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BMC applies to cut hours of remaining staff due to falling demand

It is believed the Swiss-based bike brand made some staff redundant in the autumn, and is no longer in the WorldTour after Decathlon–AG2R La Mondiale moved to Van Rysel

BMC is taking "appropriate preventive measures" and making "necessary adjustments" to a decrease in demand, the bike brand's CEO said as it was announced that the company had applied to cut working hours of its remaining staff.

While details about the move remain limited, it is believed the application has been submitted to the responsible office for economics and labour in the Swiss canton of Solothurn, the relevant authority for the city of Grenchen, where BMC is based. The application is pending, Grenchner Tagblatt reports, but the bicycle manufacturer is exploring the possibility of reducing employee hours in response to waning demand since the pandemic bike boom.

2023 BMC Teammachine R - 1.jpeg

road.cc has also heard from a source that several employees were made redundant in the final months of 2023, BMC exiting the WorldTour after it was announced that Decathlon–AG2R La Mondiale would no longer race the manufacturer's bikes, moving to Van Rysel instead. However it should be noted that BMC is still the bike sponsor of Fabian Cancellara's Swiss outfit Tudor Pro Cycling, who will make their Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia in May.

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Commenting on the application to cut employee hours, BMC CEO David Zurcher said: "The board of directors and the company's management adapted to this situation in a timely manner and took appropriate preventive measures and made necessary adjustments."

What has led the bike brand to this point will be a familiar tale by now, increased demand during the pandemic rapidly dropping off in the years since, with added supply chain woes on top, a story heard from a seemingly endless list of names across the bike industry since 2020.

2024 BMC Teammachine R Tudor Pro Cycling

A source at BMC does believe things will calm in the near future, a line backed up by a recent market intelligence agency report which suggests the bike industry is "on the road to recovery".

The BMC source admitted while it expected things will stabilise, it may take time, hence the reduced working hours application in the meantime. "We just want to be ready when the need arises," they said.

Elsewhere in Switzerland, major wheel and components brand DT Swiss is refusing to comment on its own situation. road.cc first approached the company in the autumn having heard from a source, but were told the brand would not be commenting.

2022 DT Swiss ERC ERC1400 CL45 ProductDetail Decal  .jpeg

"Thanks for posting this question. As stated earlier, we are not commenting on business activities that also include our personnel," a spokesperson told us at the time.

The Swiss press also reports that e-bike manufacturer Flyer closed its adventure department in the Bern town of Huttwil in recent months, laying off almost a quarter of its employees at the site. Again, excess inventory from increased demand during the pandemic and inflation were listed as factors.

The past fortnight has seen more bad news across the industry, a Bicycle Association report stating that 2023 saw the worst bicycle sales in the UK since 1985. Earlier in the week it was announced that there would be more redundancies at Zwift, 10 months on from the company cutting its workforce by 15 per cent.

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The owner of Raleigh and Lapierre, Accell Group, has also said it will "simplify operations and enhance efficiency" by merging facilities and cutting up to 150 jobs at its Dutch-based facilities, moving some production to Hungary and Turkey.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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8 comments

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Bigtwin | 2 weeks ago
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They are a company pricing themselves into oblivion.  So many as or more attractive bikes around for so much less.

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VTB | 2 weeks ago
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And to add to that, company's like BMC are now pricing their products way above what the average person can afford or is willing to pay. Mix this into the situation of the post-covid downturn mentioned above and it's no wonder sales are plummeting. It's interesting that it's blamed primarily on a lack of demand. I would suggest also looking at the other factors such as affordability, i.e. how a bicycle (that is still just a bicycle) can and often does cost over 20k AUD. Cycling is fast becoming a rich man's sport that I'm convinced is now becoming out of the reach of the average rider.

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Surreyrider replied to VTB | 2 weeks ago
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That's not true or accurate. You can still buy road bikes in the UK for £500-800. 

But if you want a carbon frame with Di2/etap and light carbon wheels, you're going to pay a lot. And I don't know about Australia but inflation/greedflation is rampant in the UK.

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alexuk | 3 weeks ago
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As soon as Rihs died, the company went downhill. 

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Surreyrider | 3 weeks ago
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@Dan Alexander. You might want to ask BMC why there are so few of their bikes for sale in the UK now. It's because BMC have stopped selling in this country (like Rose, although I don't know if it is for the same Brexit reason). 

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Springbok45 replied to Surreyrider | 3 weeks ago
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From what I've been told the UK distributor has stepped back from bikes and is only doing components/accessories going forward

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Surreyrider replied to Springbok45 | 2 weeks ago
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Ok, thanks. So my point stands. Other than stock already here, BMC aren't seeling bikes in the UK now.

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Simon E | 3 weeks ago
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I've just disposed of a copy of CW from a couple of weeks ago, in which they review the BMC Kaius gravel race bike (apparently the bike that Ferrand-Prevot rode to win the inaugural Gravel Worlds in 2022). They liked it very much.

£5,700 for the base model that is a very focussed all-road/race gravel bike with SRAM Rival and very few mounts for bags etc surely isn't going to help turn sales around. As they point out, an obvious competitor, the Specialized Crux (not S-Works) with very similar build, is £5,500.

But I did some googling and discovered that they do in fact produce a range of models besided this and the Teammachine yet my image of the brand is solely of race-oriented bikes and premium prices.

They are sponsoring Tudor Pro Cycling and I think that name will be popping up here and there during the season. But can that help them sell enough bikes? Hmmm...

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