Last week's article on the Far Eastern steel shortages and Shimano gruppo delays - for MTBs as well as high-end roadbikes - could be described as alarmist. But industry sources confirm that there are blockages ahead. One global supplier, with buying-power clout in the Far East, said the article was "spot on."

‘No bicycles for summer’: scaremongering?

The ‘no bicycles for summer’ story was written following non-attributable briefings from a number of industry sources.

Far from being slapped down by suppliers, is now receiving a steady stream of confirmatory phone calls and emails from bicycle assemblers and manufacturers around the around.

Fresh from the Taipei trade show, where talk of the price hikes and component shortages was rampant, one well-placed source emailed his take on the situation:

"We are having difficulties trying to convince our key customers that these price increases are for real.

"Our biggest worry now is the delivery. You hit the nail on the head with the material shortages. We usually buy 150 tonnes of steel tubing per month from China, not only for our OEM customers but for our local market production

too. We have only been able to secure 50 tonnes this month and at an increased price.

"Our local market has back orders for 30,000 sets of complete bikes – we usually sell 60,000 per month at this time.

"We pre-orderd nearly 100,000 sets of Shimano TY at the begining of March for our a production run in May – we’re being told now we will be lucky for delivery before July.

"Component suppliers (such as cranks and headsets) are now saying that even if you pay over the odds for components they cannot guarantee delviery – it’s a ‘take what you can get’ situation.

"We were hoping to tie down price increases with our component suppliers at the Taipei show but no one will commit. We are expecting further price increases in April."

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