Are Bikes the Black Hole of Bike Shop Profitability?

Originally posted on The Independent Bike Blog:


A new financial study confirms a sad truth about bicycle retailing: most bike shops do not make a profit on the sale of new bicycles.

This may be old news to many, especially retailers wrestling with unruly income statements and stiff price competition, but the new report uses hard numbers to show that the failure of new bicycles to generate retail profit is much more than urban myth.

In fact, the report shows that new bicycle margins do not even cover their share of the basic operating costs of the average bike store. Overall store profitability is only possible because sales of higher margin items such as parts and accessories drive the averages up, categories now facing increasing price competition from on-line retailers.

The source is the NBDA Cost of Doing Business Survey, conducted by market research firm Industry Insights every two years since 1993. It is different from many…

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Carbon Bikes in the NYT

As Technology Makes Bicycles Lighter and Faster, It’s the Cyclists Falling Harder by Ian Austen

Manufacturers do honor warranty claims on carbon frames that fail witout accident. I process them.

But most carbon frames fail by accident.

Carbon frames make a particularly poor choice off road. Had a guy in the shop today who hit a boulder with his bike. Now he needs a new frame.

Only racers benefit from carbon frames.

To Slovakia!–nothing not to like

Originally posted on gypsy by trade:

Nicholas Carman1 453

It has been a long time coming, our return to Slovakia.  We grazed the border of Slovakia on several occasions last summer.  Once, en route to meet Przemek for the first time, we rode through Slovakia for part of a day.  Unwilling to participate in yet another currency, we starved ourselves for the afternoon and raced into Poland to begin our ride on the red trails of southern Poland (Note: they use Euros in Slovakia, we started the day with Czech kroner and ended with Polish zloty).  On another occasion, we detoured from the red trails in Poland to spend a few days writing for Bunyan Velo,  We crossed the border a few times in two days, curious about the pace of life in Slovakia.  Poland is a dreamy place, as long as you are in the woods.  On the roads and in town, the energy is high.  Slovakia, like…

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Junzo Kawai

Industry Titan Passes

Junzo Kawai lead SunTour. SunTour innovated and provided high quality components at affordable prices. They gave us something better than elite, often expensive, and occasionally defective, European components. They made the bike boom possible.

Nobuo Ozaki at SunTour invented the slant rear derailer, which shifted better than anything before. We still use the design.

We still use and value old SunTour rear derailers for proven durability and smoothness.

Before his death, Junzo Kawai gave rebirth to SunTour as SunXCD. May his vision prosper.

Not so much the every second counts world of competitive bicycling, but exploring the wonderful outdoor world at a pace that you set yourself, where the focus in on how much fresh air you get in your lungs, not how ultra-modern your equipment is. It is time that that type of bicycling gets the spotlight.