Ripley AF 34

Feb 10, 2021

Where's My Bike?

Buy­ing Bikes in the Time of COVID

To all our cus­tomers wait­ing on their bike:

As the world enters year two of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, the most com­mon phrase we hear in the bike indus­try has changed from I was just rid­ing along” to When is my bike going to be ready?”

In 2020 we shipped far more bikes than in any pre­vi­ous year in our 39 year his­to­ry. Despite many chal­lenges, it was our best year ever. Also in 2020, we received far more orders for bikes than ever before, by a huge mar­gin. The result of this is that lead times on new bike orders to our deal­ers stretched to unprece­dent­ed lev­els. Some deliv­er­ies on recent deal­er orders won’t be ship­pable until March of 2022

In addi­tion to the mas­sive increase in orders, there has been a series of unfor­tu­nate events that have added delay upon delay for most of the bike indus­try, and in some cas­es, bikes our cus­tomers have been wait­ing for. 

Ripley AF head

The Prob­lem

Unprece­dent­ed sup­ply chain issues are affect­ing every type of ven­dor at every lev­el of the man­u­fac­tur­ing process. We have seen the orig­i­nal ETA on some deliv­er­ies slip by over six months. These delays direct­ly affect our promised deliv­ery dates. 

Anoth­er prob­lem is in ship­ping with port delays. COVID-19 pro­to­cols have reduced port through­put. There has been a dra­mat­ic increase in incom­ing ship­ments caus­ing the ports to become a park­ing lot of con­tain­er ships wait­ing to unload. This can add 1 – 2 months to ocean deliv­ery times.

Our ware­house is full of almost bikes”, wait­ing on key parts. Our esti­mates for deliv­ery dates are based on frame avail­abil­i­ty, as we know exact­ly how many frames will be avail­able each month.

Our frames have been com­plet­ed large­ly on sched­ule, and now the rate-lim­it­ing fac­tor has become com­po­nents, main­ly dri­ve­train. We expect to see improve­ment as the year pro­gress­es, but we are hes­i­tant to make any pre­dic­tions due to the lack of good infor­ma­tion from key suppliers.

How we solved some issues

Ibis has been scour­ing the earth to find alter­nate sources of key miss­ing parts. We now reg­u­lar­ly pur­chase parts at sub­stan­tial­ly high­er prices and air­freight them (rather than ocean) to save time. We have even paid retail for parts on eBay to help deliv­er bikes. Need­less to say, we’ve nev­er expe­ri­enced any­thing like this before.

Our San­ta Cruz HQ is packed from floor to ceil­ing with almost bikes” await­ing key components.

A brief word of advice

Do not sell your cur­rent bike until you have your new one! We can’t tell you how many peo­ple have sold their bike in antic­i­pa­tion of their new one arriv­ing, only to be told their new bike was delayed. 

Thank you for every­thing, and look­ing for­ward to get­ting a lot more of you on your new bike.

Hans Heim, CEO