A chain reaction that has disrupted the bicycle business as the epidemic escalates, a manufacturer of weapons used by riders in Tour de France and the Olympics has warned.
Federico Musi, head of Look Cycle, a French company whose low-cost products, carbon frames and sports bikes, said the time to bring in parts that he buys from overseas is far from over.
“They have a very long time. There are very few manufacturers who have a problem these days. They are not going down,” said Musi. “It’s 12 to 18 months easily.”
Global bicycle manufacturing has been disrupted by the epidemic, with consumers around the world turning to bicycles as a way to prevent the transmission of the Covid-19 virus in public transport.
Problems with the production of brakes, derailleurs, chains and cassettes are common in a number of companies including Shimano of Japan, SRAM in the US and Campagnolo of Italy.
These groups have been careful to develop more production for fear that the required amount will not further the coronavirus problem.
Musi is expected to take 18 months to clear the supply chain, which has also been disrupted by a shortage of other raw materials such as aluminum and steel.
Look Cycle predictions differ from those of the Halfords, one of the largest bicycle retailers in the UK. The group said last week that insurance problems had begun to ease.
Manuel Marsilio, general manager of the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry, said the challenges for high-tech manufacturers including e-bikes are growing because they have limited access to equipment.
Look Cycle was founded in the 1950s as a manufacturer of fast-moving construction techniques used in sliding games. Decades later it moved the technology to the bike to allow riders to lock a special shoe in the pedal. The group expects to raise around € 60m this year, up from € 55m in 2020.
Musi said 80 percent of the parts of his bike are made in France, reducing some of the disruption. European retailers have shown resilience because they do not focus too much on the bicycle business, he added.
“Asia has a bicycle hub. When we shop there, we buy on bicycle-producing factories. That is why there is a problem, ”he said. “Being an independent cyclist right now is not possible.”