Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the US?

Topics related to EV businesses
Post Reply
daniele10   100 µW

100 µW
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 11 2011 5:25pm
Location: St Louis, MO
Contact:

Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the US?

Post by daniele10 » Sep 25 2015 8:36pm

Seems like there is a lot of interest in ebikes right now. Do you think the market is saturated? Would a dual suspension electric mountain bike sell for $2199 if it was rugged enough for XC riding? I thought the Shimano Steps system was very refined when I rode it, I didn't care much for the pedelec mountain bike, the throttle gives more control. Do you think a new quality line of bikes would sell well?

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7961
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by Chalo » Sep 25 2015 9:14pm

There's always room in the market for a better product. USA prevailing limitations on e-bike performance are just a constraint; good products can be made to fit the criteria.

What's the dominant technology company in the world now? Apple. Did they build their success in making the cheapest crap that would do the job? No. How would Apple build an e-bike for the USA market?

I have a few ideas about that. They'd probably use sophisticated power management and uniform components to make the bikes deliver 750W (and no more) over the widest possible range of speed, up to 20 mph. They'd make the operation as simple and intuitive as possible. They'd offer systems that required an absolute minimum of maintenance intervention by the owner.

The utmost in performance would be secondary. Checklist features without regard to function (suspension, disc brakes) would be irrelevant. If the bike did its job best with those things, it would feature them. If not, not.

I tend to think that an Apple e-bike would have drum brakes instead of discs, because they just work and don't demand attention. But on the other hand, I think they'd use hydraulic brake actuation for its slick feel, even though it offers nothing functionally. It might have really carefully designed short travel suspension, but on the other hand it might have stylish fat tires to circumvent the need for suspension.

They'd spend a lot more resources on ergonomics and user-friendliness than on fashionable spec, because they know successful design makes its own fashion.

An e-bike company that can deliver on these values will succeed and thrive. The pack of shiftless weasels we have seen to date are enjoying the mediocre to nonexistent rewards they deserve.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

User avatar
Ykick   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 5558
Joined: Nov 26 2009 6:10pm
Location: San Diego, California

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by Ykick » Sep 25 2015 10:22pm

Major hurdle I see and a history of motorcycle registration proves this point is that the vast untapped market you believe exists isn’t really that hungry to SERIOUSLY ride on two wheels.

You could build the most perfect eBike, moto or bicycle in the world but once people take it out on the streets and shit themselves a time or two, it’s game over. If they even get that far.

Marketing a product which can seriously injure or kill the purchaser is a much different sell than something like a computer or a phone…

North American roadways and cities are automobile-centric and therefore very unwelcoming to all but a few who’ve mastered how to deal with it.

Good luck with a noble idea but until we see real change in road designs and cities plus more education and training regarding traffic safety - hurtling machinery is currently the win!
Talent must not be wasted.... Those who have talent must hug it, embrace it, nurture it and share it lest it be taken away from you as fast as it was loaned to you.

- Frank Sinatra

OldTimer   100 mW

100 mW
Posts: 46
Joined: Jul 26 2015 3:30pm
Location: Hernando, Florida USA

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by OldTimer » Sep 25 2015 10:55pm

Apple zealots conveniently forget that Apple was a miserable failure during their first 30 years. It wasn't until they gave up on the personal computer market and started concentrating on the new mobile device market in 2007 that they achieved commercial success. Of course their first mobile product the infamous IPod released in 2001 was an inferior rip-off of the other MP3 players already available on the market. Steve Jobs was a complete jerk who excelled at marketing but also experienced more than his fair share of business failures. An Apple ebike would probably be something similar to a Segway, an interesting over priced oddity.

User avatar
LockH   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 17577
Joined: Jul 09 2013 11:06pm
Location: Ummm.. Started out in Victoria BC Canada, then started to move around... Oh oh.

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by LockH » Sep 26 2015 12:53am

"... rugged enough for XC riding." Huh??? My money's on urban. Slow-erish speeds... and not huge ranges. With some Li-flavour little batt pack that can be swapped to "fast charge" ("old"/used batt for a new/freshie) in a minute. Think, foldup/suit case-sized that can be rolled onto pubic transit (sp?) in a pinch. (My first ebike - standup scooter - folded up into a bag and flew with me no charge as "luggage".) In theory, urban space roads, etc... expanding and "rural" and "cross country" spaces and populations... shrinking.

I tried to tap these thoughts down here earlier:
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 35&t=19001

... with one [C]omment: "genius, it would be the ultimate "no fuss, no muss" solution for taking your e-ride on the train or bus. If you made it out of that really rough textured, durable black plastic, the kind pelican cases are made of no one would ever suspect it wasn't just some weird suitcase. Would make it easy to travel with, I'm seeing this in Hammacher Schlemmer, or sky mall. It would really appeal to the traveling business man and especially business women. I remember watching some talk on ebikes some time ago where they were saying that statistically women are more friendly to the idea of ebikes, so i suppose a red edition is warranted. The casing would actually seem to make a nice fairing for the legs."
ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).

Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions

(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=57408

Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=60564

Joined yer local chapter of EA yet?
(Ebikers Anonymous - Where we're all miserable failures, but the parties are hilarious...)

User avatar
speedmd   100 MW

100 MW
Posts: 2787
Joined: Nov 14 2012 12:16pm
Location: new england

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by speedmd » Sep 30 2015 9:56am

I think the market is completely undersold here. Build it better and they will come. Cheaper, faster, slower, longer range, higher end, super powerful, granny setup for groceries, water proof, easier charging, better climbing and pedal power integration /throttle control options, and of coarse, program-ability. Pick any few of the topics to improve upon and if you can, you will have a thing that should keep you very busy and profitable if you do it at better margins and quality than the few in competition.

User avatar
spinningmagnets   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 11259
Joined: Dec 21 2007 10:27pm
Location: Ft Riley, NE Kansas

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by spinningmagnets » Sep 30 2015 10:50am

Until Tesla came along, anyone asking about a new EV company would be warned that it was a very risky venture, and unlikely to succeed. Now? it all depends on the performance, features, price, and marketing.

And gasoline prices. Every time gas prices in North America spike up, ebike kits are suddenly sold out. Ebikes are huge in China where the preferred 2-strokes are being banned, and in Europe, where gasoline is $7-sh per gallon. Coincidence? You decide.

mrzed   100 W

100 W
Posts: 239
Joined: Feb 06 2009 6:48pm
Location: Victoria Canada

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by mrzed » Oct 01 2015 1:10am

Ebikes will take off in North America, but when is the question. The latest crop of demi - adults is far less interested in cars than the generations before thankfully, but current ebikes are still hitting it off mainly with nerds, seniors and DUIs.

Style is a big part of that. I think what the market wants will be practical in the next 1 to 3 years and is a lightweight, low to mid power bike that looks and feels like a normal ride, but gives a modest boost. With the latest batteries and best geared and mid drive setups, its getting close, but i think we're still a bit off.

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7961
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by Chalo » Oct 01 2015 1:47am

The young and hip can push their own pedals, if they're not lazy.

If they are lazy, they drive cars. Young or old.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

User avatar
speedmd   100 MW

100 MW
Posts: 2787
Joined: Nov 14 2012 12:16pm
Location: new england

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by speedmd » Oct 01 2015 7:06am

Style is a big part of that.
Agree. It needs to look cool. It needs the madison avenue mad men full press. A bunch of the hottest hotties riding around on them in sport glasses and tight fitting or missing clothing. Every young-in will have to have one or be seen on one to fit in. They sold hummers and truck like cars so this will be a very easy sell.

2old   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1070
Joined: Jul 19 2014 3:20pm
Location: Socal

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by 2old » Oct 05 2015 1:13pm

+1 Ykick; out here you crap yourself driving a car, so don't even need to ride a bike among the texters, drunks, druggies and otherwise occupied drivers to risk your life. Anyone who has the balls to ride a two wheeler is already on a motorcycle or ICE scooter. The oilmen won't let gas get expensive enough to change the culture.

mvly   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 915
Joined: May 25 2011 11:50am

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by mvly » Oct 06 2015 9:06am

It really depends on the market. You wouldnt start an ebike company in the midwest where it gets cold and hot and everything is miles out. You would ideally find the market that needs such device. I.e. congested no parking easy bike parking safe slow traffic area. Then ask yourself why a regular bike in that area would not work for the majority of the people. I.e. they are too old, too fat, too lazy, too many hills, etc. I would do a careful anaylsis on where you can sell ebike easily in the usa and start there.
Last edited by mvly on Oct 06 2015 9:18am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
LockH   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 17577
Joined: Jul 09 2013 11:06pm
Location: Ummm.. Started out in Victoria BC Canada, then started to move around... Oh oh.

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by LockH » Oct 06 2015 9:14am

Maybe see ES thread "The Electric Bike Expo"
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =3&t=73239

... and watt I [C]ommented on the ebike forum in Toronto:
Dunno whether any of these stops piggyback on any bike shows, or whether any Canadian stops were considered for next year.

But the question is, whether folks in Ontario etc/Toronto would go to a SEPARATE "EBike" show? Like to catch folks going to the "car" show that doesn't pander to the spandex crowd maybe. LOTS of various shows every year in the GTA of course...

Object here is to expand market size beyond classic, antique pedal-only poop-mobile style of bike/trike.
ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).

Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions

(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=57408

Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=60564

Joined yer local chapter of EA yet?
(Ebikers Anonymous - Where we're all miserable failures, but the parties are hilarious...)

User avatar
LockH   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 17577
Joined: Jul 09 2013 11:06pm
Location: Ummm.. Started out in Victoria BC Canada, then started to move around... Oh oh.

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by LockH » Oct 11 2015 7:01am

"Green Business Ideas: Electric Bike Shop"
http://ecopreneurist.com/2015/01/06/gre ... bike-shop/

:mrgreen:
ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).

Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions

(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=57408

Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=60564

Joined yer local chapter of EA yet?
(Ebikers Anonymous - Where we're all miserable failures, but the parties are hilarious...)

D-lo   10 W

10 W
Posts: 83
Joined: Nov 01 2015 6:43am

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by D-lo » Nov 06 2015 8:55am

I don't know that there is room for a new electric bike company, but you could deal in e-bike products locally. I had the same idea you had almost the same time you posted this, and acted on it. I saw on Golden Motor's website an ad about being a dealer/distributor-so I contacted them and signed on. First of all a e-bike for $+2000 is somewhat expensive. I can buy a used car or motorcycle for that much money. Selling kits and building your own bikes might be the way to go.

E-bikes are under the radar for most people. I live in Socal, and the only people that seemed informed are those who live near the beach or the DIYers. Also, I believe the technology will go hand in hand battery development to arrive at super small powerful cells, and lighter alloys used in manufacturing the motors to produce faster smaller more powerful engines. So I feel like I am investing in the future I want to see.

Golden Motors also makes electric motors for motorcycles, boats, and small car-like vehicles, so it allows me to be involved in just more than bikes, again thinking of the future. Consider that made in Japan was the equivalent of made in China back in the 60s and 70s- could Golden Motor rise to become a new Toyota? If not GM then another company for sure. China is the future as far as I am concerned.

Things I have considered that scare the shit out of me though- lawsuits. California has too many lawyers who love to sue over liability.
Also, warranty issues. I think it the product is installed properly and used in the manner it was intended, it should hold up. But in the fact that it doesn't, you are dealing with China to solve the issue. This is a problem because of about a 12 hour time difference, and the time and cost to ship stuff. A two hundred dolar battery costs about $160 to air ship, or six weeks by boat. Also there are weird shipping costs to consider; I paid about $1200 for a $6,000 order. That cuts into your profit quite a bit.

In the long run for me, it's a labor of love. I really like electric bikes, and Golden Motor's Magic Pie. I believe in them and want to share them with others, so that's it. If I lose a little money that's okay, as long as I meet cool people, learn new things, I am cool with it. Maybe you can partner up with someone? I have been considering to cut down on shipping and customs fees.

User avatar
lester12483   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 941
Joined: Jan 30 2009 1:45am
Location: Chicago, IL USA

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by lester12483 » Nov 09 2015 5:57am

We have been building and selling ebikes for 5 ears. I can tell you the market is extremely saturated right now. Its hard to turn a profit. A lot of people still fall for cheap Chinese made ebikes. Its hard to compete with low price/low quality.

There is still interest, but there are so many options to a customer to choose from. I have seen companies who you thought were doing well go by the wayside.

Tesla is successful at branding, but their non-gap financial numbers are not good. Take away the tax credit and it's even worse.

Until gas prices go back to $4+ a gallon again, we wont see a mass shift to electric vehicles.
MT6 Hybrid- Electric Bicycle 48V
48V 23AH AllCell Lithium Manganese Battery Pack
http://www.chicagoelectricbicycles.com

User avatar
LockH   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 17577
Joined: Jul 09 2013 11:06pm
Location: Ummm.. Started out in Victoria BC Canada, then started to move around... Oh oh.

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by LockH » Nov 09 2015 7:13am

lester12483 wrote:Until gas prices go back to $4+ a gallon again, we wont see a mass shift to electric vehicles.
Hmmm... Sorry to read this L. Probably true, but a couple of glimmers on the horizon?

"One Third of American Adults are Overweight or Obese, Says Report"
http://www.babwnews.com/2015/11/one-thi ... ys-report/

and "List of car-free places"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_car-free_places

and "7 Cities Worldwide That Are Starting to Go Car Free"
http://momentummag.com/7-car-free-cities/

For me, just going "car free" saved me thousands of dollars. EVery year. :wink:
ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).

Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions

(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=57408

Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=60564

Joined yer local chapter of EA yet?
(Ebikers Anonymous - Where we're all miserable failures, but the parties are hilarious...)

slowhands   100 W

100 W
Posts: 127
Joined: Aug 12 2015 1:53pm
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by slowhands » Nov 14 2015 10:35am

OldTimer wrote:Apple zealots conveniently forget that Apple was a miserable failure during their first 30 years. It wasn't until they gave up on the personal computer market and started concentrating on the new mobile device market in 2007 that they achieved commercial success. Of course their first mobile product the infamous IPod released in 2001 was an inferior rip-off of the other MP3 players already available on the market. Steve Jobs was a complete jerk who excelled at marketing but also experienced more than his fair share of business failures. An Apple ebike would probably be something similar to a Segway, an interesting over priced oddity.
Actually, their Itunes revenue is the flywheel that keeps apple alive. For hardware products they depend on new gadgets, but the market is saturated. I suppose apple loyalists with flock to buy the latest upgrade, but China is making a lot of $100 clones now, how long will it last? Their great hope now is streaming TV, but that is a saturated market too. I doubt apple would want to get into the Ibike market, it's small and saturated too.

User avatar
The fingers   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7038
Joined: Mar 11 2012 11:22pm
Location: Desert Pacific Cali USA

Re: Is there room for a new electric bicycle company in the

Post by The fingers » Dec 01 2015 2:27pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCPy0d2KRScIf this guy can sell these for 50 $100 bills and up, maybe. :mrgreen:
Black Schwinn High Sierra
Blue Schwinn Cruiser 5
Blue Schwinn High Plains
Black Fiore Cruzer 5: Amped Warp Drive 26" Front DD/SLA kit
http://ghostbikes.org/
http://www.rideofsilence.org/main.php
Hebrews 9:27

Post Reply