34,280 trade visitors and 18,800 public attended Eurobike, the Friedrichshafen trade show with a public day.
“The bike show in Friedrichshafen is the leading event in the bicycle industry,” said Messe Friedrichshafen CEO Klaus Wellmann.
In a reference to the 68 per cent of exhibitors from outside Germany, Wellman said: “Eurobike? I’d call it Globalbike.” The trade visitor total of 34,280 was eight per cent up on last year’s record-breaking event.
The show was popular with scribes, too: 1,280 journalists from 32 countries visited the show, a 20 per cent increase over the previous year. Rain dampened Eurobike’s first Demo Day, but there were still 1,000 trade visitors and 300 journalists at the testing grounds in Eichenburg.
Messe Friedrichshafen hosted a polished, clean and vibrant show. The show was a sell-out for display stand space: organisers had to rope in the massive Zeppelin Hall for the first time. As a result, and given the amount of prospective exhibitors who were turned away, Eurobike 2008 will be bigger by two halls.
British companies did well at the show. Endura, the Livingstone-based technical apparel and bike accessories company, and Stash, the folding helmet designers, were awarded Bronze awards.
As always when attending a bike show in Germany, it’s fascinating to see the number of brands you never see in the UK. The likes of Ghost and Author have superb ranges that are just not part of the UK brand make-up. Most of the mainstream global brands were in attendance, dominated by Shimano, the Sram alliance, Specialized and Cannondale.
Nothing fills this anorak journalist with more glee than new products, and Eurobike did not fail to deliver. The Sram Red groupset offers new levels of performance and use of materials, as does the whole XT and XTR Shimano offerings. But there were lots of shoes, helmets, tyres and wheels that offered more functionality for the consumer.
Integration was a big thing, with the new Exposure Lights Hindsight (seat collar and integral rear light) on view if you looked hard enough. There was also the remarkable Cannondale ‘Righty’, not just a concept vehicle, but likely for production. At least we now know where all the spare bits from the ‘lefty’ range ended up. Cannondale had obviously been told
to go on a diet this year as there were UCI weight rules broken on many of its plinths.
Hope Technology was showcasing some of its design potential, along with its growing product range. If you want a proper mountain bike frame for your child and have real disposable income, keep looking at Hope’s evolving kids’ frame.
The prototype is currently a mixture of carbon tubes, alloy lugs and printed plastics. Hope now has an in-house Stereo Lithographic printer for Rapid Prototyping and it has been using it to good effect. Their ‘still some way off’ four-LED light was fashioned out of the same grey printed plastic and looked to be a CNCers dream and nightmare.
Orange had several incarnations of its belt drive technology, along with the new ST4 on its outdoor stand. There were crowds around the belt drive bikes, a commuter, a hardtail MTB and a full suspension technology demonstrator. The ST4 is a departure for the Halifax and Penrith company, in that the forward triangle has no folded sheet tubing – unusual in recent years on its suspension frames, though the frames are still assembled in-house. Expect good reviews from this design.
Kona launched its ‘Magic Link’ to the trade, a geometry altering link designed to make climbing and descending more shock/geometry specific activities. The very basic kicker spring needs some aesthetic refinemen;, it looks like the innards from a Rock Shox Quadra from the beginning of time, but it should ride well. Expect to see a proprietary air shock fill that void for next year.
Integration also came from collaboration between companies. Cannondale and USE teamed up on the ultralight 6.7 kg Slice road bike, using the aero TULA bar, seen on many a high end TT bike at the show, as well as providing the BadBoy stem lights through its lighting offshoot Exposure Lights.
Storck’s ultra light bike range had been ‘made over’ by Kent boutique-IBD Poshbikes, in an effort to alienate anyone who was not a pop star, professional footballer or lottery winner. It is amazing what can be achieved in terms of light weight and bling bling looks when there is no budget.
Dahon were showcasing its new products for its 25th Anniversary range, with both David and Josh Hon in attendance, along with Mark Bickerton from Cyclemotion, the UK agent. One of the highlights of the whole show for me was the Fuego MTB folder, a full suspension design capable of spending all day out in the wilds, then folding up into a neat suitcase. This Joe Murray-inspired design is not destined to hit our shores, though the rest of the range, including the ‘Lock Jaw’ Cadenza and Matrix and the Speed TR, should hit the UK by February or March 2008.
Traditional UK manufacturers were showing their wares too, with Saracen showcasing the new APS range, which looked classy, Clarks reinventing its logo and showing new OEM brakes and ‘lock on’ grips, and SIS gaining distributors for Europe and beyond, with the help of Stuart O’Grady on the pumps.
How big and good was this show? Think Excel added to the NEC show, then multiply by ten. Just think, all your main brands – and all your main competitor brands – under one roof. Well, eleven roofs, actually. It was a stormer of a show and well worth the only small amount of effort to get to Friedrichshafen.