The Sea Otter Europe Costa Brava – Girona Bike Show came at a time when the e-bike market was exploding on an international scale. E-bikes have helped save the sector in terms of numbers in recent years and are undergoing an unstoppable evolution. The first edition was a perfect tool for brands to show and allow users – who were yet to buy their first e-bike – to try out these motor-powered bicycles. The Demo Bike programme became a leader in its field and its immediate success is largely thanks to the momentum of e-bikes.
A little more than three years later, the outlook is very different. E-bikes are no longer a type of bicycle shrouded in uncertainty but are one of the driving forces of the cycling industry. What started out with an emphasis on launching MTB models has become an unstoppable surge that has influenced all forms of cycling, the last of which was gravel.
At the first edition of Sea Otter Europe, MTB e-bikes completely dominated what was on offer for test riding as part of Demo Bike. Now, although they still dominate, gravel and road bikes are available too. And urban mobility, of course, continues to be an important market for these types of bicycles. Brands have gone to great lengths to apply all the advances made in road and gravel bicycles to e-bikes: smaller motors, better integration to make sure they look like traditional bicycles and greater range; a sure fire way for e-bikes to continue their unstoppable growth.
In terms of commerce, e-bike sales account for over 50% of total turnover for many brands. This is reflected in the increase in supply and the rising specialization level in models. In addition, staff training, from brands to stores, is on the up: the only way to serve people who are becoming more and more knowledgeable and who, in many cases, are already in the market for their second or third e-bike. In other words, customers who are more demanding and more experienced with these types of bicycles.
Sea Otter Europe already foresees an increase in the number of e-bikes available for test riding in 2020, with figures that are yet again set to break records in terms of the number and variety of models available to visitors. The test courses will also be adapted to these needs and to the increase in disciplines offered as part of the Demo Bike programme, so that the event continues to be a place where people can test ride one of the greatest ranges of bikes in the world.