Let the trade show wars begin! It's that time of the year again when the bike industry bulks up for all the trade shows that take place around the world. In the old days there were but a few main shows dotted around the globe. However, if you think the technology battles that have been being waged during the last decade between the bike makers themselves has been ferocious, they are but small potatoes compared to the blood letting that's gone on between the trade shows.
A major provider of all the ammo being used between the warring parties is of course the jobs and tourism dollars that can be affixed to every square foot of booth space sold. Where before there was but a handful of shows vying for industry dollars, there are now more than we can begin to list (well, let's try: Paris, Tokyo, Milano, Las Vegas, Moab, Toronto, and Berlin to name a few) and each is desperately trying to outdo the other in some manner.
But the king of them all remains Germany's EuroBike Show in Friedrichshafen.
Originally a small national show that featured only mountain bikes, Eurobike has grown into the most important trade exhibition for bicycles worldwide and this year's show marks the 20th anniversary of the inaugural event.
The first three days of Eurobike are set aside for industry only viewing before the weekend arrives when the doors are swung open for the bike buying public (a concept that the American bike industry sadly has yet to embrace). Here is just a small piece of what we saw on opening day.
Although the German bicycle market is flat and the worldwide economic slowdown is hurting bike sales, the vibe at 2011 Eurobike is still vibrant and positive. The annual Eurobike Awards are usually a highlight of the show, with American carbon brand Parlee taking some honors for their sleek TT rig.
RBA managed to get a pic of the most popular bike at Eurobike before someone hopped on; people were lined up all day to test Shimano's new Ultegra Di2
Selle Italia, the world's oldest saddle maker, added new handlebar tape, Smootape, to their 2012 range along with a full compliment of SLR Friction Free Monolink saddles. Look for the Monolink design to be licensed by a handful of other seatpost/saddle makers in 2012.
Reynolds Cycling showed the production version of their new 81 wheelset which debuted at the Tour de France. The deep, deep section wheel will be available in both clincher and tubular versions.
Have you heard the good news? Lorenzo Taxis, marketing head at Campagnolo told RBA that "Campagnolo will make an official announcement of the debut of our Electronic Drivetrain late this year and limited availability for consumers will happen this spring. We will be sponsoring a few more teams with our ESP drivetrain in 2012 and we are really looking forward to bringing this innovative product to the market soon."
"Cucciolo" is the Italian word for puppy and the name was first made famous back in 1946 when Italian motorcycle maker Ducati introduced a moped with a 49cc powerplant. Now Italwin has licensed the name from Ducati and is using it for an updated model that uses a 250 watt electric motor.
As the name implies, Italy's Passoni is a brand that makes high-passion bicycles and this new Nero XL is a 100% carbon dream bike with oversized tubes, integrated seatmast and Ti BB & dropouts.
Tuscany's Tommassini still makes their sweet Italian made steel bikes, like their classic oversized steel tubed Tecno model available in custom sizes.
The big news at the Zipp booth was the introduction of their new 303 wheel which is 28.5mm wide with a 45mm deep nose and their proprietary Firecrest shape.
Once again, Markus Storck has one of the most innovative bikes at Eurobike. The electric Voltist, powered buy a 250W electric motor, was designed in cooperation with a top German engineering school, may come to the marketing in 2013. The Storck represents one of the boldest entries in the the new bike category that's now being called "pedelec".
Storck's Voltist has a special integrated smartphone with proprietary GPS mapping software that enables the Storck to find the route that will maintain the highest level of battery charge by avoiding hills.