E-bike subscription service. Any takers?

Bike subscription for USA?

  • Maybe in Europe. Never here.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    12
  • Poll closed .

Over50

Well-Known Member
Would you like a new commuter every month? Car subscription services are becoming a thing. Now bike subscription going live in Europe and the Pon Group is involved (Kalkhoff, Gazelle...). Could this work here? Perhaps run on small scale out of an LBS for a local area? Perhaps for delivery fleets?

 
Last edited:

ChezCheese:)

Active Member
Could you explain this idea? Perhaps I misunderstand the plan.

Speaking for myself, I don't want a new ebike every month. Seems an absurd concept based on an assumption of endless buyer's remorse and discontent in a consumptive economic model. By which I mean, advertising seeks to make us dissatisfied with whatever we have (or are) so that we will buy more, buy another, fuel excess consumption (sales, production, demand). Cars have long been used as such bait. Such a subscription scheme might work with cars because cars are much more interchangeable: we adjust to them, whatever they are.

But bicycles are very different from cars in that you want to your bike to physically fit you as an individual, and you want to know your bike and how it handles and its capacities. When you ride it, you become a part of the machine or perhaps it becomes an instrument of your will. You work together and become more efficient the longer you have your bike. Thus to change bikes every month sets you back to zero every month.

Anyway, that's how I see it.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
75 euros is $83 per month $996 per year for an ebike subscription. Would not be worth it for budget ebike riders unless they could offer something like Uber JUMP's $5 per month Boost plan for low income riders. Might be worth it for mid-range ebike riders if they also provided access to a cargo ebike when needed.
 
Last edited:

Over50

Well-Known Member
Could you explain this idea? Perhaps I misunderstand the plan.

Speaking for myself, I don't want a new ebike every month.

A month was just an example and probably at the absurd end. It could be 6 months or whatever. I think the car subscription service is basically selling a lease without a fixed term. You can keep it as long or as short as you need. With other add-ons such as roadside etc. I'm in the Midwest and a fair weather commuter. I don't commute on bike from Nov through Feb. So instead of spending $6k on a Stromer, maybe I spend $800 to lease a Stromer this year (8 months x $100). Then the next commuter season I can change bikes and commute on a R&M for example for let's say $900. Perhaps the service has add-on costs for commuter bags, roadside, suspension saddle with a properly fitted bike of course. Seems like an interesting concept for someone who doesn't ride year round.

I'm considering this as an option to my 2nd car. That is selling my AWD (book value $16k). And leasing a 2nd vehicle for 4 months @ maybe $1,200. My 2nd vehicle mostly sits in the driveway once the weather is warm enough to ride.
 

pushkar

Member
My understanding is that you can rent from your LBS already. Renting is a tad more expensive than "leasing" , but other than the cost, it is lower hassle, bigger variety, and no credit check.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
My understanding is that you can rent from your LBS already. Renting is a tad more expensive than "leasing" , but other than the cost, it is lower hassle, bigger variety, and no credit check.
Yeah maybe you can rent from the LBS but I doubt the LBS can offer greater selection and range of service. And your LBS isn't likely to offer a Smartphone App as the transaction system. I think if you head over to your LBS and ask them to set you up with a competent or high-end commuter for six months you may not get very far.

Assuming this follows the car subscription model, you get a wide selection of inventory, pick-up and drop-off, maintenance, emergency service etc is built into the payment and you have options to purchase insurance . Using an LBS, you may have rentals at some and not at others, they may only offer one or two brands and you'll likely have to spend a lot of time in the shop and calling various shops. It isn't really the same thing (a bunch of disparate mom and pop shops vs a service with the same look/feel/offerings across markets). The article I linked to on Bloomberg, suggests that Swapfiets will provide all of the product and service that the car subscription outfits are claiming to provide inclusive of coming to you for any emergency repair. And, at the end of the article it says they are considering trying out this service, as their entry into the US, in Boulder, CO and Portland, Or.
 

pushkar

Member
Yeah maybe you can rent from the LBS but I doubt the LBS can offer greater selection and range of service. And your LBS isn't likely to offer a Smartphone App as the transaction system. I think if you head over to your LBS and ask them to set you up with a competent or high-end commuter for six months you may not get very far.

Assuming this follows the car subscription model, you get a wide selection of inventory, pick-up and drop-off, maintenance, emergency service etc is built into the payment and you have options to purchase insurance . Using an LBS, you may have rentals at some and not at others, they may only offer one or two brands and you'll likely have to spend a lot of time in the shop and calling various shops. It isn't really the same thing (a bunch of disparate mom and pop shops vs a service with the same look/feel/offerings across markets). The article I linked to on Bloomberg, suggests that Swapfiets will provide all of the product and service that the car subscription outfits are claiming to provide inclusive of coming to you for any emergency repair. And, at the end of the article it says they are considering trying out this service, as their entry into the US, in Boulder, CO and Portland, Or.
I'm not disagreeing with the concept. However I am not sure if this works with ebikes. Van moof does something like this - but you can only pick up another van moof. I just don't think the numbers work to lease a $8k bike for $100/month subscription with unlimited choice of bikes.


From the car subscription numbers, those are very close or actually slightly more expensive than actual leasing. The upcharge for premium car is even more. that is for a vehicle that is designed for 150k miles. It can take a lot of beating before things break down.

If We compare that To an ebike, where top end motors and frames are rated for 10-20k miles, and brakes or hubs need to be serviced every 2000 -3000 miles, the cost of maintenance is significantly higher (relative to cars).

IMO the only way this model works for $100-$200/ month is if they stick to one or two (premium) fleet brand. I believe there's a company doing Stromer subscription (Ameego). The pricing model / math just doesn't work if you go beyond a couple of brands.

I'd be happy to look at any models anyone can come up with to see if the business model works with unlimited choice of bikes at $100 or $200/ month. I mean they can do a Moviepass - sink money to get phantom market share. However that's not a business model.
 

pushkar

Member

Looks like this is €180-€250 euro per month. Roughly speaking this is 100% depreciation in 2 years for a fairly expensive ebike . With good quality components, the primary wear and tear is the drive train. I believe those are refurbished easily and the bike can be in service for a lot longer. They will tell you if the bike is not "new" (or what areas are not new) - I suspect it is mostly the drive train. Notice that they are also charging a €79 set up fees for every rental, local pickup, insurance is extra... so I am guessing this is close to €250/month for a €5.5k ebike. No shipping - and they take your debit card (not credit).

That model /math makes sense to me. Small market, but people get to ride a high end ebike with an option of buying out if they like it.

I am happy to offer a pilot program and work out numbers for my ebikes if there is sufficient interest. As it stands right now, we can offer it in cities serviced by us or by one of our partner bike shops (Boston / SFO / Boulder CO). We have had great feedback on the bikes sold so far, and I am ironing out the production and scaling the build process.

Any inspired folks who want to be part of something cool / experimental ?
 

Slowpoke

Member
Would you like a new commuter every month? Car subscription services are becoming a thing. Now bike subscription going live in Europe and the Pon Group is involved (Kalkhoff, Gazelle...). Could this work here? Perhaps run on small scale out of an LBS for a local area? Perhaps for delivery fleets?

Your idea is not far fetched.Its being done in Detroit as we speak.https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2019/08/09/mogo-detroit-bi also my grandson is at MSU and he told me about escooters service is all around the campus.For a fee you can hop on a stand up escooter ride around campus then leave at the next location.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
https://mogodetroit.org/ This address spells out thier terms
No, not the same. Mogo is a bike share and these are plentiful. The thread is discussing a subscription service which is just becoming a thing for autos. Basically an open-ended lease w other services as add-ons. Mogo as a bike share program is point to point and for very short, single trips. You can't take a Mogo home and park it overnight for example. All Mogos are the same (2 types I see. An electric Mogo Boost and a non electric). A subscription service would in theory offer multiple makes and models (assuming it follows the trend for cars).
 

Slowpoke

Member
No, not the same. Mogo is a bike share and these are plentiful. The thread is discussing a subscription service which is just becoming a thing for autos. Basically an open-ended lease w other services as add-ons. Mogo as a bike share program is point to point and for very short, single trips. You can't take a Mogo home and park it overnight for example. All Mogos are the same (2 types I see. An electric Mogo Boost and a non electric). A subscription service would in theory offer multiple makes and models (assuming it follows the trend for cars).
Ok I see now what you mean.Your subsription idea may be in the near future.Auto ownership with insurance is getting pricey for the young adults fresh out of school.I'm sure ebikes will factor in to daily use as a alternative where possible.Collage towns are flush with bikes.Just like on this site with the thread "the 1st auto grade ebike"They seem to be addressing a serious long lasting ebike.I sure would like to see thier bike up close.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
And what happens if the lessor damages the bike?
I assume there would be a lengthy lease contract to spell out terms and conditions. Perhaps they would build this into the insurance add-on they would sell. I haven't read a Swapfiets contract (but would be EU).
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Your subsription idea may be in the near future....
Well, not my idea. The original article linked is for Swapfiets going live in the EU and contemplating a trial run in 2 US markets. The Pon Group is involved or they hired Pon execs (Kalkhoff, Gazelle...).
 

Weaselander

New Member

Looks like this is €180-€250 euro per month. Roughly speaking this is 100% depreciation in 2 years for a fairly expensive ebike . With good quality components, the primary wear and tear is the drive train. I believe those are refurbished easily and the bike can be in service for a lot longer. They will tell you if the bike is not "new" (or what areas are not new) - I suspect it is mostly the drive train. Notice that they are also charging a €79 set up fees for every rental, local pickup, insurance is extra... so I am guessing this is close to €250/month for a €5.5k ebike. No shipping - and they take your debit card (not credit).

That model /math makes sense to me. Small market, but people get to ride a high end ebike with an option of buying out if they like it.

I am happy to offer a pilot program and work out numbers for my ebikes if there is sufficient interest. As it stands right now, we can offer it in cities serviced by us or by one of our partner bike shops (Boston / SFO / Boulder CO). We have had great feedback on the bikes sold so far, and I am ironing out the production and scaling the build process.

Any inspired folks who want to be part of something cool / experimental ?
If something was available in the Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago area, I would be interested in a lease or lease to buy arrangement. It's hard to pull the trigger on your first e-bike with only pictures to look at. The looming winter weather doesn't help either.