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Why are bikes so hard to find?

As I’m sure you’ve seen, finding bikes is becoming harder and harder as 2020 moves forward. New bikes are cleared off shelves the day they land, used bikes are listed on market places for more than they were new, and bike companies say not to look for a change in this until early to mid-2021.

Right now I am getting 3 main questions all the time. I am going to give you my best answers at them and try to explain a bit about each one. Hopefully, once you read this you’ll have a better idea of what we’re looking at when it comes to finding a new, or new to you bike.

  1. Why can’t I find a new bike?
    • Whether you’re looking at the big bike stores or a dedicated branded bike shop, finding a bike is very difficult right now. As I am telling everyone, 2020 was the perfect storm for the bike market. Covid-19 swept across the country just as spring “the bike season” came. You had millions of people that wanted to find something to do to get out of their house and bikes became the answer for many people. The bike manufacturers couldn’t keep up the projections for 2020 sales were down a bit from 2019, so many manufactures had fewer bikes available. In April you couldn’t find a new bike around here for under the $1000 mark, and I’ve recently heard that number has climbed to the $2500 mark. Sure there are many bikes out there for much more than this number, but the average person doesn’t want to spend more than a couple hundred dollars. The preorders for the 2021 year bikes are high, so you may continue to have this problem into next year for the bike shops, but something tells me that the big box stores will be stocked up for the holidays, just be prepared to have someone put it together for you.
  2. Why are used bikes so expensive?
    • This answer also goes back to supply and demand. The number of bikes out there is scarce, so people that have one to sell are charging top dollar for them. This is because they are selling, and selling FAST. I highly recommend that if you don’t know much about bikes, that you find someone you trust to help you look at a bike before you buy it. I’ve seen too many times people overpay and still have to have work done to get it back to where it needs to be; that’s sad really. While there’s nothing that is going to bring the prices of bikes down likely for the rest of this year, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting the best deal you can.
      1. Look over the whole bike. Know what you’re buying
      2. Test ride it so there are no surprises
      3. Take your time, but act quickly. Don’t jump on the first bike you find just because you found one for sale. But, when you do find one you like in your price range, act fast to get it in your garage.
  3. Is this bike worth repairing, or should I just buy a new one?
    • This one is a bit harder to answer in a blog post. My general rule of thumb is if it’s cheaper to repair the bike back to great than it is to buy a comparable used bike, then yes! The more expensive/high end the bike is the more it’s worth it to fix rather than getting a new one. What I usually would recommend is bring it to a respected bike repair shop and get a quote. Be sure to have him or her to go over all the work that will be done, and to lay out any possible complications that can arise. There’s nothing worse than thinking that you are going to spend X to get your bike fixed only to find out that you’re now

After all that you may be wondering what to expect in the future. While I can’t predict the future, I can use history to help me have an idea of what’s to come. I feel that for the rest of 2020 bikes will continue to be hard to find and expensive to buy used. However, I feel as we enter the 2021 riding season, bike manufactures will be flooding the market with new models and probably at a bit higher rate than they can sell them. This surplus of new bikes will create less demand and maybe even lower pricing. From there I feel that used bikes in the mid-range and down will start to flood the used market driving prices. So if you can wait until late spring / early summer of 2021, you’re more likely to find a good deal.

Big Box Just Selling Boxes?

Something you may have noticed is that your local sell everything store is always out of bikes. In the past few weeks Walmart, Target, Dicks, and many other big box stores have stopped selling bikes that are preassembled. While you may be thinking “at least they’re starting to get new bikes in stock”, you’d be right, but keep this in mind: You now have to build the bike yourself. While there are many qualified people out there to build a bike out of a box, there are also a lot of people out there that have no idea how to do that.

I want to let you know that I offer 4 levels of bike assembly services to help your needs.

  1. If you have everything together and just want someone to go over the bike to make sure everything is secure, and torqued to spec, Awesome! Good Job. I’ll give it a look over for $25
  2. However, you may get that Walmart box home and have no idea what’s going on, and need more help. Don’t worry, I am here for you. The thing is many bike companies are taking their queues from this move and are only shipping unassembled bikes to customers. So depending on the level of assembly needed I have 3 options. This is not decided by what you are wanting to pay, unfortunately, but by the amount of work needed.
    1. Basic Build – Usually covers: Install front wheel, seat, pre-wired handlebars, and pedals. Check all torque specs and make sure everything is properly aligned. $50-$75
    2. Advanced Build – Usually covers everything in the basic build, plus brake install, brake, and shifter lever install, derailleur Install, and adjust all gearing. $75-$100
    3. Pro Build – This is building everything from the frame up. This build will depend on many options including spec of parts, condition of frame and components, fork condition and needs, etc. This build includes a custom fitting for the rider once everything is put together, and 1 free tune-up after the cables stretch. $200 – $500

So if you’re in Fort Mill, Tega Cay, Rock Hill, Indian Land, South Charlotte, or anywhere close, let Fort Mill Bike Repair Get you or your loved one on the road (or trail) safely.

Get out there and enjoy the fresh Carolina Sky!

A trip 5 years in the making

For 5 years I’ve been planning a trip to Moab.  Each year spring would come around, and I’d declare “this is the year that it’s all going to come together”.  And each summer it would fall apart.   The reasons varied: friends backing out, injury and birth of kids.

The spring of 2018  started out the same.  Me pouring time into research for the trip again.  This time I recruited someone who I knew even if they tried to back out I’d be able to pester them right back into the trip.   Everything was booked, no new babies in sight, everything was looking as if the trip to Moab UT, was going to finally be a go.  I had an injury in the winter, but it was healed up and I was riding hard again.

Then one day while training for the Tree Shaker 6 hour race at Anne Springs Greenway I made a silly move and past a slow person high on a climbing turn, and came crashing down on my knee.  I didn’t think much of it until the next day.  I couldn’t walk for the pain, and that had me super bummed.  At this time I was less than 2 months out from the trip and I just knew this was going to be the nail in the coffin to yet another Moab trip.


Fast forward to the second week of October.  The week after Outerbike.  and I’m parking my car at the airport as Hurricane Michael is pushing up into Charlotte.

We walk into the airport at 5am and the departure board is already more than 1/2 red.  Crap.  All this and the weather is going to cancel the long-awaited Moab trip.

As we’re boarding the plane I am still apprehensive that we were going to be able to take off.  The storm is coming fast and the rain is coming down really hard at this time.

Next thing I know we’re blasting down the runway….”We’re going to make it” I tell some random stranger next to me, and he gives me an awkward thumbs up.

After 2 pretty eventless flights and a real quick layover in Dallas, I touchdown in Grand Junction CO.  We have to get our bikes from the FedEx store in town and put them back together and ready to ride.  This goes smoothly, and we head off to Fruita for the first ride.

Rain…Crap!  ok lunch and on to Moab, we’ll try on the way back through town.


The trip into Moab was pretty uneventful.  Rained most of the way, but not torrential downpours or anything like that.  We get to our camp (cabin on campgrounds), unpack and finish building the bikes.  I had done all maintenance on our bikes before the trip, so I knew they were good to go, just needed a few parts put together and we could ride.

Once the bikes were together the rain stopped.  The sun came out and we loaded up our bikes and headed out to Bar M trails for a short shakedown ride.  I was tired from getting up at 2:30 am but wanted to get my wheels rolling a bit before the big rides the next few days.

After a quick ride we went into town to grab some food, and settle back into our cabin.  This is the view I woke up to for a week.  the landscape is majorly different than it is here in Fort Mill and even different than the view of any of the “drivable” mountains for biking around here.  I was in awe!

I didn’t hate waking up to this every morning.

We decided to plan our rides the day before.  Moab and the area had just recieved a week straight of rain, and snow in the high elevations so we tried to ride what we could while giving some others a bit of  time to dry out.  After cooking some great steak on the grill and having a couple cold ones it was decided that we’d ride slick rock the next day.  Slick rock is almost all rock so the rains would not have made anything muddy.


The day started off cloudy and overcast, but we didn’t really mind, I mean we were about to ride Slickrock in Moab!!!  I know everyone who has ever written anything about slick rock has written “It’s not like anything you’ve ever ridden before.” and “The traction is unreal”  Well, both of those things are 100% true.  standing peddling up 40-degree climbs and your tires are just biting in!  This trail is truly fully ridable if you have the lungs and the legs.  The trail is deceiving.  It is about 12 miles long (assuming you ride the practice loop out there too) but it took us a bit over 4 hours to ride it.  It’s not that the trail was that tough, tho it was a real lung buster, but the views are simply amazing and there was quite a bit of traffic on the trail.  We also stopped a few times to watch the jeepers play.

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As we found our selves back in town, we decided that we wanted to ride Mag 7 next.  Call around and all the shuttles were booked…Dang.  Ok so the second day will be our “tourist day”

We did find this beauty in the wild, so that is a plus.  Even the rims are fuzzy!


The next day we woke up and went into town for some breakfast.  Then we went bike shop hopping and checked out a lot of the local places to shop and eat.  We chatted with a bunch of locals about the best places to eat, ride, see etc.  and most importantly we booked our shuttle for MAG 7 in the morning.

Morning comes, load up the hydration bag and step outside.   WOAH…It’s cold out here!  Ok back in to put on more layers pretty sure that it’s going to be really cold come the time we get to the top of the mountain.

This was going to be more of what we came here for.  Hours of downhill riding throttled only by our own braveness and the heat of our brakes.   We get on the shuttle at 10:30 am deciding that the 8am one was too cold.  We did, however, miss riding out of The Portal, due to time.  That’s for sure on my ride list next time I get out that way.

Anywhoo, 45 minutes or so later we’re at the trailhead.  The trail was better than I could have expected.   The views were breathtaking, and unfortunately so was the thin air.  After I got my breathing under control I was smiles from ear to ear all the way down this rocky, and sandy trail.  At this point in the weekend, this was the best trail I have ever ridden and will gladly do it again any time.

After this ride, I wanted to ride some more of the BAR M trails, but my buddy decided to rent a bike so our time was limited and we had to get the bike back to the shop before it closed.

This is as good as time as any to warn you about renting a bike.  Keep in mind you don’t know what this bike has been through, or the maintenance records.  We had more issues out of the rental bikes this week than I’ve ever seen by any bike maintained by Fort Mill Bike Repair.

That night we were smiles from ear to ear as we found some food and headed to bed sleeping by 8pm was the norm in Moab.  As we watch the weather, we knew the highest we were going to make it up tomorrow was UPS, and our legs reminded us that was going to be just fine.

7:00 AM the temps are in the 20s and the start of our ride down The Whole Enchilada was going to be in the 30s and 40s.  Crap, I didn’t pack for this, as it was still in the 90s when i left Fort Mill, South Carolina.   Either way, I was not going to let the cold temps get in my way of enjoying myself, no way!  This is the trail i came to ride.

10:30 AM loading into the shuttle van, I was informed that we’d be going to UPS (Score!) that’s higher than I thought we were going to be headed, so that was nice. We get to the drop off point and it’s cold, but not too bad. The air is thin up at 9000+ feet, and the 10-minute climb up to the trailhead seems to work me over. The first 4 miles of the ride I felt sick and overheated even though it was in the mid to high 30s at this point. I think the altitude got to me that day. After a quick stop to regain myself and another not so quick stop to fix a poorly maintained dropper. I was feeling better. The day got fun and the trail was epic. I don’t use that word often, as it’s overused in mountain biking, but this trail truly was the best thing I’d ever ridden. The views were the best of the whole trip and the riding was incredible. Porcupine Rim was everything I imagined and more!


This brings me to the end of the story.  The next day we got up, packed and went back to Grand Junction to get back on a plan for a long evening of plane rides and such to get back home.  Pack our bikes, pack our stinky clothes and head out.

We found time for one final stop in Grand Junction, the food was pretty good, the beer was not too shabby either

Until my next adventure:  Keep your bike tuned up, air in your tires and lube on your chain.  Never forget if it’s creaking, it’s likely doing some damage.    I’ll leave you with this peaceful fade to black over the wing of my flight.