Bike shortage caused by coronavirus pandemic likely to spin through 2021, some retailers say

'Anything with two wheels is going to sell right now'

Coronavirus-fueled demand for bicycles is pumping the breaks on sales.

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Bike retailers and manufacturers are waiting on bike parts and more inventory — and some say consumers may be waiting until mid-2021 to get their two-wheelers.

Bike manufacturers and retailers say shortage could continue through 2021. (Sandy Huffaker/Bloomberg).

“It’s still crazy. We ran out of everything two months ago,” Zakary Pashak, owner of Detroit Bikes, a manufacturer and retailer, told FOX Business Monday. “Some of our stuff won’t come in until early 2021. In terms of customers, anything with two wheels is going to sell right now.”

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Detroit Bikes' models, like its popular commuter bikes and a 16-speed Axel model, among others, are sold out through September, Pashak said. And customers looking to buy a brand new bike may have to wait up to six months with parts like seats, handlebars and grips back-ordered.

Bike sales accelerated in the U.S. at the beginning of March when COVID-19 become widespread in the U.S. Sales for traditional bikes, indoor bikes, parts, helmets and other related accessories surged a combined 75 percent (to $1 billion) over last year, according to data from market research firm NPD Group. It was the first time since NPD began tracking the cycling market that sales hit $1 billion in a single month, as April sales typically reach between $550 and $575 million.

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And consumers seem to be looking for basic models and accessible price points. Indeed, basic bikes for leisure sold for under $200 grew by a whopping 203 percent, while children's bikes increased by 107 percent for the month of April, according to NPD data.

“For far too long the cycling industry has been solely focused on the pinnacle athlete, but these results show that a broader, family and beginner focus can reap gains. This is a silver lining, and one of the important sports retail lessons to come out of the pandemic,” Matt Powell, NPD’s sports industry advisor, said in a statement.

And with two-wheeler bikes on backorder at retailers across the country, some older adults are seeking out three-wheeler tricycles, Pashak says, perhaps as a way to ease back into the sport.

“I’ve been getting a ton of requests for tricycles. We don’t make them, but I’ve probably had 20 requests and I would have had zero in the six months prior [to COVID-19]. It's unusual,” Pashak said.

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Domestic bike makers are feeling more pressure to produce at a fast rate, since the U.S. in May increased tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and many brands within the biking industry rely on parts from Asia, the Wall Street Journal reported.