Since the introduction of European anti-dumping law for bicycles assembled in China, the Czech Republic in addition to Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, has become a large production base for both traditional bicycles and e-bikes for western European markets. In total, over 330,000 e-bikes were produced in the Czech Republic in 2021, which counts for over 7% of the European e-bike sales last year. This is despite the enormous delays and shortages which stifled the development of the cycling business worldwide. Assemblers in Poland on the other hand faced major delays due to shortages of drivetrain components.
In the Czech Republic, companies such as BPS bike, Bike Fun, Totem Bikes, Bohemia Bike and 4EVER are already well known and established. The local skilled workforce is also being used by an increasing number of German bike manufacturers. For example, Hermann Hartje has opened a large e-bike factory in the Moravian town Zábřeh and Cube plans to open a 10,000 m2 assembly plant in Cheb, West Bohemia.
E-MTB's lead the field
According to production numbers provided by Czech manufacturers, there were over 123,000 e-bikes sold locally last year, which is roughly the same amount as in 2020. This is much more than in any other Central and Eastern European (CEE) country, besides Austria. The majority of e-bikes (and the same applies to regular bicycles) sold are in the MTB and trekking categories, while City bikes occupy less than 10% of sales in the country. In contrast to other European nations, the last two years did not influence the willingness of the Czech population to see the bicycle as a means of transport. The full Czech Republic market report can be found on the Bike Europe website.
‘E-MTB's continue to dominate the market in Czech Republic, with city (e-)bikes still yet to make their mark’
Pandemic casts shadow over Polish bicycle industry
The potential of the Polish bicycle market is generally regarded as very high, but supply chain constraints have made the bicycle market very unstable. Poland is one of the popular countries in Europe for relocating production from Asia. However, for both Polish bicycle manufacturers as well as importers, the current situation with very long lead-times, components shortages and rising prices reminds them of the situation in the 1990’s.
Pandemic supply chain disruption
The pandemic caused import problems for many bicycle components while the demand for bikes increased significantly in 2020 and 2021. Already in 2020, many warehouses with bicycles and replacement parts were cleared. Some manufacturers in 2020 had to stop production temporarily, waiting for freewheels, chains or derailleurs.
The supply chain disruption will eventually result in long delays throughout 2022; popular 2021 models will be available on the shop floor by mid-2022, according to the latest estimates. At the same time, the average retail price has increased by 20%, while the prices being paid for components on an online auction platform are reaching unprecedented high levels.
Limited product availability for Decathlon Poland
“The component shortages has reduced the availability of certain bicycle categories,” explains Rafał Gębara, Director of Cycling Sports of Decathlon Polska. The cooperation with local assembler Romet gives Decathlon the possibility to react on the current demand of the local market, but they still can’t guarantee to have all products available on the shop floor. Decathlon is now building an assembly facility in Brześć Kujawski to supply Baltic states and the Central and Eastern European countries.
Romet Group a success story
One of Poland’s main manufacturers, Romet Group, recently announced the opening of a sales office in Lithuania, to serve that market and neighbouring Latvia and Estonia. Contracted orders of Romet bikes increased year-on-year by 100% and for the 2022 season totalled over 25,000 units on these markets. Romet’s own sales office in Lithuania allows for a better presence on the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian markets and direct contact with customers.