When we first started squawking about parts availability 8 months ago, we were a bit of a voice in the woods. Now every 3rd grader is an expert in global supply chain logistics. Are we smarter than a 3rd grader? That was the show, right? Maybe. The answer is maybe.
Carbon rims have been a bright spot for us. Though shipping times have been extended, we've been able to keep most of the rims in stock, or have them on the way when they go out. GOATs have been a bit tough to keep around, but (once I drop some Rail 55 and HotFoot options in there) we have all of the other options in QuickShip™ at the moment.
Traditionally, we have always been all about the colored hubs. While we still love them, 12 week lead times from White Industries made the rainbow a little narrower than usual. The good news is that we've had a conga line of orders placed with White over the last 6 months, and so we've been able to keep them coming and keep lead times down to reasonable lengths. There's no end to the long lead time situation in sight, and so we'll keep doing this. Black hubs from White Industries are the locomotive of our business.
Industry Nine and Chris King hubs have just laughable lead times. Apart from a trickle of I9 hubs that we're able to get from a wholesaler that's had orders coming in, it's a long wait to get them. Control what you can control, and we can't control this. We're happy to do builds with them, but they do require a wait.
Bitex hubs have made a strong case for themselves this year. The disc hubs in particular are quite good, and they present a compelling price trade off compared to White Industries hubs. In particular if you are building a secondary set of wheels for a one bike/two sets of wheels scenario, they make a lot of sense. Plus with the oil slick finish, they work out very nicely.
We've hunted high and low to keep spokes on hand this year, and that's been a unique challenge. As a result, our spoke cost has gone up remarkably this year as Sapim has been unable to keep things in stock and fead the beast, but we've had good success finding what we've needed. We have to hope that this one gets back to normal soon, as boy does it eat up the clock as well as the cash.
HED rims have always been a favorite here, and we've been able to keep them on hand. Things are wafer thin right now, but we are expecting some renewed availability imminently. Fingers crossed that the incoming new comes in before the shelves get too dusty.
A lot of the other stuff that's not as core has just been unavailable. There are rumors of some rims coming back in after long absences, but birds in hand and all of that.
There's no way to say it other than it's been a tough tough year for supply. We don't enjoy needing to pare down your option selections, but we're happy to be able to build you our favorites without asking you to wait too long. Particularly now that the best season for riding is upon us, it's nice to be able to have reasonable turnarounds.