Cost of cycling (and other hobbies) crisis?
Wity such a looming and real cost of living crisis, are we about to see a real reduction in available disposable income?
Couple that with higher prices post pandemic, the peak of *how much* you can spend on a bike or kit and the increased cost of travel to get to many MTB venues or routes.
We were chatting this morning about the cost of our other sports – hill walking, canoeing, road/touring cycling Vs MTB costs. All our other activities are cheaper and/or kit lasts longer. Travel is the one thing we still do a lot (too much) of…but perhaps we need to use public transport more.
Could we see the boom mid-pandemic become a collapse of sales?Posted 2 months ago
Are people going to ‘trim thier cloth’…?
For me no but all my bikes are built to be reliable, cheaply repaired and I dont drive to ride more than occasionally.
Those that use the latest and greatest parts and drive to ride it coukd be very differnt. I rarely spend more than a couple of hundred on parts per year and usually much lessPosted 2 months agofrankconwayFull Member
Would be surprised if there wasn’t a collapse in non-essential/discretionary spending and an off-loading of shiny stuff.Posted 2 months agodovebikerFull Member
Giving that the £/$ exchange rate isn’t moving in our favour ergo the price of bikes and bike parts are going up.Posted 2 months ago
Add the increased costs of mortgages, loans, heating and food many folks are going to have less disposable income which means less to spend on leisure and hobbies.
Me personally, I’ll just be keeping stuff going, replacing anything that breaks/ wears out.
If you buy for fashion, sure.
If you buy for function then it’ll be negligible.
You can (re)learn to use cheaper alternatives if you really want to.Posted 2 months ago
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Yes my disposable income has absolutely tanked over the last year and we didn’t have much to begin with. Full time childcare will see to that even before any of the other rises.
It hasn’t really effected my riding. Once I’ve got a bike and kit I don’t keep buying more bikes and kit. I’ll certainly be keeping my pretty average bike for longer than I intended but I’m not too bothered.
Everything else I had planned is off the table. Holidays, new cars, motorbikes etc. Absolutely no chance.Posted 2 months agoandrewhFree Member
I’ve got some good bikes and some good kit. I don’t need any more.Posted 2 months ago
The odd bit here and there but most of my stuff is from ebay or the classifieds,just bought a couple of winter gloves for example but I’ve got everything else I need.
So no need to spend big sums on kit, some brake pads and some tyres each year, maybe a chain and cassette.
The thing I am feeling is the travel costs to races going a bit mental, I’ve cut back on that, more local riding, fewer trips away.
My other sport is running. Again, all my kit is already bought and paid for, and wasn’t much anyway, but a bit less travelling this yearwboFree Member
Already happened as the price of bikes has gone up so much. I know people who’ve encouraged their kids to go running and orienteering, but biking is not an option as it’s way too pricey.Posted 2 months agodoris5000Full Member
I suspect the MTB industry will be better insulated than many! It’s an expensive hobby, and the Singletrack surveys page shows that the average STW survey taker is vastly more wealthy than average.* The people who spend £8,000 on a bike probably don’t worry about keeping the lights on. And the people who buy one bike per decade will carry on as normal.
But certainly this is an issue. I know a lot of people who work in hospitality who are very worried that people will stay out of bars and clubs this next year due to a lack of discretionary income.
*There are always howls of indignation when someone suggests this, but according to Statista, a household income of something like 80K would put you in the top two deciles for the UK. And the surveys page shows that probably half the STW readership would land there.Posted 2 months ago
It’s an expensive hobby,
Only if you want it to be. Lidl, aldi and decathlon kit and secondhand bikes kept for years using cheap and long lasting parts makes it a cheapish hobbyPosted 2 months ago
I suspect the MTB industry will be better insulated than many! It’s an expensive hobby, and the Singletrack surveys page shows that the average STW survey taker is vastly more wealthy than average.* The people who spend £8,000 on a bike probably don’t worry about keeping the lights on. And the people who buy one bike per decade will carry on as normal
…..but, I always understood that the majority of bike shop customers bought a volume of ‘cheaper’ bikes which dwarfs “occasional” £8k sales….?
Therefore impact on low and middle earners may be pretty dramatic, and most felt by expensive sports such as ours.Posted 2 months agovinnyehFull Member
Might be more vulnerable than you think at the top end- I wonder what proportion of those mid-high end bikes are bought on time payment of some sort. It’s one thing buying a bike out of saving, but committing to a reasonable substantial monthly payment for the next couple of years, out of a shrinking disposable income, might be a bit much fro a lot of people.Posted 2 months agodevashFree Member
I’ve got a well-stocked spares box and am quite happy to “downgrade” parts if it keeps me riding.
I like to have shiny stuff but its not essential to the experience. A bike is a bike, riding is riding.Posted 2 months ago
Only if you want it to be. Lidl, aldi and decathlon kit and secondhand bikes kept for years using cheap and long lasting parts makes it a cheapish hobby
How cheap was your custom bike that featured on the front page by the way?Posted 2 months agosquealerFree Member
I’ve always had a number of bikes and they’ve usually always been specced with the high end components – xtr etc.
I can still afford to do that but as prices have risen so much I’ve chosen not to. I now buy slx and the like because to me the enjoyment from the sport has a value and it’s not worth £200 for a xtr mech for example.
I suspect a fair few people are in the same boat now there’s such a gap between the lower end parts and top end parts, it’s just not worth it any more.Posted 2 months agofunkmasterpFull Member
One bike here, HT and don’t carry spares. I’ll be riding less and cleaning the bike more often. Only other hobby is the gym which is £30 a month. Might have to lose that if things get any tighter. Lots of walking and exploring the local forest by foot coming up.Posted 2 months agoswdanFree Member
I think the cost of TJs bike is irrelevant in this instance. My understanding was that’s a special bike bought for a special reason. Nowhere did he say his bike came from Decathlon and nowhere did he say it was cheap.Posted 2 months ago
Very expensive indeed. As above tho bought for a particular reason. Its also required nothing spending on it in 5000+ miles bar one chain link and one oilchange in the hub.
I could have done the tour on another bike i have.
I spend under 100quid a year on bike stuff normally. Last bike i bought was 700 quid 7 years ago. I bought 3 chains 2 years ago which is the last spares purchase i made I think. Bought some brake pads a couple of years ago. I do ride a fair amount year round but components are chosen for longevity. New tyres on my road bike a year or two ago
The point is it doesn’t have to be expensive. Its what you choose that makes it expensive hardtails. 9 spd or hub gears and quality brakepads etcPosted 2 months ago
I was planning a new bike within the next few months. I picked up the bike I ride most at a time when I could afford to spend a few quid (by my standards) on my recently rediscovered hobby – but at the same time I was a relative noob to what I needed. Turns out I chose unwisely. The economy and the diminishing disposible income as a result has caused a change of mind – instead I’m going to make a few tweaks to my existing bike and ride it till it dies or I have saved enough to replace properly. The two should intersect at some point. Component wise I am getting used to deore 12 speed because they seem to be a good balance of price for performance – when I had disposible income I liked the shiney xt/xtr where possible.
Second / third bikes? Well I’ll sell the hardtail, well components of it as well as a few other thigns but anything which will work as a spare for my main bike gets kept. The less I can spend on anything that won’t actually add to my riding the better.
I used to be exactly the sort of rider companies market to – a magpie (loves the shiny) with disposable income. Now every purchase comes with a proper cost/benefit check. I doubt I’m alone.
How cheap was your custom bike that featured on the front page by the way?
If you don’t know the backstory, have a read up. If you do, that was a bit of a dick comment.Posted 2 months ago
I would have thought that the “sport” won’t see much change. If you had a spread of people, from a singlespeeder, deore, slx, xt, xtr then all that changes is 2x single speeders and no XTR next year. Doesn’t help the industry side though.
I’m not sure how healthy/sustainable the sport has been for a long while though. I know you can go into halfords and buy a half-decent Carrera or Voodoo for the same price as a Playstation, but you very rarely see any of them actually out on the trails.Posted 2 months agoScienceofficerFree Member
The point is it doesn’t have to be expensive. Its what you choose that makes it expensive hardtails. 9 spd or hub gears and quality brakepads etc
But you’re not a representative mtber, more on off-road tourer. That kind of gentler riding is much less hard on bikes and components than the pummeling more typical mtbing dishes out to gear.Posted 2 months ago
I think the scottish leg probably put more stress on the bike than two weeks mtbing. 30000ft of descent with luggage
But your point is correct but even so. It does not have to be expensive.Posted 2 months ago
I would have thought that the “sport” won’t see much change.
Norco has just canned their XC and DH factory teams after 30 years of continuous racing. I dare say they might not be the last especially if the World Cup disappears behind a paywall.Posted 2 months ago
If you don’t know the backstory, have a read up. If you do, that was a bit of a dick comment.
I think I gave it a quick read it at some point. Can’t remember most of it. He’s a grown man I’m sure he can cope with someone making a ‘bit of a dick comment’. I didn’t mean it nastily. I’m just struggling financially (ie disposable income shrivelled, having to make decisions about what will last until nextPosted 2 months ago
paycheckyear) at the moment and nothing is cheap so dislike being told it is cheap.sandboyFull Member
Compared to my daughters dance school fees, cycling is an absolute bargain!Posted 2 months ago
I’m with Tj here, if you want the latest trends, fill your boots but if you buy the spares you need to service the bikes you have when in the sales then cycling is a very cheap hobby.
My old man used to spend over £4000 a year on golf club membership in the 80’s!theotherjonvFull Member
I come into the survey high household income bracket, but I can’t believe how much my “disposable” income has got squeezed this last year or so – mortgage on a house in the south east, fuel/energy bills, a child in Uni and another that we have to fund private prescriptions for and other things that we took for granted, but I am struggling to balance the books at the end of the month. Put the violins down, we still have a good quality of life and there is still stuff that could be culled before I send the wife out on the streets, but this weekend has been spent reviewing all bills, eg: I’ve cancelled a load of TV packages. Next step would be cancelling charity DD’s and reducing pension contributions.
My ‘expensive’ road bike was a PX £1500, I have a Brompton for commuting on the BTW scheme (paid off) and the other two are both second hand / triggers broom specials. I looked earlier this year at upgrading the MTB (10 y.o Spearfish bought from here) but my thought at the time was that there would be a market for second hand Covid purchases when people got bored of their new hobby so deleted the Vitus on credit that I had sat in my basket – glad I did now to be honest. I do most of my own fixing so maintenance isn’t too pricey, but parts if anything breaks will be a squeeze.Posted 2 months agoendoverendFull Member
A modern mountain bike doesn’t have that much in common with the bikes that we started the sport with in the 80’s’ish, the mountains are still mostly the same though. The modern mtb is closer in relation to a motocross bike with pedals. Maybe going back to simpler more durable equipment rather than the consumerist disposable market driven gear fetishism we seem to have fallen into would be better for inclusivity and affordability given our economy is rapidly being asset stripped back to the 1880’s.Posted 2 months ago
But you’re not a representative mtber, more on off-road tourer. That kind of gentler riding is much less hard on bikes and components than the pummeling more typical mtbing dishes out to gear
I’ve been beating the shit out of 9 speed SLX and XT for years on the same stem and bars I had when I got the bike, second hand, in 2009.Posted 2 months ago
Thanks to Covid supply chain issues, I’ve already got 2 years worth of bike consumables in the workshop! Bought everything I would need to keep them all going whenever I could find something in stock, sadly all bought at RRP as there were no discounts to be had when stock was so thin on the ground…Posted 2 months ago
No worries sirromj
Its a fair comment
My point was about consumables really.Posted 2 months ago
I’m with Tj here, if you want the latest trends, fill your boots but if you buy the spares you need to service the bikes you have when in the sales then cycling is a very cheap hobby
I am too. I run our bikes on a shoestring, buy second hand, in sales and service myself etc. I however don’t keep LBS or manufacturers employed and open.
My comment is as much about the industry and LBS’s seeing a huge downturn over the next couple of years.
It’s also about folks who do cycle, but realistically won’t have even a ‘Carrera and 9speed’ budget – and may need to find a different, cheaper past time.Posted 2 months agotonFull Member
hopefully bike shops and bike related stuff will keep going.Posted 2 months ago
the biggest saving anyone can make, is to ditch the car.nickcFull Member
I’d echo the comments made by @endoverend. Modern bike components are nothing like they were just a decade ago, components don’t generally break, they’re better designed, and manufactured; SRAM 12sp (for instance) is robust and lasts a stupidly long interval before replacement, working on bikes is simpler, and pretty much everything is home-rebuildable if you have the right tools and a bit of time and skill. I still tend to buy towards the top price-wise, but I generally find those components are either better built, last longer, or are designed to be dismantle-able and repairable rather than some lower value parts that are perhaps for instance, bonded or crimped together rather than screwed together. I have a budget for bike stuff, and it’s not yet having to be used for other things.
My Enduro was expensive, but it’s looked after, and I expect it’ll last me a while longer yet. Thankfully I’m not having to sell stuff, or steal parts from one bike to keep another going.Posted 2 months agoreluctantjumperFull Member
Could we see the boom mid-pandemic become a collapse of sales?
Are people going to ‘trim thier cloth’…?
I was looking to get a higher spec hardtail this year (a Solaris Max to replace my Voodoo Hoodoo) but that has been put on pause for the forseeable and was paused when the pandemic kicked off so essentially isn’t happening, that’s roughly £2k not being spent. The Rocket has a front brake that needs a rebuild (Hope) and the suspension needs a service, both are on hold as I can’t really afford (or more importantly don’t want to drain the savings) to spend £400 on discretionary items for a bike I don’t really use that much when I have another bike that fits 90% of my riding. That other bike could really do with a new set of wheels but that’s on hold until the current ones fail (they’re starting to snap spokes). I have splashed out on a new tyre for it though (at full RRP, that stung!) as the current front isn’t great for winter conditions. So that’s basically a grand I’m not spending on my main hobby until I have to. If it comes to it I can pause any spend on the bikes bar the main one for the winter, my kit purchases are already on a ‘need’ basis.
As for my other hobbies? Still spending small amounts on my RC cars but am holding off buying a new one that’s in the £300 range. The weekend car is having a bit spent on it over the winter, probably around £500 but that’s to do a specific event hopefully next year, I could easily double that without too much trouble but am being sensible. Both the RC cars and the weekend car can be halted if required without any issue if funds do become unavailable.
My disposable income has gone from £5-700 a month pre-pandemic to around £200 thanks to various factors, both on basic salary. That’s a big drop and one I’m not very comfortable with. Until a few things are settled one way or another I’m definitely tightening the old financial belt!Posted 2 months agoneilsonwheelsFree Member
We’ve definitely seen a down turn in sales of of mid to low end bikes in the shop. The high ticket stuff and commuter ebikes are still tricking out of the door. Servicing is still boyant as there seems to be more make do and mend going in.Posted 2 months ago
SRAM 12sp (for instance) is robust and lasts a stupidly long interval before replacement
Counter intuitively, as chains have got narrower they actually last longer as they’ve been made out of harder metal (or better hardening treatments). Some nice graphs on Zero Friction Cycling showing the trend.Posted 2 months ago
Norco has just canned their XC and DH factory teams after 30 years of continuous racing. I dare say they might not be the last especially if the World Cup disappears behind a paywall.
I was thing the other 99.99% of people. The number of people turning up for the Tuesday night ride, or in the car park at a trail center.
But I can see CRC/Wiggle posting lower profits for a while.
‘Carrera and 9speed’
Sales don’t translate to “MTBing”, or even hobby cycling. That seems to be mostly people making rational decisions to buy kids a bike to ride to school (Vs bus fare) or commute to work (Vs paying for petrol). It’s easy to justify a £499 bike when compared to a terms school runs.Posted 2 months agocookeaaFull Member
I suppose the other way to look at things is, is your current bike actually un-ridable?
Or do you just need to familiarise yourself with a few tools and shop about for spares?
Is there any reason you couldn’t just maintain what you have while Liz and Kwassi bollox interest and exchange rates, I mean current conditions won’t last forever, and deferred gratification isn’t such a terrible thing.Posted 2 months ago
Good point about the bike shops.
Certainly when I look at my local bike shop they get plenty of business from a vast cross section of cyclists. They serve the community well and at a good price, and I am sure as a result more people from that particular suburb rely upon their bikes for transport as well as leisure.
I believe we can help with that too… I am almost completely leisure cyclist. Occasion I cycle to the office but as a home worker this is usually a choice not a requirement. So when I need my bike shop to do some work I put urgency down the line. If I have to wait an extra day or so to get my frame bearings changed in order for them to keep a couple of commuter bikes on the road so be it. Those of us who are leisure cyclists can go easy when your local miss their delivery date because someone who relies upon their bike got bumped up. (Yes, I’ve seen this, wasn’t pretty)Posted 2 months ago13thfloormonkFull Member
I might be lucky, I’ve accumulated a collection of mid-range bikes over the years, mostly because it never made any sense to sell them, and only one runs disc brakes, none of them on electronic gears, and none on 12 speed.
Tubeless tyres are probably my most expensive vice, and unfortunately I put a deposit down on a fancy Italian carbon rim brake road frameset pre-Fiscal Event 🙄Posted 2 months ago
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