Scant bike availability weighs into demo event viability

Announced earlier this week in the U.S., Outerbike‘s summer demo event schedule has become the latest victim in the global bike availability shortage, with brands prioritising sell through on high demand.

Now into peak sales season for the Northern Hemisphere, the availability of bikes remains and is likely to remain tight; bikes are heavily forward ordered meaning that stock landing is very often pre-sold to partners and even the end-user. In the wake of last year’s Covid bounce back ordering patterns have been abnormal across the supply chain. Lead times on replenishment have been severely lengthened by a combination of production lines struggling to meet a surge in demand, the aforementioned unusual ordering patterns, as well as a global slowdown in shipping, all of which has inevitably meant price increases for many labels. Many brands have begun levelling with customers, explaining that their hands are tied on supply until schedules normalise.

Commenting on the latest twist in the tale, Outerbike’s co-founder Mark Sevenoff remained optimistic for the late season demos, but conceded demo bike availability had made the summer schedule non-viable.

“We are amazed by the number of new cyclists joining our community! We are welcoming them in record numbers on our Western Spirit multi-day bike trips, but the unintended consequence of the bike boom is a lack of demo bikes for this summer. Since Outerbike is all about the bike, we are holding off on our summer events,” said Sevenoff.

The next events, assuming the supply chain’s speed permits, will now take place in Moab and Bentonville in October.

Closer to home, Singletrack this week spoke to the organiser of demo-centric Tweedlove who said that many companies may not have the depth they usually do. Nonetheless, optimism remains that the festival will function as normally as can be expected under the current conditions. As with booking access to any venue at present, consumers will need to be forward-thinking on the booking front, should they have a particular demo in mind.

Despite the headwinds, the event schedule appears to be cautiously gearing up to resume. Earlier this week Eurobike saw confirmation that the event can proceed, but in tandem came the news that Germany has placed the UK on a flight restriction list. Likewise CABDA opened its retailer registration. Set for Costa Brava in September, Sea Otter Europe is another optimistic of a return to action, though it can reasonably be expected the same demo supply dilemma could apply here.