Prolonged Lead Times for Internal Hub Geared Bikes
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands – Dutch dealers (and probably also the ones in countries where city and e-bikes fitted with internal hub gears are popular like Germany, Belgium and Nordic countries) are already facing extreme lead times on certain models. Delivery schedules even run up to July or August.
One of the reasons for such extreme delivery times is a higher sale last fall thanks to a summer that run up to the end of October. In Holland another factor came into play which was the end of a tax incentive scheme for consumers to buy a bike for commuting. This boosted bike sales. Another reason for the prolonged lead times is due to delivery problems at Shimano; in particular of the Nexus-7 gear hub.
Actions at SRAM
Whether the problems for this particular type of internal hub gear (IHG), which is even made in Europe (in the Czech Republic) has to do with actions at SRAM is still unclear, but seems very likely. Yesterday SRAM announced to stop the production of G8 and G9 gear hubs (see the separate report). On comments from bicycle manufacturers it becomes clear that SRAM communicated this earlier to them. Bicycle manufacturers will have responded to this by ordering even more Nexus-7 hubs. Bike Europe asked Shimano whether this extra demand overwhelmed them.
Optimized and increased production
In a statement Shimano says, “The main cause for the raised lead time of our Nexus-7 hub is the unexpected growth of bike sales with the Nexus-7 hubs. Because of this growth, OEM’s raised their production, which leads to more orders of Nexus-7 hubs. As soon as this became clear (Autumn 2014), we invested in our Czech factory to optimize and increase our production capacity where possible. Currently we are at the maximum level. We expect lead times will remain the same for the time being.”
Alternative for Nexus-7
The Shimano statement continues with, “Despite the sales growth in 2014, many OEM’s are also positive for 2015 and started producing their bikes earlier than before. This all resulted in longer lead times from our side. The Nexus-8 hub is an alternative for the Nexus-7 hub. Some of our customers already switched to Nexus-8. Due to extra demand in Nexus-8 hubs also here we see an increase in lead times. We would like to emphasize once more that we are doing everything within our power to keep our lead times as short as possible.”
Low stock levels at dealers
Almost all bike makers including premium brands like Gazelle, Batavus, and Sparta in Holland are affected by Shimano’s prolonged lead times of in particular Nexus-7 gear hubs. Batavus MD Menno Visser commented, “The timing of these delays is quite painful because stock levels at our dealers are very low, partly due to excellent fourth quarter sales. In addition dealers responded very positive to our new 2015 collection which resulted in a strong demand and order books which has grown significantly compared to last year.”