Decathlon Moves E-Bike Production to Europe
LILLE, France – E-bikes are still small within the total bicycle sales of Decathlon, the sporting goods retail giant. And the production of electric bicycles is still being done in China. That’s going to move to Europe by 2019 which is partly due to the threat of anti-dumping duties. To which country? That is not yet clear. This is what Bike Europe learned from a rare visit to Decathlon in Lille, France.
Within the Decathlon bicycle range (70 women’s bikes, 18 mountain bikes, 45 road racing bikes), the e-bike category forms with 9 models a sort of a ‘start segment’. On annual basis Decathlon sells between 60 and 70,000 e-bikes. Not a big deal for such a big player as Decathlon when eyeing the e-bike market. The French also recognize this and are working hard to expand their range and sales. Soon it will also have more sporty models such as an eMTB’s.
More price-competing models
The retail giant is also doing its best in terms of offering more price-competing models. For example with its latest model; the Elops 920 E which retails for 1,500 euro which is a great price since the newcomer is equipped with a Brose mid-engine. In terms of pricing, the Decathlon e-bikes (mainly city and trekking models) marketed under the brand name B’Twin range from the € 699, – priced Elops 500 E to the € 1,899, – Elops 940 E .
Decathlon’s ‘regular’ road and mountain bikes come under the B’Twin and Rockrider labels. Some 30 models are developed and produced in Lille. Here Decathlon’s R&D for bicycles and e-bikes is based at the company’s so-called B’Twin Village. Last November Bike Europe was allowed to take a look there.
B’Twin Village is a mega Decathlon location that differs greatly from any of the sporting goods retailer Superstores. Next to a store it consists of a test track, squash courts, a gym as well as a production facility. Here Decathlon produces all kinds of bicycles; ones that retail for just € 200 up to the premium segment that carry price tags of over € 3,000.
Decathlon is probably the world’s biggest bike retailer. Only in Europe the company sells some 4 million bicycles annually. Worldwide Decathlon operates over 1,200 stores that generated an over 10 billion euro turnover in 2016.
4 million bikes sold annually in Europe
Of the 4 million bikes sold annually in Europe about 160,000 are made in Lille at the B’Twin Village. Decathlon also operates large-scale production facilities in Portugal with its partner company RTE. Here over one million bikes are assembled annually. Also in Romania Decathlon works with a production partner.
In addition to a paint shop, warehouse and assembly hall, Decathlon in Lille also has an “Industrial prototype workshop” as well as a Tech Lab. In the ‘workshop’ prototypes of many types of bicycles are made. It features also a separate 3D department with different types of ‘printers’. At the entrance of this department a 3D full suspension MTB frame is on display. Such 3D prints are mainly used for prototyping and smart production solutions. Testing according to various ISO standards is handled at the B’Twin Village Tech lab.
Decathlon’s bicycle production in Lille does not differ greatly from that at other manufacturers. However, there is a difference. And a huge one as Decathlon is not just a bicycle maker, but for all a bicycle seller. The largest in Europe and probably the world’s biggest.