Bike business thriving for Shimano and Fox

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From World Champions to weekend warriors, everyone is riding more, since the pandemic (Photo: Shaun Kingerlee)
From World Champions to weekend warriors, everyone is riding more, since the pandemic (Photo: Shaun Kingerlee)
  • The Shimano parts brand is an indicator of how huge cycling demand has become
  • Across the Pacific, Fox suspension is also seeing record sales
  • But the global supply chain for new bicycles remains very tight

Lockdown has ushered a new golden age for cycling. The global pandemic has forced people off public transport and seen many professionals working from home.

For both active commuting and exercise, not to mention the therapy of riding mindfulness, cycling has been the choice activity.

In an age where nearly all human movement is tracked, Strava has conclusively proven that a lot more people are riding. And often.

With travel constrained and venues still operating at trickle capacity, people have turned to cycling as an activity for both health and an escape, from lockdown life.

The result has been an unprecedented growth in cycling demand, for both new bikes and parts. If you have tried to buy a new bike recently, you’ll know how challenging it is to source new product.

Shimano bikes
Shimano launched its new EP8 mid-drive system to serve the e-bike market (Photo: Shimano)

Huge income for a cycling icon

Orders books are full and factories in Asia, which supplies most of the world's bicycles and parts, can’t keep up. To illustrate just how much cycling has grown, one only has to scrutinize Shimano’s latest corporate results.

The Japanese company is cycling. It supplies all categories, from road to mountain, with key components, accessories and even shoes. Shimano also make an e-bike motor, which is swiftly becoming a preferred industry standard.

Shimano’s operating profit increased by 157% in the last year, delivering R4.2bn into the company’s coffers. With an abundance of cash, Shimano is excellently positioned to engineer the next generation of wireless drivetrain systems and e-bike motors.

female mtb
Fox has seen demand for its suspension products soar (Photo: Shaun Kingerlee)

Strong mountain bike sales, too

In California, Fox has also recorded its most profitable period in history. The company is a suspension supplier of choice to the mountain bike market and in Q1 it delivered 85.5% year-on-year growth.

Canada’s Dorel owns both the popular Cannondale and GT brands and saw its Q1 revenue up by 43.6%, driven by immense new bicycle demand.

Although companies involved with cycling are making record revenues, the truth is that retailers, shops, mechanics and riders are struggling to find parts. With massive delays now an industry reality.

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