Despite covid restrictions, the Eurobike Show is proceeding this year, albeit on a smaller scale. After 30 years, the final Eurobike show to be hosted at Friedrichshafen is being held from 1st to 4th September 2021 probably with not one of the usual 200 or so Australian attendees able to visit. For many Australians, it will be a sad end to an era.
Surprisingly, given the circumstances, Eurobike 2021 has managed to attract approximately 600 exhibitors. This is well down on pre-covid years, but they still booked enough space to occupy eight of the 12 main halls at Messe Friedrichshafen – albeit six of these halls are not filled right to the back. The usually packed outdoor exhibition areas are also half empty and the program is scaled back.
But the mere fact that the show is proceeding at all, is in stark contrast to Australia’s covid lockdowns. As the show approached, Germany was quickly heading back above 10,000 new covid cases per day. At its peak in the winter of 2020/21, Germany was recording over 1,000 deaths per day. These numbers are once again climbing, but closer to 20 per day thanks to the fully vaccinated rate of 59% as of 21st August 2021.
At its pre-covid peak, Eurobike would occupy approximately 100,000 square metres of exhibit space each year, with over 40,000 trade attendees from about 100 countries plus about 20,000 public visitors on the final day of the four-day show.
Eurobike quickly overtook older, more traditional European bike shows in the early 1990s because it was the first to see the potential of the then embryonic mountain bike boom and move quickly to fully embrace mountain bikes, with demo days and other initiatives.
Ironically, it’s now the next revolution, e-bikes and urban mobility, that is in part behind the move next year to a big city and a new show format.
As we previously reported, next year Eurobike is moving to the much larger city and international airport hub of Frankfurt.
Although the show organisers have not said so explicitly, part of their motivation for this move is quite likely serious new competition from the huge IAA Mobility show in Munich which until now has traditionally been solely a motor show.
Friedrichshafen has always been logistically difficult for exhibitors and visitors, due to the shortage of hotel rooms and lack of direct flights or other transport connections.
But these challenges were compensated by its green surroundings and attractive lakeside setting, with views across the Lake of Constance to the Swiss Alps.
By contrast, Frankfurt’s urban area has approximately 50 times the population. Messe Frankfurt, where the 2022 show will be held, is more than triple the size and is located in the heart of the city. According to Wikipedia, Messe Frankfurt is the largest trade show organiser in the world. Eurobike is moving into the big leagues.
The only question remaining for Australian bike industry members is, will they finally be able to travel again, unrestricted, to trade shows in 2022?