Portugal keeps up at top gear for third year in a row when it comes to bicycle manufacturing, Source: Unsplash

Which country is Europe’s biggest bicycle producer? It may surprise you

Which country is Europe’s biggest bicycle producer? It may surprise you

Portugal may not have the widespread cycling culture of the Nordics but its two-wheeler manufacturing sector is more than robust

The stats are in and once again Portugal has come out on top as Europe’s leading bicycle producer, for the third year in a row. Last year, some 13.5 million bicycles were made in the EU and the lion’s share of that output goes to the Iberian country, according to the European Statistical Office (Eurostat).

This means that more than one-fifth of Europe’s two-wheeler production is concentrated in Portugal, a country that most people do not immediately associate with cycling. In overall terms, the data also indicates that EU bicycle production in 2021 has increased by 11% compared to the year before.

A centennial anniversary of bike production

Cycling promotes personal health and well-being; it is economical and to the extent that it can replace the use of private cars, helps reduce air pollution. Data on the number of bicycles produced in the EU come from the PRODCOM survey on the production of manufactured goods, for which Eurostat recently published data for 2021.

Apparently, this year also happens to be the hundredth anniversary since the first bicycle factory was opened in Portugal - the “Fábrica Nacional de Bicicletas” in Porto. This was based on the metal-working industries 80 kilometres south in the town of Águeda. After World War II, it was there, in fact, that most bicycle production moved – so much so that it earned the region the monicker of “Bike Valley”.

According to Cycling Industry. News, what makes that particular manufacturing sector in the country so successful today is that it has always relied on collaboration among enterprises rather than rivalry.

This collaboration in the sector has led to the creation of a business association (Abimota) and an umbrella brand “Portugal Bike Value” to help with the global marketing of their products. The result is here with rapid growth experienced in the recent past.

From 2020 to 2021, exports increased by an impressive 39%. In the first months of 2022, the growth rate even rocketed up to 49%. Today, the export volume of the Portuguese bicycle industry amounts to 594 million euros per year.

As for the top 5 of EU’s bicycle-producing countries, it goes like this:

1. Portugal,

2. Romania,

3. Italy,

4. Germany and

5. Poland.



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