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Eurobike 2019:

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The biggest bicycle fair in the world has a problem. While customers, dealers, manufacturers and entire markets are changing at breathtaking speed, Eurobike itself looks like a relic from another era. There is little point in vehemently calling yourself an industry leader. Because the formerly biggest leading trade fair in the bicycle sector does not only have an 80's logo, it lacks really modern concepts, the costs for exhibitors are incredibly high, the travel and traffic situation is an imposition and generally, where is Friedrichshafen?
Ok, the city of Friedrichshafen can probably still do the least for it and would certainly be inspired by the new, future-oriented concepts of the Eurobike makers. Because the location at Lake Constance is really beautiful and above all it's a great place to cycle. Actually a win-win constellation.

The outcry was big last year - the public day was cancelled, the fair was brought forward by two months. Eurobike 2018 wasn't over yet and it was clear that Eurobike 2019 would once again have a public day and hike back to the old date in September. A marketing disaster. Just like the MediaDays in South Tyrol, which are completely independent of the trade fair on Lake Constance in terms of time and location and only drive up costs. Real benefit for the manufacturers: none. But enough of the scolding. I hope those responsible have recognised the really precarious situation and are reinventing Eurobike. And then companies like Giant, Scott, Haibike and Co will be there again. Otherwise the same fate threatens the Eurobike as the IAA in Franfurt.

There's no getting around the e-bike

The trend to electrify any kind of bike is unbroken. The big players in the electric drive industry, namely Shimano, Bosch and Yamaha, are not really bringing anything new but are improving technology throughout. With the new CX Performance, Bosch has once again added a competitive drive to its range which is used directly in the 2020 bikes of various manufacturers (Scott, Conway, and many others). Megatrend is everything what's 'Intube'. The batteries can become bigger: 750s are realizable with the intube frames without problems.
Manufacturers from China become more attractive: They deliver mature technology and play the card of low manufacturing costs to the full. In the entry-level sector, the Bafang-drive from China has been known for quite some time, but from 2020 the Chinese will also be represented in the middle class with new smartly designed products. The price pressure on bicycle manufacturers is immense.
Sachs, Continental and Schaeffler are looking to enter the market with new products. Sachs is pursuing a technologically rather conservative approach, but at ZF SACHS MICRO MOBILITY GmbH not only combines a great deal of know-how with ZF, Magura, BMZ and BrakeForceOne, but also has the necessary financial strength.
Of course, this also applies to Continental. With 48V and an integrated automatic transmission, Conti is clearly heading in the direction of technological leadership. No question about it, Continental has what it takes to take 'the butter from the bread' of the well-known players.
However, Schaeffler could provide for a real revolution. The guys from Herzogenaurach have set out to reinvent the e-bike. The prototype is very promising - I could ride it, but I'm not allowed to report about it. Schaeffler has not yet decided whether the product will be further developed to production maturity. I spontaneously remember the song 'Video Killed the Radio Star'. Yes, the drive concept is really so revolutionary.

Bio Bike Strikes Back

We have known for a long time that every trend generates a counter-trend somewhere. The whole Gravelbike-Overnighter-Bikepacking story for example: Leave everything behind and just start. No constraints, no plan, but freedom and adventure. The complete opposite to the technically loaded fully digital e-bike.

Very cool to see what the little rider inspired development team from deepspace has put on the wheels. At the Eurobike they present a nice steel racer line for gravel. No chichi, but a classic CroMo frame paired with high-quality components from Shimano or Sram. And the offshoot of the traditional Hungarian brand Csepel is a great ride - as they say so beautifully, steel is real! If I were a dealer, I would definitely put a few deepspace racers in my store for 2020.

I also liked the Rondo lineup. The bikes are not only new and pretty, they are hot. The young companies bring cool ideas and cheeky designs. It's all pretty refreshing and the established manufacturers have to ask themselves why they're not so innovative. However, the answer is simple - large brand manufacturers need big quantities and, above all, have a completely different planning process. In addition, e-bike development currently ties up practically all resources. Until everything is completely electrified, not much happens with classic bicycles.

Of course, not every development is marketable on a large scale. And so I have to wonder about the full suspension gravel bike from Niner. For me personally, it misses the idea of 'Gravel'. No matter, this bike will also find its lovers.

Urban Mobility in New

While in recent years it was primarily the diesel scandal that fuelled the discussion about new urban mobility and produced a whole armada of electrified cargo bikes, today it is the climate debate in general and the Fridays for Future Movement.

No question, our planet has a nasty cold and we have to act. The bicycle is a good alternative to the classic combustion car. What? It is not at all. Not at all. If it were that simple, we wouldn't have the problem. And precisely because the bicycle has too many disadvantages compared to the car, we urgently need all the ideas imaginable. The bicycles, whether bio or electric, only has a chance as an urban means of transport if it is really cool.

One manufacturer who has implemented this is Fantic. The Issimo e-bike could become the new Vespa of an entire generation. Not an annoying slide scooter but an e-bike. Cool, stylish, practical. A mixture of classic scooter and stylish retro moped - but in modern and chic. Only the Italians can do that. Bravo! Who doesn't want to ride such a thing? This is the new form of urban bikes, at least if they are electrified. The bike has quite rightly won a price.

If, on the other hand, you really have something to transport, the massive XCYC pickup is the best choice. Big weekend shopping, washing machine or just the complete camping equipment for the whole family - no problem with the pickup from the city of Calw. And if the Swabian tinkerers would bring a light weather protection in the next year, then the big mobility change can become really true.

And where are the pictures of the super cool e-bikes now? Hey guys, I'm just saying MediaDays. The handpicked elite of magazines and preferred bloggers were allowed to take the best pictures of the new bikes in advance. I can't keep up with my amateur pictures. And even before the fair started, practically all the new bikes were already online. Just have a look at the big magazines, they have really great photo galleries.

So this year, riding the 2020 bikes was at the top of my to-do list. How does the bike feel, what has changed compared to last year's models, how do the new systems work in practice on the road and off-road? A few pictures can be found on my Insta. And in the next weeks there will be step by step reviews of Husqvarna, Conway, Fantic, Spitzing, Raymon, DeepSpace and the new Kettler Scarpia with 150 mm travel.

Summary

For me as an independent bicycle blogger, the fair was a great experience and one of the highlights of the bike season, despite the criticism expressed at the beginning. However, some exhibitors told me that unfortunately the fair didn't go as well as hoped. Because despite the whole climate discussion and the still ongoing e-bike hype, the bicycle market is of course also subject to the world economy - and that is weakening considerably.

That's not the fault of the manufacturers, not the fault of the Eurobike makers and the most beautiful German trade fair city can't help it either. The bottom line is that Eurobike 2019 has once again escaped with a black eye. The IAA would rejoice if things had gone similarly for it. Nevertheless, the Eurobike needs a real new start for 2020 and beyond. And by that I don't mean that it is going away from the city of Friedrichshafen. Quite the opposite.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organisers of the fair, the Wrider's Club and especially the friendly guys and girls from the Blogger Base Cafeteria. Hope to see you again next year. Thx guys, was great with you ;-)

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