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Despite Delays Fritz Jou Europe Takes Shape

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BORRALHA, Portugal – At the 2016 Taipei Cycle Show Taiwanese OEM bicycle manufacturer Fritz Jou Manufacturing announced the set-up of a new facility at Bike Value Portugal. It’s being build next door to the new Triangle’s factory in a new industrial zone named “Parque Empresarial do Casarao” which is located near Borrahla – a small town three kilometers south of Agueda; home of the Portuguese bicycle industry.

Despite Delays Fritz Jou Europe Takes Shape
This is how F.J. Bikes Europe construction site looked like by mid-May. Construction signs state facility will be completed next December. – Photo Jo Beckendorff

Triangle’s is a joint venture of nearby Portuguese bicycle parts makers Rodi, Miranda and Cyclo-Fapril. Since the end of last year Triangle’s is producing its first aluminum frames for e-bikes as well as premium sports bicycles for the European market. This facility as well as the one Fritz Jou is currently constructing represents the Bike Value Portugal concept which is “to enhance the supply chain flexibility of the European bike industry with short lead times”.

Shortened Lead times

According to several Portuguese bicycle industry managers lead times will be shortened to “two to three weeks”. In his role as general secretary of the Portuguese industry association ABIMOTA and Bike Value Portugal Joao Medeiros told Bike Europe earlier “Quantity is not what we are looking for. We aim at flexible production for small series of quality products.”

With this view the Portuguese are happy to welcome Fritz Jou in Borrahla. According to the sign at the entry of the plot where the F.J. Bikes Europe LDA facility is now being built the construction area measures 16,500m². According to the sign construction started on 13 December 2016 and is scheduled to be completed on 19 December 2017.

Construction delays

When Fritz Jou announced to invest into a European close to the market production in March 2016 the production start was planned for end of 2016. Since then there have been several delays. With that the first rumours were already going round casting doubts on Fritz Jou’s intentions for this project.

Mid May Bike Europe visited Borrahla as well as the F.J. Bikes Europe construction site. Here it showed that the Fritz Jou facility is actually under construction and that according to the construction sign it will be completed in December 2017 which looks to be a realistic deadline. It means that the earlier communicated production start of July 2017; before the Portuguese holiday season starts looks to be unrealistic.

Competitiveness

In order to be competitive with European produced bicycles and e-bikes F.J. Bikes Europe LDA will rely (as its neighbor Triangle’s ) on the most advanced technological solutions. While Triangle’s for example operates with welding robots F.J. Bikes Europe counts on painting robots as well as RFID technology.

It is said that Fritz Jou is investing € 8.2 million in his first European bicycle facility. When it is up and running in full capacity mode its annual production is said to be between 250,000 and 300,000 bicycles and e-bikes.

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