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Pandemic bike boom is still going strong

Old 05-31-23, 02:11 PM
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Pandemic bike boom is still going strong

Edit: I should post the source for this chart: https://www.bts.gov/data-spotlight/n...grew-620-march
The conventional wisdom was that the pandemic bike boom is over and we are back to the pre-pandemic normal again. But numbers from the federal government shows that the bike boom actually plateaued, and spending on bikes remains at a level that is ~ 33% higher than the pre-pandemic 2017-19 baseline:

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Old 05-31-23, 02:19 PM
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I wonder how that translates to actual numbers of bikes, wheels, tubes, etc. we’re at $8B of 2012 dollars today ($10.50 in today’s dollars) but were at $6B of 2012 dollars in 2016 ($6.50 in 2016 dollars).

$10.5B vs $6.5B is a big jump - 61% - but how much more expensive is the average bike sold that it was in 2016? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was close to that much more and the number of bikes is actually the same.
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Old 05-31-23, 02:19 PM
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If the boom describes bike sales, this doesnt support the narrative that the boom is still happening. It could be fewer bikes than pre-covid and more $ per bike is being spent.

Im not saying you are wrong, just that this graph only shows spending and inflation has kinda happened since 2020.
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Old 05-31-23, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
If the boom describes bike sales, this doesnt support the narrative that the boom is still happening. It could be fewer bikes than pre-covid and more $ per bike is being spent.

Im not saying you are wrong, just that this graph only shows spending and inflation has kinda happened since 2020.
right, similar to my point - but note that the chart is in constant 2012 dollars. So the base inflation rate is taken into account. But Im pretty sure bikes have become more expensive a bit faster than inflation.
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Old 05-31-23, 02:25 PM
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Inflation might be the skewed part, unless the data is solely for whole units per purchase?
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Old 05-31-23, 02:28 PM
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Well, MY Pandemic Bike Boom has ended. I haven't bought a bike since 2021! Though, to be fair, I did buy something like 6 in 2020-2021. I was my own Bike Boom.
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Old 05-31-23, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett
right, similar to my point - but note that the chart is in constant 2012 dollars. So the base inflation rate is taken into account. But Im pretty sure bikes have become more expensive a bit faster than inflation.
Yes well said- I meant inflation within the bike industry rather than inflation within the economy as a whole. Thats an important distinction.
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Old 05-31-23, 02:58 PM
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For me the bike boom is over.
I can now find chains, brake pads, and even bikes in the stores.
I don't care much what people are spending as a whole, I just need parts when I need parts!

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Old 05-31-23, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett
but how much more expensive is the average bike sold that it was in 2016? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was close to that much more and the number of bikes is actually the same.
Originally Posted by mstateglfr
It could be fewer bikes than pre-covid and more $ per bike is being spent.
Yes, if new bike prices have been rising faster than the CPI (most common measure of inflation rate, and surely the one being used to convert from nominal to real dollar figures in the chart), then the higher spending could simply reflect higher bike prices. But here's where it gets interesting: even that might not realistically be considered "inflation" in the new bike market IF the bikes are significantly more advanced (i.e., 'better'), which means that, essentially, people are getting more for their money. I don't want to incite another of our classic bf arguments, but I'd guess that most buyers consider electronic shifting, cf rims, and disc brakes to be upgrades. I'm guessing that they cost more to build than bikes with older tech. Thus, the item which we're discussing has changed materially.

As a less-controversial (on bf, anyway) parallel, consider new cars. The average real (i.e., inflation adjusted) price of a new car in the US has actually dropped over the past few decades, while quality has improved in almost every conceivable way: safety, performance, mpg, comfort, reliability, features...compare a typical car at any tier in 2023 to its counterpart from my youth (1970s), and you're practically talking about two different products. After adjusting for inflation, today's cars seem like a bargain.
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Old 05-31-23, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
Yes, if new bike prices have been rising faster than the CPI (most common measure of inflation rate, and surely the one being used to convert from nominal to real dollar figures in the chart), then the higher spending could simply reflect higher bike prices. But here's where it gets interesting: even that might not realistically be considered "inflation" in the new bike market IF the bikes are significantly more advanced (i.e., 'better'), which means that, essentially, people are getting more for their money. I don't want to incite another of our classic bf arguments, but I'd guess that most buyers consider electronic shifting, cf rims, and disc brakes to be upgrades. I'm guessing that they cost more to build than bikes with older tech. Thus, the item which we're discussing has changed materially.

As a less-controversial (on bf, anyway) parallel, consider new cars. The average real (i.e., inflation adjusted) price of a new car in the US has actually dropped over the past few decades, while quality has improved in almost every conceivable way: safety, performance, mpg, comfort, reliability, features...compare a typical car at any tier in 2023 to its counterpart from my youth (1970s), and you're practically talking about two different products. After adjusting for inflation, today's cars seem like a bargain.
totally agree - the true “inflation” comparison would be the two most similar bikes you could find from 2002 (start of chart) to today. Probably an aluminum hybrid or road bike with aluminum wheels, rim brakes, mechanical shifting (a 2x8 or 2x9 maybe), and little to nothing else. Comparing a carbon road bike with electronic shifting, carbon wheels, tubeless tires, hydraulic disk brakes, and a bunch of other less immediately obvious features to a bike from 10 years ago with totally different features isn’t a measure of inflation or of bikes getting more expensive, it’s a measure of new and better stuff being available!

it looks to me like a 2023 bike with similar features to a 2003 bike is actually much cheaper!
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Old 05-31-23, 03:18 PM
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I bought my mountain bike pre-pandemic for about $350. Post-pandemic the same bike cost about $700. Currently the same bike costs about $500.
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Old 05-31-23, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by rc5781
I bought my mountain bike pre-pandemic for about $350. Post-pandemic the same bike cost about $700. Currently the same bike costs about $500.
Anecdotes mean nothing.
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Old 05-31-23, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
Anecdotes mean nothing.
My "anedcote" as you classified it was REALITY...
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Old 05-31-23, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rc5781
My "anedcote" as you classified it was REALITY...
an anecdote is by definition about reality! the question is whether its relevant to a broader issue or trend.
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Old 05-31-23, 04:21 PM
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I have stayed in touch with a few IBD and they are reporting trouble selling through on certain models, increased prices outside the norm from suppliers, and low consumer traffic compared to past years, especially during the "pandemic". Don't know if the boom is a bust or not because I am no longer actively involved in the biz (thankfully), however I do know that the sales events at the IBD in my area are happening again, which means there is plenty of inventory available plus motivation to boost sales though "sale pricing".
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Old 05-31-23, 05:21 PM
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In Feb 2020, just before the pandemic hit, my wife bought a Specialized Sirrus with 3X8 Acera groupset and hydraulic disc brakes, for $579. Today the equivalent Sirrus 2.0 with 3X8 Acera and hydraulic discs, is $649. According to the inflation calculator, that bike should cost me $679 today. So if anything, bicycles have been going up slower than inflation.
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Old 05-31-23, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett
an anecdote is by definition about reality! the question is whether its relevant to a broader issue or trend.
If I'm informing you of price changes that occurred on a vendor's website who probably sell thousands of bikes a year than, NO what I said was not anecdotal.
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Old 05-31-23, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by rc5781
If I'm informing you of price changes that occurred on a vendor's website who probably sell thousands of bikes a year than, NO what I said was not anecdotal.
It's one bike out of how many in the market? We can quibble over whether to call it an 'anecdote' or something else, but it's still nothing from which we can draw any conclusions about the entire market.

That's just how data analysis works, whether you like it (or understand it) or not.
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Old 05-31-23, 08:39 PM
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I suspect that the price per bike has gone up dramatically due to the popularity of electrics.
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Old 05-31-23, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul
Inflation might be the skewed part, unless the data is solely for whole units per purchase?
Yes, inflation has been about 17% since the start of the pandemic, so that would account for about half that 33% since it's in "real dollars".
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Old 05-31-23, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C
I suspect that the price per bike has gone up dramatically due to the popularity of electrics.
Are e-bikes included in that number? That makes a big difference!

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Old 06-01-23, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee
In Feb 2020, just before the pandemic hit, my wife bought a Specialized Sirrus with 3X8 Acera groupset and hydraulic disc brakes, for $579. Today the equivalent Sirrus 2.0 with 3X8 Acera and hydraulic discs, is $649. According to the inflation calculator, that bike should cost me $679 today. So if anything, bicycles have been going up slower than inflation.
Well then, conversation ended since an entry level hybrid costs $30 less than expected.***
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Old 06-01-23, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
Yes, if new bike prices have been rising faster than the CPI (most common measure of inflation rate, and surely the one being used to convert from nominal to real dollar figures in the chart), then the higher spending could simply reflect higher bike prices. But here's where it gets interesting: even that might not realistically be considered "inflation" in the new bike market IF the bikes are significantly more advanced (i.e., 'better'), which means that, essentially, people are getting more for their money. I don't want to incite another of our classic bf arguments, but I'd guess that most buyers consider electronic shifting, cf rims, and disc brakes to be upgrades. I'm guessing that they cost more to build than bikes with older tech. Thus, the item which we're discussing has changed materially.

As a less-controversial (on bf, anyway) parallel, consider new cars. The average real (i.e., inflation adjusted) price of a new car in the US has actually dropped over the past few decades, while quality has improved in almost every conceivable way: safety, performance, mpg, comfort, reliability, features...compare a typical car at any tier in 2023 to its counterpart from my youth (1970s), and you're practically talking about two different products. After adjusting for inflation, today's cars seem like a bargain.
Totally agree- I think within the low-mid to upper-mid bikes, people are just paying more now compared to before and likely getting more too(based on what they value as 'more'). The bike simply costs more on one hand- a 105 bike now costs a bunch more than a 105 bike in 2018, for example, especially when 105 Di2 is considered. And then yeah it definitely seems like people have just bought more more and paid higher prices in the last couple years. I think a decent amount of this is due to what was available in stores too- similar to new car sales for the last couple years- with limited inventory, there was little incentive for entry level products to be sent to stores. If there is limited inventory, then demand is high, and its more likely that people will pay more to just have a bike than they would otherwise pay if stores were flush with inventory. We bought a vehicle last October after waiting for months, purchased it sight unseen with a downpayment to hold my place. The store sent me a list of models I could choose from based on inventory they would receive, and all were the top 3 trim levels(out of 8 trim levels). All would be pre-sold, so there is no incentive to offer the lower level models.
I think I saw that in shops and read about it from shop owners in industry news- If a store was going to receive 30 Domane road bikes, like 5 would be the lower couple levels(Claris and Sora) and the rest would be 105 or higher. So if someone would normally buy Sora or Tiagra, they would likely have to buy 105 since that was then the lowest level that was in stock. A customer would normally pay $1500, but now pays $2100. Or maybe they would usually buy an aluminum frame and now buy a carbon frame since that is whats in stock.

^ this is mostly referring to Dec 20 - Dec 22. In the last 6mo, it seems like models and levels are overall in stock.
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Old 06-01-23, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight
Yes, inflation has been about 17% since the start of the pandemic, so that would account for about half that 33% since it's in "real dollars".
I sure hope this is an attempt at sarcasm.
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Old 06-01-23, 09:05 AM
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I ride in a group of mostly retired and new to cycling regular riders. What I've seen is first ride is on the old bike. Then an upgrade to something new. After a bit, an entry level electric assist. Next, a full suspension beast and then, after finding you don't really need all that bike for general riding, a lightweight electric hybrid. So I can see where those statistics would be coming from. At some point all those extra bikes are going to hit the used bike market.
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