|The industry is going ga-ga for these electric motorcycles with pedals.|
I know, right? You'd never had known that except for maybe that goofy driveshaft drivetrain that's been making the rounds lately. (That was debuted at Eurobike, but it could have been anywhere.)
I called it "Euro-snooze" last year, because the whole deal was about e-mtbs, and I guess this year it was even worse. One person commented on an industry media site that the show felt more like a "....a German e-bike dealer show with some international presence" than a traditional Eurobike.
Now, we can debate all day about the viability of this developing dominance of e-bikes in the industry, or if they should or should not be allowed. That's a never ending debate. One thing many are not realizing though is that all the focus on attaching motors to anything you can pedal is draining the reserves of companies and little is left for the development of "traditional" bicycles. If you wonder why it is that little to no news is coming out in your bicycle feeds on social and traditional media about new stuff at Eurobike, this is the big reason why.
Innovation costs money. The bicycle industry, down in sales and revenues for a long time now, cannot just conjure up the funds to do new projects without compromising other aspects of the business. We've seen this recently in the past with another marketing driven saga involving 27.5" wheels.
|27.5"er (L) and a 29"er (R). Image by Grannygear|
I remember 2012-2014 well as I was editor of "Twenty Nine Inches". New product intros suddenly dried up for big wheelers. 29" stuff was in a holding pattern as monies were diverted to fast-tracking new 650B long travel "enduro" bikes to market. Ad revenue for the site plummeted, (not that we ever had much more than enough to keep the site alive). Subsequently, I believe, the development of 650B and the results of a sagging industry overall stunted the development of good, long travel 29"ers. It took a few years for everything to settle back down and then we saw long travel 29"ers take off.
E-bikes require a lot of specialized frame design, heavier duty wheels, special components in the drive train, and the brakes are developing for these bikes to be more powerful and reliable. Note- all of these developments are also heavier. Therefore they are not cross-pollinated into any other line of bicycles. So the dollars that are being sunk into these e-bikes are not helping your other lines. They are taking away from them.
So, don't expect a lot of new innovations in the coming years, unless your bicycle has a motor and battery attached to it!