Moscow’s VeloPark Show Indicates Russia Market Focuses on Small, Cheap and Electric Bikes
MOSCOW, Russia – One of two major Moscow bike shows – VeloPark – was held this year in February, much ahead of a 2019 bike season starting in April. A mild winter with a prospect of early spring prompted a hefty rise of interest to summer sports equipment. For bicycles that interest is focusing on small, cheap and electric, as the VeloPark Show indicated.
In the recent twenty years bicycles in Russia have evolved from a “children thing” via a fashionable sports accessory status up to a utility item as it is now. There were professional levelled bikes like hi-end road racers presented at VeloPark, but much more attention was given to convenient models with reasonable price tags. Noticeable is the rising demand for compact bikes, preferably foldable ones with 20-inch wheels. They are becoming the prime choice for occasional users with no storage facilities in their homes and inexperienced riders moving primarily on side-walks.
VeloPark showed an array of alternatives for regular bikes
Traffic in most Russian cities is not adapted for cycling, and motorists’ attitude towards cyclists is even worse. As bikes become an acceptable commuting alternative to cars and public transport, more people dare to give it a try. Yet they lack experience in dealing with the daily heavy traffic like in Moscow. Most don’t wear helmets, or high visibility clothes or safety lights at night. As a result, over 5,300 cyclists were injured in road accidents in 2018, featuring a 5% increase over a year.
This year’s VeloPark showed an array of alternatives for regular bikes. The obvious one is a kick scooter. It’s pretty popular in urban areas for getting to public transport stations. It can be then folded and carried along with no charge. Electric kick scooters were a hit last year in Moscow and other parts of Russia. It raised hopes that it could spark an interest and demand for electric bikes.
E-bikes omnipresent at VeloPark
E-bikes of any kind were omnipresent at VeloPark. Cheaper ones came in lots of models by local brand Eltreco and are on offer for some 600 euros retail. Also a few hi-end models were on display at VeloPark priced at 5,000 euro plus. It was said that a number of Trek, Kona and Specialized e-MTBs were ordered by some Russian resorts for bike touring.
Viewing the VeloPark offering and listening to exhibitors it’s expected that the electric bikes market in Russia will grow from low thousands to tens of thousands next summer. VeloPark participants agree that people are vastly uneducated in e-bikes segment. Even those who have some experience don’t understand the added convenience and are only concerned with price, weight, security and charging issues. But like what happened elsewhere in Europe test rides are the best option to turn sceptics into believers and enthusiasts of the fun and ease of use e-bikes provide. This would lift up the Russian e-bike market.
Entering the Russian market
As in other years also the 23019 VeloPark show saw some exhibitors from China. They regard the show as a chance for entering the Russian market. Talks with exhibitors that returned like the bike lights brand Gaciron, revealed that this company distributes online via AliExpress which brought good business. Other exhibitors from China instead rely on Russian partners for guiding them on the complicated Russian market which is limited due to consumers’ budget issues related to the overall economic situation. But that situation also presents opportunities by addressing commuters with cheap mobility alternatives.