INTERBIKE SPECIAL ‘‘Bicle goes Interbike’’ Final day
Last day of Bicle Goes Interbike 2018!
It's September, which means that Interbike is taking place. Of course, Bicle is there to talk with the industry, and report about it. This year we wanted to test two hypotheses: (1) we want to find out what the biggest differences are between the US and the European market, and (2) we feel that e-bikes and LEVs are not as developed in the US as they are in Europe. So, we headed out the talk with exhibitors and to find answers to our questions.
The last day of Interbike has taken place. People are getting ready to dismantle, last deals are closed. But for Bicle this last day was as a chance to once more speak with the industry. Moreover, we had the chance to chat with Justin Gotlieb, Group Show director of Interbike. So let's get started!
The Dutch in America
During the last day we got the opportunity to talk with the Dutch company Tacx, well known from their indoor training products, such as their direct drive trainers. The Company started over 60 years ago by Mr. Tacx, who was figuring out a way to get his training mates even better than they already where - we're talking about Jan Jansen and Henny Kuiper. It started out with the classic rollers and developed its way to one of the most advanced indoor training devices. Accompanied by many sensors - such as a power meter, cadence meter, speed meter - and simulation software with which you can even ride (a part of) this year's world championship's road time trial parkour, Tacx's aim is to get as close as possible to a real outdoors ride. With that, they want to enhance training as best as possible.
However, it doesn't stop there. According to Marije de Gruijter, PR Manager at Tacx, the direct drive trainer market is still in full development. Tacx has already brought out their high-end product, the Tacx NEO, and it's 'little brother' the FLUX, but their latest product - the NEO Bike Smart - is far more than that: it is a complete bike with the same functionalities as the NEO. All with the aim the come as close as a real road ride as possible. It is completely adjustable to the rider's fit, and it comes really, really close to riding a real road bike outside.
When it comes to the differences between the European and the American market, Frank Park, Account Manager at Tacx, says Tacx is only really active in the USA since a few years. The market is dominated by American brands but the technical strengths of the Tacx products are beginning to make a difference and being more and more recognized by consumers causing a rapid growth for the Dutch brand. In general, consumers in both continents are keen to have their indoor training as silent, precise and efficient as possible.
Folding e-bikes are the way to go, when it comes to Tern Bikes
Tern Bikes is a Taiwanese company selling folding and cargo bikes. Their new product range is supported with electrical drive units, powered by Bosch. In conversation with Jared Thieme, Tern Agent, we came across a couple of beautiful looking folding and cargo e-bikes. When we asked him about the commuting culture in the US, something of which we thought was not as booming as in Europe, he stated that especially in the urban areas in the US, commuting is really getting booming. Especially since streets are getting more dense with car traffic. People in urban areas are really looking for alternatives to get around int the city and to commute.
The folding bike might just be that vehicle to easily and swiftly ride around in the city. The folding bikes are compact and e-equipped, which in the hilly streets of San Francisco, for instance, comes really handy. Moreover, living spaces in urban areas are in general a little more compact as well, which make the Tern folding bike more handy.
So, what we can conclude from this is that in the United States, commuting by bike is really booming and the market is indeed growing in that section. It could be a great opportunity for e-bike companies to get into that market as well. This seems to be evidence that e-bikes in the US are indeed becoming more and more common.
Justin Gotlieb makes time to talk
In an small setting, some invited media got the chance to talk with Gotlieb. But before that, he took the opportunity to comment already a little on this years edition. Of course, with the change of location, there was some anxiety about how the industry would react. Yes, some of the big brands were not present, but on the flip side smaller brands got more space. During the demo days Gotlieb states that there was a strong traffic at the demo days.
Besides that, retailers are still seeing value in the Interbike show. And although the venue is smaller, it did make the show more compact and easy to oversee. Another positive note was that the comsumer day was well attended, really contributing to the total amount of visitors.
And although the sport segment in the US market is still strongly represented, e-bikes took almost 50% of the floor, indicating that e-bikes are actually a growing market. Having said that, Interbike was a success, not only for the organisation, but also for Bicle. In our quest to answers, we have found many. So stay tuned or the conclusion in the next week!