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Thun CEO Calls For ‘Affordable Bikes As Basic Transport Mode’


ENNEPETAL, Germany – For Alfred Thun, CEO of Thun, the two mega-trends of population growth and urbanization will have a major impact on the global bicycle industry. “Cars, regardless of whether they are running on fuel or electricity and irrespective of their private or shared use, are way too expensive and big and hence totally inadequate for the extended use in large cities and megacities,” says Alfred Thun. 

Thun CEO Calls For ‘Affordable Bikes As Basic Transport Mode’
“The bicycle can be the solution to offer people mobility in megacities,” said Thun’s CEO Alfred Thun at Eurobike together with the next generation of this family-owned company. – Photo Bike Europe

For Thun, “The bicycle can be the solution for these megacities, thanks to business and technical solutions, like bike sharing systems and smart phone apps. Already now, more than 50% of the global population is living in so called megacities of up to 35 million inhabitants. This share will rise to 60% over the next 15 years.”

In Alfred Thun’s view, “Affordable bikes are the only way to provide these people a much higher level of individual mobility that is time and cost efficient as well as environmentally conscious; even more so than walking. No city administration can keep with up the pace of t

he increased demand for traffic and parking space, as well as for public transport, let alone their target regarding the CO2 emission reduction.”

Thun speaks plainly

“Perhaps my ideas on adequate and affordable bikes as a human right will not be considered seriously in the industry. But in the next 30 years demand for affordable bikes will definitely be on the rise and global leaders should be aware of this development. Let’s consider this to be a wake-up call that hopefully helps to change some minds or give a voice to those who already have similar ideas. Ideally, my proposal will start a worldwide discussion within and beyond the bicycle industry.”

“Honestly, I don’t see much of these utility bikes at Eurobike. There is an overwhelming display of high-end bicycles while I would prefer to see the needs of the majority of bike users: products that truly dominate metropolitan roads or ‘day-to day’ urban bikes. These are hugely underrepresented.”

300-400 million bikes annually

“I presume that the global production of utility bikes must and will increase considerably during the coming years from an estimated 80 million units today to 300-400 million in 15 years’ time. The use of these bicycles should get same status like the right to own property, social security, education, and an adequate standard of living. All of the latter rights are taken from the international bill of human rights and illustrate that a right for adequate and affordable bike mobility is not that unlikely at all.”

New Thun facility in China

“As a company we support the utility bike globally. Our company has been focusing on components for affordable bikes since its foundation in 1919. Despite the characteristic of affordability we also attribute the utmost attention to quality of the utility bike concept. Inexpensive does not mean cheap. Hence, we will stick to our company’s mission and continue to believe and invest in precise processes, best practices, and state of the art technology, and take our products to those markets based on the rise of the utility bike. Hence, we will proceed with our global expansion plans by opening our Chinese subsidiary Thun (Tianjin) Bicycle Components Co., Ltd. this year,” says Thun.

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