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Pandemic causing months-long waits for new bikes, parts

Bicycle Ranch Tucson
Posted at 10:22 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 01:45:51-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — With fall officially here, more people may want to start getting back on their bikes. But those looking for a new bike or some parts may have a hard time finding them right now.

For more than a year now the pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain, with multiple factors slowing everything from bike manufacturing to shipping.

“Everything has been disrupted and nothing has gone back to normal,” Bicycle Ranch Tucson owner Steve Morganstern said of the supply chain.

Global demand is far outpacing supply, meaning bike shops are struggling to get new bikes in-store. Many that do come in sell quickly.

Bicycle Ranch’s current inventory was ordered six to eight months ago. Morganstern described the supply droughts as “cyclical.” His shop previously had very few electric and hybrid bikes, but now is struggling to acquire road bikes.

“We’re not even a third of what we normally would have in the stores, on the floor and ready to go,” he said.

Bicycle manufacturers are now selling bikes direct to consumers online with the sale, build and pick-up being done through a local retailer as one way to help those shops that are unable to stock up.

Bike parts are another issue, however. Some like chains, sprockets or more specific items have taken months to come in at times.

“We’ve had some people that have literally waited eight months to the day to get a part to repair their bike,” Morganstern said. “Some people, we’ve had to say ‘We cannot find this part. Here’s the description. Check on Amazon. Or check on eBay.’ And we’ll service it and make sure it works and put it on and all that.”

Despite the shortages, the local demand for bikes will likely keep climbing with The Tour de Tucson returning in November and cooler weather ahead.

“I tell people ‘Don’t get discouraged. Come in, and stuff is constantly coming in,’” Morganstern said. “It may not be exactly what you are looking for, but there are options… We want to get the people back on their bikes whatever way we can.”

Morganstern and other bike store owners are bracing for the pandemic’s supply chain ripple effects to last through at least 2022 and perhaps as late as 2024 or beyond.