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April 26, 2021 4 min read
We are very happy about the popularity of our bikes and want to thank you for your trust and excitement. We can’t wait to ship the new bikes to you, especially because we have received so much great feedback about our R2020s. I want to take the time and explain a few things about our supply chain and make things more transparent, so you will always know where your bike is and what the hold-up is (if there is one.) Scroll to the end of this article for updates.
As most of you have read in the international and local news, the (electric) bicycle industry is booming. Together with Covid related issues like clocked ports, astronomical shipping prices and massive shortages of parts like hydraulic brakes, gear-systems, tires (due to over-demand) most bicycle manufacturers are battling a lot of sourcing and shipping issues. This is why we have always warned you about unforeseen (or foreseen) issues that can delay the delivery of your bikes. However, with the way 50 Rebels is set up, we are able to produce/assemble a lot of bikes in a very short period of time once the parts have arrived at our assembly line.
There are three main topics to talk about. So, let me take you through the status of the R2021:
China-Parts: Parts like brakes, tires, rear motors and controllers come from China. That is simply the way our industry is set up. If we could source those parts in Europe, we would. Some of these parts are struck by a so-called ‘anti-dumping-tax’ by the EU that we have to pay at import. This is around 50% of the value of the parts + shipping costs + VAT. As you can imagine, this is a huge sum to pay.
In some cases, customs is considering a group of unassembled parts as a completed product and also strikes it with anti-dumping tax. For example: if you ship spokes, hubs and rims unassembled but in one shipment, it gets taxed as a complete wheel even if other parts are missing and if it’s unassembled. This means we cannot ship all the China parts in one shipment (or even on the same ship.)
This topic is very complicated and would need an own series of articles to explain it properly, but let me say: this tax can kill companies if it isn’t done properly and with utmost care. What this means for us is: the more separate shipments we have, the more we are at risk that one is delayed. And if one shipping is delayed then we need to wait with assembly. The alternative would be to put our company at risk, so it’s not an alternative.
European-Parts: Parts like lights, framesets, seats, racks, etc. are made in Portugal or elsewhere in Europe. We develop and make them together with partners all over the country and continent. Those partners have their own supply chain issues and have to deal with huge price increases of raw materials, (in our case it’s steel) delayed shipments and Covid-related shortages of workforce themselves. This is especially evident with our framesets being made in an absolutely roaring environment where factories in Portugal just have too much work to handle all their orders.
However, we have been building partnerships over the last few years and have it all set up quite neatly so we do not expect big delays there. However, there are always things that can delay an assembly run. Especially because we always do a proper quality control and this can sometimes mean we have to re-do certain parts. For now, everything is as it should.
Assembly & Shipping: This is where everything comes together. This is also the moment that all of you want to know the exact time and place. We understand that and try our best to give you an exact time, but we also don’t want to promise you something that we can’t keep. We communicate an expected delivery window, but ALWAYS say that this can be off by a couple of weeks. Once we get all the shipments ready, we run our ‘production run’ and assemble about a hundred bikes per week. The bikes get a final quality control and then get packed up and shipped via our shipping partner throughout Europe. From experience, your bike will be delivered in a matter of a few days. But sometimes this takes longer, depending on the truck schedule, warehouse capacities and overall shipping load.
Let me give you an example: if Belgium is in another lockdown because of a high number of Covid-cases, this might mean that a warehouse essential in the network of a shipping company is understaffed or even quarantined. This doesn’t affect just the deliveries in that country, but can mean there are no trucks loaded to Germany, or the Netherlands, etc.
We’re still in uncertain times. We all here wish it was not, believe us. But it is. So all we can do, is give it to you straight:
There were issues with the casings because of the new battery cells. We needed to definitely change to a bigger battery case, because some wiring got jammed on the smaller casings. But it delayed the battery shipping. ETA: 2nd week of May.
Everything is on its way. One container comes directly to Portugal, one is routing through Rotterdam (could still mean some roll-over issues) and the batteries are coming through Barcelona. We are running late, but on the European side (frames, seats, lights, etc.) everything is set. Estimated shipping of the bikes to our customers: 1st week of June.
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