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Thought 2020 Was Bad? Wait For 2021!


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...or maybe even 2022 for the bike supply chain to work itself out :frantics:

Just a bit of the road ahead:

Part One: What's Happening Next?

As we all know, our collective bike industry COVID-19 story to date has been that after some initial uncertainty, demand for our products took off in March and stayed at full throttle, at least until about June or July for most dealers. Then a combination of winter and supply constraints started to bite, and things leveled off, but still at a much higher altitude than where we normally fly for each respective month.

This leads to the first problem for 2021. Virtually all of the reserve stock that wholesalers usually hold so that retailers can order on demand, has been sold. During my road trips I've walked down empty aisles of warehouses that might normally hold 10,000 bikes with barely a few hundred. One company reported 107 bikes in stock compared to a usual holding of 18,000 bikes. Other smaller warehouses were completely empty with the next two or three shipments already fully pre-sold.

They're using different allocation systems, but one way or another, every wholesaler is rationing bikes and those bikes that land are coming in and going straight out again without even leaving the loading dock.

Freight Rates and Delays Are Both Rapidly Increasing

Most bikes come into Australia in 40-foot "high cube" shipping containers. The shipping cost per container has gone ballistic. Depending upon which wholesaler I spoke to and their particular contract situation, typical increases were in the 300% to 400% range, from say $1,200 normally to say $4,800 now.

This should drop off a little after the peak summer season, but there are also major disruptions being caused by waterfront disputes, COVID-19-related fumigation issues, the escalating trade war with China aggravating a backlog of empty containers waiting to be returned to China and other issues.

So next time you hear one of your suppliers talking about freight issues and delays, they're not making it up!

Factories Can't Keep Up With Demand

Shimano has been talked about the most, being by far the largest component manufacturer in the world and multiple bike brands have told me that they're having to place orders for Shimano components up to 400 days in advance. That's over 13 months!

But it's not just Shimano. Apparently, Velo saddles, who are the market leader for saddles and mainly manufacture for many other brands, are quoting 480 day lead times. That's over 15 months. In other words, order now, get delivery in March or April 2022.

Given that Shimano is so far behind, some bike brands are choosing to spec' components from second or third-tier manufacturers, so that they can minimize delays. But because these companies are so much smaller, just a few percentage points of "Shimano overflow" on top of other orders is seeing their lead times blowing out too.

Most of the bike wholesalers I've spoken to have already had to finalize their 2022 model year orders (mainly for production in the second half of 2021) and some are already having to commit to early 2022 production. They're being told that there will be no opportunity to increase orders later, so they're having to make and live by very long-range forward estimates.

It's not just increased demand that's causing problems for the factories. Bikes have complex supply chains with as many as 50 different component lines on each spec' sheet, defining components that might come from several different countries before the final bike is assembled, say in China or Taiwan.

If any one of these components is not available on time, then the bike won't be built. So production is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain.

When you visit bike factories in China or Taiwan you notice large, quite basic-looking, multi-story apartment buildings, often on the factory site itself or nearby. These are home to "guest workers" who in the case of Taiwan mainly come from lower-wage countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. In China they often come from poorer, inland provinces.

Reports estimate that there are usually between 700,000 and 800,000 guest workers living in Taiwan alone. COVID-19 related travel restrictions have caused multiple logistical problems with guest workers that are leading to labor shortages and disruptions.

Another consequence of short supply, is that you can expect bike prices to rise. In fact price increases have already been announced by some suppliers.

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The guy I have been riding with the past few months is jonesing for a Diverge and has gone to a couple of shops but was told they won’t be in stock until May/June. Yeah the cupboards are bare these days.

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All the prices on imports are going up on everything. Supply chains have been disrupted on many fronts. You just don't reestablish overnight, either.

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Availability of my race car parts has gone to hell.  The above mentioned supply chain problems are part of it and RC drag racing is currently the fastest growing part of the hobby and the manufacturers were unprepared for the boom.

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I won't be in the market for a bike this year. But last summer i had a hard time finding reasonably priced tires and a few other common accessories. Easier in the winter (my wife got her new tires and helmet for Christmas).

I may need new tires for the KHS this year - maybe a good idea to secure them now. 

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1 minute ago, TrentonMakes said:

I won't be in the market for a bike this year. But last summer i had a hard time finding reasonably priced tires and a few other common accessories. Easier in the winter (my wife got her new tires and helmet for Christmas).

I may need new tires for the KHS this year - maybe a good idea to secure them now. 

I bought a pair of gatorskins for about 50% off, last month from Competitive Cyclist.

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1 minute ago, bikeman564™ said:

I bought a pair of gatorskins for about 50% off, last month from Competitive Cyclist.

Thanks for the tip. I'm a little disappointed with how my Gatorskins are holding up though... a far as tread goes I'm pretty sure I got more miles out of the OEM tires. And the GS's are a PITA to mount. 

But in the fall I had a little mishap that ended with me in a drainage ditch and i think a few of these sidewall scuffs are a problem.

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13 minutes ago, bikeman564™ said:

I bought a pair of gatorskins for about 50% off, last month from Competitive Cyclist.

Contis seem to always be on sale somewhere, and really, for a road bike, the gatorskins, 4000s/5000s, and all seasons pretty much are a no brainer.

image.thumb.png.84e734afb6e75c1b80be250853487539.png

I do see limits on the MTB & gravel side, though.  Mostly I will see the gravel "tan" sidewalls are sold out, but the "black" sidewalls are still in stock.  I like the look of tan sidewalls, but it isn't a deal breaker for me, and will get the ones in stock.

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5 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

I like the look of tan sidewalls, but it isn't a deal breaker for me, and will get the ones in stock.

me too

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I have noticed the rear tire on my cross bike is wearing faster than I’m used to.  It’s a Maxxis ReFuse in 32 so not a slick nor knobby but a file tread.  It’s starting to look like a slick now...  I’m thinking of switching up tires soon, maybe I should plan ahead too...

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6 minutes ago, TrentonMakes said:

Thanks for the tip. I'm a little disappointed with how my Gatorskins are holding up though... a far as tread goes I'm pretty sure I got more miles out of the OEM tires. And the GS's are a PITA to mount. 

But in the fall I had a little mishap that ended with me in a drainage ditch and i think a few of these sidewall scuffs are a problem.

Welcome.  :scratchhead: I have gatorskin hardshell on my bike now, and they're up to 7584 miles. And only had 1 flat, knock on wood :ph34r:. The tires I just bought were regular gatorskins.

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2 minutes ago, Square Wheels said:

tldr

I'm all set, at least for this year.

I'd think the new bike would need all sorts of updates to the rest of your related items.  Matching that paint schema might be a little tough, but it definitely screams out for a bit of kit coordination - new helmet, gloves, jersey, and maybe even shoes.  You are "safe" enough with black shoes and gloves, but you're helmet and jerseys really make the statement about you and the new bike!  Certainly the new requirement of aero-fitted jerseys like the pros wear is an essential update for you.

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can confirm supply issues. After my carbon frame bent a couple weeks ago I  was undecided on repair-replace. This week I decided repair & replace the entire gruppo. Bike shop is stripping it to take to the repair shop. And they quoted me on 105 & Ultegra components. Bike shop said some parts are out until May-July. They are going to alternate sources so we will see

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2 minutes ago, bikeman564™ said:

Welcome.  :scratchhead: I have gatorskin hardshell on my bike now, and they're up to 7584 miles. And only had 1 flat, knock on wood :ph34r:. The tires I just bought were regular gatorskins.

Both front and back, all tread is gone, just slick. There still might be enough rubber though. I don't think these tires have more than 1500 miles on them.  They do a lot of work, supporting my weight (245 or so).

7500 miles on a set of tires.... wow.

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1 minute ago, TrentonMakes said:

Both front and back, all tread is gone, just slick. There still might be enough rubber though. I don't think these tires have more than 1500 miles on them.  They do a lot of work, supporting my weight (245 or so).

7500 miles on a set of tires.... wow.

The wear indicators are gone on the rear but still visible on the front.  I'm not riding much now, only few miles around the neighborhood. So I'll put the new ones on shortly.  Yes, that's a lot of miles I agree. I'm very surprised. I'll see what the regular ones do :)

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Just now, bikeman564™ said:

The wear indicators are gone on the rear but still visible on the front.  I'm not riding much now, only few miles around the neighborhood. So I'll put the new ones on shortly.  Yes, that's a lot of miles I agree. I'm very surprised. I'll see what the regular ones do :)

But not unheard of!  Certainly for my 4000s/4000IIs, I EXPECT to get 4k out of them.  Only a devastating event that ruins them will stop them from hitting that modest goal.  Honestly, tires OUGHT to last a season of riding - at a minimum - and I wouldn't be very happy replacing a set of tires mid-season because I wore them out in just 1 or 2 thousand miles of riding.

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I could not find the part for my hub so I bought a new wheel.

My GF wanted a new mountain bike. I talked to the local Trek shop and they said 2022 for the bike she wanted. Another model was Sept.

She bought a bike last week. The shop had it on the floor in her size. No test ride as we are buried in snow.

 

0111210946.jpg

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Otso sold out of fatbikes two months before they shipped a single bike.

I looked into Borealis and could get a frame and wheels, but no drivetrain.

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3 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

But not unheard of!  Certainly for my 4000s/4000IIs, I EXPECT to get 4k out of them.  Only a devastating event that ruins them will stop them from hitting that modest goal.  Honestly, tires OUGHT to last a season of riding - at a minimum - and I wouldn't be very happy replacing a set of tires mid-season because I wore them out in just 1 or 2 thousand miles of riding.

Yup. If I get 4-5k I'm happy. Me getting >7k is rare.

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1 minute ago, bikeman564™ said:

Yup. If I get 4-5k I'm happy. Me getting >7k is rare.

I feel like the more I ride, the longer stuff lasts.  I think it is because it gets better and consistently maintained.  My chain gets more love, the tires stay inflated, the batteries get regularly discharged/charged, etc. 

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@Razors Edge I heard that Spokes, traditionally a Specialized and Trek dealer is adding Giant bikes to the sales floor. I’m guessing that they are able to get some more inventory that way. Performance was a big shop for Giant but they are gone now. I’ll see what they will have in a few weeks.

Speaking of taars I need to see what’s available as the 5000’s I bought last year are getting thin; I had two rear flats recently. I will go with FourSeason or Armadillos. My last set of Armadillos lasted over 7,000 miles. 

o

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14 minutes ago, Old No. 7 said:

@Razors Edge I heard that Spokes, traditionally a Specialized and Trek dealer is adding Giant bikes to the sales floor. I’m guessing that they are able to get some more inventory that way. Performance was a big shop for Giant but they are gone now. I’ll see what they will have in a few weeks.

Speaking of taars I need to see what’s available as the 5000’s I bought last year are getting thin; I had two rear flats recently. I will go with FourSeason or Armadillos. My last set of Armadillos lasted over 7,000 miles. 

o

That's an interesting idea by them - expand the brands carried so that there is deeper inventory.  I generally thought that Trek and Specialized probably hate that a shop carries both, so adding Giant to the mix (or Cannondale or Felt or Wilier or whatever) seems like a flexing of sales muscle.  I like being able to cross-brand shop for bikes, but I see how brands don't like that.

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3 hours ago, Old No. 7 said:

@Razors Edge I heard that Spokes, traditionally a Specialized and Trek dealer is adding Giant bikes to the sales floor. I’m guessing that they are able to get some more inventory that way. Performance was a big shop for Giant but they are gone now. I’ll see what they will have in a few weeks.

Speaking of taars I need to see what’s available as the 5000’s I bought last year are getting thin; I had two rear flats recently. I will go with FourSeason or Armadillos. My last set of Armadillos lasted over 7,000 miles. 

o

I thought Synyard wouldn’t let shops carrying his brand also sell Trek?   Also thought PB was all about Fuji, didn’t know they sold Giant too?  Ours out west didn’t.

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18 minutes ago, ChrisL said:

I thought Synyard wouldn’t let shops carrying his brand also sell Trek?   Also thought PB was all about Fuji, didn’t know they sold Giant too?  Ours out west didn’t.

I don’t know about Synyard but I understand that Giant and Trek use the same factory in Taiwan. When So7 was younger, about 17 years ago, we bought him a Giant at Performance in Fairfax Circle. Things may have changed over the years. I think Spokes is adding Giant to get access to more bikes. They are hard to come by right now.

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2 hours ago, Square Wheels said:

You won't see me in tight fitting clothes, not until I lose more weight.

You won't see me in loose fitting clothes, not until I lose more weight. 

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