It's tough to call your business a retailer of bicycles when you haven't got any bicycles to retail. It's becoming increasingly likely that there's soon going to be a critical supply and demand problem in bicycle shops around the world. There's not enough Shimano to go round. Not even the big guys can get their hands on enough of the stuff. For the first time ever, bicycle suppliers are hoping for a damp summer. has been reporting on the Shimano gruppo delays since December 2003 and on the raw materials shortage since February. Here's an index to the articles to date.

Will bike shops be bike shops in summer 2004?

And here’s a link to the public access version of this index.…/article.php?id=4078

Bike shop customers might start to think the lack of bikes is a sales ploy, or the sign of a duff retailer. Send them to that link to get off the hook…

Friday 30th April: Job losses at UK bike plants…/article.php?id=4049

Concept Cycles is to close its wheel-building unit in Newtown, Wales, losing up to 30 jobs in the process. And, citing cheap imports and Shimano gruppo shortages, Professional Cycle Manufacturing has made ten workers redundant at its Cradley Heath assembly factory.

Tuesday 13th April: Q4 profit rise at Hero, but margins impacted by raw materials shortage…/article.php?id=3947

India’s market-leading maker of bicycles and motorcycles – and one of the biggest bike manufacturer’s in the world – has posted a 42 percent rise in Q4 profits in its motorcycle division, but warned that rising raw material prices could hurt group profit margins.

Monday 5th April: SRAM raises prices; cites raw materials shortages…/article.php?id=3922

SRAM has announced that it plans to increase its chain and internally geared hub pricing for MY2005 by 6-8 percent. Monday 5th April: Go to where all the raw materials have gone……/article.php?id=3921

The 14th China International Bicycle & Motor Fair will be held from April 14th to 17th at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre. Under the theme ‘Advance with Health’, and covering a total space of 66,000 square metress across six halls and 3200 booths, the event will be a great place to see where all the steel, aluminium, carbon-fibre, rubber and plastics are going… Monday 29th March: ULTEGRA: For ‘on hold’, read ‘hiatus’…/article.php?id=3878

Shimano says Ultegra sales will be huge and that’s why no fixed delivery date has yet been set. This clarification from Frank Peiffer, Shimano Europa’s commercial director, is in response to last week’s article ‘MY2005: A year for the brave.’ Friday 26th March: MY2005: A year for the brave…/article.php?id=3873

According to one trade source, this is going to be a funny year. There could be a shortage of bikes, or a glut. EU10 countries, immune to anti-dumping regs, are currently stuffed to the gills with low-end bikes, ready to be rolled out when the European Union is enlarged. But, as the Word document here demonstrates, as the year progresses Shimano components will become as rare as hen’s teeth Wednesday 24th March: It’s not just steel……/article.php?id=3862

OK, so only crap Chinese bikes are made with bog-standard steel and it’s only BMXs and niche road and MTBs that are made with cro-mo, but that doesn’t mean the upscale bike market can relax when there’s talk of steel shortages. The overheating Chinese economy isn’t just gobbling steel, all raw materials are being swallowed with gusto. Rubber, plastics, aluminium, carbon-fibre – even cardboard for bike sheaths – are all in short supply, and prices are surging. Wednesday 24th March: Lay off Shimano, the industry structure is at fault for shortages…/article.php?id=3860

US industry consultant Jay Townley has little truck with those who blame Shimano for the current gruppo delays. The long term solution? "Channel cooperation" and "supply chain integration," says Townley. Thursday 18th March: Steel price hikes make for costlier Indian bikes…/article.php?id=3828

Hero Cycles, Atlas and TI Cycles have increased prices of their bicycles by 4 percent, with more prices rises on the cards. Bike prices are likely to increase worldwide as the global steel shortage continues to bite. And it’s not just gas-pipe steel bicycle frame-tubes that are in short supply, raw materials of all types – rubber, alloy, cardboard, everything – are being gobbled up by the fast-growing Chinese economy. Tuesday 16th March: ‘No bicycles for summer’: scaremongering?…/article.php?id=3816

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." Thursday 11th March: No bicycles for summer?…/article.php?id=3804

Shortages of Chinese steel and Shimano parts continues to be the main topic of conversation at the Taiwan trade show. With lead-times on Deore parts now being 250 days, it’s perhaps not surprising to hear that international buyers clapped when a product manager from one of the big global bike brands said ‘this bike has no Shimano parts at all’ in a show presentation. But it’s not just a problem for Shimano speccers, prices are now so high for Asian raw materials that steel manhole covers are being stolen in Taiwan. Really. Wednesday 10th March: Prices to ping pong, ditto delivery dates…/article.php?id=3789

Mark Lynskey, CEO of the American Bicycle Group in Chattanooga, Tenn., was perhaps being too conservative when he said bike prices will have to be increased by 20 percent. The word from the Taipei show, which started today, is that price hikes for key bike bits could shoot up by 30 percent. Canny suppliers, seeing China-sourced metal, plastics and cardboard prices appreciate by the day and watching as bike manufacturers gulp at Shimano component shortages, are not guaranteeing delivery dates until they see wholesale prices rise. And raw-materials prices are rising daily… Friday 27th February: Rising metal costs means bike price hikes…/article.php?id=3721

Surging demand in China for metal of all types and the weakness of the dollar is leading to fast price rises for steel, aluminium, titanium and other metals. Mark Lynskey, CEO of the American Bicycle Group in Chattanooga, Tenn., reckons bike prices will have to rise by 20 percent. Wednesday 17th December 2003: High-demand causes Shimano shortages…/article.php?id=3478

Hiro Hirata, VP of sales in Shimano’s bicycle components division in Japan has written to OE customers, apologising for delays in delivering Ultegra, Deore, Dura Ace and other top-end components. Thanks to a hot summer and a dry autumn in Europe, demand has gone through the roof, especially for road kit. Demand for Ultegra has risen fivefold, said Hirata.

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