Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lift The Lid

Well, the show in Europe has started. It's the defacto introduction show for anything worth checking out in the cycling world these days. In fact, Interbike is "just another show" these days with little "news" to show for itself.

In fact, some American based brands will drag all their stuff to Europe and not even show their wares at Interbike at all. That should speak volumes, by the way.

So, what's big?

New Moots MX Divide FS 29"er
Well, like I've been saying all along, it's 29"ers. Euro brands are showing them like crazy, and American based brands are showing new models there for the first time, totally bypassing the North American market place for their debuts.

Think I'm wrong? well, have you ever heard of the MX Divide 100mm travel Moots? No....because it is debuting at Eurobike. I'm not sore about that. I just think it points out a few salient things about 29"ers in particular, and the cycling market in general.

Obviously, manufacturers see a huge, untapped potential for "something new" in mountain bikes for Europeans to chew on. The time is ripe too. Europeans have seen one of their own Continentals winning World Cup XC races on 29"ers now, and others are using big wheelers as well. The German federation sanctioned 29"ers for racing only fairly recently, and weights of complete rigs have finally come down to acceptable levels, thanks in part to years of pushing the market here in the U.S. The marketplace is primed, and the manufacturers are rushing in with hard tails and full suspension rigs to satiate the perceived desire. By the sounds of things, the Demo day for Eurobike was slammed with 29"ers out almost the entire day.

Secondly, I see something that isn't being talked about a whole lot, but I can't help but wonder if this doesn't have some bearing on the trade show aspect of the cycling industry. If you had a choice of going to Fredrichshafen Germany, or Las Vegas, Nevada, which would you choose? (Thinking in terms of cycling here.) Cycling economy is world-wide now. Not showing at one, smaller show isn't going to be seen as being a bad deal anymore these days. Especially when U.S. dealers are so intimately courted by the bigger companies, (QBP with Frostbike, Saddledrive, Giant with The Link, Specialized, Raleigh, and Trek doing dealer invitationals, and others as well), so going to Interbike isn't all that necessary. For sure, manufacturers seem to agree by their actions.

If someone were to build a huge pavilion for shows, and had enough lodging with a near by airport in a picturesque setting amongst the mountains in the U.S., maybe things would be different. But it doesn't exist here, and it does in southern Germany. Enough so that it seems to be getting to be the place folks would rather be. Just my opinion. I could be all wrong about that, but if I could swing either show in terms of time and money, I know where I'd be headed to.

Anyway, back to what the "big deal" is at Eurobike. Carbon fiber hard tails are being shown all over the place! (I know.....I'm floored as well!

Besides the obvious, the only other big deal there appears to be the second coming of the moped, otherwise known as the electric bicycle, or "e-bike" for short. Bosch will be showing its newest e-bike technology which will hurtle you down the road, (or bicycle trail, I would assume), at a blistering 28 miles per hour.

That's the thing about these "bicycles". They really are mopeds, and at the speeds these things can be easily modded to go at, they find themselves marginalized here in the U.S. Too slow for normal traffic use, and too fast for safe use on bicycle paths, where the average speed of users is quite likely half of what Bosch's new e-bike stuff is capable of.

But, that's the big deal over there.

So, the lid has been lifted. More on what crawls out later in the week.


Steve Fuller said...

I just don't get E-bikes. IMO, the addition of the motor makes them look ugly, and just adds weight that is of limited use. It makes the "bike" part of the "bike" secondary (or even tertiary).

Will people replace batteries in their E-bikes 20 years from now with the same love and care that people show for a 20 year old bike? I doubt it.

Craig said...


Think long distance commuting. I'd love to commute by bike, but it's a half hour drive, so biking it isn't feasible for me. Earlier this year I started looking at pedal assist packages that I could add to a commuter bike. If I can get my speed high enough to take the backroads to work and still get there in an hour then it becomes a much more viable option.

Guitar Ted said...

@Craig: But then the argument becomes, "Why not just get a real scooter, or a motorcycle proper?" Since it sounds as if you'd likely be using an electric bike on roads anyway.

grannygear said...

Meh! Give me a Vespa. Stylish too.

Craig said...


I'm still wanting the workout associated with commuting by bike, just at higher speeds than my meager legs can handle. With E-assist, you're still pedaling the bike. You just have that "invisible stoker" helping to bump up the speed.

That, plus my girlfriend has forbidden me from getting a motorcycle. This is my workaround ;-)

shiggy said...

Last week I was talking to a friend that exhibits at Eurobike. He mentioned early opening and late closing times. Lodging more than a hour from the expo hall. His day starts at 4:30am and ends at 10:00pm.

OTOH last year a promo company rep told me the total bill (show fees, lodging, travel, local costs) for a US company to be at Eurobike is LESS than the cost to be at interbike.