The bike industry is currently reeling from a dramatic heist that took place in Germany on January 21, in which a delivery of $10 million worth of Shimano OEM finishing kit and components was intercepted and stolen, while the driver of the cargo was sedated.
Bike Fun International (BFI), the largest bike maker in the Czech Republic, has suggested that the robbery was planned in advance and that it’s likely the truck was followed from its loading bay to the driver’s chosen rest stop.
The timing of this incident is unfortunate, as bike manufacturers and dealers are struggling to get their hands on much-needed parts in the supply shortage. Demand for bikes and their components has risen exponentially since the onset of the pandemic, where more people than ever took up cycling for leisure and as an alternative to public transport.
With the increase in demand, came the challenge of diminishing supplies, thanks to the shutting down of factories due to Covid measures, and then other major delays caused by incidents like the blocking of the Suez Canal in March 2021.
This is undoubtedly a major blow to BFI’s supply chain, and will result in delays of up to a year, according to Petr Krkoska, BFI supply chain director.
“The situation for bicycle producers worldwide is really difficult,” said Krkoska. “On the one side we are dealing with huge demand, but on the other side there is an even bigger shortage of components, caused by many factors. From the consignment loaded mostly with expensive e-bike and bike parts only nine boxes of low-end components were left in the truck. This will delay the production of some models by almost a year, as there is no alternative on the market for many of the parts from this shipment. We are a strong and stable company, so this is just another obstacle out of many we are facing [...], but [if this happened] to smaller manufacturers, it would be liquidating for them.
“We really haven’t seen this situation before. Even Shimano has not faced [a] targeted robbery of a shipment on a similar scale. We hope that due to the shortage of parts, these cases will not be repeated, because despite all the measures we have set up, no insurance cover can compensate us for the loss and especially the reputation for late delivery. We decided to communicate this matter to warn other producers, because it could happen to them also,” he added.