State of the Bike Industry

Turns out cyclists prefer riding in trees to alongside highways

Just in from Taiwan: total bike exports are down 11.75% while ebikes are up 55%. Why is the industry pushing ebikes so hard? More profit per unit. In a declining market, the average motorized bicycle price is $1,373.77 compared to $588.33 for the push-pedal version.

The marketers will list a litany of reasons why you want an ebike, but to them when you see the numbers, it’s obviously a response to a declining road market and a for a faster commute in increasingly-traffic jammed cities.

There’s a long list of reasons why a complete bike is so cheap, but increasing revenue by 35% is certainly motivating for everyone in the once hot “road market” to get on board with a Bosch drivetrain and the like.

That revenue growth should also explain why we haven’t seen anything new from road since aero too.

Another factoid from Taiwan: they exported 59,000 road bikes and 221,000 mountain bikes. The gravel/adventure category isn’t broken out in the data, but we know now that segment didn’t grow, just confirmed that cyclists prefer riding in trees to alongside busy highways.

The Stats

  • Figures supplied by the Taiwan Bicycle Association (TBA) show that in the first four months of 2018, Taiwan exported 83,000 e-bikes generating total revenue of $113 million. Compared to the same period in 2017, Taiwan increased its e-bike exports by 34.35% and its revenue by 55.1%.
  • With an average unit price of $588.33 for complete bikes (year-over-year increase of 29.35%), the USA accounted for 22.12% of the total revenue in the first four months of 2018.
  • Overall, road and mountain bikes were the main types of bicycles exported from Taiwan during the first quarter of 2018, reaching 159,000 units and 221,000 units, respectively.

Surprisingly, derailleurs grew the most, surging 72.43% in terms of volume (430,000 kilograms), and 28.16% in terms of value ($19 million) compared with the first 4 months of 2017. Considering all the emphasis on 1X these days, I wouldn’t expect more traditional drivetrains to surge that much.

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