148 – How Healthy Is The MTB Industry? We Chat with Singletracks.com
Jeff Barber – Founder and Editor of the very popular independent MTB media outlet website, Singletracks.com
On episode #148 it is my pleasure to welcome Jeff from Singletracks.com on the show. Jeff started Singletracks.com back in 1999. The website has grown over the years to offer a massive wealth of information for any budding mountain biker out there, everything from bike reviews to industry news, helping us find the information we are looking for easier and faster.
Jeff and the Singletracks crew also have a podcast (see below for link) which I have been listening to for a number of years, and to be honest it was one of the reasons I started the MTB TRIBE podcast.
Jeff has been riding mountain bikes since a young age and has accumulated a wealth of knowledge from running and writing for his website, including great down to earth bike reviews, trail access issues, the latest gear and components, you name it Jeff and his crew have written about it. Singletracks gets almost 1,000.000monthly unique visitors and has built up a newsletter with over 100,000 email subscribers. Impressive!
So hit the play button and join our conversation where we chat about the health of the industry, bikes, stores, growth, trail access and much much more.
Thanks for being here. Enjoy the show!
- Why Jeff started Singletracks.com
- What Jeff thinks of the health of the MTB industry
- Are we in a inflated bike bubble
- Why Jeff believes we will always see bikes being sold from large outdoor and supermarket chains
- How these large outlets can help people get started in mountain biking cheaply
- How brands work with distribution and how this can end up very complicated
- Why the ordering process for store owners can be difficult to get correct
- Are we going to see small bike brands going out of business in the near future
- Why the industry needs more bike mechanics
- How technology has evolved over the last number of years
- How trail access works in the United States
- Why the increase in bike users may be good for trail expansions
- The business to consumer model and why Jeff believes this is here to stay
- What the future looks like for the MTB industry
- How to follow Singletracks, get in touch and listen to their podcast
We have seen a large growth in mountain biking over the Covid period, everything from people buying new bikes to twenty year old rigs being dusted off and pulled out of sheds. Bike stores have all but sold out of their lower priced bikes ranges and good luck getting your old bike serviced, that will have to wait a few weeks. This is all great news for bike stores, large and small and I suppose the bike industry as a whole. Now we can’t expect everybody who has taken up mountain biking over this period to continue riding when the Covid restrictions are relaxed. A lot of these bikes will be placed back in the shed and not see another trail until similar times in the future, but not everybody will give up. Even if 10% of people keep riding that will be a welcome sight for not just bikes brand and shops, but for us riders also.
We chat about how more riders equals more trails, more community, more health, better mind sets and more biking product being sold, and this can only be a good thing right? After all there is enough space and Miles of trail to cater for everyone, and with more people getting involved it means more customer numbers for trail centres, privately owned bike parks and even more skills courses being attended and sold. I believe the industry is in a healthy spot at this time. But will it last?
We chat about how everything has peaks and troughs, and the bike industry is no different. Jeff has seen the industry grow and shrink many times and we will undoubtedly see this again as history repeats itself. To be honest we may even see this shrink by the end of this year, due to inflated bike sales mainly because of the Covid pandemic, but I don’t believe we will see this shrink continue far into 2021, we just have to give it time to level out.
It has been an interesting number of months for the bike industry and a challenging time also, with distribution issues, bike stores running out of stock and even brands like Trek and Specialized delivering straight to the consumer for the first time in their history. Now, this was only done because of the Covid issues and I don’t think these brands will continue in this manor, but who knows what the future may bring.
So join us as we chat about all things bike and industry related and find out more about Singletracks.com and how you can get involved.
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Thanks to Jeff for coming on the show and sharing his knowledge and experience in the mountain bike industry with us!
And thanks to you for being part of the show!
Join me next week for another MTB TRIBE Podcast show.