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Bike shortages to last until at least end-2022, say trade experts

Factory closures and shipping problems sparked by COVID-19 are still hitting industry hard (to say nothing of the B-word in the UK)

Cycling industry experts are predicting that bike shortages will last until at least the end of next year.

Bike-eu.com reports that the global component shortage, which has a knock-on effect on supplies of complete bikes, was the main topic of conversation at Eurobike earlier this week.

One of the largest cycling industry gatherings annually, the edition of the trade show is the last in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance before it moves to Frankfurt next year.

Closures of factories and disruptions to the supply chain since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as unprecedented worldwide demand for bikes, have all combined to create an unprecedented problem for the bike industry.

In short, demand has never been higher in recent years – but because of the issues mentioned above, it cannot be met in the short term.

And, in the case of the UK, there is also a knock-on effect from the country’s decision to leave the single market, thereby putting barriers in place on what were previously seamless trading routes.

Claus Fleischer, CEO of Bosch e-bike systems – electric bikes of course being a huge area of growth in the industry – said: “We have a had a hard time since last year to handle the shortages. Nevertheless, we expect these to increase even more in the next 12 to 18 months.

“So far we have always been able to produce, ship and deliver. However, I can’t promise anything for the next 12 to 18 months.

“Anything can happen on short notice at the moment,” he added. “We realise the uncertainty this bring for our customers.”

Erhard Büchel, president of the pan-European trade body CONEBI, said: “The supply chain problematic is not intrinsic to the bicycle industry

“It has put the bicycle industry which depends on a very complicates and global supply chain in a crazy situation.

“There is for example no end in sight of the high level of containers prices for which have hiked up to € 20,000 between Asia and Europe.

“Due the current situation the industry can’t benefit from the high demand. In Germany e-bike and bicycles sales were not as high as expected due to product unavailability. At the end on this the market will even show some decline.”

The supply crisis is one we’ve covered before, of course – here is road.cc tech editor Mat Brett’s most recent piece on the issue in which he canvassed the opinions of industry insiders to try and find out what is going on, especially in the UK.

> When will Britain’s bike shortage end?

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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