As the Weather Warms, Interest in E-Bikes and Mountain Bikes Grows in the Rochester Area – Post Bulletin

ROCHESTER — As the COVID-19 pandemic began to wane this spring, bike shops in Rochester are seeing a return to normal this year compared to the last two.

Bicycle Sports, a staple of the Rochester cycling community for 27 years, is one bike shop in the city that’s feeling the return to normal. Bob Gritman, owner of Bicycle Sports, shared the changes he sees in business.

“There’s definitely interest in people wanting to get outside normally towards the end of a Minnesota winter,” Gritman said. “As far as being busier, it seems a bit more normal. We’ve been extremely busy for the past two years due to the pandemic and people feel safe going outside to do things. I think it’s going to feel a little more like a normal year for us to just be busy in the spring.

Rochester’s newest bike shop, New Spin, located on the northwest end of town, focuses its inventory primarily on e-bikes. New Spin only opened its showroom last fall and is currently going through its first busy season this spring.

A Tern HSD p9 Performance bike on Thursday, April 7, 2022 at the New Spin Bicycle Shop in Northeast Rochester, Minnesota.

Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Nate Nordstrom, owner of New Spin, explained how spring sales have been going for his store so far. “We spent a week there with very hot temperatures and it was very busy that week. Then we’ve been a little slower lately, but that’s how spring unfolds in Minnesota. I would definitely say that sales are increasing.

New Spin and Bicycle Sports have both been hit by global supply chain shortages with their inventory. More often than not, both stores have experienced shortages of replacement parts such as chains, brake pads and cables, and the number of bike models they have in their inventories.

“Yeah, definitely,” Gritman said of the product shortage. “We are now receiving bikes that we ordered 12 to 18 months ago. We have a lot more bikes than a year ago. But there are still big holes with popular items.

New Spin Bike Shop
Nate Nordstrom presents The Riese & Müller Load 75 on Thursday, April 7, 2022 at the New Spin Bicycle Shop in Northeast Rochester, Minnesota.

Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

“I would say Shimano, derailleurs and gearing systems are rare. Shimano is backed up for several years on the drives. I don’t think most people know how backed up the system is right now, it’s really backed up it’s hard to overstate how bad it is right now this stuff is still in circulation but this is stuff that was ordered a while ago we have a lot of bikes on order and a heaps of them have already been moved to next year’s delivery,” Nordstrom said.

Shimano is a bicycle brand based in Osaka, Japan, and a derailleurs is a bicycle’s gear system that makes up the chain and multiple sprockets.

In addition to planning to save supplies for a long time, Nordstrom also considered the impact of current inflation on the bike market.

“I’ve been thinking and researching a lot about inflation, gas prices, and how does all of that affect us? I think overall it’s actually good for the bike industry. I certainly don’t want inflation to continue, but I think we’ll get through this,” Nordstrom said.

Even though Gritman and Nordstrom are facing inventory shortages, both of their stores are still seeing strong e-bike sales. One of the hottest e-bikes on the market right now is the Tern HSD, New Spin’s best-selling bike, according to Nordstrom. Gritman had also said Bicycle Sport’s inventory of e-bikes was one of the best-selling in their store.

For some customers getting into New Spin and Bicycle Sport, e-bikes are something they have never owned or ridden before. Nordstrom compared the experience of riding an e-bike for the first time to riding a Tesla for the first time.

“People are very positive about them (e-bikes), but I’ve definitely heard people complaining about them too. It’s a bike but it’s more than a bike. It is a tool for crossing the city or using it for transportation which becomes much more convenient. You can go faster and easier with all your stuff and you can replace a car,” Nordstrom said.

“A lot of people are researching and buying electric models, and they’re doing well. Specialized is definitely focusing on keeping stock ones as best they can,” Gritman said. “Mountain bikes are still growing a bit, not like e-bikes.”

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