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Twice as many e-bike sales for Czech OEMs2016-12-02 source own
When it comes to bicycles, the national statistics office has recently announced that the Czech Republic are a net exporter. Within the last year alone, nearly 400,000 bicycles were exported whilst only 230,000 were ordered into the country. As these figures are similar to what we have seen previously, this shows stability within the market as they continue to provide to other EU countries.
Of all the models on offer, it seems to be the e-bikes that are outperforming every other area. According to the recent report, up to 30,000 units are e-bikes are now being exported which equates to just under 10% of all exports. With this in mind, it can be considered somewhat of a breakthrough for the Czech Republic in the e-bike market.
For many years, OEMs and distributors had been focusing on Chinese models but this focus has now shifted to their own development of products. Pavel Muller, CEO of Leader Fox, has said “Our bestselling e-bike is the step-thru city model priced around €930. We expect to increase our sales by 50-70% in 2016 while we already doubled our e-bike production this year.”
Furthermore, Apache Bikes has put on record that they have sold 4,000 e-bikes over the past twelve months with city bikes proving to be most popular. In addition to this, Apache also teams up with Shimano Steps and Bosch to produce high-end bikes. Also in cooperation with BPS Bicycle Industrial, over 20,000 e-bikes are said to be manufactured by the latter for many brands including KTM.
Back in April 2015, BPS reached their one millionth bicycle delivery and managed to reach this mark within 15 years of operating. Elsewhere, Agogs, who has nearly reached a decade of e-bike development, won the ‘city trekking’ category in the 2015 ExtraEnergy eBike awards for its ‘Tracer’ model. Considering this category is normally won by a Swiss or German brand, this was a big win for the company and for the country.
Back to the Czech Republic and interestingly, the rental market for e-bikes made big steps this year and many rental shops opened throughout the country. In Prague alone, there are ten different rental stores with some ranking highly for TripAdvisor attractions. Aside from the city, there are also opportunities in the countryside such as the wine region of South Moravia and even Sumava which is the biggest national park in the country.
Road Race and MTB
Despite the growth of the e-bike, they are still a long way behind cross bike and MTB which now have an average selling price of €500. Since cycling is a huge industry for the Czech residents, there has been significant maintenance carried out by the Czech Tourist Club and they now boast one of the biggest and best marked cycling path networks in all of Europe.
Much as we have seen in other MTB-dominated countries, there was indecision when it comes to the 26-inch wheel when judged against larger sizes. Offered in shops, it is the 27.5- and 29-inch models that are most popular. Despite this, CEO of Pells, Libor Petrvalsky, has said “The twenty-niners will rule the game, as was indicated by this year’s spring sales. However, long time Giant bicycles distributor Josef Přib already stated we should not forget the cyclists of lesser stature, the ladies, and the juniors, for whom 26-inch is just the perfect size.”
During the summer, it should be noted that there was a huge increase for the road race category. For some, this was thought to be a result of the Tour de France which is (and has been for many years) sponsored by Skoda Auto. Back in the 1970s, most Czechs had a dream of owning the classic ‘Favorit’ road bike and this has just been relaunched by Richard Galovic, a businessman from Slovakia.
Apart from a few rare discrepancies, city cycling is still waiting for a turn in their favour. For example, even the capital doesn’t have a fully-functioning official rental system despite years of debating the idea. As there is no rental system in place, there has been many private businesses taking advantage by launching apps that show the nearest available bike.
With this infrastructure still not in place, this is why many people choose to leave their bike at home. Founder of Bajkazyl, Martin Kontra, said “It requires only small improvements of the cycling infrastructure and adjustments of the traffic laws by Ministry of Transport to make city cycling a full-fledged type of passenger transport.”
Despite the lack of infrastructure, interest in city cycling clearly exists as we saw when nearly 10,000 people showed up for the Spring Critical Mass Bike Ride.
Photo Image provided by; © Lukyslukys | Dreamstime.com - Cycling Race Bohemia Tour 2012 Photo