Spiegel.de, 2021/02/11
Reading time 5.5 minutes

New bike wanted in vain

Empty warehouses, months of delivery times: The run on bicycles in the Corona crisis brings the industry to the brink of a crisis. For customers, this is no good news.

For years there has been only one direction in the cycle industry There was an upward trend, with full warehouses and satisfied customers. The German industry report cycle industry states that it’s in particular the e-bike market that is booming and that sales figures have increased tenfold in the past ten years. The report had been commissioned by German bicycle associations from the non-profit Wuppertal institute.

In 2020, Corona came and with it the alternation of lockdown and relaxation. First, the pandemic brought trade to a standstill, just in March, the classic month where everyone starts into the season. Then the shops were overrun by customers. “During the lockdown, the weather was perfect, people rediscovered their love of bicycles,” says Frederic Rudolph, co-author of the bicycle study.

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But 2021 started in a completely different way. The industry was hit by a second Corona wave. At the beginning of the year, the warehouses are still empty. Everything that came in has already gone out to the dealers. At the same time, the supply has come to a standstill only just before the bicycle season begins.

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Delays of up to six months

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If only the seat post is missing, bicycles cannot be fully assembled. Especially wearing parts such as chains, brake discs or sprockets are hard to come by, says Dirk Zedler, who as head of a testing institute is well connected with the industry. “It’s like in an economy of scarcity.”

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“Logistics chain has collapsed”

The fact that goods do not arrive in Europe is also due to a bottleneck in transport. Overseas containers in which bicycle parts, frames and wheels are shipped to Europe are scarce goods: “The logistics chain has collapsed. Containers, air freight – all that has collapsed,” says the VSF managing director of the German service and bicycle association VSF.

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Honkomp, however, does not speak of broken supply chains. “Basically, the customer can buy everything at the moment.” But even he admits that there are longer waiting times for popular goods, for example gravel bikes. The disproportionate increase in demand for these bikes could not have been foreseen. A look at the product websites of large direct marketers confirms this impression. Canyon, for example, gives August as the earliest shipping date for their popular entry-level gravel bike in usual sizes. “What is in the shops can be bought, what is in the catalogue not necessarily,” says Zedler

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Read the entire article here.

Author: Stefan Weißenborn

 

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