September 13, 2021 by archyde
Allegedly, e-bikes are becoming scarce in the pandemic. But is that also true?
Not every bike is available.
© Getty Images
by Gernot Kramper
September 12th, 2021, 5:02 pm
Long faces among those interested in e-bikes, their bike is not available. Why is that? The reasons are complex.
Strong demand and expensive supply chains are affecting the e-bike market. But is that why there are no more e-bikes? The short answer is no. You can get an e-bike at any time, to take with you and with delivery times of two weeks. But that doesn’t mean that all dreams come true.
The local dealer doesn’t have everything
The problem starts when you say “market” and “not available” but mean “my dealer nearby”. Buying e-bikes from a specialist dealer is sensible, at least if you don’t want to take care of maintenance and service yourself. There are currently several thousand different models of e-bikes or equipment variants of these models. You won’t find this variety in any retailer in the store. Before and after Corona. Then there is the season: bicycles are a seasonal product. The demand is high from spring to summer. Then there is another peak with the training and then the interest of the customers runs out.
“Fear of range is something typically German”
Retailers are therefore very interested in reducing their inventories from the 2021 vintage at the beginning of autumn as far as possible. When it comes to Dutch and city bikes, customers don’t pay too much attention to the model year. In the case of expensive, sporty muscle bikes, it does, and also in the e-bike sector. When Bosch brought the Performance Line CX of Generation 4 onto the market or even just announced it, remaining stocks with the third generation were hardly for sale. So if you go into a shop in September, you have to take what is left over.
RadRunner – inexpensive quick-change artist
Two equipment variants in comparison. A lot of luggage can be transported with the load carrier at the rear (left).
Ordering means waiting
At an admittedly larger specialist shop near the author, you can still choose from well over 100 different e-bikes. But if you look for a mountain bike in the north at the end of the season, the selection there shrinks to a single bike.
The order remains through the dealer. However, you can often only order the new models for the year 2022 in autumn. They will not be mass-produced until next year, even if small series of test bikes and exhibits have already been built beforehand. Anyone who has fallen in love with the new products of the coming season at Eurobike always has to wait until next year. Unless he has excellent connections.
There are appointment slots for ordering. Now you can order through a dealer for the spring. But once this model has been produced in the factory, it is difficult to reorder it later. The manufacturers process the orders from dealers, chains, dispatchers and private individuals – but do not pile up any bikes. Because of the infinite number of equipment variants, that would hardly make sense. It can therefore happen that you want to order from your dealer in May and the bike is no longer available. But does that mean that the bike will then not be available? Not necessarily, absolutely possible and with popular bikes even likely that some dealer in the Republic or the EU has this bike in stock. Only then would you have to order it by mail without a test drive.
Large selection on the net
And even in autumn there are still plenty of stocks. One of the major mail order companies currently has over 1,800 e-bike models in its catalog, most of them in several sizes. And that is one of many consignors. So if you are simply looking for a “decent city e-bike in size M”, or if you are looking for a “mountain bike, 27.5 inch wheels, good equipment in size L”, you will find it for everyone. The situation is different if you want exactly one bike from your favorite brand with a defined specification – then the search is now a game of chance. The author’s bike – Focus THRON² 6.8 EQP – is still available, even 500 euros cheaper than in the spring.
Bosch E-Bike boss: “We don’t want any subsidies – we need good and safe bike paths”
Snapper are rare
Has nothing changed in the pandemic? But – at times it was hardly possible to get certain spare parts. The author, for example, was able to get hold of a current 1×12 rear derailleur with difficulty in Italy. But this crisis has largely subsided. But the spare parts have become more expensive. Before Corona, you could usually get them well below the recommended price online, but now you have to reckon with the full price more often. And this is how it looks with the complete wheels. The recommended prices have increased and the special offers have become rarer.