Leading trends at Eurobike 2022

Urban Mobility Group designer Peter van der Veer explored Eurobike to discover the latest developments in cycling and test them on the extensive track. Two days turned out to be too short to take a good look at all the novelties, but here’s an overview of the many remarkable bicycle innovations he found.

Innovation Awards
Fat bikes
Long tail bicycles
Cargo Bikes
Future Bikes

Eurobike Innovation Awards is now Innovators Prize

The Eurobike Innovation Awards had become a very popular event among the many manufacturers over the years. In Frankfurt, it has been replaced by the ‘Innovators Prize’ and the concept got an element of competition. Before the fair, the particpants joined the online voting competition where people could select the best products in five categories: bicycles; components; accessories; services; infrastructure. During the show each of the three nominees per category gave a short pitch after which a jury of industry specialists voted for the winners. In the category bicycles, the Bad of Bad Bikes was one of the nominees. I would call this the first trend at Eurobike: the rise of the Fatbikes.

 Innovation awards

Trend 1: Fat bikes

You may wonder whether this folding bike with fat tires is really that innovative, the fact is that the concept fits into the emerging trend of ‘Fatbikes’. At this Eurobike edition a lot of new fat tire bikes were on display. These models often have smaller wheel diameters and you see more and more models with buddy seats. A remarkable model on the show floor was the Lil'Missy from Ruff Cycles. A fat bike with a beautiful design frame in which a spacious storage compartment is included. The sturdy lines also show some femininity and the colour scheme gives a contemporary look to the model, which evokes a less retro feeling than many of its peers.

For people looking for a fat bike with large wheels, Ruff Bikes came up with the Biggie: also a successful model, although it takes some time to get used to that the seat tube disappeared. For the Biggie it is true that such a bicycle always looks a lot nicer when the mudguards and luggage carrier are omitted. I took various Fatbikes to the extensive test track at Eurobike. Thanks to the strong electric support, it is still relaxing to ride them despite the less ergonomic styling. On the test track, a colorful parade of all sorts of bicycle passed by including many cargo bikes, children’s cargo bikes and the Podbike Frikar, one of the striking newcomers.

 Fat bikes

Trend 2: Long tail bicycles

A concept in which the chainstay of the bicycle is greatly extended, the so-called long tail bike, is also one of the rising stars. They often come with small wheels. As far as I know, Tern developed this concept which provides a lot of space at the rear to carry luggage. A tour on the fairground quickly showed that today almost every bicycle brand seemed to have a longtail on offer. The longtail bicycles are a good alternative to the popular children’s cargo bike. Due to the low center of gravity, this type of bicycle is very easy and safe to cycle. They take up less space than a cargo bike and thanks to various attachments you can quickly turn it into a transport bike for groceries.

 Long tails

Trend 3: Family cargo bikes

The Netherlands is ahead of the market with the high market penetration of cargo bikes to transport children. This type of bicycle is now also getting popular in other markets. Due to this increasing popularity, the number of brands and model available on the market is increasing quickly. I have never been to a bicycle show with so many family cargo bike models on display.

A remarkable option is the Stadtaffe, an e-cargo bike with 4 relatively small wheels that have independent suspension. This construction makes the cargo bike very stable and it offers a relatively large carriage space. The Stadfaffe is produced by the newly founded company Vowag in Plauen, Germany. The family cargo bike market attracts a lot of start-ups. The idea invites a lot of creative design work. For example, the company Rethink has succeeded in making a cargo bike whose frame is completely made of wood. Wood has a positive environmental image and that will appeal to many young parents.

 Cargo bikes

Trend 4: Solutions for the future

The Bosch booth featured a remarkable prototype of a future vision e-bike. With this concept, Bosch wanted to show what a next generation of electric drive cycling systems can look like: the mid-mounted motor blends in even more with the frame and the display is integrated into the handlebar. The sleek model has a spring element that is nicely concealed in the line of the top tube, which provides some suspension on the rear wheel.

For Johannes Alderse Baas of mtrl.bike, the Eurobike was a great platform to promote his product, which was largely made of plastic. In recent years he pioneered in developing this product, under the name Dutchfiets. As of this year, the company name changed into mtrl.bike. Thanks to a new collaboration with the German company Igus, a major manufacturer of plastic bearings, the 4th generation of the plastic bicycle was presented.

The Norwegian start-up Podbike worked for several years on the development of a 4-wheel covered e-bike. At Eurobike, two test models were available on the test track. A special feature of the Podbike is the connection of the pedal drive with a generator. A computer measures the pedaling force and rotational speed. With that information the hub motors drive the rear wheels. This makes the Podbike Frikar very easy to ride. When you kick back, the bike moves backwards. All this without the presence of a chain transmission between the bottom bracket and the wheels. This generator system is also known from the Mando Footloose who presented a similar system a few years ago too. A test round in the Podbike Frikar makes clear the system still needs improvements. The bike still makes too much noise and that is very disturbing. Personally, I also think the seating position is too low: it is difficult to get in and out of the car, but above all I expect that riders will feel unsafe in traffic because the seating position is much lower than in a car or on a regular bicycle.

 Future bikes?