Chain Reaction Bike Shop

Chain Reaction Cycles – again the world’s biggest bike shop?

This is confusing – a new report by the European bicycling trade publication Bike Europe talks about the ‘low’ growth of Chain Reaction Cycles (CRC), calling them the world’s LARGEST bike store. In this blog we recently looked at stats from previous years showing that Wiggle had taken over from CRC based on total sales volume: Has Wiggle beaten Chain Reaction Cycles to the Top Spot?

While it may just be simple rivalry, being the biggest, or the largest or the best is still a selling point. And perhaps it is just in the detail, with LARGEST being about range, they have just over 66,000 products for sale. This may… or may not include product variations (eg, black, white, silver or S, M, L, XL).

In comparison, Wiggle list just over 12,000 products, a mere 18% of the range from CRC. But considering Wiggle have recently been top-dog in sales turn-over, it certainly suggest that a broad product range alone is not the sole indicator of success. Until the reports for Wiggle are out, CRC probably are the Largest while Wiggle may remain the Biggest.

Make no mistake, these are both massive stores with a large customer base. The Bike Europe article talks about Small Growth of only 6% for CRC. They compare this growth to smaller (undisclosed) online bike shops which is where some criticism of this comparison is warranted.

At the top-end in a saturated market with fierce competition from direct competitors and new and niche players, growth is tough. Cycling is growing but the new bike stores, particularly outside of the UK with retailers who serve local markets and are an alternative for new buyers (to the big overseas retailers). Younger online bike stores can also afford to be more dynamic and cater to niche markets.

But critically, is exponential growth always the perfect measure of success – what about stability and sustainable turnover with stable or efficient profit margins?

A few interesting statistics, from the 2014 financial year reporting, the CRC turnover was £153 million with pre-tax profits of £4.8 million. The margins are low in the high turn-over world of online sales and it seems that Chain Reaction Cycles have been concentrating on streamlining – with much less overseas publicity and advertising as in previous years.

Bike Europe also reports that staff numbers have been reduced from 612 to 540.


Wiggle Warehouse Clearance Sale

Wiggle is moving – Get Ready for Warehouse Sales

In perspective, on a global scale of industry the cycling industry is very small. But the biggest retailer in this very small market needs a lot of space. Wiggle are moving from an 85,000 foot warehouse (with 2 million items) in Portsmouth to a 323,000 foot facility near Wolverhampton in the Midlands, a three hour drive from London.

The move was announced last year, and now the warehouse sales are starting with their latest campaign promoting up to 50% off.

You know the online sales where a product retails for 30% less than the stated RRP, then during sale time there is a 30% discount… off the RRP, so you are paying the same price. It is hard to spot the real sales, sure there are some run-out products but the run of the mill accessories don’t drop dramatically in price.

Well this should be different. Wiggle are moving and any business would prefer to sell their stock and get new stock delivered to the new location rather than ship the lot.


Genuine Savings Predicted at Wiggle

For the warehouse clearance, I expect to see a more great value sales and significant savings. But it could also be a mixed bag with plenty of hard to sell gear that they simply want to sell going for dumping prices.

And a question on small verses big items. Big items are more costly to ship, while small items are fiddly, so will Wiggle try to clear out more of the big and bulky gear, or free up space with the smaller bike accessories and gear.

There are over 5,000 products listed, but do expect some running, swimming and triathlon gear as well as cycling gear.


How do you spot the genuine sale items? 

That is the hardest question of all as it is likely that some items which fail to clear will get further price drops. The best approach is to keep your eyes open. One tip is to use the Smart Cyclist price comparison if you know what you want, type in the items and quickly check the current price. Alternatively, visit Wiggle, to pick up a bargin where you need a bit creativity and luck.

But the best tip of all if you are anywhere near Portsmouth, keep your eyes and ears peeled for warehouse direct sales. It won’t help online shoppers but experienced suggests that for any leftover stock that they simply have to clear, there will be a lot of happy locals.




Smart Cyclist February Deals

Online Bike Shop Discounts and Sales – February 2015

These are the current promotions and discount codes for major online bikeshops in February 2015. Sign-up to our newsletter (top right) to get these sent directly to your inbox.

High5 Energy Gel Sachets – Buy 1 box, get one free
End of Season Bike Sale (124 bikes – Mekk, Felt, Kona, GT, Haro, Cinelli, Charge, Boardman, Moser, Verenti, Raleigh, Dahon)
Price Drop – 1% price reduction daily until sold (ca. 260 items)

Chain Reaction Cycles
Big Bike Blowout – up to 45% off 2014 models  (324 bikes listed)
Clarks Brakes and Brake Accessory Clearance (on some items)
NukeProof – Up to 55% off

Evans Cycles
3 for the price of 2 (items) on selected FWE tools and inner tubes
Up to £500 of Free Kit with a new bike purchase (discount coupons SHED30 – SHED500)
Clearance Clothing, Bikes, Accessories, Components, Ex-Demo (ongoing)

Lezyne – Extra 10% Off
SIS Buy 1 get 1 free Gel 6 Packs
Daily Offers (ongoing)
10% off Kinesis Frames and Bikes
7-Day Deals (ongoing)
Garmin Virb (Camera) up to 40% Off
Free UK deliver on orders over £20

Ribble Cycles
Free Ribble sunglasses with Helmet purchases above £39
Reduced prices on all wheelsets (undefined sale)
Free socks with Sidi Shoes
Clearance on Indoor Trainers (undefined sale)

Merlin Cycles
Save up to 47% on Shimano and Look Pedals
Half Price Altura Team Clothing
Lusso Cycle Wear up to 60% Off
Sale Items (ongoing – various)
Rock Shox Forks save an extra 10% (exlusions apply)
Save up to 35% on Castelli Cycle Clothing
Save an extra 10% off Assos Clothing
10% (Extra) off Shimano 105 5800 individual components

Hargroves Cycles
Up to 40% off Lights (139 Lights – Exposure, Cube, Electron, Cateye, Lezyne, Moon, Fizik, Raleigh, Hope, Bianchi, Cannondale, RFR, Gemini)
Sale Items (ongoing – various)
50% off Pedals, when purchased with a bike (deducted at checkout)
Up to 45% off bike (non-genuine sale)
Up to 60% off Winter Cycling Clothing (non-genuine sale)
Up to £500 of Clothing, Parts, Accessories with a 2015 bike (discount Coupons SPRING30 – SPRING500)



These sales and discounts compiled from promotions published by online retailers and are presented under the following conditions:
All information is subject to change without notice. Any changes or alterations are at the discretion of the retailer and Smart-Cyclist has no influence nor takes any responsibility for any changes or unavailability of discounts or items. Smart Cyclist does not endorse, verify nor guarantee the validity or availability of the information provided by the retailers on their sales and promotions. The sales, promotions, coupons, sale items may expire, be sold-out, be withdrawn, be changed or be cancelled.