As I mentioned in a recent post, show season for the bicycle industry is now underway. Eurobike 2009 has come and gone, and based on the pictures I have seen it appears to have been a pretty interesting show this year. Chris Matthews, a marketing guy at Specialized who blogs at creativextreme, posted a good photoset and also wrote one of the best Eurobike recap posts that I have seen (it’s not all about products from his employer by the way). Another interesting perspective from Eurobike can be found in the Core 77 blog post about the top 5 trends they noticed at the show. Core also posted a photo gallery from the show that is worth browsing through.
It is probably no surprise that both of the aforementioned posts mention the prevalence of electric bikes at Eurobike this year. Electric bike sales are on the rise in Europe and, as Michael Downes hinted in his 2007 guest post on Bicycle Design, electrobikes WILL be hitting the U.S market in a big way at some point. A recent Cyclelicious post pointed out that “Shimano announced their intentions to enter the growing eBike market.” That same Cyclelicious post also links to Carlton Reid’s Flickr gallery of electric bikes from Eurobike this year. We may not see quite as many electric bikes at Interbike next week as were shown in Germany earlier this month, but I do expect to see a significant increase from previous years. I believe the U.S. market is getting closer to accepting electric bikes, which could allow a greater segment of the population to cycle for transportation, but good design is going to be a key to make that happen. Stylish bikes like the GoCycle (pictured here) go a long way toward improving the image problem that electric bikes have suffered from in the US for the past 20 or so years.
Speaking of Interbike, I will be in Las Vegas next Thursday and Friday to wander around the show and see what is new. As much as I love high-end road and mountain bikes, I suspect that utility oriented designs will be the ones that really catch my attention this year. Bicycle companies have a great opportunity right now to expand their customer base and break into new markets with cargo bikes, city bikes, electric bikes, and many other types of transportation-focused bicycles. Of course, design is going to need to play a significant role if any of those categories are to gain widespread acceptance by the majority of American’s out there that currently don’t ride bikes at all. OK, I feel like I am about to start rambling again on a subject that I have touched on several times before. I will spare you that, but if you are interested take a look at this older post about bikes for the masses, which has some pretty good discussion in the comments.
Photo credit: Core77