The pandemic is having a huge impact on the supply chain of bicycle manufacturers of all kinds. The result: the shortage expected this year will be even worse than that of last year.

“Our 2021 bikes are already 90% sold,” says Fabrice Boutin, co-owner of Atelier 1 Cycles and of the Saint-Félicien café, with his brother Youri. “We ordered more than last year, but quantities were limited. We could have sold twice as much. Several bikes are already sold in advance, and customers have already started ordering bikes with oversized tires (fatbikes) for next winter, he adds.

David Régnier-Bourque, director of business development at Devinci, points out that the situation is the result of the shutdown caused by the pandemic in the spring of 2020 and the increase in popularity for cycling. “The pressure is enormous on the global supply chain, especially on production and transportation in Asia,” he says.

For a manufacturer like Devinci, the sharp increase in demand is a “nice” problem. Sales are up, but the Saguenay company could have sold two or three times as much this year, notes David Régnier-Bourque.

Our 2021 bikes are already 90% sold

“Several retailers wanted to double orders, but we must ration the quantities to be fair and maintain our distribution network,” he adds. While it is usually possible to restock retailers during the year, all bikes have already been sold this year despite the growth.

Due to delays throughout the supply chain, delivery of bicycles is often delayed. “We should have received the 2021 bikes in the fall of 2020, but we are still expecting more, and some bikes will arrive just in the fall,” explains Fabrice Boutin. For affected customers, the Saint-Félicien store is trying to find replacement products, he says. Some manufacturers even have to cancel delivery of a few bikes.

Shortage of parts too

Not surprisingly, bicycle parts are also very popular. Inner tubes, chains, brake pads and tires will also represent a major supply challenge. “All the parts that are changed often are in great demand,” notes Fabrice Boutin. Parts that are already ordered will be received, sometimes late, but it will be difficult to reorder during the season, he says. For some parts, it will be necessary to wait until October or November in order to refuel.

The lead times for certain parts have gone from 60 days to over a year, underlines David Régnier-Bourque. “Even if we wanted to double our production, our suppliers would not be able to meet our demands,” he says, specifying that more than 150 parts are needed to assemble a bicycle.

Even if several frames are designed in Saguenay, the manufacturer remains dependent on deliveries from its suppliers. “It’s the piece that comes last that dictates the production date,” adds the director. At present, bicycle saddles are the ones that limit production the most, as very few companies make them.

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