Bicycles Sales On The Rise in Czech Republic
PRAGUE, Czech Republic – In 2103/2014 Czechs remained big sport and fitness cycling fans, with 5 million bicycles within the nation of 10 million people. The country also features a dense network of marked cycle paths.
All this makes the Czech Republic a very popular bike-holiday country. The national certification scheme Cyclists Welcome (similar to German Bett+Bike) grew fast in the last few years to fulfil bike traveller’s needs. On the other hand there is still very little investment in bicycle infrastructure development in larger cities, making bike commuting a less popular choice than other transport means. The Czech capital – Prague has a modal share of only 2% for cycle trips and the lack of infrastructure seems to be the biggest problem.
Bicycle sales in 2013 reached 370,000 with the popularity of cyclocross and MTB bikes as a trend. This figure is some 10% higher than 2012. The same year, 170,000 new cars were bought by Czechs. In the middle and higher price category of all-terrain bicycles (€550 – €1500) the 29er became standard, followed by the 27.5-inch wheel size. 26-inch wheel MTBs are more often seen in the lower price ranges, around €350. Unfortunately the trade associations do not provide more precise numbers, as official statistics aren’t kept. As the currency rate between the Czech crown and euro makes the local currency weaker, the prices of most imported goods, including cycling hardware, is about to rise.
Czech Republic and Slovakia (being unified until 1994) still have a very significant bicycle production base with strong brands like Author (CZ largest bike producer), Superior, Rock Machine, Kellys, 4EVER, and MasterBike. Moravian manufacturer BPS Bicycle exported 90,000 units, plus 10 thousand e-bikes to German and Swiss markets last year. The strength of local manufacturers was also seen at this year’s Eurobike with over 20 Czech companies displaying their products.
Local customers see e-bikes as an aid for less fit cyclists to do trips, the transport side of light e-mobility is still yet to be discovered by the masses. Thus the most popular bikes are eMTB´s and trekking bikes, it’s easy to see folding e-bikes in Prague, but not as much as in other countries where the trend is more fully developed.
The predicted growth of e-bikes unfolded and sales are estimated between 16-20 thousand units, including still very popular e-bike kits. This makes the Czech e-bike market similar to France or Spain in per-capita sales. The average value is around €900. By comparison, sales in the Czech Republic far surpass other countries in the CEE region – Poland (6,000 units) and Hungary (500 units).
The market is led by the Agogs e-bikes, Leader Fox, and Apache with about 20 other brands and ‘want to be brands’. Some Czech manufacturers have good export potential and are now focusing on the ‘less-ebike-developed’ countries. Quite popular are the Austrian KTM with its Bosch models and new endure style Haibikes.