20.2 million bikes were sold in the EU in 2014, of which 3.63 million were here in the UK – or 18% of the total, the 2nd largest market in Europe, behind Germany on 4.1 million.
But the picture is very different when you look at where the bikes were manufactured. Italy led the way on 2.7 million followed by Germany on 2.1 million. Poland and Bulgaria were at 991,000 and 950,000 respectively, closely followed by the Netherlands on 850,000 and Romania on 820,000. To find the UK, you need to look all the way down to 18th place, with 52,000 bikes produced.
It’s not surprising then that the bike trade’s largest exhibition is in Germany, home of the biggest single bike market, and the 2nd largest bike manufacturing country – and the 2nd largest bike accessory manufacturing country on €286 million, a long way ahead of the UK’s 10th place on €34 million.
The exhibition is called Eurobike and it takes place in Friedrichshafen, on Lake Constance, which forms the border with Austria and Switzerland. You get an inkling of where some of the bikes sold in the UK come from when you see that 3 of the 13 halls are Taiwanese exhibits.
My press accreditation came through last week and with it the start of the flow of media information, so I’ll be using that and the directory for the 13 exhibition halls to work out who to try and see. With more than 1,350 exhibitors from 50 countries, it’s going to be an impossible task to write about all of them, but I hope to provide some interesting reports on some of the innovations and new approaches to bikes, accessories and cycling that will be on display. All I have to do is fight my way through the other 2,000 journalists and 46,000 pre-registered trade visitors, who can visit a demo day on 25th August, and then have the halls to themselves for 3 days (26, 27, and 28 August), before the halls are opened to the public on the Saturday 29th, when some 20,000 bike fans are expected.
The show organisers believe that “the immense bike show offers a comprehensive overview of the market: Everyday bikes, sport bikes, e-bikes, cargo bikes, children’s bikes and reclining bikes. The newest bike fashions will take to the catwalk.” The industry also give awards to new products which feature outstanding design, quality and functionality. “A company that wins a Eurobike Award plays in the champion’s league of bike research and development.”