BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — News that Intense Cycle decided to sell a new line of bikes via Costco.com was the subject of the most-read story on BicycleRetailer.com in 2021, proving once again that speciality brands opening up new channels of retail distribution always garner attention in our industry.
Beyond the Intense news, however, stories about the supply chain and various acquisitions took most of the top positions on our most-read list this year. Here’s a look at the top 10:
- Intense, which has touted an “omnichannel” distribution strategy for several years, still made news in June by announcing that it had developed a special new series of bikes, called the “951 Series by Intense” to be sold on the Costco.com website (but not in Costco’s warehouse locations). The new models sold for $3,250 and $3,699 and featured new colorways that were more conservative than Intense’s usual splashy motocross-inspired graphics. Intense also continued to sell through IBDs, consumer direct on its own website, and via some powersport dealers. The company said the new 951 Series also was being stocked by IBDs.
- The same week as Intense’s news, Shimano told its OE customers that it was being forced to close its factories in Malaysia because of COVID-19 restrictions there. While those factories later re-opened, COVID forced some factories in Vietnam to shutter later in the summer as supply chain challenges compounded.
- In August, Pon.Bike, the Dutch parent of Santa Cruz, Cervélo and other brands, acquired Mike’s Bikes, a 12-store retail powerhouse in California’s Bay Area. The move was a special challenge for Specialized, which supplied most of Mike’s Bikes, but which decided to end sales to the chain after the sale. Mike’s replaced Specialized with other brands including Giant. Meanwhile, Specialized accelerated its purchase of retail stores in the second half of the year.
- Rad Power, the U.S.’s largest e-bike importer by volume, streamlined its supply chain this year by bringing chartered container ships from China into a lesser-used port in Washington, cutting several weeks off the time it took to bring bikes to market.
- Retailers and consumers have seen bike prices jack up several times since the start of the pandemic, with a new round of price hikes happening every few months or more. In a February article, we explained why. Most of the reasons remain, which is why price hikes continue to ripple through the industry as 2021 draws to a close.
- Pon, after acquiring Mike’s Bikes in August, made big news again in October by agreeing to buy Dorel Sports from Dorel Industries for $810 million. Dorel Sports is the parent of brands including Cannondale, GT, Schwinn and Mongoose. Dorel has other divisions in the juvenile product and home furnishing markets and appears to be restructuring following a failed bid to go private early in 2021.
- Early in 2021, Trek made one of its biggest retail acquisitions yet, agreeing to buy Mike Olsen’s retail business, which included about a dozen locations in California, Oregon and New Mexico.
- In another report on the supply chain, we looked at why some of the smaller bike and component brands were being the hardest hit by the parts shortage in Asia.
- In a story that keeps on giving — a multi-year, multi-court, multi-state, multi-million dollar legal battle between Fox and SRAM over intellectual property — Fox appeared to win a critical round in February, although there appeared to be no resolutions to the disputes months later.
- In another early 2021 story, a class-action lawsuit filed in January claimed that Trek was making misleading safety claims about the Wavecel technology used in some Bontrager helmets. The suit ended when the plaintiff withdrew his complaint in April.