One bright spot during the dark pandemic period is that more people than ever are riding bikes. You've surely seen neighbors dust off decades-old, long-forgotten bikes to run errands around town, and you're likely waving to lots more cyclists on your weekly rides. And it's heartwarming to know that many towns, cities and neighborhoods around the world are starting to recognize the benefits and beauty of cycling since local infrastructure is being improved and/or built. As we all know, cycling is good for your community, keeps you happy and healthy, and it's…well…fun.
Whether you're just coming into cycling and looking to buy a new bike or you're a seasoned veteran of the sport looking to upgrade your current ride, you have likely noticed that available cycling products are quite difficult to come by. Because of increased interest in cycling and that the bike business has been impacted by the pandemic, demand for cycling products has far outpaced supply.
Why, exactly, did this happen? How long will it last? And when can you get that new Ritchey Outback gravel bike or WCS Chicane B2 stem you've been wanting? The answers are a bit complicated, but we'll do our best to be honest and open.
The incredible increase in interest in cycling around the world has driven up demand beyond anyone's wildest expectations. Yet the global disruption in business caused by the pandemic has made the supply of bicycle goods nearly evaporate. Simply put: a perfect storm of unforeseen factors has led to scarcity of the bike stuff you want to buy.
"Ritchey started 2020 in the same situation as much of the world – first concerned about the health of our families, and then worried about what a pandemic might mean to business. Very few of us predicted that outdoor sports would be seen as a way to stay active and healthy and safe at the very high level it has," explains Kevin Putzke, general manager of Ritchey Asia, who oversees production for the brand. By mid- to late-2020 most people in the bicycle industry realized that demand for bikes was growing incredibly fast. "By the end of 2020 we could see that this wasn’t a blip – but a trend."
In his 31 years in the bike industry, Putzke says he's never seen anything like this. Ritchey is far from being the only bike company that has been affected; this situation has impacted everybody from factories overseas to your local bike shop. Putzke elaborates, "Nobody has any manufacturing capacity, and even the ones that do have capacity – they can’t get material, especially aluminum."
The lack of raw materials, limited manufacturing capacity, and disrupted shipping channels have all conspired against us in getting bike products to you in a timely manner. And, yes, the Evergiven container ship that ran aground in Egypt only added insult to injury – the bicycle industry is still seeing significant delays because of that.
The problems of a disrupted supply chain and limited raw materials availability is compounded by higher costs for manufacturing and shipping. This means you are likely to see prices rise for your favorite bicycle goods, be it from Ritchey or any other bicycle brand. It's an industry-wide trend that's unwanted and unavoidable.
Ritchey has been working extremely hard to make sure as many of its products as possible are available for its beloved customers and will continue to do so. However, we will see product availability decrease a bit more through the second half of 2021. We look forward to global supply chains recovering into 2022, and you will start to see more of your favorite Ritchey products on the shelves at your local shop, on the Ritchey web site, and through online retailers.
"We are more than thrilled that so many people are out there cycling right now. It's unprecedented and only good things can come from it. Yet, it's incredibly frustrating that so many people are unable to immediately buy the bikes or components they want. Ritchey is doing its absolute best to ease the sting the situation but it's going to get a bit worse before it gets better. But it will get better," says Jeff Lockwood, Ritchey International marketing manager.
As supply begins to catch up with demand, here are some things you can do to make sure you get the Ritchey frame or component you want as soon as possible.
Keep a vigilant eye on RitcheyLogic.com. The web site will be automatically updated as soon as any product is in inventory. It might sell-out quite quickly, but if we have it, it'll be available on the web site.
Visit or call your local bike shop or check your favorite online retailer. These sales channels often have available Ritchey products long after they sell-out on the Ritchey web site.
Sign up for the Ritchey email newsletter. Our low-frequency newsletter will not clog your inbox, but it will let you know when we have new products available and when current products are back online. Plus, the Ritchey Newsletter always has interesting, engaging and relevant content for you.
But most importantly: Be patient. Ride your bike. This supply situation is temporary, and Ritchey is doing everything it can do to get your products to you as soon as possible. While you patiently wait, getting out for a simple ride – on whatever bike you can – is a great way to relieve some stress and wait things out.