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How Has Coronavirus Changed the Cycling Industry in 2020?

Jeff Balton

Cycling industry and coronavirus in 2020

2020 has changed a lot for the cycling industry and the entire humankind. Let’s see what’s different.

Ever since the coronavirus craze arrived in the USA and Europe, we’ve seen shortages of many everyday commodities such as toilet paper, flour, pasta, and hand sanitizers. However, there’s another shortage that is not talked about as much — Bicycles.

With the rising threat of the coronavirus affecting public transportation and everyday life, many people turned to the sidelined means of traveling — cycling. It helps us to maintain social distancing, get from point A to point B quickly, and keep our immune system strong by exercising.

Bikes are out of stock

Yeah, that’s the current situation!

Moreover, gyms have been closed throughout the USA for quite some time, so people are taking up cycling as a way of exercising and staying sane. They’re spending more and more time outside, away from crowded places, taking their mind off the threat of the coronavirus. People are also simply remembering how fun riding bikes actually is!


Bicycles out of stock everywhere!

Bikes are out of stock

Oh, boy!

As a result, bike shops around the world have seen a major spike in sales of bicycles and cycling accessories that started in March and April. So much so that the entire cycling industry struggled to meet the demand. By the end of April, most stores were sold out of entry-level consumer bikes.

According to the March retail sales data from The NPD Group, sales of commuter and fitness bikes soared by 66%, sales of leisure bikes increased 121%, kids’ bikes sales rose by 59%, and e-bikes sales went up by 85%.

At first, this sounds like an excellent thing for bike shop owners, manufacturers, the cycling industry, and society in general. While this means we will have more bicycles on the road, fewer cars, a healthier and happier general public, and a greener environment, there are a few setbacks as well.

Namely, COVID-19 forced the manufacturers in Asia to close their factories in January and February, which brought the production of new bikes to a halt. Most companies were not able to start production again until April, which created long waiting lines.

Today, almost all bikes under $1,000 are completely sold out — the shelves in bike shops around the USA are collecting dust. Even the so-called “crap bikes” are sold out as well — as long it has a frame, two wheels, pedals, and a handlebar, someone will want to buy it.

People are now forced to buy bikes that are much more expensive than what their initial budget was. They enter a store with the idea of getting a $500 bike and leave with a $2,000 bike instead.

Cycling accessories, gear, and apparel are in high demand and limited offer as well, but the situation is much better than with complete bikes.

For example, Trek, one of the biggest bicycle manufacturers in the world, sold out their entire 2020 collection much earlier than expected. They are now making their 2021 models available for pre-order, but customers should not hope for getting their hands on a new bike before January 2021.

Pre-ordering entry-level and leisure bikes is the only way you can get one right now, so don’t have second thoughts about doing it if that option is available.


Beware of scams

However, customers should beware of scam sites that are booming as well, trying to take advantage of inexperienced shoppers adamant on buying a bike at all costs.

Here are some major red flags to be aware of when buying new or used:

  • Cheap recreational bicycles are mostly sold out. The bikes that are still in stock are either overpriced or slightly discounted if only one size is left. Scammers often lure victims by offering deals that look too good to pass. But remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. It’s highly unlikely to find discounts of 50% and more right now when the demand is soaring. It’s not impossible, but it’s a major red flag.


  • Purchase only from well-known and reputable manufacturers and retailers with trusted practices. They usually offer warranties and accept returns, which is a big plus when you can’t visit a physical shop due to the coronavirus.


  • When shopping around for a bike, stay away from dodgy-looking and outdated websites that give you the creeps. Reputable retailers usually invest a lot of time and money into creating an enjoyable shopping experience for their customers, which shows from the first click on the website.


  • When buying used bikes, make sure to ask a lot of questions and request high-definition photos made under good lighting. Never pay for the bike until it is in your possession and you’ve inspected it.


  • If you’re buying online, make sure to pay with a credit card or via PayPal in order to have some form of protection. If it turns out to be a scam, call your bank and have them void the transfer.


In case you have any questions and you’re not sure whether you’re being scammed or not, feel free to ask us below and we’ll try to help you out!


Bike shops and online retailers are struggling

Bike shops & coronavirusEven though bike shops are selling more bikes, their revenues are not rising proportionately.

The reason is that most of these sales were made unexpectedly before the season even started, so shop owners had to hire an additional workforce to handle these sudden orders. The same goes for online retailers who are dealing with similar problems.

As leisure, recreational, and commuter bikes are now out of stock, more and more people turn to bike mechanics to revamp their dead bikes that had been lying in a dusty corner for years or decades.

This situation is putting a lot of strain on staff who have to work overtime and often deal with customers who have unrealistic expectations. Many shop owners reward their exhausted employees more often than usual with bonuses, gift cards, lunches, etc. Others are simply hiring more staff, which also ramps up the costs.


We’ll keep doing what we do best…

Here at Bicycle Guider, we’ve experienced the consequences of the Coronavirus first-hand as well.

As bikes frequently went out of stock, we had to constantly update our content to find and show you the best deals at the moment.

Moreover, all of our “cheap bike reviews” stopped making revenue because there were no cheap bikes to recommend.

But we are not yet giving up.

We will keep updating our content and showing you the latest deals across all cycling categories, including entry-level and high-end bikes.

Check out the online shops we recommend keeping an eye on below. This is where you have the highest chance of finding the bike you’re looking for, despite the widespread shortage.


How to buy a bike amid the Coronavirus pandemic shortage?

Cannondale TopstoneFinding the bike you want right now is very hard.

Most bike shops are almost emptied out and the selection online is poor as well.

However, some reputable shops manage to get a limited stock of popular bikes from time to time. You should keep an eye on them and take your chance when you get it.

The most important thing to remember is to have patience and to keep researching. Here are some shops we recommend that you might want to visit if you’re looking for a new bike.

Keep in mind that you might have to spend more money than you originally planned because sub $1,000 bicycles probably won’t come back in stock before 2021.

Let us know your thoughts

This Article Has 6 Comments

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  • Hey I recently pre-ordered a Motobecane Fantom 2.5 Eagle 27.5 from BikesDirect that is supposed to be shipped between September 21 and October 9. This is supposed to be equal in components to something along the lines of a Trek Roscoe 8 or Salsa Timberjack NX Eagle 29 (Except with 27.5×2.5 wheels instead of its 29×2.6 wheels). My neighbor has praised his BikesDirect bike but tying up so much money for so long for a bike that I won’t see for more than a month has made me nervous. Have you had any experience with BikesDirect? What was your opinion if you have.
    Note: I wanted to support my LBS but when I went in search of a bike for under $500 they told me the bikes they carry start at $550 (at least for mtb) and that right now they did not have anything under $2,500. I could not stretch the budget further than $1,000

  • Eleanor says:

    Thanks for the valuable info, Jeff! Is there any store online that still has bikes around $1,000? My initial idea was to spend $500, but I can’t stretch the budget much more than a grand. I’m looking for a road or gravel bike, please help. Thanks!

  • Handly says:

    This article sums up my situation pretty well.. I work in a small bike shop in Portland and we’ve had a line in front of the store every day since the pandemic started, it’s crazy, I never thought it could be possible.. shelves have never been emptier either, though.

  • Johnny says:

    I’ve been trying to buy a road bike that fits my budget and my needs since April with no luck, everything is sold out except the expensive stuff… haven’t had much more luck with used either as the prices are up and the offer is pretty bad