We're 25 percent ahead of our projections, but we're not sure why

That's the candid conclusion of Shimano Europa's commercial director Frank Peiffer. The monolithic components maker is late delivering key, high-end lines for some 2004 bikes and, says Peiffer, had the latest incarnation of Dura Ace and other gruppos been on time, the 20 percent increase in turnover-by-value would have been even higher
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The UK had a storming start to the year but the rest of Europe remained

in the doldrums throughout most of the first quarter. By the end of

the second quarter, the bike trade throughout Europe had bounced back,

and then some.

Some of this success can be put down to the weather, said Peiffer,

speaking to BikeBiz.com at Eurobike but not all of by any means and

he's not quite sure where the boom came from. Obviously, any rise in

bike sales impacts favourably on the manufacturer that equips most of

the world's bikes.

Shimano has launched more new products this year than normal but

Peiffer doesn't believe the clamour-for-the-new will have boosted sales

in the first half of year, as the new products weren't available then

(some aren't available until November and beyond - at least one of the

gruppo delays is due to a faulty hub problem, now sorted).

IBDs will go into Q4 and the start of 2004 with the best chance for

raking in profits for quite some time, believes Peiffer.

"There won't be a lot of discounted product this year so the prospect

for the coming months looks very good for IBDs."

The bike boom has also been good for the Eurobike show, it's full to

capacity and spans all nine halls at Messe Friedrichshafen. Just about

every brand of note is at the show, with many saying they wouldn't

attend bumping in at the last moment.

And trade journal BikeEurope has also been bouyed by the bike boom: its

August issue, at 60 A3 pages, is its biggest ever.

Editor-in-chief Jack Oortwijn said the writing was on the wall some

time ago that a boom was about to break:

"A lot of the ads in the August issue were ordered three months ago.

There's a definite expansion in the market out there. In Germany, in

particular, the first half of the year has exceeded all expectations."

According to Bike-eu.com, VDZ, the German IBD association, reports that in July many IBDs recorded a 10 to 20 percent sales increases.

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