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Two-wheel show rides into Zurich

The latest in racing bikes will be on display at the two-wheel show in Zurich

(Keystone Archive)

For enthusiasts of two-wheel transport there is only one place to be this weekend - the Zurich Messe, venue for the 20th bicycle and motorbike exhibition.

Some 250 exhibitors have taken over the hall showing the most recent trends and developments. It aims to appeal to both committed cyclists and the average consumer who uses the bike as a means to get around town.

"It's the highlight of the year," says Bernard Loosli, the secretary of the Swiss Two-wheelers Importers' Association. "That's why we decided in 1999 to have the show every year, instead of every other year."

There is no doubt about the importance of the two-wheeler in the country's transport sector. With an annual turnover of around SFr13.6 billion ($8 billion) some 13,000 jobs depend on it.

The six-day show at the Messe is the industry's main event and highlights the importance of the two-wheeler both as a useful means of transport and as a leisure activity.

The exhibition of bicycles in two of the halls has something for everyone. On display are city bikes, touring bikes, racing bikes, and mountain bikes, all reflecting recent trends and a growing consumer demand for more comfort and the latest technology.

"We're going two ways," says Fabio Meyer of Trek Switzerland. "In the cross- country section, we're going for full suspension bikes and then in the recreational direction we're looking to appeal to people 40 plus who are coming back to cycling for fun."

Almost every Swiss already owns a bike and, for those not looking for an upgrade, the show still has plenty to offer in the way of accessories and clothes.

There's also "Bike Indoor" which features a track where visitors can test the latest bikes. Also promised are races featuring famous names, competitions and other entertainment.

Another important theme of this year's show is safety.

"We're launching a scheme that we've copied from the sports industry," says Loosli. "It's called "velocheck" and from 1st March to 15th April anyone can take his bicycle to a dealer and get a safety check and accident insurance for the sum of SFr20. It's a very good deal and should improve safety."

There are four halls devoted to the motorbike exhibition and all the big producers, including Yamaha, Aprilla and Triumph, are represented.
Triumph is using the event to introduce its new Daytona vehicle which will enter the market in the summer.

"The Swiss market is very important for us because it's a difficult market," explains general manager, Géraud du Chassin. "It's German, French and Italian-speaking so if we succeed here we'll probably succeed in other European markets as well."

The entire range of motorised bikes is on show at the Messe, from the least powerful scooters to the ultimate mean machines.

Nowhere, say the organisers, can one find a wider range of components, spare parts, accessories and clothing.

A visit to the show is indispensable for the true bike fan and thousands are expected to have gone through the doors before the event ends on Monday afternoon.

by Michael Hollingdale


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