Commuting and Folding E-bikes Power Ahead at London Bike Show
LONDON, UK – Whilst the London Bike Show, just held from 29 – 31 March, is not as big as the Cycle Show in Birmingham, it reflects the huge strength of commuter cycling in London. It’s estimated that nearly three quarters of a million cycle journeys are taken daily on London’s streets and the London show clearly aims to tap into that particular market.
Although the show was notable for the lack of some of the big names of British cycling such, as Halfords and Evans, many of the companies present reflected the tremendous growth in urban cycling that has taken place in London over recent years and its own unique sense of style.
Strong presence of electric folders
Electric folders were a strong presence and popular on the test track. UK company GoCycle is a longstanding design that still looks innovatively modern and they were launching a new quick fold model, the GX. Brompton had plenty of their Brompton electric model on hand for test riding, with the bike arriving with a soft launch in 2018; it looks like the show signalled its full rollout in 2019. Further competition on the electric folder front came from ultralight UK-based Hummingbird.
‘Show reflects the huge strength of commuter cycling in London’
Stylish, minimalist electric commuters were also making their mark with yet another UK company, Ribble, launching four value-for-money but very well-specified models all based around the discreet Ebikemotion rear hub motor system. Orbea, who also use Ebikemotion drive systems were proving popular too. ARCC were yet another new UK-based e-bike model launch, showcasing their classic looking steel-framed, high-tech machines with their own very high-tech drive system. Practical models on show, like Tern’s GSD, reflect the fact that London is one of the few places in the UK you can see plenty of electric cargo bikes in use on a daily basis.
A continental European flavour was added by the likes of Gazelle and Schindelhauer. It was also noteworthy that electric kickscooters were popular on the test track; even though they are illegal to use in public in the UK they are a fairly common sight on London’s bike lanes and electric micromobility might well be an increasing theme at the show.
There were also a number of specialist business looking to make their mark including quite a number in the specialist triathlon area of the show. Elsewhere Hedkayse have invented a multi-impact, foldable helmet and had a ‘drop rig’ showing its impressive cushioning effect via a computer screen graphic. In terms of the most popular e-bike area though, London-based retailers Velorution had a massive presence and were able to offer on-the-day retail sales in collaboration with many of the manufacturers who had nearby stands lining the test track.
London-based firms with a particular niche clearly see the show as useful marketing and selling platform. Von Crank were a great example; they pool the expertise of London-based mobile bike repairers and make them easily available to customers via the Von Crank app that means services right up to a full strip down and rebuild can be booked and carried out at home or workplace; an ideal service for ‘time poor’ Londoners.
London Bike Show versus Birmingham
It appears that the London Bike show and its Birmingham rival are increasingly diverging in the markets they serve, with London leaning more and more towards commuting and urban bikes and e-bikes, with the serious e-mtb market decamping to the Birmingham show and its full-on Bosch sponsored test track.