Prices of power-assisted bikes on rise in Japan

Prices are on the rise for power-assisted bicycles, which are becoming fixtures as a means of transportation in everyday life.

This is not only because they have become increasingly popular during the Covid-19 pandemic as a means to get around while avoiding trains and buses crowded with commuters, but also because there have been global shortages of raw materials, parts and components.

Although battery-powered bicycles have drawn a lot of attention as "a winning product" because of their growing sales during the pandemic, price hikes cast a shadow over their future success in the market.

Power-assisted bikes make up a section at a retailer in central Tokyo, where models boasting energy-saving functions and lightweight features are on display.

The retailer said there has been an increase in consumers who say, "I don't want to commute on crowded trains," and purchase the bikes to travel to work.

But popular models, on which a child seat can be fitted, have shot up in price by about 10 per cent since last year, to as high as about ¥150,000.

"There's a likelihood that the number of people who shy away from buying one after seeing the price tag will increase," the shop clerk in charge said, expressing concern. Bridgestone Cycle Corp. embarked on a price hike of such bikes ranging from 2 per cent to 5 per cent in October.


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