Future of Kalkhoff and Focus in the US market?

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Focus and Kalkhoff, sister companies under the umbrella of PON holdings have been making some great bikes in EU for quite sometime.
BUT, the US market seems to be very elusive, a tough nut to crack and they have decided to pull out of the US market for 2019!

I have an acquaintance who owns one of the 2016 Kalkhoff bikes and when she told me this news, I could not believe it and apparently it is true.

The US market continues to be difficult for some of these EU-based companies. May be it is the culture here or whatever but it is sad to see a company of that caliber move out of the US market.

I hope they come back and serve the North American region again.
 
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JRA

Well-Known Member
I would wager to say that Kalkhoff has had a presence here in the US longer than any of EU brand. They were great city bikes for their time but unfortunately the big S, Trek et. al. are hard to beat on US soil due to their dealer network and existing customer network. Online sales also were a factor I would presume.

Focus was started by Mike Kluge, who was a cycle cross world champion and pro mtb racer bitd and a pretty cool guy. He has built Focus from the ground up and they are one of the leaders of the charge towards performance eBikes but I am pretty sure the bean counters at PON Holdings are the ones pulling the (purse) strings. Their brand association is much stronger across the pond and I'm sure they will survive just fine without the US market. Where this leaves current Focus and Kalkhoff owners as far as warranty etc. is yet to be determined.
 

Mike's E-Bikes

Well-Known Member
Very few of the EU originated ebikes do well here. They seem have a different design philosophy, and their ebikes are priced fairly high for what you actually get. They seem to design for people who are true commuters, and use their ebikes year round, which the US has very few of those people in the market of prospective ebike buyers. EU based firms just don't seem to understand how to support their products here either. Been approached by some of them, or reached out myself, and their dealer programs are very stiff, and they all had no one local who actually knew much about their products. Big communication gap. And These are the people who are supposed to support the dealers. I think the following EU based companies are struggling to get much of a toe-hold here, or have struggled and some just sort of quit trying : Kalkhoff, Piaggio, Cube, Focus, Van Moof, Riese&Muller, Grace (which I believe pulled out a while back), Gazelle, Wallerang, Lombardo, and Benelli.

Stromer seems to have done well though, and Haibike too just to name a couple.

You can have some of the nicest designs, but if you don't get your marketing right here in the US, and REALLY understand what drives the US consumer, you will be SOL. That said, you can have a very mediocre product technologically, but just really kick butt if you have outstanding marketing.
 

Ed P

New Member
Have loved my Kalkhoff Include 8 Premium ebike since 2016. Superb design and craftamanship. Just learned that the company left the US market when a friend went to purchase one, and was stunned!
I do hope the company returns to US market ASAP.
 

Ebiker01

Active Member
Very few of the EU originated ebikes do well here. They seem have a different design philosophy, and their ebikes are priced fairly high for what you actually get. They seem to design for people who are true commuters, and use their ebikes year round, which the US has very few of those people in the market of prospective ebike buyers. EU based firms just don't seem to understand how to support their products here either. Been approached by some of them, or reached out myself, and their dealer programs are very stiff, and they all had no one local who actually knew much about their products. Big communication gap. And These are the people who are supposed to support the dealers. I think the following EU based companies are struggling to get much of a toe-hold here, or have struggled and some just sort of quit trying : Kalkhoff, Piaggio, Cube, Focus, Van Moof, Riese&Muller, Grace (which I believe pulled out a while back), Gazelle, Wallerang, Lombardo, and Benelli.

Stromer seems to have done well though, and Haibike too just to name a couple.

You can have some of the nicest designs, but if you don't get your marketing right here in the US, and REALLY understand what drives the US consumer, you will be SOL. That said, you can have a very mediocre product technologically, but just really kick butt if you have outstanding marketing.
The way i see it is that the ones who are doing well here they had offered what people really want. For high end R&M and Stromer , Bulls have the best offerings ( big batteries, power, great design, theft proof(Stromer) and then Haibikes, also Bh(Easy motion) have had a strong marketing/dealership presence and great prices too. My 600wh battery is 750$ new , a Yamaha 500wh or Bosch powerpack i heard is 1k .
But mostly it comes down to what brands are visible inside the real bike stores and on the streets. Here in Ny those are the brands i mentioned earlier plus the Us brands(Trek/Specialized).
And it also helps that people like me or others who have had their bikes are happy with them and talk about them. People see us riding them and that person googles my bike and buys it b/c he liked the bike/ saw me going fast or smthng. Similar. I actually bought mine this way after seeing an older Bh bike and riding it.