Industry Insider: The Potential Impacts of the Novel Coronavirus on the Bike Industry

Feb 12, 2020
by Dan Roberts  


Words by Dan Roberts
A microscope image of a cell infected with the novel coronavirus, grown in culture at the University of Hong Kong. Multiple virus particles are being released from the cell surface.Credit: John Nicholls, Leo Poon and Malik Peiris/The University of Hong Kong.

Covid-19, 2019-nCoV or the 2019 novel coronavirus, affects the respiratory system. Coronavirus actually refers to the group of viruses that this new strain belongs to, along with the common cold, flu, SARS and MERS.

It is believed to have originated from Wuhan, China, where the first four recorded people were infected, all of them workers at the same seafood and live animal market.

We’re very early on in the outbreak of this new virus, which is leading to great speculation and guessing for everything from its origins to how it will spread. The complete genome of the virus was released in mid-January, allowing scientists and researchers around the world the ability to work together to speed up any possible cure or learn more about the virus as fast as possible.

While the loss of life is tragic and the virus is a serious concern, there is not yet enough known about the its ability to spread or cause fatality. Comparing it to other virus outbreaks suggests that it may not be as serious as some news outlets are suggesting. The current flu virus outbreak in the US has far higher figures of people infected and deaths, yet hasn't had the same weight of coverage in mainstream media.

That said, it’s still vastly important to curb the spread of any virus, let alone a new one. As of this writing, the global infection count has passed 45,000 with more than 1,100 dying from the virus. The province of Hubei, in which Wuhan is in, is home to 60 million people and is on complete lockdown, but the virus has spread to neighbouring countries such as Japan and Taiwan as well as the US, Canada, and countries in Europe.

China plays a critical role in the bike industry for its manufacturing capabilities of frames, components, and accessories. So, how will the coronavirus affect the bike industry?

Production delays seem inevitable.

In global efforts to reduce the spread, other countries have now imposed rules around travel to reduce the number of infected, and many other countries issuing recommendations to avoid travelling to China.

The virus outbreak coincided with the Chinese New Year celebrations. This meant that a huge proportion of the Chinese population was travelling within the country back to their home towns and cities. The travel bans and quarantines set up within China have led to many workers not yet returning to their places of work. Chinese authorities officially extended the New Year holiday by one week, meaning that in theory manufacturers would start work again on Monday, February 10th. However, it is rumoured that further official quarantines may be put in place once the New Year holidays end, further limiting how many workers would return to the factories. Brands do plan for the Chinese New Year and build it into their timelines for development or production. But, what was planned to be a two-week holiday could potentially become a four or five-week period of no work.

Added to this, there are always a certain number of workers that don't return to their previous employer after the Chinese New Year. Manufacturers then have to recruit new workers to fill the loss, leading to a ramp-up period back to full capacity production. With this annual head count not yet being done there is currently no idea of what percentage of workers will need to be made up for once the New Year holiday and possible quarantines are over.

We went to Taiwan and started a bike company
Travel bans and quarantines are affecting movement of people and goods across not just China, but other countries too.

Manufacturers outside China will likely still be affected.

While China may be most known for its manufacturing of bikes, components, and accessories it is also a major manufacturer of the raw materials needed in the bike industry. The aforementioned holiday and quarantines could also affect this aspect of the industry. With the raw materials being the starting point for the manufacturing it could lead to further compounded delays in factories fulfilling their orders—long after the virus is (hopefully) out of the mainstream news cycle. This delay so early on in the supply chain could result in disruptions to manufactures outside of China as well. Vietnam and Cambodia are currently seeing increased production in the bike industry, mainly as a result of the US tariffs on Chinese goods. But these countries still depend on the raw materials and parts coming from China to allow them to do their portion of the work.

In an email obtained by BRAIN, the CEO of the AnJ Group, Jon Edwards, backed up the fears that countries with manufacturing outside of China would be hit with delays. AnJ has manufacturing in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Cambodia, and manufactures for many well-known mountain bike brands. Allegedly some Vietnam factories have issued two-week strikes to stop any possible spread of the virus from returning Chinese workers. AnJ relies on Vietnam for their hydroformed and butted tubes in their Cambodian factories so the delays in Vietnam would be passed on directly to their Cambodian factory. Currently there are a reported 15 cases of infected people in Vietnam and 1 in Cambodia.

Edwards also goes on to report a slower than normal pace at Chinese factories on account of travel bans and quarantines stopping workers returning to their jobs. This extends beyond AnJ with the slow ramp up being felt across the board. Some local officials have stopped factories from re-opening until 17th February.

Smaller brands could get hit hardest.

Many factories have multiple clients varying in size from the big leagues right down to the one-man bands, all producing bikes. Once normal play begins to resume the factories will likely look to complete the orders of their highest priority customers first, meaning that the increased lead times could be felt the most by the smaller brands relying on China and the surrounding countries for their manufacturing.

Some other manufacturers and vendors have already announced increased lead times. Bafang has already announced an increase in its lead times of e-bike engines. It’s expected that if parts manufacturers like Bafang are already announcing their delays then other parts manufacturers and thus bike manufacturers and assemblers will also incur these delays.

Taipei Cycle Show 2019
Taipei Cycle show, due to be held at the beginning of March, has now been postponed until May.

Face-to-face business dealings will be more limited.

Other impacts in the bike industry have been felt with the cancelling of the Taipei Cycle show, which was originally planned for the 4th to 7th March. The show's organisers, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), circulated a questionnaire to all Taiwanese exhibitors to make a more informed decision on what to do about the show. The show has now been postponed until May.

Before its official cancelation the Taipei show had announced that all Chinese exhibitors and nationals were banned and that workers at the show have to wear face masks. The Taiwanese government also banned any Chinese nationals from entering Taiwan and a further ban on visitors who had been to China in the previous 14 days.

Other trade shows such as ISPO Beijing were cancelled and The Tour of Hainan, a stage race encompassing several islands in the South China Sea, has been cancelled too. The impact of the outbreak was felt even at the ISPO Munich trade show where the Manufacturing, Supplier and Sourcing hall which usually has a large number of Chinese exhibitors saw a sharp drop in visitors to the hall amid fears of the virus.

All these trade shows and events pose themselves as invaluable opportunities for networking within the industry as well as signalling a time for important meetings and opportunities for communication that will now have to be done through other channels or postponed or cancelled all together.

Giant, one of the biggest manufacturers, did have plans for a grand opening of its new headquarters building in Taichung and a product launch in Taiwan following the recently cancelled Taipei Show, but both have been postponed.

Many brands don’t have their headquarters in China or Taiwan and so product managers and engineers travel out to Asia for factory visits, production checks and timeline and ordering meetings. Many brands have expressed concern in sending their employees out at this time and are aligning themselves with their countries official recommendations to avoid travel to China.

The coronavirus's travel bans, quarantines, and cancelled events will have a knock-on effect for the bike industry, especially with the outbreak's timing during such an important part of the cyclical bike calendar. Consumers may not see immediate impacts, but the resulting challenges will likely be felt on the sales floor and financial forecasts for much longer than the virus is in the news.

We should note that we are still early on in the outbreak of this novel coronavirus, so assessing the damage to particularly the bike industry is still mostly an educated guess. As time goes on more will become clear about worker losses and lead times. But what is currently being estimated is also working on a best-case scenario with that the outbreak will be under more control soon. All manufacturers, not just the ones situated in China, are keeping a close eye on the situation and an ear to the ground over the coming weeks and months to see how this virus outbreak will affect them and the industry.

Regions in Article
Taipei, Hubei


  • 138 6
 This story is going viral
  • 69 4
 you make me sick
  • 7 60
flag scary1 (Feb 12, 2020 at 6:42) (Below Threshold)
 I love capitalism..but this makes me smile a little bit.
  • 27 47
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 12, 2020 at 6:46) (Below Threshold)
 That pun influenced me
  • 83 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Influenzed. You're welcome.
  • 35 1
 @BenPea: gotta quarantine this thread.
  • 39 19
 @WAKIdesigns: Can you remove your nationality, hence the flag, please?

Ruins all my Fjällräven apparel.

Feels like putting on a WAKIdesigns sweater. Every freaking time.
  • 8 57
flag makripper (Feb 12, 2020 at 8:44) (Below Threshold)
 Why is this even on pinkbike? If you have to get your news off of a crappy mountain bike website you have some serious issues.
  • 4 0

Reminds me more of Marduk.
  • 8 16
flag someguy101 (Feb 12, 2020 at 8:50) (Below Threshold)
 Must be a slow news day at Pinkbike. Are we done with the e-mtb releases this year?
  • 12 0
 @someguy101: E-bikes? They barely exist according to my PB filter (which works amazingly well). They will exist for me when I'm ready for them to.
  • 2 0
Panzerdivision Marduck?
  • 11 13
 Im it because i love capitalism? Or is it because you cant get your cheap,commie ,slave labor ,carbon fiber shit?
  • 5 0
Here in the US Fjällräven is usually backpacks worn by young women in College or High schools.
  • 8 1
 If everyone calms down and has a Corona, life goes on
  • 3 0
 @endlessblockades: my body says I'm about ready, but my brain's being a dick about it.
  • 1 0
 @endlessblockades: mind over matter
  • 1 0
 I’m dead.
  • 4 15
flag scottlink (Feb 12, 2020 at 12:24) (Below Threshold)
 @jesse-effing-edwards: yeah, people are dying, and all PB cares about is how it will affect bike sales, advertising sales, and the rest of the industry.... we're all human, let's quit being selfish americans
  • 5 3
 @scottlink: PB is run by Canadians... quit being a self centered American...
  • 6 1
 @scottlink: the flu killed thousand of people in the US last year but I don’t see you crying about the injustice of that. How many people have you screamed “antivaxxer” to lately?
  • 1 0
 @scary1: Dude, go back to bed or grab a Snickers.
  • 1 0
 Corona is also going viral:
  • 73 2
 Guerrilla gravity starting to sound more and more like a safe option lol
  • 4 1
 Big Grin i'm with you 100%
  • 11 4
 GG has always been a safe option. And it's cheaper than most carbon brands as well! win win
  • 10 3
 Made In America quality, affordable, and shipping on time? BOOM goes the dynamite.
  • 5 0
 Well if more people are choosing gg, wait times will increase. Get your order in now! Razz
  • 3 1
 I am pretty sure Devinci also manufactures its bikes and sources its aluminum here....
  • 1 0
 @BornOnTwo: only the aluminium ones, but yes
  • 8 0
 You can have a nice GG frame with no parts to hang on it.
  • 1 0
 @BornOnTwo: Yes totally underrated! but shop doesn't carry them so meh.
  • 2 1
 @twozerosix: it's just expensive.

CC/MRP suspension, though I don't know about the magnesium castings
9.8 dropper
We are 1 wheels
  • 2 1
 @twozerosix: Make South American Rubber Something Again
  • 1 0
 @BoneDog: that’s a lot of allegiance to your LBS. They’re lucky to have you - hope they treat you accordingly.
  • 2 0
 @powderturns: I work there!
  • 6 0
 @BoneDog: Hit us up, our Shop Direct program lets any brick & mortar shop order our bikes with the same level of customization you can find on our website.
  • 5 0
 @sutter2k: Lead times are 2-4 weeks at the moment. Get it!
  • 30 5
 This article could have been a single sentence:

'There will be some impact on the supply chain but the virus will burn itself out eventually due to its epidemiology and things will get back to normal'

Way too much scaremongering in the press on this. As was shown with the ebola outbreak, press generated fear leads to human actions which compromise disease control efforts.

If it was serious millions would have it my now and a much higher percentage of that number would be dead.
  • 63 8
 I can't top worrying how this will impact processsing of my order of Yeti SB135 replica from Ali Express...
  • 1 0
 the author of this article did give mention to the fact that the current flu outbreak is infecting more patients and has caused more deaths yet no media coverage of that. that said, the corona virus and the media response is what is currently causing these issues within the bike industry.
  • 3 0
 There is no context to news these days. Scaremongering and paranoia sells news papers and gets clicks
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: it will be infected and stuck in customs
  • 33 7
 My mate had a Corona virus the morning after 17 of them
  • 7 0
 hair of the live bat...
  • 1 0
 We call that the brown bottle flu here, however Corona does not quite fit that description, same idea though.
  • 24 0
 Often accompanied with lime disease. Hope your friend is OK.
  • 1 0
 @gdawg: now that is how you one-up a pun! Awesome mate made me laugh so much!!!
  • 5 0
 @gdawg: I think my hydroformed bike is sick. It's scurvy.
  • 16 1
 So many dumb comments on this thread...

Coronavirus is a "novel" virus for humans, it has made the jump from animals to humans so no-one has much immunity. If it goes around fast then the fatality rate might not be different to a seasonal flu but everyone is going to get it and healthcare systems are going to be overwhelmed, with knock on effects for people trying to access healthcare for everything else people need it for. Bad in countries with good healthcare provision, worse in poorer countries. Just take the increase in mortality rates for women during childbirth during ebola outbreaks as an example, healthcare systems can't cope under the strain that comes on top of the normal workload.

The Pinkbike article is just stating the facts on the ground, supply-chains and other economic activity is going to be impacted. Both positive and negative effects of that depending on your viewpoint. Ironic that the Pangolin might have inadvertantly found a way to hit back against the wildlife traffickers.

On a positive note, its a chance to appreciate the bike you already have as it is, just try not to break it maybe!
  • 3 0
 Really would be a great story if pangolin numbers rise back up.
  • 14 0
 Dont pop bubble wrap from china.
  • 7 0
 nor should you deflate box bike tires.
  • 10 0
 Couple points, influenza is a different virus (flu) so is the rhinovirus (cold). Coronavirises are responsible for both mers and sars. While this strain looks less deadly than either sars or mers, it is much more contagious and may be airborne. While I agree that the media is exaggerating Thing's a bit (seems to me the common mo these days) the comparison with the flu isn't fair. While more ppl have died from the flu, many more were infected with it. It seems like Wuhan has consistently been killing about 2% which is a much higher rate than the flu. If quarantine were to fail dramatically things could get pretty bad, especially given how contagious the virus appears to be.
  • 10 14
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 12, 2020 at 8:55) (Below Threshold)
 Media can suck a bag of... at some point in time, these basterds will cause actual panic and cost thousands of lives. Panic spreads better than any virus. They are responsible for many people, including me, bagatelizing any potential pandemic after the swine flu shennenigans. Somehow they fail to reach actual numbers but they blow up speculations like it's new single of R Kelly with cover of Purple Rain, except he changed it to "Golden rain". even if virus was not meant to be dangerous for healthy population, an epidemic of common cold would put lots of people out of work and slow down the economy and could be potentially very dangeorus when you think of sickness among public services. it's serious, but people just get numbed down with this bullshit. Who the Fk cares about Corona virus in realtion to bike industry?! Will people get out on the street cuz their bikes or carbon rims aren't arriving? Come on... it's like reading that Avocado plantations are demolished by a pest invasion - oh no! All the people on cool diet will have to break their new years resolutions! Vegan Athletes will stop competing!
  • 5 2
Don't know if this was the case everywhere, but pork was so cheap when swine flu was in the media. It was something like 99¢ a pound. I'll take that media induced fear any day of the week.
  • 1 1
 Saying more people have died from influenza this year than Covid-19 is like saying more people die from vending machines each year than sharks, so don't even worry about it. I'd rather stick my hand in a vending machine than a shark's mouth, and I'd rather lick someone with the regular flu than hang out in room with someone with Covid-19, even with a mask and googles. Turns out one of the quarantine officers on that cruise ship has been infected, and one would assume they were taking maximum precautions.
  • 13 1
 Foos, this is why I only drink Modelo...
  • 8 1
 @dustydubya: The Wutang Modelovirus ain't nuttin to fvck wit.
  • 7 0
 I think most of the pinkbikers were hoping for a Carrington event not this. Bugger no more snail tooth chain rings for me for a while...
  • 8 0
 My company receives goods from China. Guess I should take the week off
  • 2 0
 Maybe they send you off Wink
  • 3 0
 @themountain: hopefully not lol
  • 11 7
 You can't compare the corona virus with a regular flue virus, that is pointless. The coronavirus has incredible counter measures happening all over china (and basically the rest of the world) and STILL manages to infect tens of thounds of people and to kill over 1000 people. I think you have the wrong perspective on this one here, a least try to talk to an Immunologist or somebody with a bit of virological background, or stop talking bs!
  • 6 10
flag b45her (Feb 12, 2020 at 6:35) (Below Threshold)
 no you can't, the regular flu virus is far more deadly than this media generated distraction. just think along the lines of the common cold.
most people dying from it are either very elderly/weak or have existing respiratory conditions.

on a more positive note a freind of mine was at my house just last saturday after flying home from shanghai where he's been living for the last year of so... neither of us are dead.
  • 1 1
 @b45her: I think it’s over 10,000 deaths all ready world wide for the flue this year. 180,000 infected.
  • 27 6
 CART MASTER: Bring out your dead!
CUSTOMER: Here's one.
CART MASTER: Nine pence.
DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
CUSTOMER: Nothing. Here's your nine pence.
DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
CART MASTER: 'Ere. He says he's not dead!
CUSTOMER: Yes, he is.
CART MASTER: He isn't?
CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon. He's very ill.
DEAD PERSON: I'm getting better!
CUSTOMER: No, you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.
CART MASTER: Oh, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
DEAD PERSON: I don't want to go on the cart!
CUSTOMER: Oh, don't be such a baby.
CART MASTER: I can't take him.
DEAD PERSON: I feel fine!
CUSTOMER: Well, do us a favor.
CUSTOMER: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
CART MASTER: No, I've got to go to the Robinsons'. They've lost nine today.
CUSTOMER: Well, when's your next round?
CART MASTER: Thursday.
DEAD PERSON: I think I'll go for a walk.
CUSTOMER: You're not fooling anyone, you know. Look. Isn't there something you can do?
DEAD PERSON: [singing] I feel happy. I feel happy.
CUSTOMER: Ah, thanks very much.
CART MASTER: Not at all. See you on Thursday.
CUSTOMER: Right. All right.
[clop clop clop]
Who's that, then?
CART MASTER: I dunno. Must be a king.
CART MASTER: He hasn't got shit all over him.
  • 13 0
 @b45her: actually the death rates are similar at 2% (almost 4℅ in Wuhan).

The issue here is, as already pointed out, this new strain is being contained by extreme countermeasures. If the containment fails then corvid-19 would likely compound the annual flu season. Additionally there is currently no immunity in the human population.

Of further concern is the asymptomatic transmission and how younger patients (30-40) seem to be dying compared to flu.

As for the bike industry, hopefully it will stem the flow of new standards long enough for me to finally replace my enduro29 2014 frame.
  • 3 0
 Also I live in China, so have an idea of conditions on the ground (so to speak).
  • 1 0
 @bigtim: ahhahahaaa! LOVE THAT SKIT
  • 1 0
 @b45her: mmmh...just wait a second....
  • 1 0
 There are quarantines in place at companies, additional checks for transit staff, live on site staff, returning staff, also significant additional measures including daily temperature checks, wearing of face masks, every journey disinfection of vehicles used for transport to and from campus etc from some Chinese manufacturers and laws in China for what you can and cant do at this delicate time. This will impact many industries, from bike to mobile phone manufacture.
  • 5 0
 baby won't you be my, coronavirus and lime
  • 1 0
 I’m trying to develop components in time for the Downhill Southeast and due to the Coronavirus outbreak, I cannot get the steel tubing I need from China. I now have to find other sources for these things. Hope the situation gets better
  • 3 2
 @whiteboarder: I do own Fjällräven pants. They are not good to be honest, just like their backpacks and overly heavy jackets from stiff material that isn't durable anyways. It's like half premium stuff for those who want to appear very pragmatic but don't want to spend cash for stuff like Norrona, at the same time don't want cheaper stuff that is actually better... you show up like that in the middle of town and one could think you just came out of a train from Lappland except you just had Soy latte... just saying... we call it "friluftsmänniska signaling"
  • 1 0
 Except i only wear them for woodwork and hunting.
  • 2 0
 @whiteboarder: I'm wary of German hunters since one of them was hired for a hit job on Snow White...
  • 2 0
 All you need is a Coronavirus with a slice of lyme disease and your all set. No really the potential for virulent deadlier mutation in a virus with no human immunity is a scary thought.
  • 1 0
 So then right around the time the northern hemisphere starts to warm & kill off viruses the south will be chill’n & we’re in for world wide virus again, the biggest concern for everyone & this was stated by the WHO if it makes to the African continent we are in trouble then, they do not have the resources to deal with something like this.
  • 1 0
 Yep, Roger Daltrey sure knows his stuff.
  • 3 0
 Well, maybe it's time to buy that Stanton FS then !
  • 1 0
 Go for it! Well on my end my first ever Cotic arrived on Monday, best choice I made, seamless process, bike rips and guys at HQ are best in business. Thanks Paul & Cy.
  • 2 1
 @mattmach7: Don't take it off the ground though, instantly voids any warranty it has.
  • 3 0
 I've got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell
  • 1 0
 Indeed. More cowbell.
  • 2 1
 I thought you guys were all bike riders! What are you doing spending so much time behind a computer????
Got out there and ride your BIKES for GODS sake!!! Cheers!!!
  • 2 0
 So prices will go up, because they always do...
  • 1 1
 This will affect Carbon bikes more than other materials?
But looks like food grade H2 O2 is the solution, but cant buy that in chemists for some stupid reason?
  • 2 1
 There's something odd about that sculpture, but I can't quite put my finger on it.
  • 1 0
 My question is this, what if this persists into June what effect will this have on the Olympics?
  • 1 1
 Well, Japan is an island and more easily defended.
  • 1 0
 The common cold is typically caused by rhinovirus, part of the picorna virus family
  • 2 0
 Who knew so many epidemiologists rode mountain bikes!
  • 1 0
 HAHA guilty as charged
  • 1 0
 Just hibernate on Pinkbike until the spring or go out digging in new lines for summer shredding?
  • 2 1
 Shame on Pinkbike for being a platform for fear mongering. They should have known better.
  • 2 0
 get your free corona virus sample with each made in china "boutique"
  • 1 0
 The bike industry along with many other sports will all be affected. It’s inevitable Frown
  • 1 0
 Yep, definitely the middle of winter.
  • 2 2
 Swine flu killed 500k and infected millions yet it didn’t receive the same media analysis/bias.
  • 2 0
 Swine flu is a regular cause of the annual flu infection. The Spanish flu was also swine flu for example. This is a new virus that would infect in addition to the annual flu numbers.
  • 1 0
 @muletron: Spanish flu killed like 20-50 million people and mainly killed those with strong immune systems. The human genome got fvcked on that one.
  • 1 0
 Sorry, but we are past potential stage.
  • 8 11
  • 9 0
1. a machine with moving parts that converts power into motion.
  • 1 0
 giant country can paralyze business ...
  • 1 1
 Your bikes, bottles, kits, and everything else from China will have an extra surprise waiting for you!
  • 2 3
 Karma is punishing China for snuffing out millions of newborn baby girls because boys are better. Dick comment I know, but search your feelings you know it to be true
  • 1 0
 Well then Fook Mi and Fook Yu.
  • 1 1
 don't forget to scrub that Chinese made Schwinn with bleach!
  • 1 1
 oh shush
  • 1 3
 Just do not pop the bubbles in the bubble wrap...I guess then you will be fine.
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