The Popularity of Bikes
Are you feeling cooped up and ready to get outside during 2021? You’re not alone! The past year of travel restrictions and unprecedented challenges have changed all of our lives. One silver lining is that more people have taken up new outdoor hobbies as a way to get out of the house, get back into shape, or safely socialize while relaxing and enjoying the outdoors.
Bicycles have always been a great way to get out in the fresh air, and in the summer of 2020, their popularity skyrocketed. Everyone desired the utility, freedom, and ability to explore that a bicycle provides. As a direct result of their newfound popularity, every type of bike, from kids bikes to electric bikes, have been in demand like never before.
Buying a Bike During a Pandemic
You might find yourself in this wonderfully large group of people who are looking for a new bike, and that’s hopefully why you’ve read this far. The goal of this short article is to help you get onto a new bike this year and understand the new challenges that every bike buyer is facing in 2021.
If you’ve already started the search for a new bike, you may have found that it’s been increasingly difficult to find a bike in stock. If you’re just beginning the search you’ll find that the bike buying process is trickier than it’s ever been. The bicycle “boom” began in the spring of 2020 and bike shops quickly sold through their existing stock. As summer rolled around bike shops and bike manufacturers worked as hard as they could to keep up with demand.
COVID-19 has Impacted Every piece of Manufacturer Supply Chains
Everything from the components that complete a bike to the actual cardboard boxes they are shipped in have been in short supply. Demand and wait times have increased dramatically for these vital pieces which has further impacted supply to local bike shops. Even the shipping containers that bring bikes and components from Europe and Asia to the United States have been in higher demand and have been delayed as a result.
The global demand coupled with limited supply for bikes, bike parts, and shipping resources have led to longer lead times across every aspect of the supply chain; not only affecting buying, but also servicing bikes.
Fast Forward to 2021: Tips!
Many local bike shops and manufacturers were hopeful that the new year would bring resolve to some of these issues. Through the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021 manufacturers have been shipping out more bikes than ever before. However, scarcity still persists. Supply chain and shipping issues are still prevalent and the bike buying process for 2021 is still very tricky. Many bikes are already sold out, pre-sold, or will not be available for months.
This is the reality of the situation. Fortunately, we have some tips on how to navigate these challenges below.
1. Start early:
The earlier you begin the process the more likely you will be to get on a new bike. The process begins with your own preliminary research into what type of bike you should look for. There are many different types of bikes and doing some research ahead of time is helpful. Our bikes are listed on our website to give you an idea of curent stock.
2. Shop at a Local Bike Shop:
Once you’ve identified the type of bike that you’re interested in the next step is to head to your local bike shop. At Skirack we have a knowledgeable and experienced staff who are riders themselves. We know the ins and outs of the various types of bikes and can help you narrow down your search even further. Our bike experts are a great resource to help with sizing and to discuss various details of components and smaller differences between bikes.
Another key piece of getting a new bike this year is flexibility. There are lots of options from many brands that will serve you well. Some models from certain brands may already be sold out for the year, pre-sold, or unavailable for months. With the help from your local shop you should explore all options to see what the best fit may be, even if it’s not your first choice.
4. Act Fast:
If you find the bike you want, don’t wait. It could be gone the next day or even in the next hour. Trust me on this one.
5. A Deposit May be Necessary:
If need be, get ready to put down a deposit to reserve an incoming bike. This is a part of the bike buying process in 2021 that has changed dramatically. While it may be intimidating to put a deposit on a bike you’ve never seen or ridden, it is the best way to ensure that you get a bike in 2021. While it is not a fool-proof way to guarantee a bike or a specific delivery date, putting down a deposit will hold your place in line and will ensure that an incoming bike is committed to you.
6. Servicing Your Old Bike and Why you Should Bring your Bike in Early:
If you already have a bike and you decide to hold off on getting a new one this year - that could be a good option too. Our friendly Service Department will work closely with you to get your old bike riding smoothly again. Whether your old bike needs major work or just a tune up, bring it to us as EARLY as you can. A part may be needed. Again, since bike parts are in high demand and in limited supply, it may be unavailable or take longer for it to get here.
I hope these tips help you with your bike search this year! It’s certainly tricky and can be frustrating - but we are here to help. Remember, if you find something available do not hesitate to send it!
- Cooper Willsey,
Skirack Bike Specialist