The Eurobike Award, bestowed on a number of companies in tandem with the Eurobike trade show in Germany each year, is seen as one of the most coveted accolades on the cycle market. According to the team at Eurobike, the interest in taking part was once again correspondingly high in 2017.
Recent weeks have seen 458 applications submitted for a Eurobike Award. Over a period of two days, a six-strong panel of expert judges faced the challenging task of selecting the submissions worthy of an award from this large pool. Among them for the first time were also the winners of the newly introduced ‘Start-up’ category.
Selecting the most innovative new products from a large number of promising applications for the respective model year calls for a wealth of expert knowledge. The members of this year’s panel not only supplied the necessary expertise but, thanks to their well-balanced mix of talents, also ‘guaranteed that all subject areas really were covered’.
With his company velotech.de, Ernst Brust is one of the most prominent product testers within the German bicycle industry. Founder of Artefakt, Tomas Fiegl, brings 25 years of experience in product design and is already responsible for the styling of numerous well-known products from the cycle market. Providing the know-how in journalism for the panel were the German pedelec expert Julia Milan and the Spanish trade specialist Fran Garcia. Input from the retail sector came from Joel Natale, Head of Purchasing for the British retail chain Evans Cycles.
The panel of judges was rounded off by Anna Luten, who held the newly appointed post of Bicycle Mayor for Amsterdam in 2016 and is now advancing the cause of bike transport through an identical position in New York. Facilitators for the event and assisting the judges were the designer Niko Gu?ltig, associate and CEO of the agency Crossmark, and Markus Fritsch, publisher of velobiz.de.
For the second time running, this year’s process included a digital pre-selection phase, during which a twelve-strong panel undertook an initial selection from the award entrants. A total of 259 new products made it through this first round to secure a place in the shortlist of candidates for a Eurobike Award.
On 9-10 August, the expert panel met in Friedrichshafen, Germany, to take a close look at the competition entrants as well as to test and then finally evaluate them.
“The final decision as to which submissions are the most impressive in terms of quality, design, level of innovation and function and thus deserve an award is no easy task for the judges,” explained Eurobike Project Manager Dirk Heidrich. “The two days definitely involve some intense and sometimes controversial discussions, which then ultimately lead to a well-rounded verdict being reached.”
The same is also true of the eleven winners selected for Gold Awards this year. Amongst the award-winning products, they stand out in particular because the judges consider them to have the potential to set a benchmark within their segment. One candidate also received the Green Award for a particularly sustainable product development. Premiering at this year’s event, the Start-up Award went to five companies.
“These have been two very exciting days with a very proficient and well-balanced selection of judges,” said designer Tomas Fiegl. “For me it was a pleasure to see that the new product innovations were not merely gradual improvements but also included entirely new concepts.” His colleague on the panel, Fran Garcia, added “For me as a journalist, it was a great experience to be part of the Eurobike Award panel. It presents a unique opportunity to gain a comprehensive preview of the new products for the coming year.”
“In my case it was great to see how the bicycle industry is increasingly focusing on the subject of urban mobility,” explained Anna Luten, after completing her duty as a judge. “Many of the products that we have examined here at the Eurobike Awards are concerned with topics such as design or weight. Yet we have also seen many innovations that concentrate on people and users and are tackling the issue of how the bike can become even more attractive as a means of transport.”
The secret of which new products have been honoured with a Eurobike Award will not be revealed until 30 August, the first day of the Eurobike show. That is when the curtain will go up on the victorious products showcased in the West Foyer of Messe Friedrichshafen. Then, from 17:30 CET, the winners of Eurobike Gold Awards, which will have remained a secret up until that time, will feature in a separate presentation on the show stage in the East Foyer.
A total of about 1350 exhibitors will be presenting their new products and innovations at the Eurobike in Friedrichshafen, Germany, taking place from 30 August to 2 September 2017. The first three days of the show are reserved for trade visitors. On Eurobike Festival Day, Saturday 2 September, the last day of the show, doors will be opened to bike fans in the general public.