Friday, June 16, 2023

Friday News And Views

Inventory Levels High - Sales Low:

Halfway into 2023 and the situation for the bicycle retailing sector has worsened. Unprecedented levels of unsold inventory sits while consumer interests are at a low level. The apathy in buyer interest has caused some heretofore unusual tactics to lure in customers. 

As a for instance, back in Spring Trek dealers were hawking free "gifts" of cycling accessory items just for coming in and trying out an e-bike. Just a test ride could net a potential bike purchaser a water bottle, floor pump, or maybe even a Trek Travel trip, all free, just for trying a bike out. The tactic is still in use up to now, and that just tells you the situation is dire.

Of course, the hope is that when you come in the sales staff will have their game on and get you to buy a bike, but you don't have to. This is a very unusual tactic and one I have not witnessed in my 25 or so years of bicycle retail employment. 

Other outlandish deals exist all over the internet including up to 40% and more off of Rock Shox suspension products, 25% -40% off name brand cycling shoes, and 20% -25% discounts being so common I cannot name them all here. 

But bicycles themselves are the big ticket item clogging the pipeline now, and with no real significant movement in that trade, it will definitely have some negative effects which will ripple throughout the industry. 

6/15/23 Air quality. I'm under the 143 on the map here.
Where There's Smoke There's Big Trouble:

Canadian wildfires have been wreaking havoc on my riding here the entire month of June. I don't know about you, but I am not considering a ride when just breathing air in the house gives me a rough feeling throat. 

Combined with this, we've had a really dry month of June as well, falling an inch and a half plus short on rainfall in this area. My grass in the lawn looks crispy and it appears more like late August out there than it does mid-June. 

It's nothing new to you folks out West, I get that, but this is highly unusual for Iowa, or the Mid-West in general, and the corn and bean crop is going to suffer mightily unless things clear up and get wet soon. That will affect everybody.

We won't be worrying much about riding bicycles if this keeps up because we'll have bigger things to keep us occupied. But for now, I can say this smoke sucks and it is mildly depressing when one cannot get in a bicycle ride because the air is too dangerous to breath in.

Ergon Announces GreenLab Circular Program:

Ergon is announcing a new initiative just befoe Eurobike kicks off which features their SR AllRoad Core Saddle, This new GreenLab Circular program is aimed at creating products that can be recycled into another like-product. In this case, when the SR AllRoad Core Circular saddle reaches the end of its lifecycle, it could be recycled to make another SR AllRoad Core Circular Saddle. 

Ergon partnered in this project with BASF, the company already involved with Ergon and making component parts for their saddles, namely the padded layer in the SR AllRoad saddles. BASF determined that by not using the pigmentation normally applied to the materials of the SR AllRoad Core, that the resulting end product would make for a better material to recycle, thus the pale appearance of the component parts as seen in the image here provided by Ergon. 

The saddle rails are made from TiNox (stainless steel) and can be removed by hand when the saddle is ready for recycling. The top cover is a new material developed by BASF especially to conform to this projects goals. Look for more on this after Euro bike.  

That's me on the left at the DK200 2015.

Podcast Update:

In case you missed it: We've posted three podcasts in the last two weeks (!!) covering the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame inductions and the recently run Unbound Gravel which has caused seemingly no end of debate. N.Y. Roll and I cover parts of the debate in two of the three episodes posted. 

You can find Episodes #'s 17, 18, and 19 on Spotify here, or wherever you get your podcast feed from. 

With the flurry of podcasts of late, we're going to take a little break here and be back in July, (probably, if not the last week of June), and have another podcast, hopefully with an interview guest I have in mind. Stay tuned on that... 

The master plan is to do approximately 15 more episodes which should take us into November when we will plan a longer break and end the "season". N.Y. Roll and I have been encouraged by many of you out there who have listened and given us your feedback. We appreciate you listening in and for giving us helpful feedback that we hope to use to continue to grow the audience. 

SRAM AXS Apex 12 Image courtesy of SRAM

SRAM Debuts 12spd AXS Apex & 12spd Apex Mechanical Groups.

In a totally expected move by SRAM, Apex AXS has been released. 12 speed, all the Eagle MTB mechs can be made to work with it, and it is cheaper. Just like SRAM has always done. 

Same innards, just heavier materials. So, unless you are weight conscious, Apex AXS will do you just fine. 

At 1400 bucks, it isn't too pricey for an electronic group set. I imagine that this will see a lot of OE spec once things start getting made again. There is even a $225.00 power meter upgrade available. Nice. 

Comments: SRAM is a curious company. You can get the same high performing mechanical/electronic performance with heavier and cheaper materials as you go down the range. It begs the question: Why pay more for the upper end stuff? There really isn't a great reason to do so unless, well, you can't help yourself, you've got scads of cash sitting around, or you are a sponsored athlete. With Shimano you have significant construction, materials, and tolerance differences as well as design tweaks as you work your way up their ranges. It make sense to get XT then if you are running Deore stuff now. 

But SRAM doesn't do things that way and they haven't since they came out with road components in the 2000's. I guess that's why I rarely, if ever saw a Red group on a bike come through my repair stand and hardly ever saw anything from the Force group either. Most of the time the SRAM road stuff I saw was from the Rival group, and why not? It had the same guts doing the actual work that Red did. 

It just seems weird to me how SRAM does this sort of undermining of their own upper-end group sets.

That's a wrap for this week. Thanks for reading Guitar Ted Productions!


teamdarb said...

I am not seeing any of these discounts at the store level whether it be parts or completes. My in person batch includes visiting a handful of stores on the east coast from Florida to DC. Maybe these deals are online or only available in a specific region? For searching for a Shimano BB I found pricing from 26.99- 41.99 for a simple BB-RS500. The response when I pointed out what, I felt, was ridiculous pricing for a sub-par component was that I am a miss informed consumer. I have even noticed the Fairdale bikes being priced in the Surly dollar figure- How, Why??

Guitar Ted said...

@teamdarb - A quick Google search for BB-RS500 yielded several choices between 15 and 20 bucks. So, probably mostly online.