German bicycle and e-bike industry defies production and supply chain problems: Production increased in the first half of the year, and demand exceeded supply.  The German bicycle and e-bike industry is looking back on a difficult first half of 2021,  in which manufacturers were presented with major challenges. Nevertheless,  production and exports increased once again. 

In the second year of the pandemic, the high demand for products of the German bicycle and ebike industry continues unabated. Plant closures and production interruptions from 2020 continued throughout the world, and raw material shortages and supply chain disruptions worsened significantly in 2021 (such as due to the Suez Canal closure in March 2021).

Despite all this, the German bicycle and e-bike industry was able to increase production slightly overall in the first half of the year compared to the previous years of 2020 and 2019.

Exports of bicycles and e-bikes (pedelecs) also grew significantly (+10.6%). Sales of e-bikes (pedelecs) in Germany also increased again, rising to 1.20 million (+9.1%). A total of 1.55 million bicycles without pedal assistance were sold in Germany, which means that significantly fewer vehicles than in the same period last year (-26%) were purchased in this category.

According to bicycle industry association estimates, production and inventories were fully sold in 2020, and the existing capacities were used primarily for the production of e-bikes (pedelecs) in the first half of 2021. If a higher domestic supply (production + import) had been available, the association estimates that it would have been possible to sell significantly more bicycles and ebikes (pedelecs).

A normalization of the situation on the international markets and thus also on the domestic market is not expected any time soon. Instead, the bicycle industry association expects further negative impacts on the industry in the second half of the year as well as a very tight situation with regard to raw materials, components, and parts in the medium term. The situation is not expected to ease until the end of next year.

Burkhard Stork, Managing Director of the bicycle industry association: “Companies in the German bicycle industry managed to defy supply chain problems and produce more than before the pandemic. The employees in particular did a great job under very difficult circumstances. Companies are putting their focus primarily on the production of e-bikes, because they are most in demand right now.”

The bicycle industry association (Zweirad-Industrie-Verband e.V.) is the national advocacy organization and service provider of the German and international bicycle industry. Its members include manufacturers and importers of bicycles, e-bikes, bicycle components, and accessories.

Bike and e-bike market data (pedelecs)


It was possible to increase production in Germany, with 1.41 million vehicles produced in the first six months of the year, corresponding to an increase of 1.8%.


Exports of bicycles and e-bikes (pedelecs) also grew significantly, with export volume rising 10.6% between January and June and e-bikes (pedelecs) accounting for 40% of exports.


According to numbers from Germany’s Federal Statistics Office, imports of bicycles and e-bikes increased by some 11.8% in the period under review, with e-bikes comprising 32% of imports.

E-bike (pedelec) sales in Germany

E-bike (pedelec) sales rose again in the first half of 2021. The bicycle industry association estimates that 1.2 million vehicles were sold in the first half of 2021, representing an increase of 9.1%.

Bicycle sales in Germany

With sales of 1.55 million bicycles without pedal assistance, significantly fewer vehicles than in the same period last year were purchased in this category (-26%).

The bicycle industry association estimates that a total of approximately 2.75 million bicycles and e-bikes (pedelecs) were sold between January and June 2021, resulting in a decrease of around 14.1% compared to the first half of 2020. This can be traced back solely to the decline in non-pedal-assist bicycles sold.

Forecast for sales of e-bikes (pedelecs) in Germany

The industry anticipates 1.9 million e-bikes to be sold overall in 2021, which would correspond to a slight decrease of around -2.6%.

The future belongs to the bicycle

Bicycles and e-bikes (pedelecs) are becoming increasingly popular, and this trend began long before the start of the coronavirus crisis. They stand for healthy and sustainable transportation for the individual and are an increasingly vital component of modern mobility concepts. For this reason, the federal government, the states, and many municipalities are pursuing the objective of significantly increasing the cycling mode share. This requires an infrastructure that enables safe participation for all and that takes into account bicycles and e-bikes as well as single and multi-lane cargo bikes. In this country, they are increasingly being used not only for leisure but also for the needs of everyday life – such as for getting to workplaces, daycare centers, schools, and training centers, for running errands, and for reaching train and other public transport stations.

The popularity of e-bikes (pedelecs) in particular has been growing by leaps and bounds for several years, with this new trend now encompassing all model groups. Today, the number of bikes on the road is growing by more than one million vehicles per year. Greater distances as well as higher average speeds are now possible, which is helping to tap into new mobility possibilities in both cities and rural areas. Thanks to motor support and subsidy programs, sales figures for cargo bikes have also risen greatly. Even in regions with very challenging topography, cargo bikes enable sustainable mobility and promote good health in commercial enterprises as well as in people’s private lives, particularly for families.