The bicycle market is still hot, but supply is catching up with demand

If you’re on the hunt for a new bike and your spending limit isn’t too high, you’re probably in business.

After more than two years of pandemic-fueled supply chain issues, combined with skyrocketing demand for two-wheelers, the market is starting to return to normal.

The key word is “begin”.

While off-the-shelf bikes are again pretty easy to buy, those looking to secure something custom at $3,000 or more might have to pre-order now and still wait up to a year for delivery.

The 2020 bike boom has shown no signs of slowing down, so it has taken a long time for supply to catch up with demand.

“For recreational bikes, hybrid bikes, canal trail bikes, entry-level mountain bikes, the picture is brighter,” said Bob Burke, co-owner and manager of Guy’s Bicycles in Feasterville. “It seemed like the bike industry really tackled this first. They really knew it was their bread and butter. I would say it (supplies) is back in the 70-80% range, which is really good compared to where it was.

Many of the bikes that arrive by tractor-trailer truck are already accounted for before reaching Guy’s showroom.

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For those looking for something beyond the average ride, it’s kind of a hit-or-miss situation.

“There are certain categories that are still really hurting,” Burks said. “The top tier, the carbon fiber, the $3,000+, they’re really rare and hard to find. What you get, if you’re lucky, is a store that actually ordered them there over a year ago, like Jan-Feb 2021. People are hoping to get them in the fall – they weren’t here yet but they’re coming now. Although they’re coming, a lot of them are ” left” before arriving here. The day they arrive, they were already booked.”

Burke would like to have excess stock to display as demos in his store but the turnover is furious.

“So it’s nice that we sold a bike before it got here, but we really wanted to have it for inventory so we could show people things,” Burke said. “People who are at that level, a lot of those people already have a bike. It’s the beginners who worry. Those with a bike will stick with it for now. This problem will probably not be solved for a year.”

Things started to look up last Christmas.

“Certainly the flow of semis coming into the store, it looked really good in January,” Burke said. “We were getting shipments every other day. »

Even big companies like Trek and Cannondale are struggling to fill orders. It has to do with China, which could again face health problems.

“Some of the major players are still in China,” Burke said. “Frame manufacturers, tire manufacturers and the bicycle industry need these people. Without them, the bike industry is up the stream. The biggest concern now is another COVID lockdown in China. Once again, all factories are locked down. Take Trek for example: they say, “Bob, the bikes you ordered on this date, we will ship them to you on this date”. They only tell us because they assume everything will be fine.”

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Just last week, another COVID outbreak had a huge ripple effect in the Far East.

“Production has stopped again,” Burke said. “So the dates are pushed back two, four, six, eight weeks later. On top of that, transportation is always a mess. Shipments are still blocked at all ports. And the shipping costs stay through the roof. Then you add the fuel supplements and it’s the perfect storm. The bike that was 500 two years ago is now $680-690. And it’s about to go $750.”

On top of all that, bike shops were inundated with repair and tune-up orders. Bike mechanics work long hours to keep up.

“The bicycle boom that started two years ago shortly after the pandemic began has, in some ways, created a labor shortage,” Burke said. “In other words, there just aren’t enough qualified mechanics to meet the demand. Therefore, bike repairs/maintenance can take a week, two weeks or more. In the past 40 years, we have never been in such a staffing situation. We have amazing staff, but the volume of product coming in, the volume of sales, is like going to a restaurant and not being served because there aren’t enough waiters and waitresses. It’s not even April and we’re two weeks late.

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