Life. After Storm.

George S.

Well-Known Member
Mostly what Storm did, if you were really paying attention, is show how the ebike business works. China makes most of the parts. Up to now, their domestic bikes were too rough for the Western markets. But, now, as China develops, it is clear they can produce bikes that match the world market better, especially low cost bikes. You might have to do a lot of work to maintain quality, but it still seems to be possible. Are the frames welded right? Are the materials for the frames right?

They can make a decent frame in China, certainly in Taiwan. The other bike parts are standard bike parts, from pedals, derailleur systems, forks, whatever. You take a frame, substitute a hub motor wheel for the standard wheel. Stuff the frame with parts, many of which you can look up on Amazon, read reviews. Add a battery, some sort of throttle or assist system. Chinese motors dominate the market. No one says they are all crap. Chinese batteries are more and more dominant. The rest of what you buy is a bike, and you can buy a decent bike on bikes direct for $400.

Sure, a Haibike or ST2 has a beautiful frame, everything is integrated with total precision. There is elegance to the experience. And you pay through the nose to get it. Bikes are limited to 20mph. You won’t get there any more quickly. My view on luxury is that you get used to it and then what?

So in the Post-Storm era people may look at e bikes as an Asian commodity. They may note that the electric parts are not that expensive, so why should any ebike be ‘that’ expensive? Yes, if you want a luxury, European product, you get something much more refined. But, if you don’t?

I see a lot of problems for any ebike manufacturer (importer, really) because of liability and regulatory issues. I spent some years pondering light aviation, sport aircraft, wondering why there were no options for people. In the end, no one could build a simple airplane for less than $150k, even in China or Central Europe. So people build kits, and they are the manufacturer. If you build a Challenger the FAA calls it a “your name” Challenger, on the title. But you don’t buy liability insurance for yourself, or follow the strict regs for commercial/factory type aircraft of any kind. Kits are how the average guy affords an airplane, and these kits require hundreds of hours to complete. Not so, most ebike kits.

Storm didn’t follow the rules or buy insurance, as far as I know. He burrowed under this stuff with his drive-by marketing and direct ship model. As in aviation, people will look at the costs and some will decide they don’t want to be ‘protected’ and they don’t want to be ‘over-regulated’. We’ll see how Storm’s model works, but certainly selling very easy to install kits solves a lot of problems, and keeps costs way down. Whether it is Flykly, or an integrated BBS02 with a simple bolt on bottle battery, there are pretty simple ways to take a nice bike and make it an ebike.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
  • If Sondors is the Model T, which ebike becomes the Ford Edsel?
  • Do you foresee the type of market consolidation that US auto industry experienced in the early days?
  • What happens when battery performance and cost finally improves at 15-25% per year? Do eBikes reach commodity status, like conventional bikes?
  • Is Sondor's the Henry Ford, Lee Iacocca or Cal Worthington of the E-Bike industry?
  • Which US E-bike company becomes the General Motors by acquiring smaller companies, Curry Tech?
  • What happens to all the prestigious, exotic and expensive foreign bikes that collect dust? The bikes that sit around erode each other's base price. It becomes another race to the bottom.

I compared a couple of bikes today. I am hard-pressed to find differences that justify some cost differences. For example, is the Felt DUALe 10 worth $600 more than the Easy Motion Evo Bosch? I will have to scrutinize the two bikes to really know. I am even more hard-pressed to find the difference between Haibike equivalents.
 
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JoePah

Well-Known Member
Wonder if Sondor's overwhelming success has sucked all the oxygen out of the room.. Are buyers now waiting for more reasonbly priced eBikes? Bosch and BionX overpriced offerings may take a beating this year.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
Wonder if Sondor's overwhelming success has sucked all the oxygen out of the room.. Are buyers now waiting for more reasonbly priced eBikes? Bosch and BionX overpriced offerings may take a beating this year.
I wish the Germans would lose their over-engineering. I owned a Nissan 300ZX. The Nissan was half the cost of the equivalent Porsche. I had also owned a Porsche. I really appreciated the Nissan value. Both are great cars, but I am hard-pressed to justify the huge price difference. It just makes no sense to me.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
If Sondors makes his bikes configurable, he will have a more profound influence. For example, the option to install a few planetary gears in the front chainwheel. I can see many people balking at the lack of rear gears. He does not need to add expensive components to achieve the same results. Just do it in a creative way.

Some people would get excited over the option for a very powerful motor.

All he has to do it wait until he can batch 10,ooo orders together. He takes 5% of the market in one batch.
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
  • Do you foresee the type of market consolidation that US auto industry experienced in the early days?
  • What happens when battery performance and cost finally improves at 15-25% per year? Do eBikes reach commodity status, like conventional bikes?
  • Is Sondor's the Henry Ford of the E-Bike industry?
  • Which US E-bike company becomes the General Motors by acquiring smaller companies, Curry Tech?
  • What happens to all the prestigious, exotic and expensive foreign bikes that collect dust? The bikes that sit around erode each other's base price. It becomes another race to the bottom.
I compared a couple of bikes today. I am hard-pressed to find differences that justify some cost differences. For example, is the Felt DUALe 10 worth $600 more than the Easy Motion Evo Bosch? I will have to scrutinize the two bikes to really know. I am even more hard-pressed to find the difference between Haibike equivalents.
One of the things with battery tech seems to be its inability to have consistent growth - it is also the biggest hurdle for ebikes in general, but we are slowly getting there.

Those two bikes you compared are both very high priced! I highly doubt there is much beyond choice of (likely high end) components to justify the difference, along with bike sizing/preference and maybe battery size and a few other specs.

Last year I ended up with a demo easy motion neo xtrem - it was obviously well built than most of the bikes in the shop that were around the $1,500 mark, and the shop took my electra townie as a trade so I was out the door a little over $2K. As much as I've enjoyed it, I'm already thinking about building out my fat bike with a rear hub motor - it is just that much more fun to ride over the sportier neo xtrem.

The storm bikes do seem to be a bit of a watershed moment - even with a high amount of volume sales, they will still only account for a small percentage of US sales. At the same time it certainly shines a light on the industry as a whole, and the more these kickstarter style campaigns come around, more people will inevitably gain interest - I'm hoping it sparks more of a DIY market as well with aftermarket support from Chinese suppliers.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
One of the things with battery tech seems to be its inability to have consistent growth - it is also the biggest hurdle for ebikes in general, but we are slowly getting there.

Those two bikes you compared are both very high priced! I highly doubt there is much beyond choice of (likely high end) components to justify the difference, along with bike sizing/preference and maybe battery size and a few other specs.

Last year I ended up with a demo easy motion neo xtrem - it was obviously well built than most of the bikes in the shop that were around the $1,500 mark, and the shop took my electra townie as a trade so I was out the door a little over $2K. As much as I've enjoyed it, I'm already thinking about building out my fat bike with a rear hub motor - it is just that much more fun to ride over the sportier neo xtrem.

The storm bikes do seem to be a bit of a watershed moment - even with a high amount of volume sales, they will still only account for a small percentage of US sales. At the same time it certainly shines a light on the industry as a whole, and the more these kickstarter style campaigns come around, more people will inevitably gain interest - I'm hoping it sparks more of a DIY market as well with aftermarket support from Chinese suppliers.
I wrote an extensive comparison. I was dumbfounded and hard-pressed to find the price differentials. My parents live 15 minutes from a major ski area. I worked at the racing center. Back in the day, I could feel, in exquisite detail, all the differences in skis. I do not know if such fine distinctions exist in eBikes, or not.

"Watershed moment" is very apt. I was unable to articulate it, but I have been searching for that description.

So many major manufacturers are making big investments in battery tech. I feel battery tech will hit an inflection point this year. Tesla with their giant battery facility in Nevada. Apple with their eCar and outrageous hiring practices.
 
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Mike leroy

Active Member
IMHO the majors will copy the general idea of the Sondors campaign, rework it, address any technical, legal, and administrative issues there are, and produce bike that has an approximate retail price of 900 dollars. The bike will come with a guarantee and certificates of conformity to certain standards. It will be sold in Walmart or online. It will be something of a "no name brand", made in China or elsewhere. This is consistent with Walmart's current policy to sell sub 1000 dollar e-bikes.
What percentage of the U.S. population do you estimate buying one? More than 10%? 30M eBikes annual sales?

Do you see sales levels closer to scooters, motorcycles or conventional bikes?
 
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Mike leroy

Active Member
I haven't resided in the US for a number of years, so it's difficult for me to come up with a market analysis. But you can find some interesting figures for the European market here (it's a couple of years old) from the review "Bike Market":

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

So what about the US? Well, I guess market penetration depends on many factors and will vary by region. But before speaking about market penetration, perhaps it's useful to ask oneself a couple of questions about a given region or area:

- Is the road infrastructure friendly to e-bikes?
- What is the general public's perception of an e-bike? Is it considered a safe to ride one?
- Is the local population concerned about ecological issues?
- Are the laws friendly to e-bikes?
- Is the region hilly?
- What is the percentage of people over 50? In Europe, this demographic segment tends to represent a bigger part of the e-bike market than, say, younger generations. But that might change in the future, or vary by region.
- Are retailers offering financing plans that are attractive?
- Does it make financial and logistical sense to replace your 2nd car by an e-bike?
- For high end bikes: do local retailers offer extra services that are included in the price of an e-bike? For example, is the bike insured against vandalism and theft? Does the price include an insurance for personal liability? Is there a free 24/7 tow-away service included?
Portland, OR may be the single best USA indicator. Perhaps, 5 to 25% in Portland.

Strava may also show likely neighborhoods in other areas, Judging from Strava in my neighborhood, the answer is 1%, or less.

What is the percentage in your area? I infer 5%, or less based on your criteria.
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
Are you talking about bikes or e-bikes?

I currently live near Geneva in Switzerland. This is a very atypical market and currently isn't going where the global e-bike industry seems to be headed, more particularly in the lower end of the price spectrum. In Switzerland, quality and value added services are often as important as price. Most people on this forum would simply be shocked at the price of the cheapest e-bikes here.

Now, to answer your question about the number of bikes circulating in Switzerland, if we count all types of bikes combined, including pedelecs and s-pedelecs, it is estimated that 3.9 million bikes are owned collectively, of which 2.5 to 3 million are thought to be actively in circulation. 350,000 new bikes are purchased each year. These figures do not include mopeds, scooters, and motorbikes.

http://www.velosuisse.ch/fr/media37336.html

To get an idea of how large those numbers are, you should keep in mind that there are only roughly 8 million people living in Switzerland...

Regarding the current e-bike market share in Switzerland, a government study conducted in 2013 estimated that 233,000 e-bikes were circulating. The study also shows that roughly 50,000 e-bikes were sold in 2013 (and the same projection was made for 2014). So, if we extrapolate a little, there should currently be around 300,000 e-bikes circulating in Switzerland. I was speaking to a shop owner about this the other day, and he says that the actual figure is probably higher because the number given in the study was obtained by extrapolating administrative data from various bike importers. However, it does not take into account kits, legacy e-bikes, or bikes that were imported from neighbouring countries. So we are probably looking at a figure that's closer to 400,000 e-bikes.

My interest in this thread is that a bicycle is a means of transportation that's supposed to be for everyone. And so it should be accessible to all as far as price goes. Essentially, I would like to see e-bikes at the lower end of the price spectrum become commodities. Like that everyone could afford one, and we could move on to pedestrian and cycling urbanisation plans similar to those Holland has. Everybody would get where they need to go much faster and cycling would be much safer.
50,000 eBikes sold per year is a huge number for a country of 8 million... USA has 315 million people, and eBike sales estimated at 150,000 per year.

eBikes in Europe just seem more expensive all around.. Maybe EU tariffs?
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
Are you talking about bikes or e-bikes?

I currently live near Geneva in Switzerland. This is a very atypical market and currently isn't going where the global e-bike industry seems to be headed, more particularly in the lower end of the price spectrum. In Switzerland, quality and value added services are often as important as price. Most people on this forum would simply be shocked at the price of the cheapest e-bikes here.

Now, to answer your question about the number of bikes circulating in Switzerland, if we count all types of bikes combined, including pedelecs and s-pedelecs, it is estimated that 3.9 million bikes are owned collectively, of which 2.5 to 3 million are thought to be actively in circulation. 350,000 new bikes are purchased each year. These figures do not include mopeds, scooters, and motorbikes.

http://www.velosuisse.ch/fr/media37336.html

To get an idea of how large those numbers are, you should keep in mind that there are only roughly 8 million people living in Switzerland...

Regarding the current e-bike market share in Switzerland, a government study conducted in 2013 estimated that 233,000 e-bikes were circulating. The study also shows that roughly 50,000 e-bikes were sold in 2013 (and the same projection was made for 2014). So, if we extrapolate a little, there should currently be around 300,000 e-bikes circulating in Switzerland. I was speaking to a shop owner about this the other day, and he says that the actual figure is probably higher because the number given in the study was obtained by extrapolating administrative data from various bike importers. However, it does not take into account kits, legacy e-bikes, or bikes that were imported from neighbouring countries. So we are probably looking at a figure that's closer to 400,000 e-bikes.

My interest in this thread is that a bicycle is a means of transportation that's supposed to be for everyone. And so it should be accessible to all as far as price goes. Essentially, I would like to see e-bikes at the lower end of the price spectrum become commodities. Like that everyone could afford one, and we could move on to pedestrian and cycling urbanisation plans similar to those Holland has. Everybody would get where they need to go much faster and cycling would be much safer.
Very impressive. I wish our culture was that way! I am only concerned about eBikes.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
Very impressive. I wish our culture was that way! I am only concerned about eBikes.
JayVee,
How do you feel about the Stromer ST1 elite? I talked with a shop salesman who thinks they are good hill climbers. However the stromer spec says only 30Nm torque from the rear hub. The Bosch is 60Nm center drive.

Comparing the stromer and bosch by specs argues strongly in favor of the bosch.
Have you ever ridden your eBike on steep grades the Alps, like in the 15% to 20% grade range? How fast did you go?
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
I was looking at some kits since I started this thread. You can get the BBS system from Lectric Cycle or EM3EV, or just buy it on Amazon. Lectric Cycle is now rebranding it, and he claims some proprietary improvements. EM3EV has pretty responsive service (slow). People are buying the 350/500 watt BBS02 on Amazon for maybe $600, or around $400 on Alibaba.

It seems like you can find a 350 watt version of the Bafang for maybe $500, but you can find a decent hub motor for $300, in some sort of kit. That leaves the battery. Lectric Cycle kills you with a $700 battery (the cost of the Sondo, first day, with shipping). They are using name cells, but the battery is way too much of the cost. The Hong Kong price is OK, but the shipping and fees will almost double the price.

For now, people will have to experiment. They might buy the RC packs, which are quite cheap, plus a $40 charger. I can buy packs from China on Ebay, and they just ship stuff outside the regs, as best I can determine. Maybe if the container ship catches fire when your battery explodes, they send you a bill. There seem to be more and more LiPo packs. I assume this is what the Sondo uses. Are these different from an RC pack?

Some kits, like the LEED, are trivial to build. It seems like their batteries are off the charts expensive. They stick with 250 watt motors, and I really think they do this for liability reasons. People may not configure a front hub motor with a torque arm. But their system is rather trivial to put together. People could source batteries from another vendor, but they use a 24v standard which is almost obsolete.

The BBS is a fairly easy kit to install. Rather than buying the bottom bracket and crank tools, you could take it to a bike shop, maybe offer them the old crank plus some money. Let them clear the existing crank system. From there, the installation seems easy enough. With an integrated kit, it's almost like installing a wired bike computer. There is info on torquing the system down, and lubrication over time, floating around. Some suggest Loctite applications.

I think an online bike and a kit is the cheap way to go. Hopefully you just own a bike. No one knows if the Sondors will show up, and what legal issues may appear after they do the distribution.
 

wa5

Well-Known Member
I don't think we can really know what effect the Sondors bike will have on the market until it gets here. and we can see how well it has been put together..

If it turns out to be a steaming pile of crap, I think it will be very harmful to the industry overall, 7500 pissed off people, many of whom have never owned an Ebike before, will not make good ambassadors for the sport / hobby. I believe they will project their disappointment onto all Ebikes.

If it is reliable, but unremarkable (as I think it will turn out to be), I really don't think it will have much impact on other bikes.. good or bad... again, I think a lot of the people who bought the storm are first time e bikers.. The bike will be stored beside their treadmills or sold inside two years.. and they will move onto some other fad...

Will Cheap "china bikes" take over? hands up anybody who drives a Chinese branded car? The Chinese are quick learners, they have watched Japan and later Korea and are rapidly applying the lessons learned. But at the moment, they are imitators not innovators, and the best quality items out of China come from international companies factories... That wont always be the case, but it is at this point in time.

There will always be a market for very cheap items, but for the most part the old maxim holds true, "you get what you pay for".
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Well, everything but cars? Cameras? Smartphones? Computers?

The Bafang BBS02 is a quality mid-drive. It is easy to install. It specs out very well. You can look at videos where every piece is exposed. It can be fixed rather readily, even with bad quality control. Your basic argument is "Colonialism Lives!" How much longer, Dude?

I am addressing the costs of excess regulation and liability laws that kill industries. Building a kit is a way around this, in the US. You've shifted back from the argument about costs to the arguments that those pesky Chinese are just not up to our standards, even as we buy their parts. Storm figures he can avoid a lot of costs, the regulatory costs. I, personally, think he'll get tangled up in the sh#t.

They make a lot of ebikes in China. You'll end up with Chinese parts, with any ebike. Building is a good way to go. The Bafang BBS02 is probably a good way to go.
 

wa5

Well-Known Member
Cameras, Phones and Computers?, for the most part (in Australia at least) are international brands, Sony, Cannon, Microsoft, Apple... most of the non international branded items come in at the cheaper, shabbier end of the market.

I actually thought of the Bafang when I mentioned imitation, with my woeful lack of knowledge in this field, I think it could be considered an innovation, but its in the minority, there aren't many. But there will be... China is churning out a lot of engineers.

A lot of Chinese cars are a copy of others designs... Great Walls are Holden / Isuzu / Chev copies (in the body at least, the chassis is Toyota 4 runner / hilux, the petrol engine is either Toyota or Mitsubishi, we think the Diesel is Hyundai based... its one of the better cars coming out of China at the moment... I heard recently of a great wall owner trying to trade in his three year old $25000 SUV.. The dealer didn't want it. in the end he didn't either so he gave it to them.. But they are getting better.

Japan started the same way, the First Toyota was a copy of a Chrysler, the first Nissan an Austin, Isuzu a Renault, and Mitsubishi built Jeeps after WW2... Same with Korea, Hyundai learnt their trade of Mitsubishi, Kia off Mazda and Daewoo off GM..

If China follows Japan and Korea, and I can see little reason why it wont... (though I don't think they have Japans commitment to quality... yet).. things will improve at a very fast rate...