Sports Bike Exhibition Evolves into Largest Event for Domestic
Industry Response to New Users Is Key to Creating New Markets
Sports bikes by foreign manufacturers are always a major focus of CYCLE MODE. Last year, unfortunately, the number of makers from overseas dwindled, a trend that was even more evident this year. However, CYCLE MODE took maximum advantage of the huge response to the “Yowamushi Pedal” animated film to draw the largest turnout ever, despite not being able to keep the spotlight on foreign products. Held at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture, CYCLE MODE International 2015 spanned more than 27,000 square meters of floor space in the Yasuragi Mall, which was about the same as last year, but the roster of companies and groups that displayed their products was down to 152, which was 15 fewer than last year. There were also 78 fewer booths, at 520, and 349 brands were exhibited, 105 fewer than last year. A total of 1,005 bicycles were displayed, which was down by 400, and 402 bikes were available for test riding, a drop of 105. On Sunday, the final day, which is when the largest number of visitors can normally be expected, rain dampened the attendance, although a larger number of people did come on Saturday. Altogether, the show welcomed only 28,082 people, a decrease of around 10% compared to last year. The show bills itself as “The World’s Largest Sports Bike And Entertainment Show”, and is publicized as an event at which visitors can see and test ride numerous new models of sports bike brands. This year, however, there was a definite shift away from enthusiastic sports bikes fans to people who were clearly there with other interests in mind.
The Value Visitors See in The CYCLE MODE of Today
On Saturday, November 7, which was a weekend day and the first day of the show, people waiting for the doors to open were obviously geared up to enjoy a popular event. People at the end of the long line that had formed waited about half an hour to get into the show site. They flocked first to booths displaying foreign brands of sports bikes, and to the test riding reception area. The area around the entrance was so crowded that it was difficult to move on into the main display space. Last year, the bulk of attendees comprised serious sports bike users dressed in cycling gear, but this year, many of the visitors were, for example, young women who came with friends to check out the bikes. One woman who came with a friend had seen the “Yowamushi Pedal” animated film last year and had started riding a road bike as a result, and her friend had decided that she would like to buy a bike and try it out for herself. Propelled by that interest, the two had come to look at a variety of models. Given that many of the brands by American and other major foreign makers were missing from this year’s lineup, one might think that CYCLE MODE would fall short in its role from that standpoint, but the young women said that they were attending not only CYCLE MODE but a number of events and going around to bicycle stores throughout the year. They said that CYCLE MODE is known as an all-around event, not just for its exhibits and test riding, and that it’s a good place to delve into the world of sports bikes. They commented that it had whetted their interest in buying a bike. Evidently, visitors were there for a number of reasons other than just trying out the bikes and attending an autograph signing by Wataru Watanabe, who created the “Yowamushi Pedal” film. Rather than smaller number of foreign brands limiting the possibilities for users to look at and try out new models, the show, including the fact that it is held independently, merely seems to be branching out in diverse directions. Also, to offset the lower number of exhibitors, the sponsors of CYCLE MODE worked hard to enhance the show in other ways, such as adding more events. Actually, the show as it is now has even more appeal than when it was first held. More than a few users evidently felt that the show has become a bigger draw because it offers more to see and more variation than it did before, when it was simply an event held once a year.
Including those held through tie-ups, there were a large number of events during the three days that were held specifically as CYCLE MODE events. Seventeen events took place on the main stage at the site, including talk shows and live performances by popular TV personalities, and on a stage set up at the Team Keep Left booth, there were 20 talk shows and other kinds of seminars. The NEW Trend Stage, which was added this year, featured presentations by exhibiting companies, municipal governing authorities, tourism groups and others. Outside of the event site, there were a number of attractions, such as the Yowamushi Pedal STARLIGHT CROSS, which drew strong acclaim last year, the GREAT EARTH Taiwan Ride 2015, and the JBCF Makuhari Criterium & Enduro. A larger number of exhibiting companies also offered events at their own booths, such as talk shows by pro cyclists supported by that particular company, games and other features. This year’s CYCLE MODE actually offered more such interactive attractions than in previous years. According to data sent by the sponsors af ter the show had ended, the number of people who attended the Yowamushi Pedal STAR LIGHT CROSS increased from 497 last year to 616 this year. The GREAT EARTH Taiwan Ride drew 198 people last year, but 490 this year. The number of people who attended the Makuhari Criterium & Enduro similarly increased from 160 last year to 256. The overall number of attendees may have decreased, but the special events definitely drew more people than in previous years. Although the event may have taken a step backwards in terms of commercial growth, there was definite vigor in terms of cultural growth.