$10 million worth of Shimano components stolen in German bike heist

Inside the back of a lorry, mostly empty except for some empty pallets and a small pile of Shimano boxes
(Image credit: Bike Fun International)

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.

Mildred Locke
Freelance writer

Mildred previously worked as a review writer for Bike Perfect. She enjoys everything from road cycling to mountain biking, but is a utilitarian cyclist at heart. Determined to do everything on two wheels, she's even moved house by bike, and can regularly be found pedaling around Bristol and its surrounding areas. She’s spent over four years volunteering as a mechanic and workshop coordinator at the Bristol Bike Project, and now sits on its board of directors. Her expertise comes from previously working in a bike shop and learning the ins and outs of the industry, and she's previously written for a variety of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. At home on slicks and knobblies alike, her ideal ride covers long distances through remote countryside, on mixed terrain that offers a bit of crunch, followed by a gourmet campfire meal and an overnight bivvy beneath the stars.

Rides: Stayer Groadinger UG, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Marin Larkspur, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike

Height: 156cm (5'2")

Weight: 75kg