SRAM Stops Remaining Internal Gear Hub Production
SCHWEINFURT, Germany – In a 14 February dated letter to its OEM customers, US component maker SRAM announces a “discontinuation of its internal gear hub (IGH) production”. As a result there will be no IGH production for model year 2018. According to SRAM-Europe all larger OEM customers have been informed on this right in time, meaning before the mentioned letter was mailed.
Effective May 1, 2017 the internal gear hub platforms Automatix, I-Motion 3 and Dual Drive including the Pulse systems will be brought to bed. The production of all other SRAM’s IGH’s, the T3, P5, S7, G8, I-Motion 9 and E-Matic was already stopped earlier.
E-bike boom to blame
What’s exactly behind SRAM decision to take its IGH from the market? According to industry insiders the entire IGH business fell victim to increasing e-bike sales: “Especially the market share of bicycles specified with an IGH are suffering from the e-bike popularity. Those IGH’s we still produce are used on bicycles in the price range between 700 to 1,000 euro. Today consumers spend a little bit more money and buy e-bikes. Particularly the mid motor e-bike category, which represent a large part of the market, mainly relies on derailleur shifting. Moreover the market of the 3-speed IGH business was hit by fierce price erosion. Today they are on mass merchant bicycles being sold for killer prices down to 199 Euro.” This is certainly not the market SRAM is aiming for.
In the letter to the OEM customers SRAM announced to “discontinue the production of all internal gear hubs, shifters and spare parts. Regrettably, the associated business has declined to levels that do not make it appropriate for our key suppliers. Please send your final order as soon as possible, but not later than 3 March 2017. Each order will be reviewed case-by-case by customer service and confirmed if it can be fulfilled with available inventory and production capacity.”. Spare parts will be available as long as on stock. Current products carry the legal warranty.”
SRAM also notes, “thank you for your support of these historic products for SRAM. We look forward to continuing to support you with our current product portfolio including external gear, brake, suspension, road and wheel components”.
Focus on existing high-end components
SRAM’s business partners mentioned that the US company is now focusing its future activities on the existing high-end component range. Especially its successful ‘e-tab’ technology for road bikes, its ‘Eagle’ technology for MTBs and its ‘EX1’ technology for e-MTBs are seen as the backbones of SRAM Group’s future bicycle component business. The three technologies will definitely receive “more attention and space”.
Former Fichtel & Sachs
With SRAM’s announcement the former Fichtel & Sachs internal hub gear production will be history. The production of IHG’s started in Schweinfurt in 1907. The legendary ‘Torpedo’ freewheel hub is a name that made bicycle history worldwide. SRAM acquired the Schweinfurt-based bicycle division of Sachs in 1997. In 2010 the American component manufacturer announced to relocate the entire IGH production step by step from Schweinfurt in Germany to Taiwan.