In Bike Europe’s November 2013 issue we reported extensively on all the happenings at Taichung Bike Week, which took place at the start of November. Lots of new components, as well as e-bike drive systems for model year 2015 were presented here, to product managers and buyers.
It comes at a time during which bundles of bikes from model year 2013 are still on shop floors or collecting dust in warehouses. And that with model year 2014 still to begin.
In my editorials during the past (almost) 17 years, more than once I have touched upon the bike industry’s rat race, brought about by model years. In particular, the fact that it brings about a situation with everybody hunting everybody, for orders that focus on a particular time frame. It causes huge pressure on lead times and logistics. Next to all that the rat race causes the time frame to shift as the hunt for dealer orders intensifies due to increased competition. In this process the ones that really count are neglected – consumers.
But finally there’s something shifting, after an earlier attempt by Giant in Holland. That attempt was focused on spreading introductions of bike categories throughout the year. Now Dutch Sparta (part of Accell Group) has stopped labeling its catalogues with Model Years and is focusing the renewal of models on their product life-cycle. There are more companies now operating like this, as expensive e-bikes in particular call for such a sensible and longer-term approach. Is something finally changing? What’s your opinion?