Wait for high-end cycles to get longer amid surge in global demand – chandigarh
If you are a recently converted fitness enthusiast and have discovered that a high-end bicycle is your preferred route to health, you need to develop muscle for patience. The wait for premium cycles is expected to get longer after October, when existing supplies (gear components) used in high-end bicycles are likely to be exhausted with the makers.
The reason: Bicycle manufacturers in Ludhiana will not be able to order select gear parts used in high-end cycles as Japanese companies that manufacture these are not taking new orders for the next six months till February 2021. The huge global demand for these has led to the situation.
Leading brands like Hero and Avon in Ludhiana are facing shortage of such components, leading to huge waiting time with dealers. Japanese firm Shimano, a major supplier, is shifting its unit from China to Singapore, adding to the delay. Some firms make these parts in India, but these are not good quality, rue manufacturers. The prices of these high-end cycles are likely to jack up, with fear of black marketing.
Ludhiana, which accounts for nearly 90% production of cycles in the country, has witnessed 100% growth in figures post-easing of lockdown. Brands are delivering with 10-15 day waiting, due to huge orders. Manufacturers said there was a global shortage of multi-speed gear components (front and rear derailleur and shifters).
“Shimano had its first factory in Japan years ago, but shut it down as labour costs are prohibitive. They have automatic plants in China, Malaysia and Singapore. The company is not taking orders, as it is clearing a huge backlog. The order we placed three months ago, will reach us in some time, but will not be enough,” said Omkar Singh Pahwa, chairman and managing director (CMD) of Avon Cycles.
Pahwa added the parts were key components. “This forms the basic transmission system of these bikes. Other parts are manufactured indigenously, but we have always been importing these three components, as clients demand it,” he added.
Hero Cycles CMD Pankaj Munjal told HT that the demand for cycles and, hence, shortages had doubled. “Shimano and other companies of that league have always worked with a six-month demand forecast. Some Japanese companies are planning to move out of China, hence the disruption. It is this huge shift towards outdoor fitness that is changing the world’s landscape,” said Munjal. He added India was among the lowest in the world for fitness penetration ratios until covid and the ratio was shooting up. “With smart cities and cycling tracks coming up, demand surge will continue,” added Munjal.
Neelam Cycles Ludhiana chairman KK Seth said scarcity of raw material for high-end cycles was a grave concern. “We receive calls from dealers for high-end cycles. When we say it is not available, they settle for traditional bikes,” he said.