the Weldtite brand, which has taken huge strides in recent years, at the last Friedrichshafen edition of Eurobike. We look forward to the new focus the move to Frankfurt will bring in 2022.”
Also exhibiting was Schwalbe, showcasing products including its Aerothan tube. Doris Klytta, head of marketing and PR at Schwalbe, says: “Basically, we’ve been very glad to be back on the Eurobike. We had quite a lot of (international) visitors on the first two days of the show. Overall, it was a bit sad to see the last Eurobike in Friedrichshafen in a slimmed-down version, due to the pandemic situation. We look forward to the Eurobike in Frankfurt next year. In our opinion, it was the right decision to switch to a more central location, to continue the idea of a world-leading trade fair with a new momentum.”
Stefan Sinnegger, general manager and co-founder of PowUnity, says: “This year’s Eurobike was a bit less stressful than previous ones but the quality of the visitors and meetings was outstanding. It was one of the best Eurobike shows we ever had. This might also have to do with the fact that PowUnity is growing very fast and our rapidly expanding network. We look forward with excitement to next year’s show in Frankfurt.”
Timo Kieninger, director marketing and sales (ppa.) at Magura Bosch Parts and Services GmbH & Co. KG, says that, due to the lower number of exhibitors and the COVID situation, the company’s expectations for Eurobike 2021 were ‘significantly lower’ than in previous years. “Fortunately, our expectations were exceeded,” says Kieninger. “In particular, we were delighted to have high quality discussions with visitors on all days – both on the specialist and consumer days. Our sales and marketing team therefore looks back positively on an intensive exchange with our dealers, OE partners and end customers.
“Nevertheless, we hope that Eurobike will be able to achieve its usual relevance again in 2022 and we hope for a significant increase in visitor numbers. The new, centrally located trade fair location in Frankfurt can make a positive contribution to this and also addresses the international audience more intensively. In addition, it is the range of exhibitors in particular that determines the relevance of Eurobike. As the leading trade fair, not only the visitors, but also we as industry insiders need the largest and most relevant bicycle brands to be represented in order to raise the overall level of the fair.”
Blubrake’s goal at Eurobike 2021 was to present its ABS G2, the next generation ABS for e-bikes, and perform tests of the new technology with industry professionals and media, says Fabio Todeschini, Blubrake founder and general manager. “We had an excellent response from the industry and we received excellent feedback both in terms of system performance, than for its miniaturisation,” says Todeschini. “The turnout at our booths was very high and we are fully satisfied we were able to carry out business meetings and perform several tests.”
The feedback of the tests was ‘extremely positive’, Todeschini continues, with a total of 4,687 braking sessions and 3,190 ABS activations carried out over the four days. Data collected through the feedback forms submitted by the testers found that:
• 46.3% of users tested the ABS for e-bikes and e-cargo bikes for the first time (the rest had already tested an ABS before)
• 83.9% of the testers felt ‘way safer’ riding with Blubrake ABS than without
• 90.3% said they were ‘impressed and very much satisfied’ with the braking experience with Blubrake ABS
• 94.1% rated the general quality of the product as ‘excellent’
The most frequently asked questions were related to the functioning of the system from a technical point of view, Todeschini adds.
For some businesses, such as Leopard Tech, it was their first time exhibiting at the show. The UK start-up, which was shortlisted for BikeBiz’s Innovation from a Newcomer award last year, was showcasing its Lync connectivity solution, designed to give bike and accessory manufacturers access to an off the shelf solution that can turn any bike into a smart bike. This gives the cyclist access to a range of new IoT connectivity features such as anti-theft, integrated alarm, movement notifications and GPS tracking.
“We are extremely happy with our time at Eurobike 2021,” says James Robertson, marketing and sales director at Leopard Tech. “It was fantastic to be at a live event again showing off our Leopard Lync connectivity solution to bicycle manufacturers for the first time. We received a huge amount of interest in our IoT solution and are already developing some exciting opportunities and potential partnerships. The organisation and overall quality of the event was very good and we are looking forward to returning in 2022.”
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