A Czech bike manufacturer called Bike Fun International was expecting a shipment of Shimano components necessary to produce 10,000 bikes. That shipment never made it. On January 21, somewhere in Germany, the truck driver transporting the container packed with Shimano’s finest pulled into a rest stop. Like something out of a Mission Impossible film, thieves pumped sleeping gas into the cab of the truck, knocked out the driver, then made off with the container’s contents. They knew what they were after too, leaving behind just a few boxes of lower-level components. The value of the components is around € 270,000.
According to BFI, the biggest bike producer in the Czech Republic, pumping out 150,000 bikes a year, most of the parts were pricy bits for e-bikes. They think the truck was observed where it was loaded and trailed until the thieves saw their chance. A well-planned and executed professional heist.
The company will face massive problems trying to source components now, an issue exacerbated by the very shortages that probably caused the heist to begin with. With international supply chains reeling, bike parts are already in short supply on the regular market, who knows what the black market could bring.
Or perhaps people have grown so tired of waiting for the parts they’ve ordered, they decided to take matters into their own hands. Desperate times, etc.
According to BFI:
“The situation for bicycle producers worldwide is really difficult. On the one side, we are dealing with huge demand, but on the other side, there is an even greater shortage of components, caused by many factors. From the consignment loaded mostly with expensive e-bike and bike parts, only nine boxes of low-end components were left in the truck. This will delay the production of some models by almost a year, as there is no alternative on the market for many of the parts from this shipment. We are a strong and stable company, so this is just another obstacle out of many we are facing in the last years. But this would happen to smaller manufacturers, it would be liquidating for them, ”says BFI supply chain director Petr Krkoska.
“We really haven’t seen this situation before. Even Shimano has not been faced with a targeted robbery of a shipment on a similar scale. We hope that due to the shortening of parts, these cases will not be repeated, because despite all the measures we have set up, no insurance cover can compensate us for the loss and especially the reputation for late delivery ”adds Krkoska. “We decided to communicate this matter to warn other producers, because it could happen to them as well,” he added.