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  1. #1
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    Fat bike supply and demand

    I'm new to the Fat bike thing, in fact since I don't even have my bike yet, I might not even be "new" yet. I am, however, obsessed and have learned a lot from everything posted here at MTBR and other places. I'm a long time MTBer though with 25 years of riding under my belt.

    One thing I've noticed is the demand outstrips the supply for a lot of things in the fat bike world. If you want tires or a new bike, probably winter shoes, you better have your stuff ordered already, in a month you won't be able to get what you want.

    To the more seasoned Fat bikers - is that a true assessment? Why aren't manufacturers keeping up with demand?
    Big Strings, Big Wheels, The Jisch Blog

  2. #2
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    Age old question. Now that it's a legit genre of mountain biking (i.e. people are taking it seriously), I think we will see more choices and availability. But we are still a year or so off. But do buy now as stock will go away very soon.

  3. #3
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    Fair assessment. On the one hand, it's a good problem to have- demand outstripping supply = higher than expected interest/growth. On the other hand, when it's january and you need a new tire, it sucks.

    The fatbike specific parts obviously go fast. THe extra cool special edition limited color run honestly it's just orange powdercoat that's adding an extra 100g to your rims stuff goes insanely fast. It's usually sold out before it even gets announced.

    As bacons said, it's getting better, but it'll be a long time before it's not an issue. Says the guy who's ordering his stuff early this year.

  4. #4
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    On the other hand, the short supply means no deals. Jenson doesn't have many fat bike parts!
    Big Strings, Big Wheels, The Jisch Blog

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jisch View Post
    To the more seasoned Fat bikers - is that a true assessment? Why aren't manufacturers keeping up with demand?
    Yes it's true. I think they are among the proverbially "fat and lazy". You have to ride them hard to get an honest day's work out of them.

  6. #6
    ejj
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    Because no one wants to get stuck with last year's stock. Everyone is excited to sell this stuff, but the consumers will be looking at sneak-previews of next-years stuff in 6 months. And why aren't people buying the existing bikes and 2013 models? They are available. Just saw the new Muk 2 and 3 at the dealer. Last year's Muk on sale right next to them... Pugsleys are for sale everywhere. Muks on Craigslist. Etc...

  7. #7
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    QBP has added limits to fat bike frames and completes. 3 winters in a row, the market has gone nuts this time of year, both used and new.
    Jason
    Disclaimer: www.paramountsports.net

  8. #8
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    It is a very small market so dealers etc do not want to be stuck with stock and a relatively small increase in demand can wipe out supplies.

  9. #9
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    good points and I want those orange rims...haha

  10. #10
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    Most/all of these parts are ordered from suppliers in large batches months before delivery. So demand has to be estimated way ahead of time.
    The market is changing rapidly so there is concern about holding over 2013 products for the 2014 season. And the market is growing quickly so if you order this year what you sold last year there will be shortages.
    In general dealers and distributors want to sell every part they get with short turn over, and they want to lose a sale due to lack of inventory. Due to profit margins they usually prefer to error on the side of the former is possible.
    So until fatbike volumes get to the point where they are a significant share of the bicycle market or growth tapers off/decreases shortages will continue.
    We may be getting close with the big brands stepping into the market.
    Craig

  11. #11
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    All I know is, apparently I got the last 2 on-one floaters in the US last night. And it's still october.

    A while back, I was griping about this very issue and someone from QBP stepped in to say that honestly, they are producing as many tires as they possibly can right now and that the limits are in the production.

    Which leads me to believe that right now, there's like 2 or 3 machines in the world that can actually manufacture a bicycle tire this size and those machines are running non-stop. Which would indicate that a 4th, 5th and 6th machine would probably help, but the costs of these machines is prohibitive.

    My guess is that fat bikes are nearing a (god I hate this term) tipping point- they're either going to become more mainstream, in which case the number of companies willing to invest in a machine that can make 4 or 5 inch tires is going to increase and supplies chain problems will go away OR fat bikes are a flash in the pan and we kinda continue limping along as we have.

    The fact that Kona, Trek and Specialized are making fatbikes gives me hope that fatbikes are becoming more mainstream, especially since each of these companies has a long history of making (or rebranding) their own parts.

    But I'd be willing to bet that right now, the reason specialized doesn't have their 5" ground controls is because they still haven't gotten their chance to use one of the 3 or 3 machines that can actually make fat tires, and they aren't quite ready to invest in their own machine.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckfiddious View Post
    But I'd be willing to bet that right now, the reason specialized doesn't have their 5" ground controls is because they still haven't gotten their chance to use one of the 2 or 3 machines that can actually make fat tires, and they aren't quite ready to invest in their own machine.
    Spesh will make their own tire machine and the name it the "Epic Tire Maker" and sue all the other fat bike tire manufacturers

    Sorry... I'm totally trolling there

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by duggus View Post
    Spesh will make their own tire machine and the name it the "Epic Tire Maker" and sue all the other fat bike tire manufacturers

    Sorry... I'm totally trolling there
    Wait until Volagi makes a fatbike and watch them name it the phat boy just to f**k with their former masters...

  14. #14
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    While we're trolling I have it on good authority* that Harley-Davidson has seen an opportunity in the fatbike market.

    They're going to pull the motor out of some of their Bad Boys, fit pedals, and sell them as fatbikes. I believe the model name will be a derivative of Bad Boy, the favoured name is Naughty Chap.





    * ie I just made it up.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by duggus View Post
    Spesh will make their own tire machine and the name it the "Epic Tire Maker" and sue all the other fat bike tire manufacturers
    Quote Originally Posted by buckfiddious View Post
    Wait until Volagi makes a fatbike and watch them name it the phat boy just to f**k with their former masters...
    In a bizarre example of lack of communication within a company, the Specialized cruiser design team has sued the fat bike design team for use of "Fat Boy". Shorty after that, the BMX design team counter sued both departments. The Specialized lawyers are working feverishly to win all of the lawsuits.

  16. #16
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    We are at an all time high for choice in the fatbike world. When I bought my Pugs there was no complete bike option and one rim and one tire.

    You may not get exactly what you want within 30 seconds of deciding you want it today, but if you want to ride a fatbike you certainly can and have some nice choices. If you care to plan ahead a bit you can have pretty much exactly what you want ready to roll for your riding season of choice.

    When I wanted new coloured rims I couldn't find exactly what I wanted, but I was able to find black rims and then got them powder coated locally - problem solved. I keep my old fat tires so that a torn sidewall on some new rubber doesn't mean I can't keep rolling - problem avoided.

    I would never sell my fatty in the expectation a new bike will be delivered on time based on the product announcement the summer before. New bikes show up when the show up and you should always keep riding the old one until they do.

    Personally I don't see anything to complain about. We should all be thanking the Bike Gods for how they have blessed us instead of complaining that the purple rims we want to match our nail polish have been delayed 3 months and we just can't cope with turning a pedal until they get here.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  17. #17
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    Some very good thoughts in this thread, thanks.
    Big Strings, Big Wheels, The Jisch Blog

  18. #18
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    vikb says it best, keep riding the old bike until you have your new one in your hot little hands!!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    While we're trolling I have it on good authority* that Harley-Davidson has seen an opportunity in the fatbike market.

    They're going to pull the motor out of some of their Bad Boys, fit pedals, and sell them as fatbikes. I believe the model name will be a derivative of Bad Boy, the favoured name is Naughty Chap.

    * ie I just made it up.
    I suppose Triumph will come out with Cheeky Fellow to compete.
    Let the market decide!

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  20. #20
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    Don't mean to sound sarcastic here, but in some ways I don't see the lack of stock in fat bike items any different from other bike components. Over the years I've wanted many items for my other bikes only to have to wait for the MFG to stop filling orders for bike companies using the same items for complete builds. Then there's the nasty issues of going to a bike shop, they order through QBP, but the MFG hasn't stocked QBP - then I have to find a shop that's an authorized dealer of that MFG, and they get it "Factory direct" - AND - a couple times I wanted to give a LBS my business, but no source had the item in stock, forcing ME to order factory-direct online. Guess what? The MFG has many in house and I get the item the same week. In many of those cases QBP tried helping the LBS out, but if the MFG isn't going to ship, not much they can do. In a few cases I wanted the LBS to make the sale because it was an expensive item that most people will not buy, and the shop may only sell a few of that MFG's bikes every year as compared to the popular brands they sell.

    Right now I'm pushing two months for a seat post I want. Doesn't seem that MFG's can turn around depleted stock very fast in a general sense, so fat bike-specific items not being in stock quite often doesn't surprise me. I'm thinking the issue goes much deeper than just being fat bike related from my experience.

  21. #21
    ejj
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    Surly wants to sell more tires. They don't make their tires--Innova does. Innova is making many many tires, and Surly needs to get in line with the other brands. Innova doesn't want to have stuff sitting around either. You have Innova, QBP, and LBS trying to manage stock/supply as tightly as possible, because profit margins are important, right?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Balogh View Post
    Don't mean to sound sarcastic here...
    I think part of the problem is that bike manufacturers work around a yearly cycle, so the bulk of their product is timed to arrive with the peak demand seasons.

    Unfortunately for fatbike riders, that means inventory is not timed to coincide with the "fatbike season".
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    I think part of the problem is that bike manufacturers work around a yearly cycle, so the bulk of their product is timed to arrive with the peak demand seasons.

    Unfortunately for fatbike riders, that means inventory is not timed to coincide with the "fatbike season".
    +1 - all you have to do is realize this and buy your fatbike stuff in the spring and summer so you are ready for the winter season. Not to mention I hear fatties are rolling fine in the summer.

    Waiting until Interbike in September and then planning to ride next year's product this winter leads to sadness and disappointment. Especially if you do something silly like sell your fatty before your new fatty is in your hands.

    I am ready for Surly's Dirt Wizard tires today [announced this fall as a 2014 product]. I live in the PNW so they would be ideal for my winter Krampus needs. But having been to more than one rodeo I'm not shocked to find out they are still not available and probably won't be until spring 2014. No problem. I'll be ready for them when they get here. I won't spend my time between now and then losing my $hit about something that is as predictable as a Surly Conspiracy Thread.

    The bike industry is doing just fine. We have our expectations ratcheted up about 6 months too early.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  24. #24
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    Get your stuff early. If you wait until January or February your options dry up fast.

    My local shop just posted on FB that they received their 45NRTH order this week. Apparently the Wolvhammer and Fasterkatt boot runs have already snapped up by 45NRTH dealers. Deja vu all over again...

  25. #25
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    Vik:

    How much did you end up paying to powder coat your rims? My local paint shop seems to have a minimum charge of $100 for anything. Does that seem reasonable?

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