During the coronavirus pandemic, there was an estimated 22 per cent increase in bike sales from 2019 to 2020; a boom that many retailers and manufacturers have struggled to keep up with.
Such unprecedented demand is predicted to continue over the course of the next 12 to 24 months, notes Jeff Mainwood, head of marketing at Sigma Sports. “Global supply has been constrained due to parts shortages at a time when interest in the sport has never been greater.
“There have been several reasons behind this including the global pandemic, soaring transit costs for parts and additional demands on the import and export of products from the UK over the past year.”
Brexit repercussions, including “freight channel stability” and the added complexities of getting products to customers outside of the UK, are also causing woes, said a spokesperson for Brompton Bikes.
Electric bikes have been among the most in demand. Dominic Langan, CEO at Freewheel, noted that the online retailer saw a growth of 190 per cent, with commuter bikes and leisure bikes seeing a similarly high demand as the public looked to these for their “one piece of outdoor exercise each day”.
With a return to “normal” still a long way off, searching for two new wheels “will require patience” says Peter Lazarus, cycling and active travel leader at Decathlon. His advice is to set up email alerts on websites for when new bikes come in stock and also to look at initiatives that allow you to buy hardly used and good-quality pre-owned bikes at a lower price.
To help you on your quest, we’ve done some digging – below you’ll find stock updates from major retailers and brands to help you on your way to securing some serious pedal power. If you’re unsure which bike to choose, be sure to read our buying guide.
Which retailers and brands have stock in the UK?
- Brompton: Good stock on bikes and e-bikes
- Decathlon: Low stock
- Evans Cycles: Good stock on top brands including Trek, Cannondale, Raleigh
- Freewheel: Low stock
- Halfords: Low stock
- Privateer: Good stock for pre-orders
- Sigma Sports: Good stock on top brands including Specialized, Cannondale, Trek, Bianchi
- Specialized: Limited stock
- Wiggle: Limited stock
Where to buy a bike in the UK
A spokesperson for Brompton Bikes told The Independent that the brand is navigating its supply chain challenges and is “currently producing an average of significantly more bikes per week than this time last year”.
The brand is still managing to maintain a good level of stock, on both its website and in-store, and is regularly replenishing accredited Brompton retailers. At the time of writing, the brand’s electric M2L (£2,875, Brompton.com), which featured in our review of the best electric bikes is in stock and will be dispatched in four to seven working days.
Stock is limited on Decathlon’s website due to high demand. In the past, when bikes arrived at the depots they were often put into storage for a few weeks, or sometimes even months before being sold, noted Lazarus. But, recently, “it is a matter of days or sometimes even hours before the bikes are sold, meaning it is hard to build and maintain stock levels to meet demand”. As summer draws to a close, the stock situation will “likely settle down due to demand falling after the summer holidays”.
If you’re having no luck, it’s worth checking out Decathlon’s second life scheme, which provides hardly used and good-quality pre-owned bikes, but at a lower price. There is a guarantee any bikes will be in excellent working order and you’ll be able to find road, hybrid, mountain and kids’ bikes.
British cycle retailer Evans has a wide range of stock currently available across hybrid, electric, mountain and road bikes and also on leading bike brands, including Raleigh, Specialized, Cannondale and Trek.
Online bike retailer Freewheel noted that there is a “drip-feed of bikes coming in but nowhere near the level of demand and it will be well into 2022 before this situation begins to improve”. It’s not all bad news though, because if you’re after a hybrid, the Ridgeback speed open frame (£599.99, Freewheel.co.uk), which featured in our review of the best women’s hybrid bikes is currently in stock.
Stock at Halfords is currently limited owing to the increase in demand for bikes since the first lockdown, with a range of models unavailable for home delivery. We’d recommend checking if your chosen bike is in stock at your local store. A Halfords spokesperson did confirm that the brand has been able to secure good levels of supply.
Stock is currently good, but Privateer runs on a largely pre-order basis, so stock is allocated to riders as soon as it lands in the UK. Mike Sanderson, CEO of The Rider Firm, said that in some cases, there is a wait time of anywhere between 15 months and more than two years.
Currently, the Privateer 141 complete bike (£3,149, Privateerbikes.com), which took the top spot in our review of the best trail bikes, is available to pre-order for delivery at the end of October.
There’s a wide range of road, mountain, gravel and electric bikes in stock currently on Sigma Sports, including those from top brands such as Specialized, Cannondale, Trek, Orbea and Cervelo. Particular highlights are the Orbea rise M10 electric mountain bike (£6,999, Sigmasports.com), Trek marlin 7 mountain bike (£800, Sigmasports.com), Cervelo R-series ultegra road bike (£4,099, Sigmasports.com) and the Cannondale quick neo 2 SL electric hybrid hike (£2,399, Sigmasports.com).
Similarly, the Specialized diverge base E5 (£1,099, Sigmasports.com), which featured in our review of the best gravel bikes, is currently available in a number of frame sizes. There’s also a number of Bianchi models.
Stock remains limited at Specialized, but bikes are arriving daily. The good news is that the brand still has bike and equipment launches planned for the coming months, says Kirsty Woodcock, head of marketing at Specialized. Stock is going through an allocation process across its retail partners and its website. You can also sign up to receive stock notifications.
Online cycling store Wiggle has faced similar supply issues to other UK retailers and currently, bike stock is limited on the website. But, if a bike you want is out of stock, you can request to receive an alert for when it’s back. And We’ve got some good news for those looking to nab a gravel bike – the Kona rove AL 650 (£899, Wiggle.co.uk) featured in our review of the best gravel bikes under £1,000, with our writer calling it a “highly capable piece of kit”.
For the latest discounts on bikes and other cycling kit offers, try the links below:
Need help choosing your new two wheels? Read our buying guide
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