What's going on in the cycling industry this month? Industry Digest is a peek behind the curtain and showcases articles from our sister site, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. In each installment, you might find patents, mergers, financial reports and industry gossip.
Patent Watch: Trek, Canyon and others patent bike boxes for the Direct to Consumer marketBy: Alan Coté / B.R.A.I.N
A box designed for consumers is precisely what Trek has targeted in a recent patent application, Bicycle Packaging System. The Detailed Description section of the patent filing is surprisingly clear (unlike the broad language common in patent descriptions) about this: “Described herein are methods and systems for packaging bicycles that are to be directly delivered to end users. The proposed packaging systems are designed to be user friendly, and do not require the user to lift the bicycle frame or other bicycle components out the top of the box.”
On Oct. 11, the consumer site WheelBased.com published an article about Trek's patent application. Trek Bicycle responded to that article on WheelBased's Instagram account, saying, "Here's some background information that might be helpful. This is a bike box that we have been shipping in China for around three years. We use this box in China so we’re able to provide access to Trek products across a huge region with a smaller retail presence for a market with 1.4 billion people. It’s helped us get our products to remote areas where in some places there is little to no bicycle retail. We’re not currently planning on expanding its use beyond China."A version of this article ran in the Oct. 1 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.
Vittoria to double tire production with new carbon-neutral facilityBy: Press Release
The Vittoria Group will invest $20 million into building the world's first carbon-neutral bicycle tire facility that will open at the end of next year.
Vittoria's tire production capacity will double at the Lion Tyres Thailand factory in the Bang Pu industrial district, which will employ 400 additional workers. The Lion Tyres Thailand factory premises also will grow to 560,000 square feet and be near the current headquarters. The facility is designed with sustainability in mind with solar panels, intelligent climate control, and increased use of biodegradable and recycled materials.
Canyon CEO will step down at the end of the monthBy: Press Release
Armin Landgraf will step down as Canyon Bicycles CEO at the end of the month, and Chief Financial Officer Winfried Rapp will assume the role on an interim basis.
Landgraf cited personal reasons for his resignation. He will remain a Canyon consultant until the end of the year.
Sea Otter Classic: How things have changedBy: BRAIN Staff
On Thursday, BRAIN spoke with industry members on the opening day of the first in-person Sea Otter Classic held since April 2019.
We had a simple question: What's changed for you and the industry since the last time you were here?
Labor of Love: Why salaries (and profits) are so darned lowBy: Jay Townley // Ray Keener // Rick Vosper
I proposed partnering on a three-part series to Jay Townley and Rick Vosper after reading that the Bicycle Industry Employers Association guarantees a $32,000 a year job to mechanics who complete their training. Outside-the-industry folks were livid. "That's not even a living wage in most urban markets!"
Industry vets on the other hand seem resigned to the trade-off of doing fulfilling work, changing peoples' lives for the better, being immersed in the sport and the gear they love, while making less money than their high school friends and college roommates. To better understand the compensation dynamics at work, and maybe even find some solutions going forward, Jay will address the history below, Rick will explore the supply side in Part 2 on Thursday, and I will finish up with a look at retail in November.
, Part Two
Congressman: Reduced e-bike tax credit 'frustrating' but a startBy: Dean Yobbi
Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) attended the Sea Otter Classic on Friday to count down the start of the e-bike race, but he also took time to recount the progress of the E-BIKE Act to establish a more affordable transportation option.
The industry bids goodbye to FriedrichshafenBy: BRAIN Staff
On Saturday, Eurobike wrapped up its final show here at the Messe Friedrichshafen, counting a total of 18,770 trade visitors and 13,424 consumers. While the visitor count was down significantly from the most recent in-person Eurobike, held in 2019, show officials declared it “a big success.”
In 2022, the 30th edition of Eurobike will take place from Wednesday, July 13 to Sunday, July 17 in Frankfurt.
Depends on what your priorities are.
One can still work in the bike industry and make a REAL good living.
You can look up pay scales for every job/industry/region/etc. Nowadays, it's dumb to complain about being underpaid or overpaid. You know what you're getting into, and the great thing is if you think the pay is too low, just do something else, or don't get into it in the first place.
The pizza can feed a family of four.
So, no sympathy from me, the world works that way if you're willing to work that way.
A check of your profile tells me you live in a city in the midwest, under 300k population. Since I, too, used to live in NE (Omaha), I have some insights into your circumstances. 1) Sub-40k/yr (we'll call it 38k since you didn't specify exactly), while not rolling in the dough, is *absolutely* on par for no college degree and living in Lincoln, NE. In fact, depending on your housing situation, and absent any student loan debt, actually a very reasonable salary I'd say. 2) The city population is under 300k. I know it is a matter of perspective, but Lincoln really is not a large town with sought after positions to be had at every turn. Add to it that you have no secondary education, and your largest skill set is 15 years of 'bike industry' experience, yeah man.. might be hard to get an interview, even with the relative low unemployment. And I say this having spent 8 years in various LBS myself, so I've been there. Personally, I'd consider myself *very* lucky to have a job running a city program--does that make you a city employee? If so, how is that health insurance? All the paid holidays?
If I'm being blunt, it puzzles me that you are under the impression that you have a marketable skill set outside the industry. How many of your QBP reps have college degrees? All mine did, across 3 bikes shops in 3 different states. I'm sure some don't, but unless you have an in somewhere, 9 times out of 10 the person with more than a high school education gets the spot. I spent many years of employment resenting that, but it is what it is. I went back and got my degree, and even though I ended up in a job not in my field of study, I was finding it to be *much* easier to get interviews, call-backs, etc. So while it may be super hard to even get interviews for the positions you want, you have to accept some of that may be due to your credentials.
I absolutely agree that it's not just as easy as 'well just get a different job'. That sort of advice really doesn't speak to the complexity of the situation, nor is it very helpful. On the other hand, I think it *is* helpful to understand that the cycling industry is essentially a dead-end profession. Very low ceiling for earning potential in the vast majority of positions AND not respected by anyone outside of the industry save for maybe other retail businesses. Too many people view bike shops as a 'goof off' job--I'm guessing you have reached this same conclusion, hence why you are exploring other avenues of employment. Hang in there! Absent a college degree, take every opportunity to improve your skill set or add a star to that resume you can. Covid has damped in-person events, but network any chance you get, make as many good impressions outside of the industry as you can. Someone hiring may take a chance on you. Good luck!
@lyfcycles: I'm not recommending this approach! But just sympathetic to this new reality. I was able to subvert the gate many years back and appreciate how key that was to my success.
Please, by all means, start your own bike shop. Pay all of your employees what, $20/hr? Oh wait, you said 'liveable wage', so whatever arbitrary number that is in your employee's minds. Come back to the comment section in 5 years and let us all know how it goes. Thanks.
I make good money now, but it took a lot of work. My dad told me that opportunities weren't going to just fall in my lap. So I reached out for them every chance I got. If I heard about a free or discounted course I could take, I took it. When my employer was looking for volunteers to do extra work, I raised my hand. I repeatedly put myself out there, over and over again. And now I make damn good money, and never even went to college. It had nothing to do with privilege and everything to do with perseverance.
I never went back into that shop to collect the "bonus" cheque. Alpine bikes in Stockbridge- I'm still bitter!
I went back to making coffee. This paid the same for 4 days work as the bike shop paid for 6 days a week.
Well good for you for going back to school. I hope it pays off for you.
Not sure what autocorrect was thinkin
My invite still stands. YOU start your own business. Doesn't even have to be bikes or skiing, you can choose whatever. YOU pay at least 5 employees whatever you deem to be a 'liveable wage'. YOU take all the risk, make all the investment, etc. then come back and tell us how it goes. But you won't because it's easier to regurgitate daft Marxist dogma and tear down other people's hard work than it is to make the effort to do better yourself. It's a poisonous mindset, steeped in victimhood ("cause you're not the one being f*cking exploited."). You know nothing of the life I've lived man, don't lecture me that I'm not the one who is being exploited. I'm not your bogeyman. On that note, employment is a contract. Don't like the pay? Don't work the job. Want more pay? Become more valuable to your employer. Stuck because of low wages and high living costs? Get roommates, form a co-op, remain dedicated to your goals, and have patience.
I'm all for collective bargaining, co-ops, and employee-owned companies. All great. If that's what you're after, go work there. But don't come to the business I run and tell me that because YOU don't think I pay my people a 'liveable wage' (a purposefully vague phrase with goalposts that are ever shifting) that I shouldn't be allowed to operate. The absolute arrogance of such an assertion is staggering.
What does 'depending on output' mean? I take it that $18-20 is not a flat hourly wage and somehow commission based? What were the responsibilities for the position (sales only, wrench and sales, management, etc)? Were all the employees making that wage, and if so how many employees? Where was this shop located? Own the building or lease? Seasonal riding or year round? Lots of things factoring in here, I am genuinely curious about the circumstances.
> Where does this idea come from that a business exists for the primary function of providing a paycheck for its employees?
At least in USA, that's the rationale for giving significant preferential tax treatment to corporations: because they're "supporting the public good", a la hiring employees.
Corporations shouldn't have it both ways: paying such low wages their employees are on food stamps, yet *also* get to claim those employees on their taxes.
An incredible Historical story of a Lady that i once did work for, told me she was involved with the person that started Mountain Biking- In Crested Butte CO., before Fisher and Breeze laid claim to its inception.
We sat for over an hour as she told me several wild stories of this guy and how He started the mountain bike seen in CO. and how He was heavily involved in a drugs and crime. One in which stuck with me the most, is when at night she lay asleep and some hit men fired shots into their bedroom window.
I told her she should write a book about it; No BS !!
Companies pay the maximum of minimum wage or market rate for that type of work in that area.
Corporations can and do pay low wages for skills that aren't highly valued or are in extremely high supply. People should focus more on what they can do to become valued at a higher rate vs complaining about companies paying too little. If their skills were worth more, companies would have to pay more because there wouldn't be a large supply of people willing to work for low pay.
"Corporations shouldn't have it both ways: paying such low wages their employees are on food stamps, yet *also* get to claim those employees on their taxes." 100% agree. The Walmarts, Amazons, Ikeas, etc should not get the tax breaks or business incentives that they do while paying the wages that they pay. The cost of doing business should be on them--the extra 60 jobs a Walmart provides in a small town does not make up for the wealth extraction they cause in said town.
All that said, it's not exactly apples to apples. A 6 person accounting firm is not Walmart. An 8 person bike shop is not Amazon. Those businesses aren't getting payroll subsidies. They have work they want done and are willing to incur a cost to have it done in the form of wages. For every Walmart or Amazon, there are literally thousands of small businesses just barely getting by. I live in an area that has mandatory wage increases (Oregon). Four years ago you could hire someone at $10.25/hr, now that person costs the company $12.75, and will be $13.50 next July. That's anyone, regardless of experience. And people don't think this has a real impact on everyday local goods? Even pre-covid you could see these impacts, nearly every fast food place in town raised its prices. Our bike shop raised it's rates. You going to pay the high school kid that you have answer phones and change flats $13.50/hr? Or are you just not going to hire that kid? Cut hours of other employees? Or are you going to hike prices so you can continue to cover payroll? Not too many millionaire bike shop owners out there, let's be real here.. it's not like the owner can just 'cut their bonus' or whatever.
I don't mean to put words in your mouth--I'm not saying it is you that holds such stances. And I want to be clear here, I absolutely agree that, in the US at least, we are due for some major systemic changes. But dull takes like 'if you can't pay your employees a 'living wage' you shouldn't be in business then' just don't speak to the complexity of the problem. Forcing small business to pay people a certain wage just shifts spending habits online, to the Amazons, Chain Reaction, etc. and makes it less possible for small businesses (you know, half of a community) to exist.
Would have been a lot more lucrative to flip burgers since I probably put 50% of what I earned back into the damn job!
It's a brutally sad state of affairs; it's true many LBS owners are between a rock and a hard place with regards to being able to afford to pay better wages. There's a very small cross section of those competent enough to get it right (which is really hard to do!) and will choose to pay workers a living wage. Even for 'savvy' shops making all the 'right' choices - running lean, prioritizing service, investing in retaining good workers, etc, this almost always requires a willingness to accept a firmly middle-class standard of living, ostensibly what everyone who works full time should deserve.
Unfortunately and predictably, most of the big 'successful' IBDs also fall under the category of having ownership that will choose to be exploitative of workers to earn top spots in that 3% profit category and be able to afford the lifestyles they feel entitled to as bosses who succeed at business. They'll throw their weight around local markets, compete ruthlessly with smaller shops, poach rising talent with the promise of a modest raise and bare bones benefits, grind them to the ground in toxic workplaces for a few years, fire them for having a bad attitude when the burnout and disillusionment sets in, and move on to the next. Of course, these are the big accounts that have hoovered up all the inventory during the 'bike boom' and are the only ones who have been in a position to line their pockets during this awful mess.
While those guys definitely suck, the real villains (and winners, unfortunately) are the big industry players who have been willing to aggressively compete in a consumer market gone haywire and have no qualms with sending OE overstock out the back door and generally playing ball with online retailers, pushing more vertical integration, and, of course, actively cannibalizing the brick and mortar retailers and service providers.
It's not getting better either - even the fringe benefits are disappearing. How many brands do you think will reinstate employee purchase programs when inventories rebound? If that ever happens, anyway...
And I haven't even TOUCHED on how awful customers treat workers. Lots of y'all are in these comments, and we see you. Yeah, it's 'just' bikes, that's why we can't have a living wage... try telling that to some jerk who is better than you because they *simply decided* to get a better job, who doesn't want to hear it'll be 4 weeks before they'll be able to play with their fancy toy. Somehow they can't seem to understand that a bike mechanic isn't also a factory or part of the supply chain, yet they're the smarty pants who deserves the big bucks... sure...
Done both, professionally not even a remotely close skills comparison.
Bike mechanics are SO simple by comparison.
Electronics, combustion, HVAC, some chemistry/tribology, paint/detailing and and an insane amount of mechanical systems. on a car all jam packed into a tight space that's impossible to work on and seized in place by years of dirt and rust grease and rot.
There are some skilled and smart bike mechanics out there. But there just isn't enough complexity on bikes for me to agree with your above statement.
Auto mechanics are grossly underpaid compared to other trades as well.
Not referring to the guy changing brakes and oil all day, but the ones getting the diagnostic jobs.
Bottom line appreciate good mechanics they are skilled and underpaid. So much so that the good ones are almost impossible to find as they were smart enough to do something else.
Good luck extracting that for an hour diagnostics for a bike!
Btw, we don't charge for putting air in your tires or for valve caps...keeping it reasonable keeps customers reasonable
Same dude; I can't believe these guys only make $32k a year, they need to get payed more!
And yes, margins do tend to be better on service and accessories. But that doesn't change the fact that the margin on a $5000 bike is good for business.
Not to mention any bike that goes through the season ends up needing to be discounted, so now we're talking 15-20%.
I'm not sure if we are saying the same thing or not, I know they suck, lots of OH&P hence my original post....with slim margins already....paying mechanics more cut into the overall financials of the shop, so the shop is less profitable or they can sell for higher than MSRP which is not viable...
40-45%…..Damn that would be nice.
I get your original point though. People want a good wrench to make more than $16/hr, but scoff when their repair order comes out to $120 for 2 hours work+supplies.
but that's the point, it's gotta come outta somewhere!
Interesting that no one has answers my initial question — what is worse, the company that takes the money, or the government that takes your money and gives it to these companies?
I’m not sure how you can’t say the government isn’t the worse party in this scenario, because it’s the source of it all. If the government wasn’t there to feed the beast, it wouldn’t be a problem.
Personally, I’d prefer as little as either form of socialism as possible. So I’d prefer to vote for a candidate who’s going to take as little of my or your money as possible, because the less money the government has, the less it can mismanage and abuse it at my expense.
The government has basically a couple jobs, to help keep people safe and healthy. Neither of which is done with cronie capitalism, or out of control free markets. What you end up with is over 700,000 people dead within about 12 months, with the corporations making record profits. All
while adding $7.8 trillion to the debt to be paid for by the middle class. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Our previous administration proved that time and time again. Still people don’t listen. Free markets don’t solve humanitarian issues, they can create them if they are not regulated enough.
You don’t have to convince me — I figured out a long time ago that neither party has my interest as a middle class person in their hearts. So F them both. And if you ever think our debt will shrink, you are sadly mistaken. We are screwed and it’s never going to happen.
Do bikes do this perfectly? Of course not. Are they better than the equivalent motorcycle, auto, powersports products? Absolutely.
The lucrative patents are probably now in reducing the cost of manufacture of the jars.
Anyone who started a bike shop to get rich needs their headset adjusted.
Anyone who works in a bike shop passed 30 years old needs to set their sights a bit higher if they expect to retire at 65.
Many shop owners will own another business too, but even if not, bike shops are doing very well nowadays. Plus the business can buy the car etc. so they get to have a new Transporter to the tune of £60K without having to pay for it personally.
I’m in the UK and mechanic wages here are not good- I think it was bikebiz who did the survey with most ‘senior mechanics’ taking less than £25k - not sure how that compares to US salary.
How a mechanic in London survives on a £25-£35k salary is beyond me unless house sharing etc.
I think UK average is approx £30k, would be interesting to see how that compares with US salary.
@twonsarelli: - yea as I say it may be miles off, median and average income are different obviously, and median makes more sense to use.
@makripper: she must have been some flight attendant, there are pilots earning less. Yea as I say I’m from / live in the UK, just about everything is rocketing up in price right now, but I suppose it is in most of the world (we have an extra cherry on top called Brexit too)
I’ve seen a scary trend of people not being able to get what they need at their LBS due to distributors lack of inventory and turning to the probikekit’s of the online world. When people are forced to do that for long enough they just stop trying at the LBS…
Not a single inbox enquiry from PB users in a month. Does anyone want a job? Come dig!
Not all mechanics get to work on tons of $6000 rigs
It’s a super easy and fun job so a lot of people want to do it - driving the cost down.
Dream: working on 6k rigs
Reality 1: Row after row of under $500 bikes from the box stores in the shop to fix crap parts installed wrong at said stores.
Reality 2: Afternoon of changing tubes and 10yrs old bald tires
Reality 3: Explaining why it will cost $150 to fix the bike that hasn't been to a shop in 10 years
Otherwise I've rebuilt my bike from the ground up and even made some homemade tools because who the f*ck is stupid enough to buy a headset removal tool when a pipe does the trick and a headset press when a long bolt and some washers do the same job?
Your can feed a family of four with a pizza!
Seriously, 32k? That’s McD’s income and no one expects you to get it right. On the opposite side, it’s a bike, not a hard thing to work on. So, not surprising it doesn’t pay more.
Any thing else you want to know snowflake?
@takeiteasyridehard: Sure some carbs are simple and some bike parts are considered, I would still do anything on a bicycle before doing the valve job on my motorcycle again, it was a 10h job! Enough time to rebuild my bike from the ground up! Pointing out super specific examples of things that are complicated in the bike world (that one derailleur by Campagnolo, the bladder in that I've damper) isn't much of an argument when they're rare parts and absolutely all motorized vehicles have more complicated parts.
95% of consumers 'can' fix their bikes, but do a pretty crummy job.
Back in 1982, as a second year apprentice autobody mechanic, I was making $13.00/hr, straight time, but there was a bust in the economy coming, and things were starting to slow down, so shop owners decided that rather than layoffs, to put apprentices @ journeyman rate ($15.00/hr at that time), but FLAT RATE. Flat rate means, if there are 4 hours in the estimate to fix a box panel on a truck, and you do it in three, bonus for you! If you do it in five, sucks to be you! But in this instance, their end game was 1) not have to lay any one off. 2) Not have to pay anyone to stand around if there was no work. Sadly by that fall, things had gotten worse (economy wise), and there were layoffs....
Long story, but just trying to illustrate that I was making what is now minimum wage in my Province (Alberta) almost 40 years ago!! **and just an FYI, IIRC, shop rate was $35.00/hr And by the time you're a journeyman, your total investment in tools was probably on the far side of $15K in 1982 $$. (so easily $60K+ in todays $$) As an example of inflation, one of my body hammers I paid $27 for back then is now over $100 !!
Someones making $$ in the bike industry, but it's SAF not the guys on the tools in the LBS. The only way it could be worse for them is if THEY had to have their own wall of tools, because Park Tools is every bit as expensive as Snap-On stuff.......
With that rate of Salaries you can come and take us, East EU guys to become your mechanics ,we will work for your gready souls! so Owners can buy lambos!
Having participated in the carbon market as a farmer who sequesters carbon (allegedly) I can say it is all about making money for the middlemen and regulators and there is really no accountability or follow up to see if the required practices are actually being followed. Send in photos of your seeding machinery and acres. Here is your check. Never a soil test to see if organic carbon is rising, never a visit from anyone to even ask questions or look for answers.
What's the first rule in fighting a war? break the supply chain.
yes the globalists are winning and you are cheering them on.
2nd bike job - bike mechanic - $25 - 21yrs old
3rd bike job - Store manager of bike shop - 60K salary a year - 25yrs old
4th bike job - District manager of a major bike company - 100K salary a year. - 27yrs old
Bike industry was always good to me and helped me build my Resume to allow me to get to my current career path as a OPS Manager in the Manufacturing industry