Bicycle: Eurobike trade fair: It’s about more than just leisure

Bicycle: Eurobike trade fair: It’s about more than just leisure
Bicycle: Eurobike trade fair: It’s about more than just leisure

In just a few days, the leading bicycle trade fair Eurobike will open in Frankfurt. Bicycles are seen as an essential component of the sustainable mobility transition. And there is a lot of new and smart technology.

When the leading bicycle trade fair Eurobike opens its doors in Frankfurt next Wednesday, it will be about more than just leisure fun. The experts gathered at the accompanying congress are certain that the bicycle can also solve a large part of the traffic problems in cities and evaporate the CO2 problems of the transport sector.

A variety of technical innovations will be presented from July 3rd to 7th, first to experts and then to the general public over the weekend. In difficult economic times, refined electric drives can be seen and experienced on the extended test track, as well as agile new designs for cargo bikes or digital solutions for the small problems of cycling life.

The Frankfurt trade fair comes at a difficult time for the industry. After the Corona boom ended, the German market was already characterized by a significant oversupply of bikes in 2023, which was not met with sufficient demand in a weak economy. With more than 1,800 exhibitors, Eurobike lost almost 100 customers compared to the previous year, but at the same time gained new and large brands such as Giant and Kalkhoff, says spokesman Frank Gauß. With 150,000 square meters, the entire western exhibition grounds will once again be used.

Bio-bikes generate little revenue

4 million bicycles, 600,000 fewer than in the previous year, were sold in Germany in 2023, of which for the first time the majority (2.1 million units) had an electric drive. With an average price that has risen again to just under 3,000 euros, e-bikes are a far more lucrative business for manufacturers and retailers than conventional, muscle-powered “bio-bikes”, which only grossed an average of 470 euros across all sales channels, as the ZIV industry association reports. The only exception are high-quality racing bikes, which are also suitable as prestige items for a certain clientele.

At Eurobike, most people are therefore focusing on further developments in e-bikes. Large automotive suppliers such as Bosch, Mahle and ZF are technically refining the essential components such as motors, batteries and controls, using artificial intelligence applications, among other things. A treat for technology freaks is, for example, the compact motor-gear unit from Pinion, which is also being presented as an automatic this year. Expert Gunnar Fehlau from the bicycle press service has also identified the ongoing issue of weight as a mega-trend. Hardly anyone needs ever more powerful motors and larger batteries in everyday life or on the after-work ride. Instead, commuter bikes and cargo bikes must be light and therefore easy to handle.

Early discount battle

But this year, too, the weather-sensitive industry was unlucky with the weather in the mixed spring. The discount battle started even earlier than usual. Already in early summer, renowned brands such as Koga and Specialized were on the market with openly advertised discounts. Some specialist retailers are also already advertising discounts. “2024 will be another very difficult year,” says Wasilis von Rauch from the Future Bicycle initiative, who does not expect a new normal level until 2025.

Company bikes support business

One mainstay remains the popular company bike leasing, which is used by employees primarily to purchase very high-quality and correspondingly expensive bikes. After another 790,000 company bikes were delivered to customers in 2023, there are now around 2 million on the streets. “We would be in a much worse crisis if there were no leasing,” says industry expert and Jobrad supervisory board member Ralf Kindermann.

However, the increasing number of leasing returns that are not taken over by their tenants after three years is causing increasing concern. They are currently not achieving the desired resale value, admits Kindermann. As a result, the range of inexpensive and refurbished e-bikes available at specialised used bike dealers is increasing, and new bargain markets are emerging for e-bikes that are no longer in their prime.

Patrons should support

The bicycle boom of the Corona years is over for now, that much is already certain before Eurobike. An alliance of several transport associations has called for greater federal support for sustainable mobility. “We need equal conditions on the roads for all means of transport,” says a demand paper presented by the associations Allianz pro Schiene, Bundesverband Carsharing, Zukunft Fahrrad and the Association of German Transport Companies in Berlin on Monday. “This requires, among other things, one billion euros per year for attractive and safe bicycle infrastructure.” Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) is the patron of Eurobike together with his Hessian counterpart Kaweh Mansoori and Frankfurt’s mayor Mike Josef (both SPD).

Source: Stern

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