15 Champions who are promoting E-bikes in the US.

George S.

Well-Known Member
Oh, well... I guess if the New Wave, like Sondors and Eric Hicks, the CF funders, continue on the trend line of the past year, these guys will be less and less relevant.

Sondors smashed the margin structure of the industry. Eric and Luna Cycle smashed the proprietary ebike battery pack model and reduced it to a commodity business. Many independent vendors now have a Luna model for their batteries.

Karl Gesslein is the only guy with some journalistic standards. I'm not saying promotion sites are not positive, but they don't provide much depth. Karl does. What I know about motors and battery construction is from Karl and Electricbike.com.

The top two? I respect DiCostanzo. He knows the industry from the bike shop point of view. He knows what sells, how to sell, and many people like his bikes. But he doesn't drift from the model, and it's losing ground. Pizzi? He was the guy who gave us the 3 Classes, skewed to PAS bikes. There was no outside input on that. It seems to play to Accell's strengths, coming out of Europe. He's a clever tactician but honestly, DIY bikes blow his bikes, the Currie bikes, out of the water.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Oh, well... I guess if the New Wave, like Sondors and Eric Hicks, the CF funders, continue on the trend line of the past year, these guys will be less and less relevant.

Sondors smashed the margin structure of the industry. Eric and Luna Cycle smashed the proprietary ebike battery pack model and reduced it to a commodity business. Many independent vendors now have a Luna model for their batteries.

Karl Gesslein is the only guy with some journalistic standards. I'm not saying promotion sites are not positive, but they don't provide much depth. Karl does. What I know about motors and battery construction is from Karl and Electricbike.com.

The top two? I respect DiCostanzo. He knows the industry from the bike shop point of view. He knows what sells, how to sell, and many people like his bikes. But he doesn't drift from the model, and it's losing ground. Pizzi? He was the guy who gave us the 3 Classes, skewed to PAS bikes. There was no outside input on that. It seems to play to Accell's strengths, coming out of Europe. He's a clever tactician but honestly, DIY bikes blow his bikes, the Currie bikes, out of the water.
George,

It is one thing to sit and write on the forum. It is entirely different to run a company with a quality product and deal with warranty and repairs.
It's easy for DIY stores to provide sketchy 6 month warranty on the batteries and BBSHD's but when the problems do arise, it's a different thing. After all, it's a DIY store....

Larry has done a lot to bring quality bikes to the US. Before he stepped in, Currie had some shoddy eZip products. He played a good role in bringing TranzX, Haibike etc.
That in turn has brought forth many quality European manufacturers to the market.
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
George, the more I think about the 3 class system, the more I see there will end up being little to no enforcement anytime soon.

The U.S. as a country will never likely change the basic 750w 20mph limits for the foreseeable future.

Even if some states start adopting the class approach, how do they enforce a retailer selling bikes appropriately? It's just way too low on the totem pole for anyone to actually enforce.

As a result, sure we'll see the major brands going to the class system and bringing more Euro spec bikes (though even those are tuned with more power for our market), but others are just as likely to ignore it until some actual enforcement takes place.

The crowd funding has been news to talk about around here, but I don't think it has made as much of an impact as we think. The diy segment will most likely remain a constant, people who want to build and tinker will always be around, but that is still limited in appeal.

The msrp on nicer bikes is still prohibitive, but when haibike starts selling bikes priced in the mid $2k range (or better if you buy from the right dealer), you know they are taking notice on what the market is asking for.

It is hard to argue diy or crowd funding bikes over fully designed and integrated brand name bikes when the price differences stop being measured with 4 digit dollar differences and start moving just hundreds apart.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Hi Paul,

You make some great points and a convincing argument. I think we both know what we know, and we’re a little soft on the other side.

On the enforcement, I’m sure it’s coming. In eight months they will require any manufacturer or distributor in California (also Utah, where I live) to put a label on every bike. It will show the top speed, maximum watts, and Class of bike. This is all they need to discourage a retailer from selling outside the bounds of the law. You don’t want to be putting the wrong label on stuff, the Volkswagen scenario. No one says much about what a DIY shop has to do with a BBSHD. It is possible to set any wattage and speed. Under the new law, you can’t reset that without changing out and re-certifying that label. Sure, enforcement will be lax, but the trend is clear. If you mislabel a bike and something bad happens, you face daunting levels of liability. And reasonably, an ebike stops being a bike when the motor does xx % of the work, I think.

I’ve discussed ways to increase the market share of DIY with Eric. But Luna is running flat out right now, engines ahead full. He can’t keep batteries in stock. He doesn’t have much time to put more stuff in the online store, and it’s tough to do a lot of responses to inquiries. I think he was working all day on Christmas, putting together the kits he’s sold on his ‘exclusive’ mid-drive, the high power Cyclone motor. I belive the pre-order sales on the Cyclone were over 100 units. They have a bolt-on conversion kit for the Sondors coming out. I don't audit Luna's books, but they seem to be doing OK.

I tend to break things down. We have two different points of view. It’s kind of cool, when I think about it. I see an ebike, I see a motor and I see a battery. I like motors with controllers built in, like the BBS and the Goldens, makes it even simpler. The trend in batteries is for lower prices. I think this is obvious in the DIY market, which is why Eric tends to sell out his packs. And DIY motors are basically the huge BBS series, the Mac geared motors, and the Golden Magic series. I am so impressed with the GM Smart, the small Magic motor, I may have convinced Eric to carry them in his store. Love that motor. You like the integrated thing, including the programmed power integration, basically torque sensing PAS. I think it’s interesting, but it ruins that simplicity I want. DIY needs better PAS systems, but I’m sure they are coming. It’s the most requested feature, I think, and Bafang has torque sensing on the Max. Easy enough, I figure, to add to the BBS series.

Eric won’t get recognition in the industry partly because he sells performance stuff. Eric could sell batteries to folks who convert their bikes with a 700 watt Smart just as easily as he can to people building Cyclones. But he’s moving to bigger packs for those high power motors. They aren’t really saying what happens when a California vendor, DIY, sells 3,000 watt motors under the label rules. If someone makes a 3000 watt bike and hits someone, then what? Can they sue Eric? California can tell Eric he has to label his motors and they have to be locked down at the label numbers, not to exceed 750 watts. Who got to decide the max watts number, by the way? Anyone ask you?

The DIY motors are not shoddy. The BBS series are fine motors, but not refined. The Golden Smart motors are smooth as silk and quiet, but they need a decent PAS and the Chinese suppliers are not responsive. The Mac is a good motor, but noisier, and you never know with gears. The Mac has the best gears around, it seems, and the replacement sets are cheap enough. The Bafang geared hubs are nice enough motors, and the price reflects their volumes worldwide. No one is offering a laced Bafang motor in the US, but it would fill a market segment.

As I’ve said in my essay on DIY building:

https://www.electricbike.com/18-reasons-to-build-a-diy-ebike/

The warranty and service for a DIY are strategic. You might have parts handy. I’d like to see depot service for the BBS bikes, send it in and get a replacement. There are enormous resources for the BBS02 online. A Mac motor repair is probably new gears or just a replacement. The motor is relatively cheap. People could keep spares. A Golden Smart is around $300.

In the end, I think the low cost battery and low cost motors will shift things. I’ve seen two $250 battery packs in the last week, one from Lazer and another from Bike Scoozy. OK, so Bafang makes a nice hub motor, geared, for $100 wholesale. Take some $200 Amazon or Walmart bike, add these parts and you have a very decent ebike that could retail for $600. When does Walmart or Target or Costco do this? The problem for Sondors and DIY is that mass market retailing is at the point where they can claim a huge slice of e bikes.

DIY needs a cheap and programmable torque sensor package for their motors. DIY needs a rigorous set of instructions for bikes and motors, with a full parts list package. DIY has great motors. The Shark packs are nice. There are other things DIY can do for a more integrated look.

I like the bike I built for $900. It’s a Golden Smart and a basic China battery pack I had, on a $270 cruiser from BD. I suppose it is minimalist. Everything you need. You guys with your fancy bikes ignore the fact that you’ve left everyone behind. This is what Storm understands, of course.

Sometimes I think “Gee, I should go ride a Haibike or a Focus”. But, in the end, those bikes aren’t real to me. The motor is what changes the bike, makes it much more useable. You have to have a battery. Beyond that? I don’t know. It would be nice if you could sell a million or two of the most basic bikes. That would increase the awareness of e bikes and what they do. When you start off selling torque assist and $4,000 bikes?
 

eoghan

Member
On the enforcement, I’m sure it’s coming. In eight months they will require any manufacturer or distributor in California (also Utah, where I live) to put a label on every bike. It will show the top speed, maximum watts, and Class of bike. This is all they need to discourage a retailer from selling outside the bounds of the law.
Here in California they have started using radar guns on congested mountain bike trails and giving out tickets to anyone on a bike (electric or not) going over 15 mph

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Mountain-bikers-beware-Marin-rangers-to-use-7223683.php
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
@George S. I don't think anything your you're saying is necessarily wrong here, and when it comes to the diy market, I do believe a rising tide lifts all boats.

I think in the US the crowd funding, diy and retail markets will all ebb and flow over the next couple of years, but in the end in an overall positive direction.

I'm routinely seeing the retail bikes adding features while lowering the price of entry (for example, was looking at the path+ for my wife, which changed to a mid drive for the same price in 2016), or in the case of haibike for instance bringing over the lower cost sduro bikes, including the sm model which they don't even offer anywhere else.

Add a few more volume retailers to the mix to drive down prices, get cities catering more to bikes as an alternative for commuting, and soon enough there will be a point where ebikes are as accepted here as they are elsewhere in the world.

Also, the msrp on retail bikes aren't really prices to go by. In the last month I've seen a half off all in stock inventory sale (which I took advantage of myself), buy one get one bike sales offered and a number of very nice demo and lightly used bikes for sale. These aren't secret deals, and can be found with some searching and patience. A haibike for double the price of a sondors is no longer apples to oranges on price. (Crab to Macintosh? I kid!)