A new consumer bike show was held in Melbourne on the weekend of 10th – 11th September at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, on the south bank of the Yarra River and across from Melbourne’s CBD.
The event was organised by Javier Tellez. At just 20 years of age, this was the first event of this type that he had run. He was backed by a consortium of seven silent investors, most of whom come from industries outside the bicycle trade.
Please refer to the footnote at the end of this article for further disclosure regarding events.
Javier explained: “It was an idea that myself and a few colleagues had back in 2018 but we were pre-occupied with a lot of different things at the time, then Covid came around in 2020. Since then, we came to the idea, ‘Okay, it’s a good time to put something together’. We booked the venue and it’s been 12 months in the making. We’re kind of happy with how everything’s going and we look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow as well.”
There were approximately 50 bicycle related exhibits, plus a few from other industries and charities. Most of the exhibitors were smaller, newer, local companies, joined by some international companies looking to establish local distribution. Unfortunately for them, this was a strongly consumer-oriented event, with only a handful of industry members visiting.
In terms of brands and names that most retailers would recognise, none of the larger bicycle or P&A wholesalers took part in the show. The largest/best known exhibitors with existing dealer networks included Leon Cycle, Dutch Cargo Bikes, GripSport, Ride Electric and Quad Lock.
I attended on day one, Saturday 10th September. There was confusion in the entrance foyer as to the exact start time of the show. Some visitors thought 10.30am, others 11am. Meanwhile at the ticket office, which opened well after what those patrons thought was the start time, they could only accept cash due to ‘technical difficulties’. After paying $20 cash and joining a queue, I entered the show at approximately 11.30am.
In addition to the exhibitors’ booths, there was a trials rider doing demonstrations, a small test ride area and a seminar area where retired pro road riders Robbie McEwen, Phil Anderson and Simon Gerrans gave presentations. These were well attended by people who were clearly road cycling fans, but some of these visitors made comments about there being ‘not much to see’ at the expo, because with the possible exception of the booth featuring Alchemy Cycle Trader, which sells second-hand bikes, I was not aware of a single carbon road bike to be seen at the expo.
Consumers can be unforgiving but the Google reviews initially posted during and after the event were particularly scathing, followed by some more recent, much shorter, five star reviews.
Instead, the flavour was very much about e-bikes, scooters, skateboards and niches such as low riders. Some exhibitors also complained to me about a lack of organisation and communication in relation to logistics such as supply of power and lighting and last-minute requests for seminar presentations. But others were happy with the attention they received from visitors, particularly during the initial rush.
Overall, the show was quite busy, during the first few hours in particular. Estimating attendance is always difficult and I wasn’t present for the last two hours of the day. I would estimate 1,500 – 2,000 attendees visited during the first day, but I haven’t found any official figures from the event. One exhibitor later reported that day two was much quieter, while two others said they were busy on both days. Here are some of the people and products that were on show …
The Melbourne Bike Show is in no way connected to the Micromobility Conference & Expo to be held at Randwick Racecourse, Sydney on 25th-26th November. Bicycle Lane P/L, publisher of The Latz Report, The Latz Report Yearbook, and Micromobility Report is running the Micromobility Conference in conjunction with Interpoint Events P/L, who are running the Micromobility Expo.