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Bike brands suspending distribution to the UK due to Brexit

Cycling brands hit with uncertainty and delivery delays as the United Kingdom exits the European Union trade agreements.

The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on December 31, 2020 (“Brexit”) and the effects of this move have already impacted the cycling industry.

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The UK has imposed new rules for taxation on foreign imports — plus some new red tape — and this has steered some brands away from distributing in the UK entirely.

Changes to tax laws for goods produced and/or shipped from outside the UK are now being taxed at a different rate than prior to Brexit.

“The new VAT model ensures goods from EU and non-EU countries are treated in the same way and that UK businesses are not disadvantaged by competition from VAT-free imports,” a British government spokesperson told the BBC.

“It’s vital the government makes it clear to consumers as well as traders what the changes as a result of Brexit mean for them and how they shop. It should also work to ensure UK consumers can retain access to a wide range of competitively priced and quality goods,” consumer rights expert Adam French told the BBC.

Cycling brands, already negatively affected by manufacturing and supply line challenges posed by COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, were left scrambling to fulfill shipments to retail outlets and directly to customers alike in the United Kingdom prior to January 1, 2021.

Canyon bicycles, headquartered in Germany, tells customers that changes to ordering and shipping took effect in mid-December.

The brand — raced by Movistar and the Canyon-SRAM teams — temporarily halted shipments to UK customers due to changes in tariffs and logistics in clearing points of entry into the UK.

Canyon says it hopes to have shipping restored soon, but this would be no earlier than January 11.

“Due to the uncertainty and potential bottlenecks at the border, we are temporarily halting shipment of all bikes from 19th December until at least 11th January,” reads a statement on Canyon’s web site.

While shipping has been suspended, Canyon is still taking orders for UK customers and plans to fulfill orders as soon as possible.

However, for those in Northern Ireland, the outlook is less promising, as Canyon indicated that, “orders and shipments from our valued customers in Northern Ireland cannot be placed at this time. We are working hard to implement processes that will enable you to order your new bike as soon as possible.”

Campagnolo has halted sales and delivery to UK customers. Photo: Ben Delaney

Italian-based wheel, component, and apparel brand Campagnolo is also feeling the impact of Brexit, restricting e-commerce sales until further notice.

Campy says, “We hereby communicate that all sales with delivery to the UK are suspended until new updates, awaiting for EU dispositions in regards to the Brexit situation.”

The BBC is also reporting that international shipping companies like Federal Express, DHL, and UPS have placed surcharges on goods shipped between the UK and the EU.

UK-based Brooks saddles indicates that its distribution line has been stymied by Brexit, and is also restricting its e-comm sales channels.

While the iconic leather saddles are still produced in the UK, they are shipped to a logistics center in Italy, and from there distributed worldwide – even for UK customers.

“The ongoing changes in the Brexit situation have made it necessary to temporarily suspend all new orders from brooksengland.com to the UK at this time. However, orders received before 12.00 CET on 29 December will be regularly processed,” reads a message on the brand’s web site.

Bicycle Retailer and Industry News reported that some U.S.-made cycling accessories, like indoor trainers and bike frames, would be spared additional duties post-Brexit. Bike trainers and frames had originally been included as part of a $4 billion package of US goods.

“The U.K. announced Tuesday it will stop collecting the duties on frames, trainers, and other U.S. products when it exited the union on January 1. The U.K. government said it is now taking ‘an independent approach to the longstanding trade conflicts between the EU and U.S.’”