Photo by Kyle Kelley
I like bike shops, and that means I support local bike shops because if we all stopped supporting bike shops, there wouldn’t be any left. This may seem like an extreme reality but when a giant corporation like Shimano refuses to stand with dealers, they are, in fact scalping them. Over at Cycling Industry News, there’s an amazing article on how Shimano has turned its back on dealers, to report an increase in yearly sales, only to aide in the decline of bike shop sales across the country. Here’s the gist:
“Today a friend brought in some new Shimano XTR brakes that he apparently bought online for $145.00 a unit, each from Arts Cyclery, an online business. No sales tax, and free freight. My cost is $155 from the only US Shimano distributor. I have been in the bicycle business for 36 years and it looks like it’s over. I can not seem to gather much support from dealers to fight for change. Shimano has control. Their sales were recently reported to be up 14% while bicycle dealers are down 25% and dropping.
I sent two emails to the two top guys at Shimano USA, before I received a response. Their response was to say that there is nothing on the horizon to fix this problem. He said several times during the conversation that he had nothing to say that will make me feel better. He just listened and apologized. If dealers stood up and stopped buying Shimano and Pearl Izumi, Shimano would correct the problem. Most of the dealers I spoke to at the Bike Summit in Arizona were apathetic about it. They know it is a problem, but they are not willing to take a stand. They think they can’t survive without Shimano and I think it is our death knell.”