Bike trends at Eurobike in Friedrichshafen

International bike show shows off the industry’s world premieres – Innovations in E-bikes – Vigorous racing bike market – Less black: color returns to bikes

Which bike trends will take center stage at the Eurobike in Friedrichshafen?

Friedrichshafen – What will be the trends in the bike market in the coming year? The answers to this question are traditionally provided by the Eurobike, the world’s leading trade fair for the bicycle industry which takes place from August 28 to 31, 2013. Because a certain lead time is needed before innovations are presented at trade fairs, initial details about them often come out in advance of the Eurobike.

Discussions often center on developments in the e-bike segment, currently one of the leading themes in the bicycle market. Two trends can already be recognized: In the higher-priced quality segment, which sets the tone in the central European market, the central motor is becoming more and more established as the standard. The Bosch drive systems are now market leaders in this respect, but some interesting alternatives are in sight for 2014. Like those from the Taiwanese drive specialists TranzX PST, whose new generation of central motors for 2014 not only wins over skeptics visually thanks to its compact dimensions, but also reportedly represents a technical accomplishment. Bosch itself is also shaking up the market in the coming model year: industry insiders report that the Stuttgart-based company will introduce its second generation of drives in 2014. These will probably make their first appearance at a trade show at the Eurobike.

By the way: Despite these developments, rear wheel motors are by no means heading down the road to retirement. Many market players see big advantages for them in sporty e-bikes, where their design is much more compatible with multiple chain rings and a broader spectrum of gear ratios, thus ensuring their future in the marketplace.

The racing bike market is also proving to be very vigorous. The reason: In many Asian countries, bicycle racing is booming as the hot new sport. In China, it is reported that sales of high-quality racing bikes have recently almost tripled within the space of a year. The cycling industry’s innovations will also be shown at the Asia bike, which takes place from October 10 to 13, 2013, in Nanjing.

At the same time, the American racing bike market is also waking up from its period of forced hibernation caused by the economic crisis. This is strong motivation for the Asian and American components industries to put more effort into developing new products for racing bikes – which also benefits European racing bike fans.

Disc brakes, for example, are also rapidly becoming an exciting trend, and can be found more and more often on narrow tire racing bikes. There is wide variation among the technical approaches used to combine the racing bikes’ complex brake levers with the hydraulically-operated disc brakes. The Taiwanese brake manufacturer Tektro has announced an interesting solution to this problem for 2014. Their new disc brakes for racing bikes are operated using a classic cable system, whose force is translated by a hydraulic cylinder into pressure which moves the brake calipers.

The American components supplier Sram is taking things a step further and in 2014 plans to introduce a new generation of brakes for racing bikes in which both disc and rim brakes are controlled hydraulically from the brake lever.

On the other hand, 11-geared racing bikes are not exactly a new trend, but will become firmly established as the new market standard in 2014, at least among industry leaders. After Shimano and Campagnolo, American components supplier Sram has also announced that they will switch to 11 sprockets on racing bikes. Depending on whether the crankset employs a double or triple chain ring, this then results in a bike with 22 or 33 speeds.

Yet another, more important development at the upcoming Eurobike can already be sensed, one which represents an aesthetic development more than a technical one. Following the last few years in which the bicycle industry has pursued a Henry Ford-like design policy of “everything is possible, as long as it’s black”, in 2014 it looks as though the trend is back towards more color. Instead of predominantly charcoal-colored highlights on black frames, next year brighter colors will be seen on the new mountain and racing bike models.

The Eurobike international cycling trade show will be open to industry visitors only from Wednesday, August 28, to Friday, August 30, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. It is open to the general public from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 31. The Eurobike DemoDay will take place on Tuesday, August 27, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Allgäu community of Argenbühl.

Additional information is available at www.eurobike-show.com

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