23 Dec 2015
Bike Buyers Opt for Individuality and Safety at Guangzhou Show
- Photo: Lehe’s smart K e-scooter: Individual appeal.
- Photo: The K e-scooter display panel.
- Photo: Highly foldable: The K e-scooter.
- Photo: Test driving the K e-scooter.
- Photo: The iStark scooter line-up.
- Photo: Light folding bicycles from XDS.
- Photo: Buyers at the Lehe stand.
- Photo: Safe lights from Sate-Lite.
- Photo: Tricycle try-out.
Visual appeal is the key element when it comes to customers choosing a new cycle, according to exhibitors at this year's China Guangzhou International Bicycle and Electric Bicycle Exhibition, though safety and portability also score highly.
The 4th China Guangzhou International Bicycle and Electric Bicycle Exhibition saw a strong trend towards cycles with individual features, as well as an increased emphasis on portability and safety. Supplementing traditional pedal power, lithium-ion (li-ion) battery-powered bicycles were also widely on show.
According to research by the China Bicycle Association, China produced 83.05 million bicycles in 2014, up 1.3% year-on-year. It also manufactured 35.51 million electric bicycles, a decline of 3.9%. Collectively, taking into account pedal bikes and their electric counterparts, there was a 10.3 year-on-year increase in business revenue, as well as a 16.1% year-on-year increase in total profits.
Overall, a huge variety of mountain bikes, road bikes, small-wheel bikes, folding bikes, kid's bikes, tricycles, electric bikes and hoverboards were on show this year. All of the products – and, in particular, the electric bikes – came in eye-catching and attractive styles and colours.
The K electric scooter range from Dongguan Lehe Intelligent Technology drew particular attention. With its distinctive K-shaped frame, the K1 is available in black and white, while the K2 comes in purple red and blackish green colours.
The K series e-scooters all feature a headlight in front of the handlebar with a display panel at the back. Under the handlebars are Bluetooth speakers together with USB ports for streaming music from mobile phones while charging the phone battery. The bike's small tyres – made of the same material as car tyres – are puncture-resistant and designed to be extremely safe.
According to Lehe's Regional Manager, Zhang Yafeng, the bikes can carry a maximum load of 120 kg. He also said that the company attached particular importance to individuality, with all of its products designed to meet young people's own preferences. At present, the K1 sells at around Rmb5,980 while the K2 is priced at Rmb3,980. The more expensive K1 e-scooters feature shock absorbers and are foldable.
The K series now has sales agents in more than 60 mainland cities. Its parent company has also set up sales websites in more than 30 countries worldwide since its launch in April 2015. More that 10,000 e-scooters have been sold to date, with many of these purchased in the US, UK, Netherlands, Israel, Switzerland or Sweden.
A number of manufacturers were at pains to improve the appearance of their products. As well as Lehe's attractive K series, the iStark skate scooters from one particular Guangzhou technology firm were just as eye-catching.
The company's i8 smart skate scooter particularly caught the attention of the show's female visitors. This lightweight electric skate scooter is controlled by a vertical handlebar at the front, while its streamlined body is designed to leave no screw heads or other protrusions exposed – something that no doubt would appeal to the more clothes-conscious lady.
According to Liu Jiamin, the company's Operations Director, consumers are particularly concerned with appearance these days, with products with a stylish and eye-catching body most likely to appeal. With this in mind, the i8 has coloured lights set into its bodywork, with consumers able select their favourite colours.
The i8 was launched in August 2015 with a price of Rmb3,800. It is currently available at physical stores, as well as via a number of online shopping platforms, notably Taobao and JD.com. Typically, its monthly sales on the mainland exceed 6,000 units. The company is now venturing into the second- and third-tier cities and has successfully opened up markets in Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
Light-weight and Portable
Keen cyclists also attach considerable importance to the weight and quality of their bikes. While an attractive appearance naturally comes first, handling the bike becomes problematic if the bike is too heavy.
The Shenzhen Xidesheng (XDS) Bicycle Co was established in 1995. It currently has the capacity to produce more than five million bicycles a year. It has also opened some 2,000 specialty stores in more than 30 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, while its products are now exported to more than 50 countries and regions worldwide.
A considerable number of both pedal powered and li-ion electric bikes were on display at the company's stand, all majoring on their "ultra-lightweight" benefits.
According to the company's Regional Manager, Qiu Zusheng, ultra-lightweight is the hallmark of its whole product range, The Chuanqi 500, XDS' biggest seller in 2015, was constructed from X6, an aluminium alloy used in the aviation sector. This material was used in the frame tube to reduce the weight, resulting in it being 30% lighter than ordinary aluminium alloy frames. It is also said to be 20-30% more abrasion-resistant, while also being 50% more strike-resistant. About 100,000 Chuanqi 500 bicycles – each with a unit price of Rmb2,900 – were apparently sold on the mainland last year.
XDS also exhibited a varied range of portable folding bicycles and folding li-ion battery-powered bicycles. Its Dushi Jingling W5 weighs just 9.15 kg, with its 3D-forged retractable stem and foldable pedals making it possible to fold the bike for easy carriage. This "mini3" li-ion battery-powered folding bike uses an enclosed removable battery pack and can run for about 30 km when fully charged.
Qiu said 60% of XDS' products are now sold overseas, while domestic sales are also growing. In spite of increased competition, he still expects to see a 20% growth in annual sales this year.
The Lehe K series smart e-scooters are also foldable. The K1 measures 1,200mm x 615mm x 985mm before folding and reduces in size to 1,235mm x 536mm x 270mm. According to Zhang, all Lehe products are foldable, with batteries good for a range of 5-10 km.
Safety and Quality
In order to win consumer confidence in the current market, bikes and electric bikes not only must have a good frame, they also need to come with safety equipment as standard. One company taking a lead here is Sate-Lite (Foshan) Plastics, a foreign-invested company supplying headlamps, rear lights, rear rack lights and other products for cycle traffic safety.
According to Li Yunfeng, Manager of Sate-Lite's traffic safety products division, the chief advantage of its products is that they provide cyclists with a high level of protection. The company's range currently includes li-ion lights, solar rear lights, and lights for electric and moped vehicles and dry cell battery lights. Its C1 lamps allow cyclists to use mobile power packs.
Unlike some lamps that have excessively focussed spot beams, which can easily cause dizziness for riders, Sate-Lite's products have all passed the German StVZO bicycle light standard requirement and are guaranteed not to interfere with the vision of other road users. They also come with good moisture protection for weather resistance.
Liu Jiamin, Operations Director of the Guangdong company that manufactures the iStark scooters, said his company's i8 skate scooters have two gear speeds as well as electronic braking for safety. Compared with traditional mechanical brakes, its electronic braking technology is more similar to that used for automobiles, making it far safer. As another safety innovation, the LED light on the handlebar will automatically turn on when the surrounding environment becomes dark.
Zhang said the modular design of the company's K series smart e-scooters allows riders to easily spot problems with their machine. To this end, warning signals are shown on the display panel should anything be malfunctioning.
Among the other companies introducing new products at the show was Foshan's TDJDC with its range of professional shaft-drive bicycles. Yunqun Bicycle of Shunde, meanwhile, was in town to promote its colourful children's bikes.
In terms of security, Zhangzhou's Sanli Yinben had on offer its motor locks with anti-theft features. Among the Guangzhou representatives, Aiqi was exhibiting several models of compact folding bike, while Tianjin's Lianhe was keen to debut its range of aluminium alloy frame and iron frame bicycles.
The Guangzhou International Bicycle and Electric Bicycle Exhibition 2015 was held at the China Import and Export Fair Pazhou Complex, Guangzhou, from 27-29 November.
Jian Wei, Special Correspondent, Guangzhou