A Czech bicycle manufacturer called Bike Fun International expected a delivery of Shimano components needed to produce 10,000 bicycles. This shipment never arrived. On January 21, somewhere in Germany, the driver of the truck carrying the container full of the best Shimano products stopped at a rest area. Like in a Mission Impossible movie, thieves pumped sleeping gas into the cab of the truck, knocked out the driver, then drove off with the contents of the container. They also knew what they were looking for, leaving only a few boxes of lower level components behind. The value of the components is around €270,000.
According to BFI, the largest bicycle producer in the Czech Republic, producing 150,000 bicycles a year, most of the parts were expensive e-bike parts. They believe the truck was observed being loaded and dragged around until the thieves saw their chance. A well-planned and executed professional burglary.
The company will face huge problems trying to source components now, a problem exacerbated by the very shortages that likely caused the heist in the first place. With international supply chains shaken, bike parts are already in short supply on the regular market, who knows what the black market might bring.
Or maybe people are so tired of waiting for the parts they’ve ordered that they’ve decided to take matters into their own hands. Desperate times, etc.
According to BFI:
“The situation for bicycle producers around the world is really difficult. On the one hand, we are dealing with a huge demand, but on the other, there is an even greater shortage of components, caused by many factors. From the shipment loaded mostly with bike parts and expensive e-bikes, only nine boxes of low-end components remained in the truck. This will delay the production of some models by nearly a year, as there is no alternative on the market for most parts in this shipment. We are a solid and stable company, so this is just one of many obstacles we have faced in recent years. But if it happened to smaller manufacturers, it would be a sellout for them,” says BFI supply chain manager Petr Krkoska.
“We really have never seen this situation before. Not even Shimano faced a targeted theft of cargo on a similar scale. We hope that due to the shortage of parts, these cases will not happen again, because despite all the measures we have put in place, no insurance coverage can compensate us for the damage and especially for the reputation of delay of delivery,” adds Krkoska. “We have decided to communicate this case to warn other producers, because it could happen to them too,” he added.