Shimano sting: Thieves make away with components to fit out 10,000 bikes

The theft was disconcertingly well-organised and daring

Shimano heist
(Image credit: BFI)

In a daring, pre-planned heist, a gang has stolen an entire truck-load of Shimano components – enough to fit out 10,000 bikes. The company targeted was Bike Fun International (BFI), the largest bike producer in the Czech Republic which assembles over 150,000 bikes each year. 

The stolen goods amount to a reported €10 million in value, with expensive e-bike components the primary target.

BFI and the authorities believe that the criminals had the original Shimano (opens in new tab) distribution facility under surveillance and – after seeing the company’s truck loaded with the goods – proceeded to follow the truck after it set off.

Once the tuck’s driver pulled off a motorway in German to sleep overnight at a trucker’s stop off, the thieves pumped a gas into the cab - to knock out the driver - and proceeded to unload the trailer while the driver was unconscious.

Everything was taken other than a few very low-end boxes of components. To cover their tracks and destroy any forensic evidence, the thieves sprayed a fire extinguisher over the inside of the container.

The robbery took place on January 21, but news of it is only emerging now as BFI hopes to warn others in the cycling industry about this unsettling theft.

Petr Krkoska, BFI’s supply chain director said: “We really haven’t seen this situation before. Even Shimano has not been faced with a targeted robbery of a shipment on a similar scale. We decided to communicate this matter to warn other producers, because it could happen to them also.”

“From the consignment loaded mostly with expensive e-bike and bike parts, only nine boxes of low-end components were left in the truck. This will delay the production of some models by almost a year, as there is no alternative on the market for many of the parts from this shipment.”

We have contacted Shimano for a comment on the security of its distribution facilities and when it expects the gap, left by the lost components, to be plugged. We’ll update this article with their response if and when we receive it.

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Stefan Abram
Tech features editor

After winning the 2019 National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Biking Championships and claiming the plushie unicorn (true story), Stefan swapped the flat-bars for drop-bars and has never looked back. 

Since then, he’s earnt his 2ⁿᵈ cat racing licence in his first season racing as a third, completed the South Downs Double in under 20 hours and Everested in under 12.

But his favourite rides are multiday bikepacking trips, with all the huge amount of cycling tech and long days spent exploring new roads and trails - as well as histories and cultures. Most recently, he’s spent two weeks riding from Budapest into the mountains of Slovakia

Height: 177cm

Weight: 67–69kg