Eurobike 2012 heralds new era for the bicycle

Ahead of this year’s Eurobike show, which takes place from 29 August to 1 September on the shores of Lake Constance, Germany, the organising team have noted that ‘The future of urban mobility belongs to the bicycle’ and that ‘Bicycles are at the core of a new transportation policy’.

With a strong resonance across European mainstream media and specifically in Germany, Eurobike feels that the bicycle is on its way into a new era in Germany and beyond.

Many new trends in the bicycle market will be reflected at leading industry trade event Eurobike 2012.

Eurobike notes a trend towards the bike as an expression of the owner’s lifestyle and personality. As the Eurobike team point out, ‘For example, non-conformists and individualists are inspired by the urban ‘fixie’ subculture – the influence of the fixies’ visual style upon stylish and yet safe city bikes is being seen more and more. Metronauts are putting their faith in clever folding bikes, whereas technocrats look to fast and agile pedelecs. In the meantime, contemporary families are using quick, load-carrying bikes to transport their children from A to B and do their shopping within the city.’

E-bikes power up
400,000 E-bikes will be sold in Germany this year alone, according to estimates by Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (ZIV), the German bicycle industry association. Annual sales of E-bikes have increased eightfold in Germany over the past five years. The E-bike brings whole new set of possibilities for cyclists: for bike trekkers, it means the ability to cover greater distances and gain more altitude in a single day. For families, transporting larger volumes of cargo after a day’s shopping or towing a child trailer becomes less daunting.

The E-bike boom is also drawing more and more newcomers to the market. The list of leading providers of drive systems reads like a who’s who of the electronics and mobility industries. In addition to Bosch and Panasonic, companies such as Yamaha are preparing to offer E-bike equipment. Yamaha has been able to secure the bicycle manufacturer Giant as a customer. The ZIV estimates that the market share of E-bikes will reach more than 15% over the long term.

“In the Netherlands, the E-bike’s market share has already stabilized at this high level. We also expect similar developments in the German market in the next few years,” reported ZIV General Manager Siegfried Neuberger.

Size isn’t everything?
Just like in other sports in which man and machine work together as a unit, technical developments have a special significance in cycling sports. In the mountain bike scene, a controversial discussion has broken out about the ideal wheel size. Whereas 26 inches were long considered ideal, then later it was 29 inches, leading mountain bike providers would now like to push 27.5 inch wheels to the forefront.

Going digital
Eurobike notes that road racing and mountain bikes are also becoming more and more like E-bikes. More cyclists are switching the gears of their racing bikes with electronic gear shifting systems. For the 2013 season, the Japanese equipment supplier Shimano has announced electronic gear hubs for sporty leisure bikes. Another digital premiere at Eurobike 2012 will be at the stand of the suspension producer Fox Racing Show. Its new generation of suspension forks and rear wheel shock absorbers will communicate with each other electronically.

When the international cycling industry meets in a few weeks in Friedrichshafen, there will again be a lot of premieres and trends on display. The first three days of Eurobike are reserved for industry visitors and the media. On the fourth day (Saturday 1 September 2012), consumers will also be able to get a look at the newest innovations in the bicycle market.

The Eurobike Demo Day for industry visitors and media will take place on Tuesday 28 August from 10:00 to 17:00 in the Allgäu.

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