CHICAGO (BRAIN) — SRAM is stopping production of its internal gear hubs and related parts due to declining sales, the company told customers this week. SRAM will accept orders for the parts until March 3 but will review each order to see if it can be fulfilled with available inventory and production capacity.
SRAM's John Nedeau told BRAIN on Wednesday that the move was necessary in part because SRAM's suppliers are no longer interested in delivering the small quantities of parts SRAM needed to produce the drivetrains.
"When the numbers get low our supply chain loses interest and we can't get what we need to continue production," said Nedeau, SRAM's vice president of OEM sales. "We would prefer to stay in the game. It's a great product that satisfies a lot of customers."
The company is ending sales of its Automatix, I-Motion 3, and Dual Drive products including Pulse systems. SRAM had previously discontinued sales of its T3, P5, S7, G8, G9, I-Motion 9 and E-Matic internal gear products.
The company entered the internal gear market when it purchased Sachs Bicycle Components in 1997. The purchase helped SRAM broaden its product line. While SRAM moved production of internal gear products to Asia years ago, the company continues to operate a large product development and marketing center in Schweinfurt, Germany, where Sachs was based.
"We are where we are today because of the Sachs purchase," Nedeau said. "We really do regret leaving the internal gear market."
SRAM's internal gear drivetrain sales have been less than 100,000 units a year recently, down from about 2 million units in 1997. Shimano dominates the worldwide internal gear market. Sturmey-Archer, now owned by Taiwan's Sun Race, also continues to supply internal gear hubs.