It’s been quite a while since the bike industry was in quite the state. Covid times to be fair but more so in the boom scenario. But has that boom and the greed of the boardroom seen the potential demise of their very industry? Possibly.

As I write this I’m reflecting on the crankworx slope style debacle. I say it’s a debacle with that emphasis more on the organisation over the athletes. We could go on about the athletes timing, yes it was on the eve of said event and location probably didn’t help being possibly the most underfunded (I speculate) round of the entire crankworx series. But the fact is there is never a right time and it quite loudly proved one major thing. The industry is in potential tatters.

Photo Credit: Crankworx 

Wind it back a few months and we have seen some major alarm-bells ringing rather loudly.

  1. Kona’s Buy one, get one free. We all know this is a process to simply move stock. Old stock at that. But put this deal onto current models and the consumers all lift up like meerkats. The development of newer models has commenced and they’re set to deliver. What good is delivering new stock when you’ve barely moved a quarter of your current out going models? Worse yet, brands have gone one further than this deal like Guerrilla Gravity who are now a who??Ponder that.
  2. Major sponsorship models and athlete naming rights dropping like flies. Kirt Voreis (who arguably kept Niner alive to people other than gravel and die hard xc), Sam Pilgrim and Ollie Lowthorpe. All within their own rights they bought something special to their brands.
  3. Bike brands dissolving racing syndicates. If this doesn’t yell at you loudly enough then stop reading. The time when this occurs paints only a negative picture. Major brands like Polygon, Ibis, Devinci, and GT’s closing their enduro programs and race teams only leaves an enormous dent in the manufacturers calendars. It could be debated in this instance that the now UCI lead enduro World Series has been an enormous flop and has possibly lead to this, but it is what it is. When a manufacturer pulls out of the highest level of racing their bikes are designed for, you know the chips are down and this has potentially the biggest ramifications of popularity for new product! Mark my words, it must be a last resort for them.

2024’s summer (northern hemispheres) season is going to be an interesting one. How is crankworx round 2 going to fare? Will they have their showcase event settled and business as usual or have we seen that ship sale for the remainder of the year. I’d hazard a guess and say likely not. But I’m hopeful some cashed up sponsor will come along and potentially save it, clutching it from jaws of defeat in this instance.

Will the UCI’s enduro series bomb even further prompting a return to the almost grass roots series it once was or are they too vested and pig headed to give what the fans and riders pine for?

Will we see a major brand (trek, giant or specialised) do something major and shake things up? I’d say yes. And will we see the medium sized manufacturers flourish in a time of turmoil. Again, highly likely!

Obviously I could mention other external factors like the world’s finances and that’s something I haven’t touched on. But fact is the bike Industry is hurting more than it did in the 2018 GFC which was arguably worse for the world. Has it been self inflicted by the previous few years greed and mere fact they’ve had eyes that are bigger than their stomachs? My opinion is yes. Yes they have.