The Berlin Bike Show, Fahrradschau Berlin continues to solidify itself as the coolest bike show in the world. The historically and culturally rich city of Berlin is a creative mecca where trends are born and the Berlin Bike show embodies the spirit of the city by presenting itself as a gathering for bike enthusiasts, and not just another bike expo for brands to pitch their wares.
Now in its seventh year, the Fahrradschau Berlin is popular among new brands launching and presenting for the first time as well as frame-makers. Alongside the younger brands are establish brands which are compatible with the underlying theme of cycling as a lifestyle.
One of the four big halls of the Fahrradschau Berlin
Walking through the Berlin Bike Show is like being at a party. The average punter sports a cycling cap, beard, T-shirt with a bike related design, jeans with rolled-up cuffs, sneakers and probably has a beer in their hand. You could call them hipsters, but the bike brands exhibiting see them as advocates who have the ability to influence even more people.
Stephan Ensthaler, Le Canard framebuilder
Among the visitors you can identify different bicycle subcultures; the rough and ready bike polo players, the fixie girls and boys in the artistic arena who are attempting track stands or advanced skills like riding backwards; the frame builders and restorers who ponder every braze and fillet; and the super commuters on the lookout for cycling gear which will enables them to seamlessly transition from the bike saddle, straight onto the designer chair in their next digital marketing meeting.
UCI Trials Championship
Unlike Australia where sports and performance cycling tend to be the primary focus, in Europe most people cycle for transport. A growing number of cyclists see the bicycle as more than just a practical form of transport, it is a lifestyle. It makes the Berlin Bike Show is the right location and event to connect with other riders and to check out new and interesting bikes and gear.
Matthias Jeschka,Velocipedo framebuilder
Fine sandblasting detail in a Velocipedo frame
Most of the exhibitors are German brands such as Brose, Reise & Müller, Tune and Lightweight but there are also many other European brands such as Vulpine, Brooks Festka, Fern, fi’zi:k and Gilles Berthoud and you will hear visitors and exhibitors speaking English, Spanish, French, Italian, Danish, Czech and Slovak. In fact, for many brands, the bike show gives them the opportunity to expand, Vulpine founder Nick Hussey is marking the official entry into the German market with the show.
Nick Hussey, founder of Vulpine Cycle Wear
The three day show opened on Friday evening and the beer and mixed drinks flowed freely. Some exhibitors looked a little worse-for-wear on Saturday so catering was kept busy brewing fresh coffee. The weekend saw more families attending and some stands were packed with visitors three deep but the atmosphere was relaxed. Numerous after-parties and saw exhibitors and visitors alike heading across town after the show.
Bike brands such as Specialized, Canyon and Assos were represented at the show with modest stands however the crowds of visitors tended to concentrate around the many niche brands, the handmade bikes and the Bike Polo, Bike Parkour and Trials bike competition. Show director, Fares Gabriel Hadid confirmed that some brands interested in exhibiting were politely declined as they didn’t fit within the concept of the show.
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As a lifestyle show, mountain bikes and big brand road racing bikes were few an far between, custom steel, titanium and carbon fiber road bikes as well as restored classic road bike featured more heavily and along with urban, city and touring bikes.
If you thought that the fixie trend was over, then think again. The fixed wheel trend is alive and well and the true enthusiast has a premium bike; collectable, new or even custom but definitely not budget.
Gravel Grinder Legor Cicli by Mattia Paganotti
Light Blue (brand) Gravel Grinder
The gravel grinder trend is alive and wide tires are the norm. Touring style bikes with pannier racks also feature heavily with hand-made style tours through to dual battery touring e-bikes. Wooden bikes are also popular and three brands presented wooden frames bikes and some exhibitors also had wooden bike accessories such as handlebars and fenders. The modern wooden bicycle is typically built from ply-wood which is formed for cut and has hollow-tube construction, so are not as they appear and the makers suggest that the wood lends them a ride-feel superior to titanium.
My Esel (My Donkey) wooden frames are CNC cut to order
Danish COH & CO promise superior handling and ride enjoyment
Authenticity is a clear trend among many exhibitors at the Berlin bike show and they manufacture and assemble their bikes or bike gear locally, this limits their capacity for mass production however the small and niche style production is preferred. Behind the scenes, many brands are relying on their websites and online shops to reach customers and while the European and American markets are key – premium brands report steady sales from Australian customers while Chinese buyers are reportedly snapping up top-of the range bikes and gear.
Czech brand FESTKA is more that just beautiful, it is technically excellent
French saddle maker Gilles Berthroud incorporate classic aesthics and modern construction
Among the exhibitors were a number of brands which have evolved from University research projects and collaborations, particularly notable was Pirope which is a flexible bike spoke that replaces steel spokes and can be tightened to give the same tension and handling. As a young brand their focus is on custom wheel building rather than mass production.
The Chemnitz, Germany initiative Pirope spokes receives European wide support
Slovakian brand Rondo used the Berlin Bike Show to launch their bike brand, they have an innovative fork design that allows riders to switch between gravel grinder and race bike geometry.
Tom Cybula launched the new Slovakian brand Rondo at the Berlin Bike show
There was some Australian representation at the show, the German agent for Geelong based BAUM cycles presented and Amsterdam based Paul from My Wild Love presented his restored frames and original custom bikes.
Paul was commended for the design of his My Wild Love frames
More Highlights from the 2017 Fahrradschau Berlin
Custom made cycling shoes by BAER
Helmet concept by FixedHeadGear / SmirkMasks which explores artistic expression
Kathrin from premium component brand Tune
Wilhelm Beerman of Amity Fashions displays the premium cycling jacket
Massimo Perini of Derreiere Saddles Italy who create only limited edition saddles
Lightweight built a new style flat-sided hub for better heat dissipation on disc wheels
Robert Dilik of True 36 Bike is a framebuilder who believe in the 36″ trend
Light and stylish Twist Lock is made from titanium
Visitors from Italian bike tech brand Volata Cycles