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Bike Brno: Show for Eastern Europe

Shows & Events

BRNO, Czech Republic – This years Bike Brno show, which closed its doors last Sunday, presented a perfect reflection of the current situation in the international bike scene. This show is, unlike others in Europe (and of course apart from Eurobike which is playing in a league of its own),

Bike Brno: Show for Eastern Europe

BRNO, Czech Republic – This year’s Bike Brno show, which closed its doors last Sunday, presented a perfect reflection of the current situation in the international bike scene. This show is, unlike others in Europe (and of course apart from Eurobike which is playing in a league of its own), flourishing and getting not only bigger and bigger but also more professional each time it is held.

The 2008 edition was no exception. One might say that after Eurobike this is the European show that is not to be missed by bike professionals, especially as it is turning into THE show for Eastern Europe.

Production closer to the market

With the financial crisis now affecting China and suppliers there demanding upfront payment; with the US dollar hitting a two-year high against the euro and on top of that all the logistics problems and stretched lead times that come with sourcing in Asia; there’s a growing interest in production closer to the market. Eastern Europe offers possibilities for just that.

Already lots of bike companies have shifted production to countries like Poland, Bulgaria, Rumania, the Baltic States, Hungary and the Czech Republic. With the bike markets in these countries maturing, it’s very likely that other companies will follow. All that offers a perfect breeding ground for a bike show.

Bike Brno is the biggest part of the Sport-Life show, held in parallel with Caravaning Brno and Boat Brno. According to Trade Fairs Brno a.s. 45,000 visitors (including about 2,000 from abroad) came to the three shows: about 10 % more than last year.

The three fairs (including Bike Brno) were again somewhat larger than the past ones: 458 exhibitors from fifteen countries rented the exhibition space of 21,284 square meters (a 3.9 % increase) and together with the space occupied by the accompanying program, the total space of this year’s three shows was 50,000 square meters.

Can Bike Brno be compared with shows like the Taipei Int’l Cycle Show or the one in Shanghai, China   shows where buyers and product managers go to source components like frames, transmission parts, tyres and all the other stuff needed for assembling bikes? There’s a simple answer to that question: "no". However, a better answer is: "no, not yet."

Alternative frame suppliers

For European bike makers looking for alternative frame suppliers located in Eastern Europe, it is clear that there is hardly any production capacity currently available for alloy frames. And that for steel is limited.

However, this situation could change rapidly, as Dr. Joachim Volland, Director from Thalinger Lange (part of the German Shimano distributor Paul Lange & Co. that opened subsidiaries in various Eastern European countries in the past few years) says: “For instance a region like East Slovakia has a long history in metal processing.

“That’s why companies like Audi, Porsche, Peugeot have set up facilities here. They benefit from special tax incentives provided by the Slovakian government such as a five-year tax holiday. One also has to take into account that Slovakia will adopt the euro January 1, 2009. The Czech Republic is now in the process of deciding its entry to the eurozone, which will come in 2010 or 2011. I am convinced that all this will attract other companies to set foot in Eastern Europe and open production facilities here for bike parts.”

A complete report on Bike Brno 2008 is in Bike Europe’s November edition; publication date November 21, 2008.

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