Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Market Watch: Why The Bottom is Falling Out From The Used Bike Market

Wanting to sell your nice lugged, steel road bike? You may want to wait a couple of years.

There is no market indicator for the used bike market. Like all unofficial, unregulated cash in hand markets there is no "official" way for tracking improvement or decline of sales, especially when the sellers are people unloading their second-hand goods on others. However, as somebody who actually pays attention to these things, I have picked up on a market trend which will probably benefit consumers more than anyone else in determining what their next bike purchase will be. 

If you, like me are a die hard vintage bike collector, now is not the time to keep adding old bikes to your collection. If anything, now is the time to start letting go of whatever old bikes you're able to, probably at a loss. However, if you have an Eddy Merckx Super Corsa or a Colnago Art Decor, you may definitely want to keep holding on to it. Look at the new bikes that are coming out. Look at the technology bundles offered. Look at the prices. Especially the prices. The prices of new bikes are blowing my mind. Never before have I seen so many quality bicycles at such affordable prices being offered new. Some retailers are offering steel cyclocross bikes with disc brakes for about $600, for example. These bikes also come equipped with brifters, ISIS drive or Hollowtech II bottom brackets and compact gearing.This is in stark contrast to the 2008-2009 calendar year, when even the most basic, Shimano Sora equipped bicycle with a carbon fiber fork was selling for about $800.00.  What's happening that is driving down the prices so much, especially in light of all the new technology coming out on bikes nowadays? Let's discuss some of the reasons.

Bicycle Technology Arms Race:

2015 is seeing a lot of concept technologies such as electronic shifting and 1x10 drivetrains becoming mainstream on many production bicycles. Only a couple of years ago, Shimano Di2 was only offered on the most expensive $10,000.00 bicycles. Nowadays Di2 technology can be found on bikes costing less than $3k retail. Mountain bike manufacturers have introduced an extra wheel size into the market, now offering three options of wheel sizes for their models. Sram 1x10 now is in direct competition with Shimano SLX. There are about a dozen new innovations that have come out in groupset technology over the last couple of years alone. All of the groupset and bicycle manufacturers are vouching for your purchase, and this is one of the reasons prices are lower this year. Retailers and manufacturers alike realize that they need to lure in early adopters to all the new tech that has come out. Anyone who is trying to sell a  square tapered bottom bracket, Shimano Sora component equipped bicycle for $800 in 2015 will be quickly squeezed out of the market like an overgrown pimple. Bicycle companies are also realizing that they have all been fishing out of the same small pond for a while now, so many companies are lowering their prices to attract a broader consumer base. All this is resulting in awesome bikes becoming available for everyone. For the same price or less than the retail price of an iPhone, someone can now buy a legitimate bike of good quality. 

Online Retailers:

Online retailers have forced the hand of major bicycle companies to evolve or die to the new consumer mindset. The harsh truth is that a $9.00 an hour bike shop employee doesn't know more about bike fit then what is already extensively available on the subject online. As someone who never had a bike fit, it didn't take me a physics degree to figure it out. Welcome to the internet baby, it's 2015! If I were to go back in time to 2007 when I bought my first road bike, I would have just gone to the bike shop, found a bike that I was comfortable on and look for the same size bike for hundreds less from an online retailer. At the expense of their corporate bonuses and their bottom line, bicycle manufacturers are finally starting to play ball with smart and informed consumers, which are quickly becoming that vast majority thanks to the internet. Without ever having mounted a bicycle, somebody can figure out that the super nice, quality bicycles are made in Taiwan, and the average but still very good bikes are made in China. It's becoming common knowledge that all bicycles are being manufactured in the same factories, regardless of brand name. Only a select few niche bikes are handcrafted or made exclusively in certain areas. But the fact is that a guy riding a Canyon and a guy riding a Merida could very well be riding essentially the same bike with different wrappers put on. 

The Used Bicycle Market:

The grassroots, organic used bike market, full of retro-grouches, hipsters and flea market professionals, has finally made a dent on the profits of major bike industries. So much so that at there are loads of good new bikes now available at the $500 range, just a couple of hundred dollars more than the arbitrary $300 Craigslist spending limit. The bicycle industry is getting tired of all of the bottom feeders making residual income of their inability to see what the consumer wants. They are finally waking up and lowering their prices for this very reason. That is why, at least for the foreseeable future, the bottom is out on the used bike market. People may be selling their bikes at a loss or not selling them at all. I see a trend of most bikes on craigslist selling for about $120, and most high end bikes for about $500. At the $500 they will probably be Dura Ace or Campagnolo equipped Colnagos. That is how much of the bottom will be eaten out of the flipper's market this year. There will be little demand from collectors so those who own nice vintage bikes may just want to hang onto them.

Some Things are Cheaper to Buy New than to Replace:  

Many people may not want to hear this, but it's true. Once a critical part on an old,  classic bicycle breaks it may take a few months of combing through eBay to get an exact replacement. A lot of the tools for working on older bicycles are also becoming obsolete. It may finally be time to retire that cottered crank bicycle project with the swiss bottom bracket and the Campagnolo Cambio Corsa shifting you've been working on and just hang it on the wall for the sake of art.

Market Forcast for 2015:

Dorel Industries will probably close out the year on a high. Shimano shares will increase because of the Deore SLX component line and the trickle down in electronic shifting technology to their 105 and Ultegra component range. Sram will have big profits this year but they are not a publicly traded company. Expect a bull-run year from Garmin as they have made their bike computers compatible with the online app Strava. Expect shares to rise to peak levels in the summer months and slowly start going down in the fall. There you go, I just made you some money, now go on and buy one of those nice, brand new bicycles! (Or you can send me a check for the free advice, I'm not actually a stockbroker so I'm not in the money like you are).

Monday, April 13, 2015

Traveling to DFW? Bicycle Tour Services by Johnny

Traveling to the Dallas/ Fort Worth Area?

Let's go riding together.

 I have recently been brainstorming ways to monetize from my bicycling hobby while helping others to get into cycling. My blog currently has 11 page followers, 35 google plus followers, 14 YouTube subscribers and about 300 international daily views. The Dallas/ Fort Worth area is popular for having international business traffic from abroad, so why not offer bicycle tours in Dallas?

Whether you're in Dallas on business, here on vacation or a local resident looking to get to know the area better, I am now accepting appointments for guided tours for both on road and off road excursions. There are a lot of interesting things to see and do in Dallas and Fort Worth. From riding around downtown to exploring some of the best mountain bike trails in North Texas, I am looking to let others in on my local knowledge of where the best places for riding are. 

I will try to accommodate as many people as I can per booking in the future, however at this time there is a 3 person limit. The tour package includes hotel pickup, travel to and from the trails and bicycle rental for those who do not bring their own bicycle. At this time I have a range of bicycle sizes that will fit someone between 5'8" and 6'2". 

If you are interested in scheduling a bicycle tour around the Dallas/ Fort Worth area, send me your contact information with your date of arrival, desired excursion (city sightseeing, mountain biking, for example) and any other criteria you might have. Pricing is based on location and duration of the ride, as well as any additional expenses incurred. Tours will be from 2 to 4 hours depending on the location. Tours will be limited to the Dallas/ Fort Worth area but special packages will be made in the future for those wishing to explore outside the metro area. I want to start this venture organically, with the following that I have built up over 5 years of writing this blog. I am an experienced, knowledgeable and reputable cyclist and can give credentials if needed. 

Help me launch this much needed eco-tourism model in Dallas. Send me an email to schedule your tour today!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

April Update: New Videos and Cycling Tips

Nutrition tips, cycling tips and how to set goals for cycling.

With my busy schedule, I have not had the opportunity to sit down and compose a thought on this blog page until today, so I apologize to my readers for leaving you hanging. With the Collin Classic coming up in June as well as Hotter N' Hell in August, I have been using the little time I have to exercise and do some actual riding. However, I have posted some new videos on my YouTube channel for my subscribers to enjoy. The following videos go into some depth regarding nutritional advice, tips for more efficient climbing and my views on Crits and Bicycle Rallies. Check out my channel and subscribe for more videos to come.

This year so far has gotten off to a great start. I know what I have to do to get in shape for the events that I am going to be riding this year. Some of the gains from last year's 18 pound weight loss have carried over to this year and I am starting the season about 7 to 8 pounds lighter than I did last year. It won't take long to achieve and exceed the form I had last year if all goes according to plan. I have a new goal for 2015; setting a sub 6 hour time for a hundred mile cycling event. More specifically, finishing the Hotter N' Hell in less than 6 hours and maybe even going for a 5 hour time limit. This will require training hard and some new equipment with the latest technology to get me there. "La Poderosa", or my beloved Woodrup steel bike featured in the video above, has officially retired from racing and will be relegated to the Sunday morning group bike ride. It served me well in last year's event, but the marginal losses in shifting with downtube shifters and lack of proper cadence because of cranking big gears took their toll and contributed to the time deficit I had. I was also wearing about 15 pounds of gear on my Camelback and stopped at one too many rest stops while I waited for others who were riding with me. All that resulted in a finishing time of 7:45, still not a bad time, all things considered. This year I'll be signing up not as a first-time newbie tourist, but rather as a seasoned veteran rider that will be "in it to win it" figuratively speaking. My goal is to ride well at these events but also get the attention of some of the local teams in the area. I want to be able to keep up with the best riders around the area where I live and maybe that will open up an opportunity to do something else with this passion that I enjoy. 

Right now I have Motobecane Super Strada on order from Bikes Direct that I will be doing a future review on. It departs from the vintage steel bikes that I love to ride but comes fully loaded with the latest tech such as an external bottom bracket and a Shimano Ultegra 22 speed groupset. The Frame is still made out of an alloy, however it's an aluminum frame with a carbon fiber fork. At 19.5 pounds, it will be about 4 to 5 pounds lighter than the Woodrup when it's all said and done. Spec for spec it can be compared to a Cannondale Caad 8 in performance, but with a nicer groupset. This year my goal is light, fast and efficient, and this bike seems to have all three. It's not a flashy bike but it will soon be the workhorse of my stable.

Another goal that I have is to keep up with one of my childhood friends who will soon be visiting me. He was a beast on the bike when I was 15 and today he is a semi-pro level mountain biker. I'm trying to fit at least one mountain bike ride a week to be prepared to ride with him by the time he visits me. Last year I was all about road cycling for most of the year, this year I will be mixing it up on both the trail and on the road. 

Setting goals every year is important for anyone wishing to maintain a physically active lifestyle. As an adult with a family in tow, I know firsthand how easy it can be to be lured into the complacent mindset of "I'm too old" or "too busy" to be doing this. We may have friends who were once physically active and have allowed themselves to drift into that way of thinking. Setting goals allows us to keep our head above the water in this sense. It allows us to get rid of distractions or excess baggage in our lives or at least know how to deal with the baggage better. It promotes a positive mindset because we always have something to look forward to as we strive to stay busy. It keeps kids (and adults) out of trouble and keeps their minds out of the gutter. It keeps us disciplined from eating in a way that will mess up our progress. Some people keep a journal of their goals. I used to be one of those people and that is a great practice to have. Setting goals down on paper (or in this case, my blog) commits the mind into action and is a great way to see how far we've come along after a certain period of time.

To those who have a hard time committing to their health goals, all I have to say is "don't be that guy (or gal)". At the end of the day, no one likes a victim and no one wants to hear sob stories about someone who would of but could not get in shape. Some people have all the emotional support, coaching and equipment or accessibility to it to get themselves in shape, however they lack the desire. Desire is not something you can buy on a carbon fiber bling bike. It is not something that someone else can have for you. Desire comes from within. It is a powerful force that drives people to change and to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It's willing to put in the hard work and the self discipline knowing that their is no easy path to success. It's watching the pounds slowly inch away on the scale instead of becoming bulimic and expecting an overnight miracle. 

Just remember, if we push hard enough, something is likely to stick. We may lose progress in our fitness from year to year, but eventually good habits will catch up to us as long as we stay consistent. Some people have to go at it alone, because neither their peers nor family members care much for what they are doing. That's okay, the key is to be a positive influence on others, even if that means being left out or skipping the dinner plans for that evening. That might seem inhospitable or unsocial at first glance, but they will eventually get the point as to why you are doing it. Once others see our gains they will want to follow. We must also realize that all people are skeptical by nature and reluctant to embrace new ideas. When people see our results, they will want in on our little secret and they too will follow us eventually. Sometimes WE have to create a following, lead by example and grow the interest in both cycling and healthy living in our area or surroundings. I definitely speak from experience on this matter, so feel free to quote me as the source. 

That's all the updates I have for now, stay tuned and subscribe to my blog and YouTube channel for more informative posts from A Bicycle's Point Of View.