Posted 10/10/2021 in Bikes & Cycling - Updated 2021-12-08 19:48:36 by DemoDays

Sea Otter Classic Returns for 2021 - The Status of Bike Demos in 2022

Sea Otter Classic Returns for 2021 - The Status of Bike Demos in 2022

The Sea Otter Classic returned this past week after being canceled in 2020 and rescheduled from April 2021 to October 2021. With the fact that many brands had already canceled their 2021 Sea Otter booths and rumors of more brands dropping out month after month throughout the summer, waiting till the April 2022 event seemed like a better option.

However, in our opinion the 2021 Sea Otter Classic didn’t do too badly despite lower attendee numbers and exhibiting brands. Here’s what we discovered on the bike demo aspect for bike brands and their 2022 event season.

Mountain Bikers Using Demo Bikes at The 2021 Sea Otter ClassicFor a lot of bike brands attending the Sea Otter Classic, offering demos is not on the menu because the event doesn’t offer what most would consider a proper demo track for test riding different types of bicycles.

First off, for a lot of bike brands, Sea Otter is not known for being a “bike demo friendly place” even though it’s surrounded by mountain bike trails, dirt roads for gravel bikes and plenty of winding hilly roads for demo riding road bikes and ebikes.

Despite the fact that the event brings in hundreds of racers and their families (the perfect customers for demo rides) you will only see a small fraction of those people using the custom made demo track that Sea Otter created a few years ago specifically for riding demo bikes; there is no specific ebike paved track for electric bike demos and no downhill or single track routes for DH or enduro bike demos.

Cleary Kids Bike Demo at 2021 Sea Otter ClassicCleary Kids Bike Demo at 2021 Sea Otter Classic

There were however a handful of brands offering bike demos at Sea Otter this year. Diamondback and BOSCH ebikes had the largest offering of demo bikes at this year's event and there were a few other brands offering demos as well, like Cleary kids bikes.

Where Are the Bike Demos?

After the world was shutdown for COVID in 2020, bike festivals and bike demo tours by individual brands were all canceled. Even with no bike demos tours or festivals happening, bike sales went crazy and basically every brand sold through their entire inventory and most brands even sold their demo bike fleets to make sales. Now that the world is back open, bicycle inventory has still not recovered and because of that a lot of bike brands do not have bike demo tours planned for 2022 as of this writing.

Along with the fact that there are no bike frames or even bike parts for a lot of brands to create a demo fleet, we spoke with a few brands that flat out said they “don’t need to do demos”, we sold all our bikes.”

Here are a few positive and negative quotes to give you an idea how some brands feel about having bike demos for 2022 or their current status with the bike and part shortage.

Positive Quotes from Sea Otter about 2022 Bike Demos

“Yes, we are full in on demos and getting people on bikes.”

“We will have a bike demo tour with all our models throughout 2022.”

“Yes, we totally believe in putting on demos to let riders experience our bikes.”

Negative Quotes from Sea Otter about 2022 Bike Demos

“We don’t need to do any demos; we sold all our bikes…puff!”

“We wouldn’t be here if we weren’t a sponsor, we don’t have plans for any demos or events for 2022.”

“We don’t have complete bikes, only pieces here and there. We’re not sure what we’re doing for demos.”

I heard these types of responses from a few brands and their attitude was almost combative. “Why would we put on demos when our entire inventory is sold…” one marketing manager said. So it seems that regardless of consumer or possibly even retailer demand, you may not be able to demo some bikes till 2023 or later, or maybe even never.

That’s some of the sentiment coming from the bike industry that consumers will face for the upcoming 2022 bicycle season; so if you were hoping for a demo day on that new bike model you’re been saving up for…keep hoping. Most brands that have presold all their inventory for the months moving forward relayed they are NOT interested in putting on bike demo tours, dealer tours or attending mountain bike festivals for the 2022 summer.

Who will have bike demos for 2022? 

It’s not all bad news out there for riders looking for demo bikes in 2022. We did speak with a few brands that were in attendance and they were happy to tell us the status of their product and promised to update us when they’ll be at upcoming events and when they’ll start their demo programs up again in 2022 and beyond.

These are the brands we spoke with at the 2021 Sea Otter Classic who confirmed they will have or currently have demos happening for their bikes or parts.

Bike Brands Offering Bike Demos for 2022 (as of 10/10/2021)

Keep checking our website for updates on bike demos and bike festivals for 2022. Once we get the info from each brand or bike festival, it will be updated on their individual Business Page. If you find a brand you want to follow, be sure to click the SAVE icon on their Page or event post so you can be alerted when their demo scheduled is updated.

The 2022 Sea Otter Classic will happen April 7th-10th.

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