The surge in demand is good news after bike shops had to close during the lockdown.
“March, April and May are high season for bicycle shops” says Filip Rylant of Traxio, the federation of bike dealers. “It was just then the shops were closed. In April sales were down up to 60%. We’re talking about the big stores that were still able to sell online! It was even worse for smaller outfits.”
The recent surge seems to be making up for the lack of sales in April. Bike dealers Fietsen De Zwaluw of Rumst (Antwerp) where sales have quadrupled say “High season just seems to have moved up a bit. There was a steep fall but the peak is higher than ever.”
One bike shop even had to close one extra day last week, the first they were allowed to reopen, only to keep up with repairs.
Fiets!, a chain operated by Colruyt, says demand for all types of bike is up: sports bikes, city bikes, but especially electronic bikes.
Filip Rylant believes the corona crisis opened many people’s eyes: “People want to cut down on public transport to get to work and are opting for the bike. Many people are now also looking forward to a biking holiday.”
The strong demand means many bike dealers are having to disappoint customers with specific demands. Manufacturers can’t produce racing bikes in the 1,000 to 1,500 euro price range fast enough.
Manufacturers are struggling to source all the components. Many of the components come from Asia and if only one component is missing the bike can’t be made.
Ordering a tailor-made racing bike could be a problem. One dealer told VRT customers have the choice between buying a model in stock of a long wait!