Many bikes are back but higher-end supply still limited

Unlike the past two years, Guy’s Bicycles co-owner/manager Bob Burke now has a pretty good inventory of bicycles for sale.
      If you’re in the market for a new bike and you don’t get your spending limit up 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 get back to normal.
      The key word is “starting.’’
      While bikes off the rack are once again fairly easy to buy, those looking to secure something customized at or above the $3,000 range might have to pre-order now and still have to wait up to a year for delivery.
      The bicycle boom of 2020 has shown no sign of letting up so it’s taken a long time for supply to catch up to demand.
      “For recreational bikes, hybrid bikes, canal path bikes, entry level mountain bikes, the picture is brighter,’’ said Bob Burke, who co-owns and manages Guy’s Bicycles in Feasterville. “It seemed like the bike industry really addressed that first. They really knew that’s their bread and butter. I would say it (supplies) is back in the 70- to 80-percent range, which is really good compared to where it was at.’’
      A lot of the bikes coming in by tractor-trailer trucks are already accounted for before they reach Guy’s showroom.
      For those looking for something beyond the average ride, it’s sort of a hit-or-miss situation.
      “There are some categories that are still really hurting,’’ Burks said. “The higher level, carbon fiber, the $3,000 and above, they’re really scarce and hard to come by. What you get, if you’re lucky, is a shop that actually ordered them over a year ago, like January-February of 2021. People hoping to get them in the fall – they weren’t there yet but they are now arriving. As much as they’re arriving, a lot of them are “gone’’ before they get here. The day they come in, they were booked already.’’
      Burke would like to have an excess of stock to display as demos in his store but the turnover is furious.
      “So it’s nice that we have a bike sold before it gets here but we really wanted to have it for inventory so we could show people stuff,’’ Burke said. “The folks that are at that level, a lot of those folks already have a bike. It’s the first-timers that are a concern. The ones who have a bike will stick with that for now. That problem is probably not going to be fixed for another year.’’
      Things started to get better around last Christmas.
      “Definitely the flow of the tractor trailers pulling up to the store, that was looking really good in January,’’ Burke said. “We were getting shipments every other day.’’
      Even the major companies such as Trek and Cannondale have a hard time filling orders. It has to do with China, which might be facing health problems again.
      “Some of the major players are still in China,’’ Burke said. “The frame manufacturers, the tire manufacturers and the bike industry needs those people. Without them, the bike industry is up the creek. The biggest concern now is another COVID lockdown in China. Once again, all the factories are locked down. Take Trek for example: They say, ‘Bob, the bikes you ordered this date we will be shipping to you on this date.’ They’re only telling us that because they are assuming everything will be OK.’’
      Just last week, another COVID outbreak had a huge ripple affect in the Far East.
      “Production has stopped again,’’ Burke said. “So the dates are pushed two, four, six, eight weeks later. On top of that, transportation is still a mess. Shipments are still backed up in all the ports. And the shipping costs remain through the roof. Then you add in the fuel surcharges and it’s the perfect storm. The bike that was 500 two years ago is now $680-690. And it’s about to go to $750.’’
      On top of all that, bike shops have been flooded with repair and tune-up orders. Bike mechanics are working long hours to keep up.
      “The bike boom which began two years ago shortly after the start of the pandemic has, in some ways, created a work force shortage,’’ Burke said. “In other words, there just aren’t enough qualified mechanics to handle demand. Hence, bike repairs/maintenance can take a week, two weeks or more. In the past 40 years, we’ve never been in a position like this as far as staffing goes. We have an amazing staff but the volume of product coming in, the volume of sales is like going to a restaurant and not getting service because there aren’t enough waiters and waitresses. It’s not even April and we’re two weeks behind.’’
      Race calendar
      Saturday
      Blaze of Glory 5K (Bucks 5K Series), 9 a.m., Plumsteadville. Contact www.blazeofglory5k.com
      Upper Bucks Foot and Ankle Run for Youth 10-/4-Milers, 9 a.m., Quakertown. Contact www.pretzelcitysports.com
About Wayne Fish 1739 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.