Friday, March 12, 2021

Friday News And Views

From a Tweet by @shedfire from
 How Long?

Sorry, but not sorry! I'm giving you the latest I've heard from industry sources concerning 2021 bike and bike parts availability. This image is from a newsletter sent to Brant Richards (former bike/bike parts designer for On One and who did the Luxy Bar, plus more) from an industry supplier called First Component. You may have seen this graphic as it has been making the rounds of social media this past week. As you can see, things are backed up, in some cases up to a year. Some are saying the dates given on the graphic are too generous. Claims of 400-500 day delays are not uncommon.

While the image is of an HPC, don't let that make you think normally powered bicycles are exempt. No.....this applies to those fully human powered rigs as well.

On another front, related to the parts shortages, one of the "Big Four" cycling brands in North America (Trek, Specialized, Giant, Cannondale) is rumored to have told its dealers that bikes they pre-ordered for 2021 are now going to be fulfilled with 2022 models. That means that there will be no more 2021 bikes from this particular brand. I've heard that another one of the "Big Four" has communicated with dealers that any drop bar bikes for 2021 are now no longer available. Basically rolling over to 2022 as well on those. Salsa Cycles dropped their 2021 Fargo model recently and it is being told online from several consumers with experience trying to track one down that mediums and large size 2021 Fargos are sold out for the year already. I've heard 2021 Felt bikes are also gone. I'm sure many other brands are in similar situations, and the 2021 bike season is just getting underway. 

 Meanwhile, industry insider and "Forbes" online contributor, Carlton Reid (@carltonreid on Twitter) posted that an executive from Specialized, addressing the situation, felt that while sales will dip due to shortages at retail for 2021, the expectations are that sales and demand will increase by over 40% by the end of this decade. Really? With consumers attention spans measured in nanoseconds, my question is "How long will it take for consumers to find alternatives to spend their money?" And furthermore, with high unemployment rates, and a shaky economic future, will consumers have the money to spend on recreational things like bicycles in the first place? How many bike shops can survive two years (the latter half of 2020 and all of 2021) without things to sell? I think it is overly-optimistic to think that demand will wait around until 2022 when (hopefully) the supply chain can be firmed up. 

A screen grab from a video for ToeGo Pedals.

From The Weird And Wacky Files:

When I used to attend the Interbike Trade Show there were always these 'fringe' ideas which you could find lurking about the show. Generally these companies were out on the outer border of the Sands Convention Center, or down in the basement, or individuals would merely ride/walk around with their latest oddball creations in the halls of the show. Wherever you found them, it was sure to bring about some dropped jaws, wide eyes, and some derogatory comments whispered amongst the bystanders. 

With in-person trade shows for the cycling industry now either a thing of the past (Interbike) or on hold (pandemic), these 'fringe' ideas have had to find other ways to become noticed. I was made aware of this radical pedal concept from a start-up named "ToeGo" by way of a re-Tweet on Twitter. It's supposedly a much more ergonomic way to pedal a bike than using footwear and standard pedals. 

I gotta say, this is right up there with some of the oddest products I ever saw at Interbike! I'll leave it at that, and only add that I, for one, would not consider such a product for my gravel riding. The mere thought of crushed limestone ricocheting off my piggies is painful enough! No thank you, ToeGo, but good on ya for being bold and going where no one else has gone before. 

The 2020 Salsa Cycles Stormchaser

Remembering Some Good Medicine;

About a year ago I received the Salsa Cycles Stormchaser for review. Of course, this was right about the same time we all went into our shells waiting out the results of a virus we knew little about. Fear, anxiety, and negativity were in abundance, and it was hard to keep your head on straight back then.

This did not escape me, but I tried to keep my focus and having this new bike model from Salsa Cycles to review came about at the right time. Being that it was a single speed and a gravel bike made it something right up my alley, as the saying goes, so it didn't take much for me to shut out the world's troubles and think about what this bike was offering me as a gravel rider.

So, an escape vehicle of sorts, but the Stormchaser led me to something far more than that. I recall one ride in the country South of town when everything was so quiet and peaceful. I got turned around a bit, found my way again, and somewhere near the Southern border of Black Hawk County I stopped and I regained my hope for the future. It was one of those very personal, pivotal moments, of which there were a few of during 2020, that I won't soon forget. The Stormchaser was the vehicle that took me to that moment, so I will always have a soft spot in my heart for that bike in that moment. 

Yesterday Salsa Cycles announced the new colors and spec for the 2021 Stormchaser and Warbird models. That red Stormchaser will be a popular color, I am sure, but hard to find, I bet. As will the Warbirds. But whether or not you like the red Stormchaser or not, for me, there will always be a favorite color for this bike, and that is a shiny copper. This news of the 2021 bikes reminded me of that. 

On An Upswing:

 Well, the gravel is clear and rides have started in earnest. Racing is shaping up for a come-back and the scene looks to be a busy one as we progress through Spring and Summer. Thoughts of big gravel gatherings seem to be on everyone's minds these days. 

I'll be in solo-mode yet for awhile. This pandemic isn't quite over yet and I have patience. I haven't gotten a vaccination and I don't know when I will be getting it yet. I'm sure at some point I will. But until then, I am practicing the same things I have been for a year now.

Tomorrow I will detail out some of my early season plans. I am riding now to get in shape to tackle that stuff I have in mind and to review stuff for, of course. Meanwhile, I also will be doing some different rides from remote locations soon. That is something I wanted to do last year, but "The Quest" didn't allow for that. 

So, here's to a great 2021 riding season and I hope that you all stay safe and get some miles in soon, if you aren't already.


Rydn9ers said...

Do you feel like some of these parts shortages are also due to the "toilet paper effect"? In the beginning of the pandemic media source after media source kept hammering how tp and other cleaning supplies were going to be near impossible to find, this caused everyone to hoard more than they could possibly use in a reasonable amount of time. I feel like this is the same thing, we've all heard that parts are going to be hard to come by but each time we hear it we panic buy a little bit more. Beginners aren't gobbling up 12 speed chains, tires, pedals, brakes, etc. by the dozens; it's the veteran riders doing this to ourselves. The beginner is going to be lucky if they know they even need to replace a chain and when so I don't see them panic buying all the stuff.

Guitar Ted said...

@Rydn9ers - I see how that could be viewed in that way. The thing is, the demand on bicycles and bicycle parts came first- not the message. We were hurtin' last May already, and it hasn't gotten any better as of March '21. The articles and 'warning' you refer to are due to the fact that the traditional bicycling season in North America is kicking off and people are therefore paying attention NOW. We knew this was going to happen months ago, but ya know- try saying things like that around the time when folks aren't interested and your message falls on deaf ears. In fact, if you go back in my blog here I have been hammering on this for months.

Bike shops are trying to track down, (and yes- hoard parts if they can)any sort of parts for repairs. I hear 7 speed free wheels, 7 and 8 speed cassettes, and 7/8/9 speed chains are already getting hard to find. Try getting 24" kids tires. It isn't 'just' bike nerds trying to get stuff. It's your ordinary citizen and new-to-bikes recreational folk that are also suffering the consequences of the pandemic induced shortages. yes- that group is also driving these shortages.

And it is also world-wide. It isn't just North America. So that makes it even worse. So, to answer your first question- No. This isn't anything like panic-induced shortages. This is an unprecedented spurring onward by consumers of the outdoor activities retail chain and the supply cannot match current demand in these areas. (Bicycles being just one thing that's in this pickle)

baric said...

Can't imagine! ToeGos are NoGos. Riding a bicycle in bare feet or even flip flops? I cringe whenever I see anyone riding a motorcycle in shorts and flip flops and I cringe and guffaw whenever I see someone riding one in shorts and flip flops but still wearing a three to four hundred dollar full face motorcycle helmet. And of course, no gloves either.