Road Bikes and Cruisers Headline China Cycle

Despite the bicycle manufacturing business going through tough times in China, their industry is forging ahead with more sophisticated products, particularly relating to drive systems and electronics, according to one regular Australian visitor.

Tony Morgan, founder and owner of TEBCO, a Melbourne based designer, importer and distributor of e-bikes, has been attending every China Cycle for decades, so he’s well placed to notice trends.

By number of exhibitors and total exhibit space, China Cycle is only slightly smaller than the world’s leading bicycle expo, Eurobike. This year’s China Cycle, which is always held in Shanghai, had approximately 1,500 exhibitors across 12 halls and a total area of 150,000 square metres.

Mountain bike on display
Not sure how this fancy metallic paint job would fare in real world mountain biking, but perhaps if it’s only for riding over tiny rocks, it would be ok… Photo Credit: Tony Morgan, TEBCO

But in terms of international attendance and international media attention, China Cycle is barely a blip on the radar. Compared to the other international bicycle shows that advertise heavily and often sponsor international media to attend, China Cycle seems to consider promotion to be a low priority.

As a result, there was very little international attendance or coverage. Which is a shame, because, according to Tony, there was plenty to see.

“I’ve been to every China Cycle since 2001,” Tony recalled. “This one was not as big as last year, but the range of products was probably more extensive, because there were plenty of road bikes, now that the Chinese have finally discovered that road cycling is an endeavour they can undertake, rather than just pedalling around on a city bike.

Ferrari on display with two bicycles mounted on the roof
This stand was selling bike racks, not Ferrari’s, which are one of a shrinking number of brands that are not made in China. Photo Credit: Tony Morgan, TEBCO

“These road bikes are for the Chinese domestic market, which has discovered road cycling. It has become the flavour of the month over there. They’re getting into the lycra even more than here – they wear it out to dinner!

“Also, the array and range of fat tyred e-bikes was absolutely astonishing. They were everywhere.

“One thing I did notice was there were nowhere near as many foreign visitors, certainly as last year, and previous years before covid. Talking with major exhibitors who I’ve known for 20 years, they were saying that there wasn’t as many foreign visitors there as normal.

“The usage of pedal powered bikes now in China is minimal in the big cities compared to what it was 20 years ago when there was no subway network. Then they had to pedal to work, but now the subway system is so good.

Bike on display with side-car attached
Teddy looks happy with his new side car. Photo Credit: Tony Morgan, TEBCO

“But the prevalence of pedal share bikes is still totally out of control! You do see people riding them, but nowhere near enough to substantiate the number of share bikes you see there. It’s nothing to come to a corner and there might be 50, 100, stacked on a corner, not being used,” opined Tony.

“It’s very tough… really tough! There’s manufacturers who’ve been in the business for 10, 12, 15 years who will be discontinuing their business before much longer. They’re very slim on orders.

“The quality of the Chinese product gets better every year. If you have a look at the Chinese electric car industry, they will totally dominate the world market going forward. Sitting back here in Australia, we’ll see the major brands like BYD, GWM etc, but in China there could be 50 manufacturers producing quality electric cars. Many of those manufacturers you’d never hear about unless you go to China.”

Cruiser style e-bike on display
There were hundreds of different fat tyre, cruiser style e-bikes on display, this one, presumably licenced by Jeep. Photo Credit: Tony Morgan, TEBCO

Tony continued, “The quality of some of these brands that I’ve never heard of is just astonishing to see.

“I can see a time when they’ll just demolish the European electric bike motor manufacturers with their quality.

“Ananda and ShengYi with their e-bike motors, they’re coming ahead in leaps and bounds. They’ve both been in the e-bike motor industry for a long time, but now they’re concentrating on mid-drive motors – not totally, but that’s the thrust of their new product development, because they’ve already got the hub drive motors down pat.

“Then there’s the electronics that go with it. There’s a new company called Magene. (Editor’s note Magine was founded in December 2015 but started slowly and has grown fast since about 2020). We’ve got a run of adult tricycles being assembled over the next few weeks and the electronics on them is just staggering.

“Attempts to keep Chinese bikes out of global markets may or may not work. Even the German products have so many parts that come from China,” Tony concluded.

Cargo bike on display with different colour options mounted to the wall
e-Cargo bikes have previously been made by small, mainly European-based manufacturers, but thanks to their growing market worldwide they now attract Chinese manufacturers. Photo Credit: Tony Morgan, TEBCO

The Huge Scale of Chinese Bicycle Production

Figures released by the China Bicycle Association (CBA) and reported by Bike Europe give an overview of the massive scale of the Chinese bicycle industry.

According to the CBA China produced 48.83 million analogue bikes plus 50.35 million e-bikes in 2023. Most of these are for domestic consumption. That totals just under 100 million units, or about 100 times Australia’s total market.

About 4.17 million e-bikes were exported worldwide. This is despite a range of tariffs being imposed by the key markets of Europe and the USA.

Off road e-scooter on display
Ready for take off? Here’s a new form factor for e-scooters that has yet to become popular in Australia – a large wheeled, off road e-scooter. Photo Credit: Tony Morgan, TEBCO


  1. Kurt Rihs on 7th June 2024 at 12:54 pm

    Great report Tony! We will go to Shanghai again, next year.

  2. Kurt Rihs on 7th June 2024 at 12:53 pm

    I would love to be able to offer the larger, fat wheeled and much more safe and stable e-scooters in Australia. However, due to size (length) and power limits, they can not be legally used on any public roads, paths and tracks anywhere in Australia. E-bikes of similar size and power-YES, e-scooters -NO.

Leave a Comment