Taipei Cycle Signals Bottleneck for Further E-Bike Growth
TAIPEI, Taiwan – With e-bikes becoming mainstream and the biggest category in Europe’s main markets now a big bottleneck is surfacing; which could put the brakes firmly on further growth. That logjam is in the supply of mid to hi-end alloy frames. With demand growing fast questions are raised on production capacity. Bike Europe asked frame experts at Taipei Cycle whether short term solutions will be coming.
An accelerating demand for e-bikes in Europe and on other continents is putting alloy e-bike frame production, which is already under pressure, for much bigger challenges. It raises questions on production capacity; is that enough to meet (near future) demand? And how fast can that capacity be expanded. This trade journal has put these questions to frame experts at Taipei Cycle and learned that there’s much more to it than just production capacity.
Price hikes expected
What next to capacity also comes into play with alloy e-bike frames nowadays is that their complexity is on the up and up. E-MTBs, speed pedelecs and e-Road models are causing that, as well as parts integration like with batteries. It makes that these frames must be manufactured with much greater precision. This is not only limiting production output, but is expected to also raise prices substantially in the very near future.
No short term solutions
The frame experts Bike Europe consulted at Taipei Cycle also made clear that production capacity problems will not be solved on a short term. This will take three to five years. Astro for instance said in Taipei that a dedicated team inside the company is studying the feasibility of starting fully robotized alloy frame production in Europe within three years.
Frame production in Europe
Luigi Seghezzi from Bike Machinery/Mair (the companies that recently joined forces) forecasts that within the next 3 to 5 years some 3 million e-bike frames will be made in Europe. In particular in Portugal, Poland and in Romania (by Italians). He expects that the biggest part of the 3 million frames will be made with what he referred to as ‘light metal’. Asked whether this means the return to ‘old school’ Reynolds 538 double or triple butted tubing, his answer was no. It will be a very new type of light metal which will be matching the lightweight characteristics of alloy frames.