Its been a few weeks since the spectacle of the largest bike exhibition in the world, Eurobike. Since returning from Germany and having time to reflect, we have had a few thoughts on what we observed.
We are kicking off this two part series with the trends observed at the show. In no particular order, here they are:
1. Motor powered bicycles
Motorised bikes. Ebikes. Pedal assisted bikes. Whatever you call them, they were everywhere at Eurobike! In years gone past the battery powered bikes were somewhat restricted to transport bikes. This year there was obvious diversity in the application of battery powered bikes. In particular they have hit the downhill mountain bike scene in a big way. Given that 90 per cent of downhill trails in Australia operate without lifts, this is a good thing for Aussies.
There are common themes across the globe aiding the growth of e-bikes: ageing populations in developed countries, traffic congestion in cities and the old peak oil. The exciting thing is that at the ripe old age of 89, my neighbour is spinning around on an e-bike.
2. Transport and lifestyle orientated design
People are using one bike for multiple purposes. One bike is becoming the commuter, weekend lifestyle bike etc. This is being shown in the design of bikes.
In the past you may have started with a frame and added your personal needs such as racks and baskets. The trend toward designing functional bikes that serve a range of purposes was strong this year. The result is lighter, well designed and more affordable bikes in this lifestyle and do-it-all area of bikes.
3. Custom and camouflage
Customised paint jobs and clothing has been a steady trend during the past year or so. This continued at Eurobike. Another trend in design has been camouflage influenced items. Although, at times it was difficult to see evidence of camouflage items. Sorry! Couldn't help ourselves.
4. Women's Cycling and Products
One disappointing observation was the lack of presence by females and products that are responsive to women. Chatting to some folk, it appears Australia and the UK may be leading the way a little here. So there are positive opportunities for female led brands such as Fondo clothing.
If anything we must tip our hats to Liv/Giant who were one of a small number of manufacturers that had a strong presence in this space.
5. Is it a road bike? No, a gravel bike!
This trend is similar to point number two above, in that these bikes offer diversity. Change the tyres or wheels and you could be touring one minute, or racing a criterium the next.
One of the standouts in this category, was the Parlee Chebacco. We tested the Chebacco on all of the Eurobike demo course - that included rock gardens(!), gravel paths and hot mix. It was so impressive that I told Josh from Parlee that the frame was cracked, as an attempt to get a cheap deal.
'Designed to be our most versatile platform yet, the all new Chebacco is ready for whatever you can throw at it.'