Navigating 2022 MTB Products and Getting the Most of Your Current Setup
We’re sure you’ve heard all about manufacturing, shipping, product sitting at customs, etc, etc, etc. Well, let’s look at some of the realities and solution of 2022 MTB Products to help keep you on trail, riding your bike and stoked.
We can break it down into a couple areas that affect the typical rider.
Product availability and how to stretch the service life of your existing parts.
Without writing a thesis on the product availability issues I’m going to try to break it down into the basics of what we see in the market and how its changing product availability and purchasing.
New is still New! Ibis launched the USA made Exie for 2022
Bikes & Bits
2022 MTB Bikes
The pandemic’s rush on sporting goods doesn’t really affect bikes in the tiers that BikeCo.com works. Sport to pro race level bike sales have continued to grow over the years, but not at the explosive, and frankly unmaintainable, rates that say kid bike sales have exploded during the pandemic.
So why the delays and wait times on bikes at our level? Manufacturing slow downs from staffing legislation both domestically as well as overseas have had a big impact. Shipping and customs have been another choke point for product. (A lot of our local trails overlook the Pacific and the amount of ships sitting waiting to be unloaded is a literally staggering thing to see)
Brands have been forced to really look at what can be produced and in what windows. In order to protect their markets, as well as their dealer markets, most bike brands have gone to allocation models providing dealers access to a specific amount of goods per timeframe.
How does the allocation model protect the market? Well, its based on previous sales levels so retailers are able to at least maintain during this market transition until we get back to the old normal or define the new normal. It also keeps a single entity from putting together orders of scale that would push the quantity of dealers down which would dramatically affect the manufacturer’s market equity having “all the eggs in one basket” so to speak.
Some manufacturers have set exact size / color / build options and quantities that retailers will have access to. Others have an allocated quantity of availability and the dealer can pre-order size / color / build or frame options.
At BikeCo we’ve built out our website to show 3 levels of bike and frame availability to help clients understand ETAs. Under the Bikes & Frames menu we have an In-Bound and In-Stock option.
On this page there are listings for In-Stock products (pretty self-explanatory), In-Production and In-Bound bikes and frames.
In-Production product has been acknowledged as received by either the manufacturer or BikeCo and is in the process of build up or shipment. This is fairly imminent product.
In-Bound product is part of the next allocation window and has been assigned some details depending on vendor requirements and is due reasonably soon.
As products are pre-sold they are removed from the categories in pretty close to real time, so this is a fairly accurate portrait of product availability windows.
You can call, email, chat or use a contact form for more details and to secure products.
Available In-Stock, In-Production and In-Bound products are available with typical deposit requirements. If you’re interested in product that doesn’t show In-Stock, In-Production or In-Bound a pre-deposit option is available to secure a waiting list position for the next allocation. Pre-deposits are minimal deposits on product we have reasonable belief we will have access to (ie, we won’t be taking deposits for tricycles, cargo bikes or things we know we won’t have access to). Chat with our team for details on this. Shop In-Bound & In-Stock Bikes and Frames here.
SRAM 12sp Eagle XX1 Chains: Available in Black, Rainbow, Gold & Copper to add some bling to your bike
2022 MTB Bits
Delayed, but available. That’s been the theme so far. Our purchasing team has stayed ahead of the curve and while it’s not the “order on Tuesday deliver on Friday” model anymore typically we’ve been able to keep a reasonable stock of the right products available.
What’s not in-stock is likely on its way. Our website’s inventory is updated daily to provide local and web clients access to the best parts. Don’t see what you need? Contact our team and we’ll get you the details or other options available.
As of now we haven’t seen the supply chain grind to a stop at our tier of product like you may have heard about from lower end products, etc. The sport to pro race level product has a handful of advantages that have helped keep it in production and inbound.
First, while the margins are lower than the kid or beach cruiser bits the overall value is higher. So in the same shipping space your GX, XO1, XX1 (or equivalent) products will generate more cashflow for manufacturers.
Second, sport to pro race level bikes really do create a trickle down in brand acknowledgement so there has been a commitment to keep the eye candy products coming in.
Toilet Paper Hoarding?
Well, I never was the one having to move my car out of the garage to make room for the pallet of paper goods. That said, I do have a couple bits in my toolbox in case I needed them in couple week window that might be a dry spell for product.
In my “shit happens” kit I have 2 pairs of brake pads, a chain and an old front tire. Car still fits in the garage…
Brake pads can be contaminated in odd and annoying ways so it’s nice to have access to a fresh pair.
The chain gives me the ability to either replace my current chain at about 50% wear, while the cassette and chain ring are still viable and performance will be good.
I keep an old front tire around, not really because tires are hard to get but in case I need it before a last minute adventure when I can’t get to the shop.
These bits have been in my toolbox pre-pandemic and will stay in there post pandemic too.
I’ve been watching availability from vendors and most bits have had some availability or options available.
Let’s say I need a cassette – well, that might have some availability issues and could be a couple weeks out. But, most cassette issues aren’t a catastrophic failure (I’ve never seen one like break in half). So if I stay ahead of the wear rate I can pre-order the bits I’ll need a few weeks out for a drivetrain replacement. If I bend or break a tooth you can bend it back or file it down. If it’s in one of the smaller gears more dependent on each tooth you might skip over that cog when putting the power down. Long and short, there are ways around most issues.
So how can you get the most service life out of your existing bits?
The right sidewall will help you balance damping (increased plushness across small bumps), support (lower PSI for better grip and tire shape), as well as help keep your rims off terrain!
Maintenance (and non-maintenance) to Extend Service Life
Let’s keep you on the trail with your existing kit as long as possible. Here are some tips that we use to keep our bikes running well deep into service life cycles.
A clean bike tends to be a happier bike.
Before each ride wipe the fork, rear shock and adjustable seatpost shafts. This will minimize debris into the seals, foam rings and lube oil which will extend performance.
Wipe your chain, chain ring, derailleur pulley wheels and cassette to keep dirt to a minimum.
An occasional bike wash helps keep dirt and debris away from your suspension pivots.
But, Not TOO Clean
Aggressively over washing your bike will displace bearing lubricants leading to metal on metal contact and premature wear. Be wary when washing your bike not to spray directly into bearing access, etc.
I used to take my drivetrain apart and soak it in degreaser. Looking back, if anything, it might have lead to premature wear. It certainly didn’t extend the life of anything in my opinion. I would make a case that its hard to get the degreaser back out of the areas which will require lubrication. Maybe it was just an excuse to have some garage time alone…
I’ve never been one for the carbon fiber wonder spray, you know that restores that shine your bike probably never really had if its matte anyhow? Well, if you’re into it just be aware when you put it on that it’s likely to contaminate brake pads and rotors. If I was going to use it I would remove the wheels and put them a distance away to protect the rotors. I would spray the fluid onto a rag and wipe it on to avoid overspray on my brakes and pads.
Before each ride use the appropriate chain lube for your riding. We’ve touched on this before and you can read more here – but the jist is this: not enough lube expedites chain wear, which increases the rate of stretch, which hammer forms chain ring and cassette teeth. Use a lube for conditions – a wet lube in dry conditions is likely to attract and hold more debris than a lube for drier conditions.
I also lube my fork, rear shock and adjustable seatpost shafts now and then. There are a variety of lubes available for this – a little dab about once a month will help keep the suspension feeling fresh. Along these lines – occasionally burping your fork lowers, either with the modern burp valves or using a zip tie will minimize gulped air buildup and the negative spring effect which tends to make a fork feel harsh.
Other Odds & Ends
Bolt Checks: a loose bike is wearing out bits faster than it should. A quick review of your fasteners can help keep your bike on trail longer.
Suspension Setup Checks: you don’t need to check your fork or shock’s PSI daily, or weekly, hell I don’t check mine even monthly with a gauge. I do take a look at the sag when I jump on the bike and if it’s notably off I’ll put a gauge on it and correct it. The air springs on your bike are relatively low volume and susceptible to changes based on altitude, heat, etc. Make sure to precharge your pump when you measure the PSI or I can assure you you’re going to “find it low”… Running suspension a bit too plush typically won’t hurt the bike, but it is likely to affect your opinion of how the bike is riding and your enjoyment. Put a premium on your enjoyment and keep an eye on your setup.
Tire PSI, Sidewall & Rim Protection: even after all the years in the industry rebuilding a wheel is outside my scope. So, a folded wheel means I’m not riding until I get one of the guys to fix it. That’s not great.
Keeping an appropriate PSI for your size, terrain, ground speed and style will help keep your rims off those sharp lips that want to eat up your rim and spokes.
Riding the right sidewall technologies will go a long way to keeping an air gap between rim and terrain. The right rim protection is even more insurance.
Shifting: Avoid dump shifting! Just because “you can” push and dump a fistful of gears doesn’t mean it’s a good plan… Check out the video below for details.
Need more details? We’d love to hear from you. Reach out to the BikeCo.com team and we will dial you in the with the best products and service in MTB.
How-To Videos & Links:
Click through the tabs below to see a variety of how-to videos and find links to other blogs on BikeCo.com below the videos!
Links to more MTB Tips & Tricks
Check out some of our favorite Tips & Tricks for the Home Mechanic under the Content menu
MTB Bolt Checks – Simple but Critical To Your Safety
Chain Lube Best Practices. Its that important.
Pre-Ride Cleaning & Lube
Basic Bike Wash Tips & Tricks
Four Ways to Improve Chain, Cassette & Chain Ring Service Life