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Last Year It Was Bikes, This Year It’s Parts and Labor

If you remember, 2020 brought us a global pandemic that had people of all ages looking for something to do that wasn’t just sitting in their house. The world had all but shut down for 4+ months, and things were slow to open even once they could. These factors put more people on bikes than any expert ever thought for the year. The results were a bike shortage that you can still see the effects of today.

While bikes are starting to show back up on sellers’ shelves, they’re just not as good as they used to be, even just two years ago. The adage “they don’t make them like they used to” applies here, but not because the bike makers are trying to cut corners (at least not yet), but because parts aren’t able to be made.

Let’s look at this year and what that’s going to mean to you. While there’s likely a seemingly unlimited amount of cheap parts on your local mega eCommerce sites, those parts are more and more likely to be knockoffs. Shimano and SRAM, the two biggest makers of bike components, are having unprecedented parts shortages. These shortages are due to a variety of reasons including, labor shortages, raw material shortages, logistical problems, and growing demand, all of which are playing a role in you not being able to find what you’re looking for.

There’s a second issue at play this year. It’s the US labor shortages. Well, the whole world is having these issues, but let’s try to stick local here. If you find yourself in need of bike repairs or maintenance this year, you’re going to find the wait time to get back on two wheels is longer than you may have waited in the past. Many shops have wait times well over TWO WEEKS to even get your bike taken into the shop, not to mention to get the bike work finished.

What can you do about it?

Well, unfortunately, not too much. I’d recommend that if you’re buying a bike for someone for the holidays, you start looking now. If that bike is going to need assembly, call your shop now. If you are ready to do that all-important winter maintenance, to one or more of your bikes, whether it’s a race bike or a neighborhood commuter, go ahead and schedule an appointment now.

Yes, I know it’s only October, and at the point of writing this, here in Charlotte NC, it’s still 75-80 degrees outside. It’s hard to start thinking about winter maintenance and Christmas gifts at this point, but take it from this insider. Now’s the time to start thinking about your fall and winter bike needs, even if you’re scheduling the appointments for 2-3 months out.

Happy riding everyone!

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