Final call for Friedrichshafen: Eurobike Show Director talks future and Frankfurt

While the bike industry can fairly claim to have ridden a rollercoaster of fortunes lately, for events organisers the highs are yet to be experienced, but they’re coming, says Eurobike Director Stefan Reisinger. Read on for more on this year’s Covid policy, the move to Frankfurt and an exhibition that stays true to itself…

It’s the end of an era and the beginning of a new, all at once. Eurobike, a two-decade resident of Friedrichshafen moves on after this year’s instalment, having already announced a significant new partnership with Frankfurt as the next host city.

Some things change and some things will stay the same, says Reisinger and when prompted on the idea that Eurobike arguably for the first time has a competitor in IAA Mobility, we’re told the path will remain steadfast; Eurobike is a show for the cycling and micromoblity world. That much was clear from the show’s tongue-in-cheek advertising, which carries a simple tagline; Only bikes, no cars.

Reisinger says: “The biggest differentiation with IAA is that our event remains solely on bikes and urban mobility, there is no motoring here. Certainly, the clash of concepts and dates is a new consideration for the bike industry. The automotive show was always in September in Frankfurt, but never in competition previously. They changed the concept to make it more competitive and in the end most of the brands taking part there are using their business to consumer element mostly. Eurobike’s future as a B2B is key, even though the consumer part is evolving year-by-year. I can’t see that element taking place with such success anywhere else. The feedback from brands is that they need that bike business only platform.”

With this in mind, Eurobike will go ahead with an array of events designed to stimulate discussion on the biggest issues and opportunities facing the cycling business. On the event schedule is a return of the Bike Biz Revolution conference; an important platform for the trade to chew the fat on hot topics of the moment. This year it is expected that conversation will address the supply chain primarily, with logistics and politics blended into the broader discussion. “The future is wide open – to be discussed,” writes the organiser on the event, which typically draws a big crowd of thought leaders.

Other events due to run include the annual Eurobike Awards, for which Reisinger says there are over 200 entries for judges to assess. Eurobike’s networking dinner will run on the evening before the show begins, while during the show you will be able to drop in on the Travel Talk, visit the dedicated ‘Start Up Area’ and plenty more.

“There is a broad feeling that Eurobike is offering plenty of content that is pulling in people from both inside, but interestingly also outside of the bike industry. The brands that decided not to participate will still visit, of course,” says Reisinger.

Overcoming adversity has been the name of the game over the past year, whether it be the thankless task of planning while Covid-19 remains present, or encouraging bike labels on board when product scarcity is likewise causing unprecedented unpredictability. There is a concession that for some labels the earliest return to the show will be for the Frankfurt debut when stock levels may have normalised. So, what does that mean for this year’s event and its attendees?

“We have 500 exhibitors and are using two thirds of the fairground. Leaning towards Covid caution we have made the whole layout wider, especially in the isles to make space for people. We will use eight halls and the open-air areas too. Hall A1 remains dedicated to e-mobility and the demo area builds this element in as people are keen to try innovations; this is especially true for the two public days.”

A future in Frankfurt

Despite many having a soft spot for Friedrichshafen it has been no secret that the location of the past two decades has comes with its problems, notably that the location is troublesome to get to for some international visitors. It’s fair to ay that, with Frankfurt not just a hub for Germany, but also for connecting flights across the world, that the move broadens the scope for Eurobike to up its appeal to visitors travelling from further afield, It is, too, more centrally located in Germany, as opposed to straddling the border of Austria and Switzerland.

“We started to work on this in 2018 to relocate, albeit quietly as these are big decisions to make. It became obvious that the bicycle world is changing rapidly; Eurobike came from recreation and mountain biking, but the future is urban and micro mobility shift. We needed to get find a better urban setting to cater for the way things are moving. We talked to several possible locations in Germany and over the years, but Frankfurt became our favourite,” Stefan explains.

It is, in infrastructure terms, an upgrade with ample accommodation in close proximity and ease of access; just one stop on a tram from the airport for those ducking in for a quick visit. It is this that the organisers hope will assist the B2B side of the event in pulling in more Far Eastern and US-based visitors.

The venue itself will now have been previewed thanks to a July spin off show under the Eurobico banner held during July. This event was very specifically put on for complete bike and drive unit suppliers and so gave just a teaser into what the larger format event will bring.

“The move to Frankfurt has been deliberate also in the sense that the venue and partners there are some of the most specialised at delivering different trade show concepts in the world. Working closely with our hosts we will transform the trade show concept and then export the ideas further afield. The ceiling of what’s achievable for the exhibitor is now higher. We have four times the size of Friedrichshafen’s space. We also gain more consumer reach in a big city and many exhibitors specifically desire this interaction.”

As for this year, the Covid-19 situation remains fluid, but borders are steadily opening once more. All being well, Reisinger and his team will welcome you one last time in Friedrichshafen from September 1st to 4th.