Manufacturers falling flat as sales pick up speed with bike boom

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A recent spike in bicycle sales is putting local shop owners in a tough spot and leaving those who want a bike spinning their wheels.   

This recent boom has the demand for bikes in Kansas picking up speed, but getting the supply from manufacturers has bike shops falling flat.

The number of bikes sold at the start of the pandemic increased at a record pace. One year later, bike shop owners say they still can’t keep up.

Michael Scanga, Bicycle X-Change, said he hasn’t seen anything like this.

“I haven’t seen of this magnitude in my 48 years in the cycling industry,” he said.

Tom Sawyer Bicycle Shop owner Alan Keimig said this year was his biggest year, but it’s left his floor empty.

“Normally we have at least 100 to 125 bikes on the floor here, and right now I’ve got five adult bikes,” said Keimig.

Keimig said he is waiting to get the bikes he ordered back in August. He said if he were to order a bike or parts for a bike today, it would likely be a year before a customer or his business would see it. He said manufacturers are delaying orders, which has him relying on bike repairs to keep business pedaling.

Scanga said he took a gamble once he saw how many bikes were being sold, ordering hundreds at once. He said while there may be plenty now, they likely won’t last. 

“We do have an ample supply currently, but this could dry up and be gone in two to three weeks, totally gone, if not sooner,” he said. “Anywhere from six months to two years on backorder.”

The two owners’ advice is to start looking for a bike now or service your bike early, before the summer demand hits.

“Otherwise you’ll be walking, instead of riding,” Scanga said.

If you hope to rely on bike shares, you may want to plan your trip early as well. A local bike-share company leader said the number of riders in Wichita has grown 15 times the amount since December and she expects that to keep growing.

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