By Jamie Leary

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Demand for outdoor gear continues to rise even as life starts to see fewer restrictions, but production of popular items? It hasn’t quite caught up.

“I could sell a bike every single day if we had inventory, if not more than one a day. But yeah, people are looking for bikes they’re calling around, they’re going to different shops and unfortunately there’s just not a lot available right now,” said Bob Hufnagel, long time manager at Rebel Sports in Frisco.

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Hufnagel is still prepping for a busy summer. Rebel Sports will still be renting mountain bikes, path bikes and road bikes for summer. Rebel Sports also does repairs, and the list of bikes in need of a little TLC this year? It seems to be endless. Great for business when Hufnagel can get the parts.

“Parts supply is going to be a big problem this summer with repair work. I know like, 12-speed chains are basically sold out until the fall unless someone is buying them online. Some people will buy them, double the price, and resell them online so that’s going to be really your only option right now,” he said.

The shop has tried to prepare by ordering parts months in advance.

“Just to try to stem off any shortages that we might be facing,” he said.

New bikes are virtually impossible to come by. Normally the shop would be selling its winter fat bike rental fleet, but it’s decided to hold onto the bikes this year.

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“We have to hold off until we have assurances from our suppliers that we will be able to get more bikes.”

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It’s the same for others in the industry. Fly shops say rods are in short supply as well as fly-tying material.

When it comes to outdoor technical clothing, demand is up too.

“There was a reaction by a lot of brands to cancel a lot of products in production, which made factories lay off a lot of employees. So, there was a supply chain void. You have factories without employees, you have mills not making fabric, so it created this backlog,” said Jon Frederick the U.S. manager for Rab and Lowe Alpine.

Fredrick said some companies decided to switch to a more versatile “soft technical” style, which suited the work from home lifestyle. Others, like Rab, continued production of the products it always offered.

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“And so, what we’re seeing now is this massive demand from retailers saying, ‘listen, our technical space is overwhelmed from demand from by the consumers, but the products from our suppliers, our brand, isn’t meeting that demand because so many of the brands are still making this sort of what’s called soft technical,” said Frederick.

While the backlog of technical clothing and hard goods are slowly starting to pick back up, meeting the demand is going to be a challenge for retailers in the high country this summer. Especially when it comes to the more popular items, like bikes.

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“Unfortunately, now your best option is to look at preordering a bike for next season. So, ordering a bike for the fall when the 2022 bikes start to become available,” said Hufnagel.

Jamie Leary