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Electrification of the bicycle is in full swing: For some
time now, almost every product group has been available with electric drive –
from city bikes to trekking bikes all the way through to mountain bikes. At the
Eurobike in Friedrichshafen (August 30 to September 2, 2017), as a barometer of
the bicycle industry, this development is becoming more and more evident, but
this trend is far from over. Topics such as digitalization, connectivity, and
big data are increasingly becoming the focus of all industry stakeholders.
The variety of
e-bikes is not just about the areas of application. Designers can truly run
riot with the new technical elements for bicycles. More and more providers are
realizing that an e-bike can be visually more than a bike with a rechargeable
battery and motor added on. The upcoming Eurobike will feature unusual designs
that are only vaguely reminiscent of the classic bicycle. System integration is
the catchphrase here – and we are not
just talking about looks: All of the electrical features of the bicycle can be
controlled using a control unit. This is not only technically possible but
already being implemented. Linking with smartphones is of course also standard
The digital bike
digital bike does not necessarily have to be an e-bike. Even without electric
drive support, it is now possible to have a lot of electronics on a bicycle.
Networking bicycles among one another in order to allow them to move more
quickly and safely in rush-hour traffic, for example, is still a vision of the
future, but it is already technically feasible, as technology conglomerate
Microsoft demonstrated at last year’s Eurobike.
of the bicycle and its infrastructure is being shaped by specialized service
providers with expertise not only in the bicycle industry but also in software
development. These include young emerging companies such as Cobi and Bloks,
which are completely dedicated to the idea of bicycle connectivity. Or the
social media athletic network Strava, which operates a dedicated data service
with Strava Metro. This service collects and analyzes the paths taken by
pedestrian and bicycle commuters registered on the network. “Strava Metro’s
anonymized data, such as preferred routes and times of day, can help urban
planners significantly improve and re-design traffic routes and traffic flow,”
explains Simon Klima from Strava. At present, cities with a total population of
160 million are already using data from Strava Metro.
are also advancing bicycle networking: Swiss provider Stromer, which
specializes in S-pedelecs, has fully committed to the digital bike, which it
describes as follows: “It is smart and learns from the individual riding
behavior of its users. It hardly ages, because innovations and updates are
received over the air, thus enabling continuous renewal.” An integrated
anti-theft device, localization of the bike using an app, and integration with
social media networks are also part of a digital bike.
importance of the e-bike today can be seen in the current figures for the
bicycle industry. According to Germany’s bicycle retailer association, the
share of sales of electrically propelled bicycles at German bicycle dealers was
35 percent in 2016. Compared with the unit numbers of the previous year, 11
percent more e-bikes were sold. Since the average price for e-bikes in the
retail trade also rose to 2500 euros, sales in this segment actually rose by 17
The Dutch Accell
Group, one of the largest bicycle manufacturers in Europe with well-known
German brands such as Winora, Haibike, and Ghost, earned more revenue with
e-bikes than conventional bicycles for the first time in 2016. Bicycle manufacturers
were even able to increase sales of sporting e-bikes by 70 percent over the
previous year. The greatest driver of this revenue growth is Germany.
Product trends are
often only a short-term phenomenon, but the current e-bike boom is more than just
a flash in the pan. This is one thing that bicycle experts can agree on.
“Society is changing: urbanization, increasing environmental and health
awareness, demographic transition,” says Claus Fleischer, Managing Director of
Bosch eBike Systems, one of the leading drive manufacturers for e-bikes: “These
mega-trends have a strong impact on our individual and commercial behavior.
Innovative technologies, new solutions, and crucial improvements to existing
products make everyday life noticeably easier. For example, the bicycle has
also reached the next evolutionary stage with its electrification.” Fleischer
expects that every third new bike sold in Central Europe will be an e-bike in
the medium term.
What the bicycle and e-bike of the future will actually look like can thus already be intimated. More than just an intimation, but rather a comprehensive overview of the developments in the bicycle market, will again be offered in the coming summer by the Eurobike as the world’s leading trade fair for the bicycle industry. The expected 1350 exhibitors from 48 countries will be presenting their new products for the upcoming model year to the trade audience from August 30 to September 2, 2017. On the last day of the fair (Saturday, September 2), the fair will also be opening its doors to bicycle fans among the general public.