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The rising price of cycling — why are bikes more expensive and how is the industry coping?

Inflation, Brexit + post-pandemic problems discussed on the podcast

A ​recent feature and video here on looked at how the price of bikes and other cycling-related products have risen sharply in recent years, outstripping the rate of inflation. Plenty of discussion ensued in the comments beneath the article –prompting us to take a closer look at the subject in the latest episode of the podcast.

> The rising cost of cycling — when will this crisis stop!?

Host George, as well as Jamie, who penned the original piece, are joined for the episode by Colin Williams of FLi distribution, who talk through the issues involved from an industry point of view.


While it’s tempting to interpret the price increases as being down to brands, distributors and retailers aiming to maintain or increase their margins, and thereby their profits, Colin talks through some of the difficulties the industry is facing and which mean that the bottom line of companies operating within it is getting squeezed as never before.

And many of those issues are ones over which businesses operating in the sector have absolutely no control – for example, the disruption to the supply chain and manufacturing brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, which also resulted in a huge surge in the price, worldwide, of  shipping containers, forcing costs to soar.

For the UK, Brexit has also had a huge influence in forcing up the price of products imported from the EU – and bikes are no exception.

That may seem counter-intuitive to many people, given the role of the Far East as the powerhouse of global bicycle manufacturing.

But as Colin explains, the fact that many brands service the European market through distribution operations within the EU means that typically products will arrive in the UK from the bloc – adding on not just administrative burden but also costs for distributors and retailers here, with at least some of that additional expense passed on to the consumer.

Given the cost of living crisis, which as has been highlighted by a number of retailers and brands within the cycling industry is forcing people to defer or abandon altogether planned discretionary purchases, it’s not the most uplifting podcast episode we’ve done – but it is one that helps explain what if leading to those price increases we’ve seen.

The Podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify and Amazon Music, and if you have an Alexa you can just tell it to play the Podcast. It's also embedded further up the page, so you can just press play.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Zjtm231 | 1 year ago
KTMcol replied to Zjtm231 | 1 year ago
1 like

You've not listened to it have you?   They put their prices up when the border first became active, MORE than the 14% duty I suspect, and now have reduced that increase.  It is thought to be by opening a bonded warehouse to service the UK market.  This bonded warehouse isn't a "free service" and comes with lots of issues to supply.  So whilst all brands are looking at ways to reduce the cost impact of Brexit, there is in all cases a negative cost impact caused by the new border.  Reducing the negative, does not create a postive in this case sadly.  Does that help with your confusion?


David9694 replied to KTMcol | 1 year ago

How could making goods harder to move around ever make them cheaper? Primary school aged children could tell you the answer to that. 

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