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  1. #1
    meh goodcatjack's Avatar
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    What happens to bikes that don't get sold by the end of the year?

    So, what happens to all those bikes that don't get sold by the time the new model year rolls out? I know some of them hang about at reduced prices in the LBSs and on eBay and places like that, but I'm sure it doesn't account for all of them. Are they chopped for parts? donated to charities? OR is there some outlet for them somewhere which I haven't yet found?

    (I've already searched around, and places like bikesdirect, javabike, pricepoint, Qbike, bicycleblowout, and the sellers on eBay couldn't account for all of what must be out there.)

    someone out there must know. some you who work at LBSs, perhaps? thanks in advance ...

    --alex

  2. #2
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    Bike shops are pretty good at ordering what they expect to sell. They have to be: they *buy* those bikes. So no, they don't get "chopped up for parts." Once a bike is in a shop's inventory, it usually stays there until it's sold or until another shop in their dealer network goes looking for that particular model in that particular size for a customer.

    Manufacturers are in their turn pretty good at not overproducing in a given model year. Keeping in mind that the 2003 model of a given bike is probably identical to the 2002 model except for paint and a couple of parts changes, the frames can be warehoused until finished bikes are actually ordered by distributors.

    Bike shops that consistently buy too many bikes, and manufacturers that consistently overproduce, are not going to survive.

    There are shops that specialize in selling off odd lots of leftovers for the manufacturers they represent. My LBS, for example, is a Trek and Raleigh dealer, and gets in quite a few odds and ends in those brands. They had a 58cm Trek 540 -- a discontinued aluminum touring bike that Trek only produced for two years -- kicking around the shop for a couple of seasons before somebody finally bought it. It was a steal, too; I wish I were that tall. But even in that case, the shop owned the bike and was stuck with it until it was sold.

    Most shops have these kinds of bargains available, but they tend to be in very large or very small sizes, or models that somebody seriously miscalculated the demand for. I've heard that here in the East, there are fewer leftover bikes than usual because the dry, clement weather we've had all year long has led to a banner year for bike shops.

    RichC

  3. #3
    It's in my blood Pete Clark's Avatar
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    They are discounted, just like cars. Got to clear out inventory.

    You can find a great bargain, or a headache. Just don't ever buy a bike because it's on sale. Buy a bike because it's right.
    Next in line

  4. #4
    Year-round cyclist
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    In the Northeastern corner of this continent, bikes are usually ordered to arrive in the shop between December and February.

    By the end of the July, some models are already discounted -- a bit -- because most of the buying season is over. Eventually, shops decide between selling with no profit or even at a slight loss, or wait until the year after.

    Typically, after the end of August, buyers are either utility cyclists looking for something cheap (Winter bike, commuting bike, etc.), or hardcore cyclists who have decided they want/need a new bike (some of them were definitely looking for special prices). The latter can't be fooled too much, because they will usually have seen next year's model on the web.

    If the LBS waits until the year after, it might sell it in the frenetic period when things start to warm up.

    Regards,
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  5. #5
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    My favorite LBS sells their left over bikes on ebay under a different name than the shop. All of the bikes are in good, new condition, the shop just tries to get a touch more than what they paid for the bikes. If you check out a lot of the new bikes on ebay, you will find they are last year's models and other shops are just trying to recover their investments. Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't any crooks out there.

  6. #6
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Some shops around here tear the bike down and piece it out. They wait till spring and rebuilt it better, much better. Than they sell it for a higher price.

  7. #7
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    As Rich mentioned, a lot of the bikes that don't sell after discounting, etc., are bought up at a significant discount by shops that specialize in selling older merchandise. There's a large on near where I live named
    Cycle-Recycle. You can get good stuff at real good prices, but the inventory is typically at least a year old. They also carry some new stuff, and can order new stuff in the lines they carry.

  8. #8
    meh goodcatjack's Avatar
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    thanks for all the replies; really interesting stuff here. I always like knowing how the behind-the-scenes stuff works ...

    -alex.

  9. #9
    usnagent007
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    they repaint them and sell them next year...

  10. #10
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    You might go to your LBS off season, if your area has one. October to June is rainy season here. But they usually have some good deals Rich Clark is right my first good bike was a Bianchi Grizzly designed by Phil Ritchie my LBS had it hanging around somebody ordered it and decided they didn't want it so he had it kicking around it was for a tall person like me. I ended up getting it for cost plus 10 percent and he had to talk me into it and ran a bit of credit for me. It was an excellent bike! LBS'S Rock!!!
    Matthew 6

  11. #11
    Friend of Jimmy K naisme's Avatar
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    Well, here's my .02.

    I have a friend who recently felt she had gotten a deal on a road bike, the salesman stated the bike was new. My friend has ridden road and MTB. Seeing me commute on a road got her interested again.

    She went out and purchased a Flight Deck to put on the roadie. And discovered the STIs were not Flight Deck compatable. Doing a little research it turns out the bike is at least 3 years old, no where near being new.

    She was really upset, went back to the LBS, explained the problem and the LBS flat said there was nothing they would/could do, as she'd already put on clipless, made some other modifications, that would improve the bike for her use. She said the salesman agreed she was a minority of riders that would purchase the bike, and put on a Flight Deck. They didn't even attempt to solve the problem. My friend thinks it is because she's a woman. I think it's they unloaded an old bike off their inventory, and once it was out the door it was to stay out.
    "I will remain the stranger who came from a faraway land." Lance Armstrong

    "The more you drive, the less intelligent you become." Miller "Repo Man"

  12. #12
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Originally posted by naisme
    Well, here's my .02.
    [...]
    I think it's they unloaded an old bike off their inventory, and once it was out the door it was to stay out.
    In defense of bike shops, most aren't big money operations and don't have the deep pockets or purchasing clout of, say, Wal-Mart. (In fact, it seems like few can stay in business more than a few years.) So, it's not unusual for them to take a hard line on return merchandise that had seen significant use. They have to eat the loss.

    In defense of your friend, the shop was remiss since they did not make it clear that she was buying a "new" (i.e. unridden) bike that was older stock. It should have been labeled as to the model year. That's reason enough for not doing further business with them. OTOH, if she got it at a significant discount, that should be some compensation. Given her current situation, there are lots of great cyclo-computers out there for a lot less than Flight Deck...
    Last edited by roadbuzz; 08-26-02 at 05:29 AM.

  13. #13
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    couldn't the individual LBS's get together a form a buying unit to purchase products in greater quantity, thus greater discounts?! it's done in other industries.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    My recent experience with this topic was about a month ago. I wen tto the LBS looking for a new Cannondale road bike. It's a small shop, so they don't carry much inventory. The owner warned me that July is post-season, and inventory at the manufacturers will be low.

    The LBS owner got on the phone and called C'dale. The bike I was looking for (a 2003 Cannondale R2000) was not available October. They were sold out of the 2002 model. Just for kicks, the LBS owner asked C'dale about avaiability of the R3000. Well, the 2003 were not available until October either. however, they had plenty of the 2002 R3000 in stock (all sizes), for $1500 off list (a $3500 bike for $2000)!!!! One problem--it was the "hot pink" version.

    I ended up getting the pink R3000 Si triple in the 60cm that I need, for less than what a brand new R2000 would have cost.

    Moral: sometimes to move "old" bikes, the manufacturers have "fire sales". Damn, I was lucky.

  15. #15
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    CAAD 5 with Dura Ace for $2000? Yeah... I'd say you got a good deal.

    As for the pink... Pink is a very manly colour in cycling. Erik Zabel wears pink... the leader of the Giro wears pink... ONCE wore pink in the Tour... And it's not a nice, reserved, pastelly pink -- it's an obnoxious, rude pink. Kinda makes me misty-eyed for the 80s, in fact...

    It's a tough pink.
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

    The Irregular Cycling Club of Montreal
    Cycling irregularly since 2002

  16. #16
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    It takes a real man to ride a pink bicycle
    Matthew 6

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    I have to admit, when I heard "pink", I was a bit nervous. Then i started thinking, "Zabel, telecom....hmmm." but, obviously there's not a lot of people (even cyclists) who think the same way, since C'dale is sitting on a bunch of them.

    When it arrived, the LBS owner left me a message at work saying, "get down here NOW, this bike is HOTTTTT!!!!" He was right, and I'm lovin' it. At one point (before it arrived) the LBS was giving me the names of local shope that could repaint and powder-coat the thing, if I really hated it. Not gonna' happen now.

    Regardless of color, it was an awesome deal that I was not expecting (BTW, I said it was $2000, but it was $2200).


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