While the waitlist have proven helpful for people to get the exact bike that they want, it creates an ongoing cycle of people joining and leaving the waitlist once they receive their bike but lessens Tegtmeyer’s ability to restock his store to normal capacity.
“I think it’s going to take another year for things to kind of start stabilizing even if the demand returns to normal because so many shops are out of inventory,” he said.
Last year bike production in Asia shut down for several weeks making things worse for shop owners struggling to meet demand in addition to more people wanting to participate in outdoor activity following months of pandemic restrictions.
Those that were able to get their hands on a bike contributed to a record setting year for the industry. According to retail trends tracker NPD Group, the industry sold $4.1 billion in bikes resulting in a 62% increase in sales for 2020 as people shied away from public transit and group activity.
For shoppers looking to purchase a bike right now, Tegtmeyer said “be patient.”
“Depending on the model, you’re looking at potentially a three to 12 month wait,” he said.
Gaps in production are believed to be a key reason for the shortage. Major cycling component production company, Shimano, was recently forced to close its Malaysia location as COVID-19 continues to spread triggering a government enforced shutdown.
“Most of the bikes that are produced and sold in the United States are going to come with at least some piece of Shimano component,” said Conrad Dillon, owner of Creekside Cyclery in Beavercreek. “We’ve seen a fair amount of Shimano parts not being available or delays in production and I think that’s a really big part of the lack of bicycles and parts available.”
Creekside Cyclery is small shop that typically keeps 100 bikes in stock but now has about 50. Despite the setbacks, Dillon said the store has been able to keep bikes in the store and sell about 10 bikes each weekend.
When Dillon is unable to find bikes for customers, he tries to find ways to make them love the bike they already have.
“I have a lot of customers who bring their bike in and we give it some TLC and they get it back and now they love it,” he said. “I’ll ask them what kind of bike they have and what can we do to make it feel brand new for you.”
He customizes the bike by changing different components like handlebars and tires that can create a new look and ultimately feel like a new bike.
Dillon said overall they have had a steady stream of bikes from one of their manufacturers but still experience longer wait times than normal when ordering for customers.
For Tegtmeyer, their manufacturer is anticipating inventory to increase later this summer.
“They do expect a fair amount of bikes to be coming into the supply chain late in the third quarter in the August or September time frame is when they are anticipating a pretty decent surge of product,” he said.
However, most of those bikes will go toward pent up demand and waitlisted customers.
The cycle continues.