eBike future support?

MoreyFan

New Member
What is the consensus on the lifespan of an eBike with regard to future support? For example if someone buys a Shimano steps or Specialized eBike will they be able to buy a replacement battery in ten years? Even five years?

I think people who buy a generic DIY kit (retrofit) from a small company realize everything could change and wouldn't have a problem replacing half their kit to update or keep their bike functional. But these integrated systems will be impossible to do the same without the manufactures support.

considering Schwinn completely abandoned the people who bought their Tailwind bike, I would really be interested to know what Specialized, Trek and Raleigh have to say about how much they will care about their eBike customers in the future.
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
Schwinn tried the electric bike to early. The tech wasnt there, and they had to abandon those bikes because they are already a dinosaur. You can't really say what will be here in 5 years, nut based on growth in Europe and the potential untapped market in the US, you can bet support for ebikes will not want anytime soon. Specialized buyers can already use some of the newer much better batteries on their older models, and with industry growth will come secondary market support as well.
 

MoreyFan

New Member
So you think that Specialized will lock in to their current battery size and location making most of their new batteries backwards compatible?

What about Shimano, and Bosch?

I want to add I am just asking here because you guys likely know what the manufactures are actually saying and doing. I think we all WANT backwards compatibility and future proofing.
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
Is the Bosch battery currently the same across different brands? I don't necessarily see the brands supporting a particular battery size (physical) for more than 2 to 3 years at a go, they simply need to keep their bike designs current. At the same time, I would think any reputable brand will provide several years of support at least.

I would think maybe if batteries became smaller and efficient enough, makers might design a new smaller pack and an adapter moulding to fit into their older bike designs (just a thought!).

heck, the diy market isn't much better, they have moved from the bottle, to the dolphin, now the shark packs. That, or a clump of batteries taped and wrapped up with a protruding wire.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
New technologies can be problematic. I think of the cost of the first personal computer I purchased in 1982. And for the life of me I can't buy 5.25" floppies anywhere;) No worries, I have a more powerful PC in my pocket.

I hope that batteries will be able to be rebuilt (repacked) in their original cases. There are companies attempting that now, but I hope one day I'll be able to go to my eLBS and just do a swap.

Your best protection for now is to buy a major brand, whether purpose built ebike or diy and hope for the best. Either that, or sit it out on the sidelines.

*Edit: You sparked a memory for me in this thread from 2014:
http://electricbikereview.com/community/threads/2015.1024/
 
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George S.

Well-Known Member
I owned a Prodeco X3 that used a very nice high capacity battery. But it was a LiFePo4 battery, heavy and big. The battery was obsolete as the standard Lith batteries got cheaper. I don't think they offer the pack anymore. The did offer an upgrade to the new pack, but the price was not much more than I sold the bike for, like the 'salvage' value of the bike at 18 months. I got half what I paid, and I didn't want to push for much more, because I knew the battery was a problem. I told the buyer of my bike how to mount a DIY battery to the bike, and I gave him a cable with the right connections to the bike.

I have two and a half DIY bikes now, one ready to assemble. I can swap batteries , but I don't always get the best location. I could buy batteries for these bikes anywhere and the packs would work. The Sharks and Dolphins get along since they screw into water bottle mounts.

The problem is, once the battery pack design is done on a manufactured bike, the value of the bike is very low. Oh, that and the fact you can't get a replacement pack. I see small DIY packs right now for low prices, like $250. That's a lot less painful than what BH or Raleigh or Haibike want. That's the trend. DIY gets the commodity price, the proprietary battery buyer does not.

Of course, I think the current packs are trouble, anyway. There will be better packs in 3 years, with the electric car industry really ramping up. Maybe the prismatic cells will win out.
 

MoreyFan

New Member
I have two and a half DIY bikes now, one ready to assemble. I can swap batteries , but I don't always get the best location. I could buy batteries for these bikes anywhere and the packs would work. The Sharks and Dolphins get along since they screw into water bottle mounts.

The problem is, once the battery pack design is done on a manufactured bike, the value of the bike is very low. Oh, that and the fact you can't get a replacement pack. I see small DIY packs right now for low prices, like $250. That's a lot less painful than what BH or Raleigh or Haibike want. That's the trend. DIY gets the commodity price, the proprietary battery buyer does not.

Of course, I think the current packs are trouble, anyway. There will be better packs in 3 years, with the electric car industry really ramping up. Maybe the prismatic cells will win out.

Thanks for that. I think largely the answer to my question will be determined by what type of consumer buys electric bikes in the next few years. DIY types, pure commuters, bike geeks etc. Shimano/Bosch will listen to Trek/Raleigh and they will listen to their customers. If the customer demands the latest chemistry in an even sleeker downtube with higher capacity, the commuter with 1000 cycles on his bike in 5 years will be out of luck and possibly turned off eBikes forever.
 

Donny

Active Member
I was wondering the same thing as I am looking at getting an ebike. The vast majority of the bikes that I find in my price range seem to not exist anymore (i.e. they are leftover stock sitting on a floor that didn't sell) or they are used bikes that aren't made anymore. I'm financially challenged and quite frankly, even if I wasn't, there is no way I'm shelling out $4K - $6K for one of these bikes. I can go buy a new gas powered motorcycle, scooter, or even a used car for that kind of money. My concern with these bikes is that they seem to cater to a niche market in the first place (at least here in the U.S. - they seem to be more mainstream abroad) and they have such prohibitive entry price points that I wonder if they will last. Two of the larger shops in my area have all of theirs on clearance for 50% or more off because they can't move them. Then I have people trying to get me to get one of those Sondors bikes and they seem to have a very active rabid community, but is the company going to be around in five years (since it looks like ebike companies are coming and going relatively quickly)? I considered going the DIY route, but by time I price out a "good" conversion kit and a decent bike (even something used), I could go buy one of the clearance bikes for less money. I'm really on the fence with this....
 

TrevorB

Active Member
It would be poor PR for companies like Bosch and Shimano to stop supporting their older drives by not supplying replacement batteries. Hopefully they offer more powerful or lighter replacements as battery technology improves.
 

sexton Tom

Member
I always liked the idea of a electric pusher trailer. There seems to me a lot of advantages. Swap from bike to bike, use a regular bike carrier and put the trailer in the trunk, if the battery or motor takes a crap you still have a perfectly good bike. I keep wondering what Ridekick has run into problem wise. There are some diy plans out there for electric trailers but for this busy over worked sexton(lol) I have no time for such a project. Any thoughts on this !!!!!
 

Donny

Active Member
I always liked the idea of a electric pusher trailer. There seems to me a lot of advantages. Swap from bike to bike, use a regular bike carrier and put the trailer in the trunk, if the battery or motor takes a crap you still have a perfectly good bike. I keep wondering what Ridekick has run into problem wise. There are some diy plans out there for electric trailers but for this busy over worked sexton(lol) I have no time for such a project. Any thoughts on this !!!!!
I've seen people talk about them, but it wouldn't be something I would want. I plan on commuting to school and around town on mine and having to deal with a trailer on top of the bike is not something I would want to deal with. That's just me though.
 

TrevorB

Active Member
The batteries on new Shimano new eMTB mid drive are meant to be compatible with current urban STEPs system. Plus they are moving to 500WH.

This helps lock customers into a brand as being able to swap batteries between your older commuter and new eMTB is a huge plus.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
In my opinion, ninety five percent of todays commercially available ebikes will be orphaned in a few years. The market in the USA cannot sustain $3000 summer toys, not at the current 140K sales volume. Now as battery technology gets driven by the automotive industry, the ebike in year 2019 might be a $1200 product, and there will be enough boomers still around that might buy them.

Meanwhile, if you want support and cannot fix your own bike, then you want a good local shop with a bike mechanic smart enough to figure things out. Worst case, they put a rack on your bike and you carry a replacement battery there. If a hub motor goes out w/o a spare available, they drop in a third party. Ditto for controllers. What would be tough is if Bosch or Yamaha quit making their integrated midmotors. But when you consider the costs for this service, you will probably just buy that 2019 $1200 model.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
@harryS

http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=97140646

This has been $1000 for a few days.

The Ride Scoozy 350 has a nice Golden Motor and goes for $1400. They have sales.

Sondors will probably continue to sell the Thin for $700, along with his Fatbike.

Right now, you could make a nice refined ebike with a Mac or Golden motor, a 350wh battery, and a basic frame with upgrade components, for $1200. That's the Scoozy, basically. I don't know if the arrangement ProdecoTech has with Dick's will change anything. I think Prodeco needs value models.

I don't know why Trek or any of that dominant group doesn't take one of their basic frames, add a good rear hub, add a battery, and try to get it into the LBS system. My shop sells Trek. They were helpful on my conversion. They can certainly deal with the motor, and they never see the battery. The Golden is a nice motor because the controller is integrated. There are four waterproof plugs for brakes, the throttle, and the cruise, as I recall.

Mid-drive has faded over the past year. People see the problems. Hubs are simple.
 

wren

Member
In my opinion, ninety five percent of todays commercially available ebikes will be orphaned in a few years. The market in the USA cannot sustain $3000 summer toys, not at the current 140K sales volume. Now as battery technology gets driven by the automotive industry, the ebike in year 2019 might be a $1200 product, and.... you will probably just buy that 2019 $1200 model.
+1

Good analysis. If you buy now, you're buying for just a couple years, then toss in the trash, or sell for pennies on the dollar. Upgrades in motors, batteries, and marketing will rapidly turn today's e-bikes dinosaurs.

Meanwhile, DIY will remain a fringe hobby, as it is now, and producing ugly Frankenstein monsters, that will be even more ugly in the future compared to sleek battery designs that will be mass-produced by then.

The e-bike market is simply not mature, and early adopters always overpay. But there's "overpay" and then there's "OVERPAY"!!
Choose wisely!
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
It would be poor PR for companies like Bosch and Shimano to stop supporting their older drives by not supplying replacement batteries. Hopefully they offer more powerful or lighter replacements as battery technology improves.
Shimano is well WELL known for introducing proprietary new mechanicals that are NOT BACKWARD compatible with the PREVIOUS YEAR (much less older) !!
They do it year in and year out with their drive systems.
I certainly would caution if you expect them to change tactics with Ebikes?????
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
I always liked the idea of a electric pusher trailer. There seems to me a lot of advantages. Swap from bike to bike, use a regular bike carrier and put the trailer in the trunk, if the battery or motor takes a crap you still have a perfectly good bike. I keep wondering what Ridekick has run into problem wise. There are some diy plans out there for electric trailers but for this busy over worked sexton(lol) I have no time for such a project. Any thoughts on this !!!!!
Yes, I can't figure it out either. It's a decent idea that works. They seem like straightforward hard working people. Why can't they pull this together? It's been on and off for 3 or 4 years now.
I think there's a market. I was interested, but nervous now.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
Thanks for that. I think largely the answer to my question will be determined by what type of consumer buys electric bikes in the next few years. DIY types, pure commuters, bike geeks etc. Shimano/Bosch will listen to Trek/Raleigh and they will listen to their customers. If the customer demands the latest chemistry in an even sleeker downtube with higher capacity, the commuter with 1000 cycles on his bike in 5 years will be out of luck and possibly turned off eBikes forever.
If a commuter with 1,000 cycles over 5 years is turned off ebikes forever by needing a new battery, he should just jump off a cliff now, cuz he's dead already.................
 

Donny

Active Member
If a commuter with 1,000 cycles over 5 years is turned off ebikes forever by needing a new battery, he should just jump off a cliff now, cuz he's dead already.................
Agreed, but that is the disposable world we live in nowadays as well. Nobody wants to fix anything, especially when it's usually cheaper to buy a new one, and most people cannot fix their own vehicles nowadays.
@harryS

http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=97140646

This has been $1000 for a few days.

The Ride Scoozy 350 has a nice Golden Motor and goes for $1400. They have sales.

Sondors will probably continue to sell the Thin for $700, along with his Fatbike.

Right now, you could make a nice refined ebike with a Mac or Golden motor, a 350wh battery, and a basic frame with upgrade components, for $1200. That's the Scoozy, basically. I don't know if the arrangement ProdecoTech has with Dick's will change anything. I think Prodeco needs value models.

I don't know why Trek or any of that dominant group doesn't take one of their basic frames, add a good rear hub, add a battery, and try to get it into the LBS system. My shop sells Trek. They were helpful on my conversion. They can certainly deal with the motor, and they never see the battery. The Golden is a nice motor because the controller is integrated. There are four waterproof plugs for brakes, the throttle, and the cruise, as I recall.

Mid-drive has faded over the past year. People see the problems. Hubs are simple.
I think the point they were trying to make is that a good percentage, if not the vast majority, of mass produced e-bikes currently on the market seem to be around the $3,000 price range. I saw that over and over again when I was shopping around for mine. Sure, there are cheap made in China bikes you can get for $700, but you get what you pay for. The only bikes that I could find that were around $1200 or less were mostly crowd funded projects (Freway, Sondors, etc.). I opted not to go with those because there is no guarantee they are going to be around tomorrow and I've already read of enough people having problems with them and they cannot get any support (Sondors especially).

I agree with you though - the name brand companies need to put something out there for these to really take off and the price HAS to come down. I have a hard time seeing a standard pedal bike going for thousands of dollars, at least with an electric I would think I was getting a bit more for my money ;)
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
Agreed, but that is the disposable world we live in nowadays as well. Nobody wants to fix anything, especially when it's usually cheaper to buy a new one, and most people cannot fix their own vehicles nowadays.


I think the point they were trying to make is that a good percentage, if not the vast majority, of mass produced e-bikes currently on the market seem to be around the $3,000 price range. I saw that over and over again when I was shopping around for mine. Sure, there are cheap made in China bikes you can get for $700, but you get what you pay for. The only bikes that I could find that were around $1200 or less were mostly crowd funded projects (Freway, Sondors, etc.). I opted not to go with those because there is no guarantee they are going to be around tomorrow and I've already read of enough people having problems with them and they cannot get any support (Sondors especially).

I agree with you though - the name brand companies need to put something out there for these to really take off and the price HAS to come down. I have a hard time seeing a standard pedal bike going for thousands of dollars, at least with an electric I would think I was getting a bit more for my money ;)[/QUOTE

LOTS of $2,000+ pedal only bikes at my LBS. If you haven't looked lately you'll be surprised.