Europe’s largest bicycle producer in units, RTE, is strategically expanding its business. Production at the Polish site, based in Machnacz, 10 kms west of Włocławek, is scheduled to start in January 2022.
To date, €20 million has been invested in the Polish factory construction, the company reports. Salgado says the Polish factory is designed for an annual capacity of 500,000 units.
On the one hand, an e-bike factory for its own young e-bike brand Beeq as well as for (OEM-) production has been started by the Portuguese near the existing bicycle factory in Serzedo. Furthermore, in Poland another RTE factory is currently under construction.
RTE was founded in 1983 and has been producing mainly traditional bicycles so far. Back in 2019, Bike Europe reported on the company’s plans for a new facility in Poland. Those plans, alongside an expansion in Portugal are now coming to fruition.
Portuguese e-bike facility nears completion
The new e-bike facility in Serzedo, which lies south of Porto, is in the final phase. Running under the RTE company name the new factory is on schedule for completion in July 2021. At the moment the new factory shares some production processes, such as painting and rim production, with the already existing RTE factory.
In addition to in-house alloy wheel production, spokes production, suspension fork assembly, powder and wet paint work as well as wheel and complete bike assembly, the company run an automated steel frame production, which adheres to high quality standards in its existing factory. According to RTE’s CEO Jorge Salgado “We will open the new facility gradually after summer, until the end of the year”.
Production capacity increase
The e-bike factory currently has a 350 units per day production capacity. Once the plant is complete, RTE intends to reach a 1,300 unit production capacity per day: “The solution we have allows us to grow easily with market demands,” explains RTE’s CEO Jorge Salgado Salgado. With its own D2C brand Beeq as well as OEM-production to be carried out there, the company has its sights set on the e-bike market in Europe. In this sector, RTE also wants to support the targeted European (OEM) clientele in the development of its own products, if desired.
The amount which has been invested into this young e-bike factory and what the maximum possible annual capacity is, has not been communicated by RTE. The Portuguese bike maker states that it has invested in wheel and complete bike assembly, and that “with all other existing processes we have enough capacity”.
The company’s expansion plans are not confined to Portugal. “In Poland we are in the middle of building a high-tech 22,000-square-meter plant with rim production, painting, wheel and complete bicycle assembly,” states Salgado. The RTE production facility in Poland will be used to supply Decathlon stores in Eastern Europe with close to the market production.
Production at the Polish site, based in Machnacz, 10 kms west of Włocławek, is scheduled to start in January 2022. To date, €20 million has been invested in the Polish factory construction, the company reports. Salgado says the Polish factory is designed for an annual capacity of 500,000 units. In a second phase, this capacity is to be doubled to 1 million units per year, with the help of a further investment of €8-10 million. When will this second phase be launched? “Looking at the markets today, I can imagine that we will move directly to phase two,” states RTE-CEO Jorge Salgado.