«May has always been the month in which you buy more bicycles. This year, in the wake of the mobility bonus, sales increased by 60% compared to the same period in 2019. We are talking about 200 thousand more vehicles ». Piero Nigrelli, director of the Cycle sector of Confindustria Ancma (National Motorcycle and Accessories Cycle Association), quotes these numbers to explain how the sector of Italian two-wheelers is experiencing the first months of recovery after the lockdown.
The new fashion of scooters makes especially the great Chinese manufacturers happy, such as Xiaomi, while the made in Italy continues to play its cards on bicycles. "We are the second largest cycling manufacturing country in Europe after Germany - explains Nigrelli - Even in June the demand held. Warehouses are empty and the first half of the year is on positive ground. But be careful: incentives are not enough to make the industry grow. If we only relied on them, companies would close quickly ».
Bicycle beats scooter five to one
The mobility bonus (if you still have doubts, here you are a short guide) is one of the most anticipated measures of the summer. At the center of a thousand controversies, the resources allocated by the Government to reimburse the 60% for the price of bikes, ebikes, electric scooters and other green vehicles (for a maximum of 500 euros) would serve to discourage the use of the car and weigh less on transport public. Those who live and work in the larger cities will certainly have noticed: the scooters in circulation have increased. "But the growth of bicycles has been five times greater," explains Nigrelli, critic of the recent comparison between bicycles and so-called escooters. "From our point of view it is a risk to road safety."
But how many companies produce bicycles or two-wheel components along the boot? «Ancma represents 70. In all around 250 companies are active in the sector. Surely the made in Italy has been benefited by the bike bonus. Some companies - adds Nigrelli - have even managed to set up a new production line, but most have stressed the existing lines. In other words: they are all at their best ».
The return to Made in Italy
The two-wheeler phenomenon has also witnessed the growth of ebikes in recent years. In this area too, must we defend ourselves against the Chinese giant? «Actually, after the anti-dumping duties, production and assembly of pedal assisted bikes are back in Europe », concludes Nigrelli.
Until a few years ago there were few around, but the new decade could be decisive for the advance of the electric mobility. Ebikes are even produced by big brands like Harley Davidson, which had accustomed us to much louder (and polluting) two-wheelers, and a more bike friendly country than ours, such as the Belgium ended 2019 with more ebikes sold than traditional bikes. Just a fashion or a trend that will change the habits of travel in Italy too?
Alessandro Di Stefano