It’s a bit ironic: for almost 70 years, Frankfurt has been the European center of the car industry. The IAA fair has been held in Frankfurt every two years since 1951, until the fair transformed into IAA Mobility in Munich last year. The auto industry no longer wanted anything to do with the performance shows of the past decades, everything should be green, sustainable and electric at the same time. The new concept, widespread in the Bavarian capital, was only moderately convincing. Especially since the industry still earns money outside of the fair mainly from heavy combustion models.
The fair is therefore the only one that Eurobike, one of the largest bicycle fairs in the world, is held for the first time this year in Frankfurt am Main. It is traditionally located on Lake Constance. However, the exhibition center in peaceful Friedrichshafen was getting too small. The bicycle industry, and especially the electric bicycle sector, has been booming for years, without any multi-million dollar e-funding from the state.
Transport minister Volker Wissing also stops
From 13 to 17 July, industry, press and bicycle enthusiasts from 100 countries will crowd the spacious halls of the Frankfurt exhibition center to take a look at market innovation. Not everyone likes it. A newcomer from the industry complained loudly that the area was so large his feet hurt. Cyclists prefer to pedal rather than hike. Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) is not that lazy. Surrounded by his entourage, on Wednesday afternoon he wanders the aisles of Eurobike after giving a short speech. Cycling is so popular now that even the FDP can no longer avoid two wheelers.
Eurobike shows why: the bicycle is increasingly becoming a means of transport for everyone. At least when it comes to industry representatives. There is hardly a requirement that bikes at trade fairs cannot meet. Whether it’s a stroller, dog carrier or delivery van: the bike is on its way to becoming a replacement for cars. The very possibilities of transporting offspring are diverse.
Freight bicycles in all forms
For example, Riese & Müller is once again presenting the Packster 70, a two-wheeler whose transport box should be particularly secure in front of the steering wheel. The material comes from the automotive industry and is used there, among others on the bumpers. Shortly after the cargo bike hit the market, Riese & Müller withdrew the model due to defects. These have already been repaired, assure the employees at the exhibition stand. What you can count on for a price of almost 8,000 euros.
In addition to the industry giant, many start-ups try their hand at cargo bikes. Some companies are still so small that the nice people at the company booth are in one person: founders, customer advisers and marketing managers. For many of them, the idea of sustainable development is important. Max & Mäleon from Frankfurt show their first cargo bike with tilting technology, made in Germany.
Rethink from Dresden builds its bicycles from wood from Latvia. Naturally balanced. My Boo from Kiel is showing its first cargo bike at Eurobike – with a bamboo frame. The company produces them by hand as part of a social project in Ghana. Although it costs almost 8,000 euros, demand is high. Half of the first 50 frames have already been sold, says Felix Habke of My Boo. The company’s marketing manager suspects the rest will likely be sold out within a week.
Longtail models seem to be more and more in demand. A type of elongated bicycle with a seat behind the saddle. Both a long bench and individual seats can be installed here. A slim version of a children’s transport that does not allow for large luggage. The number of models at Eurobike has increased significantly.
On the other side of the transport spectrum, there are bikes that hardly deserve the name anymore. The Rytle Movr resembles the Italian Ape van: driver in front behind a large cargo box. It was developed with courier departures in mind. Only with pedals and electric drive instead of a clattering gasoline engine.
Batteries and electric assistance once again dominate this year’s Eurobike. There is actually no manufacturer that does not have a few e-bikes in its range. How it is interpreted is completely different. At one end of the spectrum are menacing-looking mountain bikes and SUVs with sturdy frames that leave no doubt as to who will be victorious against the road or off-road. Increasingly more powerful engines should also allow less trained cyclists to master most off-road routes.
At the other end of the spectrum, mobile solutions that are as compact as possible are impressive. Together with the Lowtide Coast Bikes from Bielefeld it shows a foldable bike that can be easily taken on the subway. Even without an engine.
Somewhere between mountain bikes and folding bikes there is a trend to be as “urban” and “lifestyle” as possible. The bikes are elegant and simple, except for the frame, handlebars and wheels, nothing should distract from the clean design. Cable routing disappears into the frame, and the fenders are gone anyway. Some manufacturers even have displays integrated into the steering wheel. This design is inspired by track cycling, the frame structures of the E models are now so delicate that there is no longer a trace of a built-in battery.
The combination of classic motorbikes and e-bikes caused particularly astonished faces on Eurobike. The exhibition halls had e-bikes with large tires and long benches. Anyone who still mourns the loss of a Bonanza, or for whom the bike is too loud anyway, will find the bike of their dreams here. For example, the Dutch manufacturer RSD implemented the look of a motocross bike as a pedelec on its Super 73 models.
There are similar motorcycles from Argeus, Ruff Cycles and Rayvolt, which, depending on the model, cite different motorcycle eras. Sometimes it takes bizarre forms. Several companies exhibit e-bikes with trailers or trailers at the fair. The Origine model of the French manufacturer Atelier Heritage looks like a motorcycle from the 1940s, the “tank” is made of carbon and hides the trunk. For the offspring there is a pendant of the same appearance. Admittedly, it looks cooler than any cargo bike. And why shouldn’t cyclists and their children have a little fun?