Colorado’s New and Used Bike Market Is Booming Because of COVID-19
Early into the pandemic bicycles have been exhausting to come back by. Many retail shops had empty cabinets and lengthy wait occasions earlier than new stock would hit the ground. However what about now? Is the frenzy over? The quick reply: It relies upon what you’re searching for.
Throughout a typical September, Campus Cycles would have almost 350 bikes obtainable and the service division could be turning round orders in a couple of week to a week-and-a-half. This September, nevertheless, the Denver-based biking retailer solely has about 80 bikes obtainable and the service division is scheduling two-and-a-half weeks out, says proprietor Michael Bower. (Earlier this summer season, the service division was 5 to 6 weeks out.)
Bower describes this yr as “unprecedented,” including the bicycle market is just like the shopping for craze with rest room paper all of us skilled earlier this yr. Whereas the bicycle market has barely slowed down from April, Could, and June, Bower says stock could not absolutely recuperate till late subsequent yr or early 2022.
“Due to COVID-19, the business as an entire bought over a yr’s value of bikes within the first 4 and a half to 5 months of this yr,” Bower says. “It caught us off guard as bike retailers, it caught bike producers off guard, and caught components producers off guard.”
The Pro’s Closet, a Boulder-based firm promoting used bicycles, had 1,000 bikes on the market when COVID-19 hit, says Matt Heitmann, the chief advertising officer. Whereas TPC’s stock remains to be secure, sitting at 600 bikes, the corporate is promoting by way of its stock in 12 to 13 days. Earlier than the pandemic hit, TPC’s stock would promote out in 20 days, Heitmann says.
Whereas it’s nonetheless doable to seek out bikes at retail shops, the stock isn’t as huge because it was once, and lots of bikes promote on-line earlier than making it to the showroom flooring. The provision and demand largely depends upon the kind of bike you’re searching for and the sum of money you’re prepared to spend. Bower says he’s receiving one or two bikes per week within the $500–$1,200 value vary, however has extra stock for bikes priced at $2,500 and above. “What I might inform folks is should you’re serious about a bicycle, if there’s one thing that you really want, I might do my investigation proper now. I might make plans proper now,” he says. In the case of mountain bikes, Bower says he gained’t get them in till subsequent April, but he has a number of folks paying deposits to order one.
The scarcity of provide in retail shops has led many shoppers to search for used or preowned bikes on web sites like Craig’s Record, eBay, and Fb Market. In line with a fielded survey from PeopleForBikes—a nonprofit biking group primarily based in Boulder—six p.c of people that bought a motorbike earlier than March 1 (pre-COVID-19) did so from a personal celebration, reminiscent of a neighbor or on-line market. That quantity doubled to 12 p.c between March 1 and September 1. “Now we have seen extra people flip to the used market and the private-sale market than in earlier years, however it’s actually not the bulk,” says Patrick Hogan, bicycle business analysis supervisor at PeopleForBikes. “However we’re seeing some provide be supplemented by that market.”
Sloan Lake resident Phil Heyer has been shopping for and promoting bicycles on-line since 2016. Heyer says pre-COVID-19, a mid-range bicycle would take a number of months or a full yr to promote on eBay. This yr, he’s promoting them in a matter of days. Heyer has bought 4 street bikes and 5 bike frames since April, however now finds himself on a six-month seek for a brand new mountain bike.
Kate Agathon, a Golden resident and bicycle owner, has been shopping for and promoting bicycles since 2012. Three years in the past, Agathon bought a full-suspension mountain bike that retails for $3,500 for $1,200. If she bought that bike this yr, it could have gone for $3,000, she says. “That’s what made this yr so uncommon. You would promote bikes for unheard of costs,” Agathon says. Moreover, Agathon has been getting inquiries from folks out-of-state, one thing she says hasn’t occurred earlier than.
A number of Denverites are utilizing this scorching bicycle market as a facet gig. Central Park resident John Reeves, who has labored primarily as a nurse for the final 4 years, has been shopping for and promoting objects on-line for years. When he was positioned on a compulsory furlough, he shifted his focus to promoting bicycles. “After I went on furlough, I seen the costs of bikes have been going up and provide was going means down,” he says. “So, I simply began shopping for as many as I may. And it’s been type of loopy.” Reeves says he’s bought almost 100 bicycles since April and typical affords them for 20 to 40 p.c greater than the listed value on Bicycle Blue Book. Costs on Bicycle Blue E book are primarily based on “predictable provide and demand and secure markets,” Reeves says. “And with bikes, it hasn’t been predictable provide and demand in any respect and the market has been utterly unstable.”
Whereas it’s exhausting to trace the private-sale market, it’s obvious that the demand remains to be there, and bicycles are nonetheless a scorching commodity. Hogan, with PeopleForBikes, says he doesn’t suppose demand will decelerate a lot this yr. “I feel the demand remains to be there. I feel unbiased bike sellers should get artistic with how they meet that demand,” Hogan says. “We’ll nonetheless see demand in November and December when dad and mom are searching for bikes to offer their youngsters for Christmas and that type of stuff. I’m not completely positive if the business will be capable of meet that offer as they’d in earlier years.”