Pedego vs. The World

ROCebike

Member
I'm thinking of opening a Pedego store in upstate NY. Their model range is good, and reliability seems robust. But it's an exclusive relationship for full brand support. Would you share your ebike shopping experience, whether y o u considered a Pedego model and what bike you ultimately bought and why? Many thanks.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
@ROCebike, as a 15 year veteran of the electric bike industry selling only ebikes and escooters, it can be an issue to lock into just one brand. You might be in a good position as a new shop to do this; however, I suggest you examine any contract with Pedego for an opt-out clause. You might want to change your mind down the road. If you don't have any experience running a bike shop or repairing bikes, this may be a safe way to enter the industry. Look around where you are considering locating the business to find the next closest Pedego dealership. Most markets cannot support multiple stores selling the same brands or a big box store selling less expensive brands of ebikes nearby. Pedego has been around for a while, so you could feel comfortable that they will continue to be around.

Give Rocket Electrics in Austin Texas a call and ask to speak to one of the two owners about their relationship with Pedego. They started as a Pedego exclusive shop and after a few years, chose to still sell Pedegos but added other brands. I'm sure their insights will be valuable for you before signing an exclusive contract.
 

arnold ziffle

New Member
I became aware that technology had made ebikes practical around 2005, so I looked at some data & reviews, but was not in a bike -friendly situation at the time. During a trip to Redondo Beach, on a whim, I went into the Pedego dealership just to look at the motors, but the owners were so friendly & helpful that I accepted their invitation for a ride. Of course, it was the most fun I'd had in decades, but I didn't want to own an ebike at the time, so I had time to shop around some more. Then I bought a less expensive brand. Am I typical? Do people utilize Pedego's dealer network to test drive ebikes, not specifically Pedegos? They're a very nice bike, & if dealer/technical support is required, maybe a great choice, especially for cruisers. It's a VERY tough market. I've seriously considered some type of ebike vending scenario, 'cause "hey, they're great!!", but I suspect Pedego is actually "selling" more chinese knock offs than Pedegos .... I personally ended up buying a Prodeco Tech -- Made in USA. If you can HONESTLY answer the question, "How ya gonna compete with Amazon?" in you're market, I will be very envious of your success.
 
I am a new owner of a Stromer ST1 after re-discovering the ebike world and the move to pedal assist bikes (as opposed to throttle only). I generally research the heck out of any new purchase online, read reviews (thanks to forums like this!) and, in this case, shopped around at local dealerships. I live in a town which continues to be very bicycle oriented and lots of bike promotion going on here (Fort Collins, CO) where the craft beer culture and bikes, via New Belgium Brewing (Fat Tire beer) has been a strong. We even had an ebike dealer in FoCo years back but it did not survive.

I've been a fan of bikes since my teens. My first purchase with my paper route money was a 10 speed road bike, a French Alpina, circa ~1963. In 2002, however, I bought my first motorcycle (BMW F650GS, dual sport) and that was that. Motorcycles became my primary interest. Touring and riding my Beemer became my hobby. I did buy a 'comfort' bike a few years back (K2 Easy Rider) which I really like, but free time was spent on the gas powered two wheelers.

Retirement gave me much more free time and age (and my Dr) dictated that I get some exercise. Somehow I stumbled on to ebikes and realized that they had gotten much more sophisticated with the pedelec, torque sensors, cadence sensors, etc. and started looking online. Despite living in a bike crazy town there did not seem to be much to choose from. Bike shops carried them but the young salesmen who work these shops seemed to have very, very little knowledge. But, I found an ebike only shop in Longmont, CO, a few miles south, in the penumbra of Boulder, CO, another bike crazy, hip community. Small Planet Ebikes had a wide array of bikes but, more important to me, a knowledgeable sales staff. They took the time to answer questions and allowed me to fully demo any and all bikes, which was very important to me. I did discover the Pedego brand, and there was a Pedego shop in Aurora, CO, a suburb of Denver. But the drive to Denver is hell, IMHO. The interstate from FoCo to Denver is almost always burdened with slowdowns, traffic jams, not to mention nut jobs speeding 85 MPH, weaving through heavy traffic. I go there once a month or so to visit, so I'm aware of the danger and frustration. I wanted to buy more local, for repair, maintenance, questions, etc. I even considered a Pedego dealer in Breckenridge, one of Colorado's best ski towns, which is about a 3.5 hour drive, again, down a heavily trafficked interstate.

Small Planet Ebikes also sold Pedegos. I was looking for the Ridge Runner, their sleek 'mountain' bike but the Stromer ST1 was on sale, had good reviews and was not a new model year as the Pedego Ridge Runner was (which was not instock at SPE). The salesman recommended the ST1 and it had the right specs for me. Stong 500 watt motor, 14.5 Amp hour battery, with a spare battery thrown in to help sell last year's model. And smooth. It had the more 'stealthy' look, with the battery hidden in the down tube, as well as having a quiet motor. Almost imperceptible! The one I got had a front suspension fork, a somewhat knobbier tire. And year end pricing for a premium brand and that Swiss design. I was anxious to get riding before the winter weather and have been very pleased with my purchase.

I do, however, want to visit the Pedego dealer. The ones I checked into rented their bikes for the hour or afternoon in addition to demos. I think that is a very good approach. The ebike is one of those things that sells itself as soon as you ride it. I also see that ProdecoTech now has a big van option for its dealers, or new dealers, which carries several bikes in addition to being a rolling repair shop. ( http://ebikemobile.com/ ) Take the shop to the target market. Take it to street fairs, farmers markets, etc. Again, these ebikes sell themselves once ridden (although they are still very expensive) and the 'pop-up shop' is a great idea for someone wanting to get into sales. Just my $.02. Good luck.
StomerST1.jpg
StomerST1.jpg
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
I also see that ProdecoTech now has a big van option for its dealers, or new dealers, which carries several bikes in addition to being a rolling repair shop. ( http://ebikemobile.com/ )


That's a fascinating website. My first ebike was a Prodeco X3. I feel the company gets a somewhat raw deal for some early issues. I never had any issue with the X3 except the rear tire removal for a flat change. The van is a creative approach. It would be good for demos but if you were looking for immediate service, it might be awkward. You have to get people on the bikes to sell them.

The dealer I bought the X3 from pulled out of this area (S Utah). He has a store in the much denser SLC area. He mostly sold Pedego stuff while he had the store. He dropped the Prodeco line and later some other lines. Who is your demographic? The faster commuter bikes, and the bikes for younger customers with MTB pretensions, are a bit beyond the Pedego line. I noticed my departed dealer never carried the Ridge Rider. Neither Pedego or Prodeco are actually selling mid-drives, though Prodeco has a page with one.

I consider it a very tough business. I assume that a solid rental business could help a lot with cash flow and generate sales. For me, the Pedego stuff was a little pricey and the basic cruisers were a little casual. I rode a couple.
 

IslandHopper

New Member
If money were no object, I would happily buy a Pedego (either the fat tire model, or the mountain bike). However, if money is an issue, then I would probably look elsewhere. Don't get me wrong - I loved the feel of both the Pedego models I tested. However, is that feel worth another $2,000+ dollars (Cdn) over the price of something like a RadRover? I'd say probably not.

Also, if you are going to be an ebike dealer, be sure to set up the bikes right. The fat tire model I tested had waaayyy too much air in the tires, and the fork on the Ridge Rider had almost no air in it. Little things, but it does make a difference.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you success.
 
I think such a van would be at considerable risk in many areas, especially trail heads.
I don't think the idea is to leave it there while you go riding. It's a rolling shop. I'm not sure I'd take it to a trail head to let people thrash the bikes. At least not without holding a credit card & signed waiver, etc. Then again, wouldn't it be great to set up at a trail & invite some of the local MTB athletes & riders to demonstrate the bikes to a crowd. Sponsor rides with the local MTB or road bike crowds & give them a chance to ride the bikes. Grab some video of the event, hire a drone pilot/photographer for some aerial footage. You could go nuts without ever having a brick & mortar store. Or, partner up with a local bike shop to hold such events. Call the news channels. Bring in a couple of food trucks. List is endless. Let's sell these things!!
 

ROCebike

Member
@ROCebike, as a 15 year veteran of the electric bike industry selling only ebikes and escooters, it can be an issue to lock into just one brand. You might be in a good position as a new shop to do this; however, I suggest you examine any contract with Pedego for an opt-out clause. You might want to change your mind down the road. If you don't have any experience running a bike shop or repairing bikes, this may be a safe way to enter the industry. Look around where you are considering locating the business to find the next closest Pedego dealership. Most markets cannot support multiple stores selling the same brands or a big box store selling less expensive brands of ebikes nearby. Pedego has been around for a while, so you could feel comfortable that they will continue to be around.

Give Rocket Electrics in Austin Texas a call and ask to speak to one of the two owners about their relationship with Pedego. They started as a Pedego exclusive shop and after a few years, chose to still sell Pedegos but added other brands. I'm sure their insights will be valuable for you before signing an exclusive contract.
Thanks for the great advice. I will follow up with Rocket. It sounds very similar to what would be my future fallback model.

Pedego is pretty focused on 40+ year olds wanting back into biking for fun. I have a reasonable demographic for this, for now. But lots of awareness building is needed. Id probably be relying on recreational riders/renters more than urban commuters. Maybe I'm wrong, but Pedego doesn't seem to chase young commuters or MTB.

Local big bike store said they've sold about 50 - 60 ebikes YTD. Small shops only a couple herEand there. Trek won't sell to small shops since having trained service dept is important so they consolidate to 'master dealer' or something.

As for Internet competition, it is indeed pervasive. But boomers seem to want local service even if it's just fixing a flat. Let alone electronics. Overall I sense that true bike folks like having a local dealer. But there is a limit to the prices paid for this support. It seems that Kickstarter is the Alternative to Amazon for ebikes. Doesn't anyone value a test ride or are ebikes simply sold by component specs?

A retired shop owner of 40 years told me that sustainable bike shops are only possible with one one of three scenarios. 1) you are financially independent already, 2) You own your store building, or 3) you inherited the business. According to my better half, none apply to me!

I can have a lot of fun with this shop and it's a second career after 30 + years of corporate life. I'm not looking to get rich, but if it pays for a few ski trips or winters in Florida, it's appealing.

I could get really jazzed up and sell a couple of super specialty ebikes like Vintage and Renovo in my area. Way cool but I'd need to ask PT Barnum if there were any minutes born in my area.

Always open to any and all insights and opinions. Keep em coming. Much appreciated.
 

Berry78

Active Member
Just an idea...

To limit the stock sitting on the floor (not moving, collecting dust, and having to be blown out at huge discounts...)

Maybe only keep 1-2 bikes of each model, all of which are demos. Special order bikes when a sale is made, and if someone just has to have one today, sell a demo at a reasonable discount..that will keep your demos turning over.

In order for this model to work, your supplier will have to be quick and reliable.

Do stock smaller items like helmets, saddles, etc.

Clothing should also make an appearance.
 

Berry78

Active Member
Oh, and wanted to add, location, location, location..

Bike shops are a destination store, so make it easy to find, but doesn't have to be front and center. Make sure it is super easy for customers to take the bike for a ride. A nice, quiet, open parking lot, bike path, etc. Somewhere an unsteady rider is going to be free to make mistakes and not get run down by a semi.
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
And of course here in NY we are all outlaws anyway, thanks to our friends in the Legislature. My (oversimplified) understanding of all this is that every year the law comes to the floor and every year NYC influences kill it. It would be nice if they got their act together and joined the rest of the country.

So in the meantime here we are, and I've put over 600 miles on my eJoe Koda in the past five weeks, while my wife has done over 100 on her wonderful Pedego City Cruiser. Almost all the discussions I've had with other cyclists who note the bike have been positive... in fact, they all have. I've been riding for a long time, done some touring in the past, and dearly loved my Cannondale T400, but at this point in my life, it's either hang it up or find an alternative - hello, eBike.

Out of a sense of fair play and some grudging respect for the law - I was a cop for 27 years - when I ride the Erie Canal network trails, which I love to do, it has all been with zero assist, since it's flat anyway (except for those two big hills near Schenectady, sorry). I do it in chunks, park the car at the last point, ride 20-25 miles on the trail westbound, then ride back on 5S in whatever mode I need on those rolling hills. I would actually just leave the whole system turned off, but then the odometer wouldn't log the miles. So I ride in 0 assist on the actual bike path.

I have run across several people on various trails riding ebikes all very happily, and I have ridden other trails with my wife using the ebike capabilities, but we do so during the week when usage is low. Love retirement!

Which is all to say that ebiking is alive and apparently well in NY, but has that damn cloud hovering over it. The shop I bought the bike at, in this state, just sort of said, yeah, they're legal, when I raised the question. They're not wrong: while the Vehicle and Traffic Law, which controls usage on the roads, says No Go, the actual definition of a bicycle is legally met under a different state law. Can't remember which authority, but I have it downstairs.

All of this is just to reference that extra issue for NYS ebike dealers. I know there is a Pedego dealer out on the Finger Lakes and I believe there's one in NYC. If you are anywhere near the Capital region, I hope like hell you open up since we could save the ride to Connecticut when my wife's CC needs service. We are all hoping next year will be the year the legal cloud dissipates, and it may well be with the ever increasing emergence of these thing and the adoption now by such powerhouses as Trek. I will be joining the legal advocacy movement in full when the time comes. Good luck! Pedego is wonderful. The ONLY reason I am not riding one is the frame style that I really wanted after all those years on a touring bike was so closely replicated on the eJoe, which I do love. It is a hell of a good bike as well.
 
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D

Deleted member 803

Guest
I am a corporate direct reseller that carries many brands. In general there are just a handful of dedicated eBike only IBD's that make a decent living and almost all of them are located in large metropolitan areas with density of population (millions of people). eBikes are just at the very very beginning of the sales curve with massive lack of awareness or education among the consuming public. Most of the IBD network in North America continues to shrink with less than 60 dealers across the country doing seven figures or more.

My recommendation is to visit all the bike dealers in your local area to see who carries eBikes and see how happy they are with sales. Not everyone will tell you but some might. We find that 99% of everyone we sell an eBike to is not a cyclist and hasn't visited a bike shop in decades. The average age of our purchaser is 54. This means that whatever you do, you will need to allocate a significant amount of dollars to outbound marketing including participating in as many events as you can.

I was at Interbike two years ago and the vendors were in the dark ages regarding distribution. Today, there are many vendors experimenting with online sales, direct sales, and outbound sales. ProdecoTech is about to franchise a van loaded with a service center and 6 bikes where franchisees can become a mobile ebike reseller visiting high traffic areas with a ready made shop on wheels. This is a very smart approach.

Whatever you do, avoid inventory and buy only those floor units necessary to properly demo bikes.

I wish you nothing but success!
 

ROCebike

Member
And of course here in NY we are all outlaws anyway, thanks to our friends in the Legislature. My (oversimplified) understanding of all this is that every year the law comes to the floor and every year NYC influences kill it. It would be nice if they got their act together and joined the rest of the country.

So in the meantime here we are, and I've put over 600 miles on my eJoe Koda in the past five weeks, while my wife has done over 100 on her wonderful Pedego City Cruiser. Almost all the discussions I've had with other cyclists who note the bike have been positive... in fact, they all have. I've been riding for a long time, done some touring in the past, and dearly loved my Cannondale T400, but at this point in my life, it's either hang it up or find an alternative - hello, eBike.

Out of a sense of fair play and some grudging respect for the law - I was a cop for 27 years - when I ride the Erie Canal network trails, which I love to do, it has all been with zero assist, since it's flat anyway (except for those two big hills near Schenectady, sorry). I do it in chunks, park the car at the last point, ride 20-25 miles on the trail westbound, then ride back on 5S in whatever mode I need on those rolling hills. I would actually just leave the whole system turned off, but then the odometer wouldn't log the miles. So I ride in 0 assist on the actual bike path.

I have run across several people on various trails riding ebikes all very happily, and I have ridden other trails with my wife using the ebike capabilities, but we do so during the week when usage is low. Love retirement!

Which is all to say that ebiking is alive and apparently well in NY, but has that damn cloud hovering over it. The shop I bought the bike at, in this state, just sort of said, yeah, they're legal, when I raised the question. They're not wrong: while the Vehicle and Traffic Law, which controls usage on the roads, says No Go, the actual definition of a bicycle is legally met under a different state law. Can't remember which authority, but I have it downstairs.

All of this is just to reference that extra issue for NYS ebike dealers. I know there is a Pedego dealer out on the Finger Lakes and I believe there's one in NYC. If you are anywhere near the Capital region, I hope like hell you open up since we could save the ride to Connecticut when my wife's CC needs service. We are all hoping next year will be the year the legal cloud dissipates, and it may well be with the ever increasing emergence of these thing and the adoption now by such powerhouses as Trek. I will be joining the legal advocacy movement in full when the time comes. Good luck! Pedego is wonderful. The ONLY reason I am not riding one is the frame style that I really wanted after all those years on a touring bike was so closely replicated on the eJoe, which I do love. It is a hell of a good bike as well.
Thanks All
I've found an almost perfect location, on the Erie Canal and some residential streets with hills close by. It's a small place and not much room for inventory, a good thing. What's difficult is getting the numbers to work. No matter how hard I scrub the assumptions, it's indeed a challenging business. In my corporate life Sales/Marketing would often promote some new idea and say it was Strategic for us. This almost always meant ' money loser'. So the bike shop is almost strategic. I have a new found appreciation for those IBSs still in business. I'm still scratching my head on the local frozen yogurt shop. How many scoops needed to just pay the rent?!.

@Saratoga Dave, You are correct on the NYS legislation issue. Under Federal Commercial Code, they are classed as bicycles and no problem to sell or own. Unfortunately NYS has no classification for ebikes so it's 'grey'. NYC Police dealt with it by banning them out right. I'm told too many Chinese delivery bikes hitting pedestrians. The NYBC is lobbying to get just a Class 1 rating approved. They are optimistic with an opt out clause for cities of certain populations. In the mean time if a rider were to be issued a ticket for riding an ebike, they'd love to defend the rider and use the courts to elevate the issue. As a former cop, I doubt you had time to pull over and cite Ken and Barb Boomer riding their ebikes on the street, let alone the canal.

Having said that, I do think I will govern the rental bikes down to 15 mph for the canal. 20 mph is too fast for day renters and this speed easily scares walkers when passed. True for regular bikes as well. I can see the complaints from walkers leading to negative consequences.

Whether Pedego exclusive or multiple brands, it looks like I need to sell at least 8-10 bikes per month in a 10 month year to make this work. Prices are eroding on the low - mid price models which leaves the $3k and up models vulnerable as first time purchases. The brick and mortar business model seems to explain why Prodeco is franchising mobile trucks and everybody sells on the web.

I'm reviewing the numbers with my accountant later this month. In the words of a famous politician "Reason over Passion". Despite the encouragement of friends and family, 500 bikes over five years in this area seems a stretch.

However, the local BMW motorcycle shop is for sale. Hmmm.

Thanks for all of your insights.
 

Berry78

Active Member
I used to own a game store for 4 years (board and card games). Opened in an area with 75k people. After attending some industry educational seminars, learned the numeric bottom line is a game store needs 100k population as a bare minimum to survive. We found that spot on, since we were only bringing in 3/4 of the sales needed.

Also, we found after the first 2 years, our customers had purchased durable goods and didn't need to continue buying at the same rate.

Seems like the bike industry may face some of the same challenges.
 
That BMW dealership might not be a bad idea! BMW Motorcycle keeps having banner years, largely on the basis of selling its popular GS 'adventure' motorcycles to baby boomers with enough cash for a $25,000 moto. I own a 2002 version, absolutely love riding it. But BMW & all the moto makers are facing the demographic elephant in the room: boomers are getting older and there is no younger demographic to take that slot in the sales chart. EBikes seem to have the same appeal-- and problem. A robust market will, eventually, overwhelm the regulators and sales might increase. But it might take time. It might be a good time, as we are poised to catch up with Europe and the growth they have seen. I think my town might be ready for an eBikes dealer but I'm not in a position to take that risk (but have thought about it). And I agree with you, it is a very risky venture. Rentals in the right area could support the sales program... in the right area. Bikes and beer are huge in this college town of mine, with tours of the craft breweries a hit with tourists. A thriving "Old Town" and a supportive (of non motorized bikes) community helps. Still risky. But what fun it would be, getting folks excited about riding bikes! E-bikes!
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
"they say" the easiest way to have a million bucks in the bicycle business is start with 2 million.
My minimal understanding is they don't make much selling bikes, the money is in the service. Are you ok with that if it turns out to be the case?
 

Roseville

New Member
In Silicon Valley, there are less than 5 ebike shops, one in Santa Clara, one in Redwood City and a couple in SF. But, there are many regular bike shops who sell ebikes on the side, mostly if you walk in and order one. What is the density of bike ownership in your area?

Does the local biking community know you? There's a dealer in Old Sacramento who is known in the area for his bike advocacy.

Did you go to interbike this year? Do you plan to go to the ebike expo in Santa Monica in early December?
 

JohnT

Active Member
I've owned a Pedego store for about 2 years now. Feel free to ask if you have any questions, but I can't guarantee I'll answer on an open board.

Before opening, we talked to many people at other SoCal stores, including Redendo Beach, mentioned above. Every single one was happy to talk to us and happy with their relationships with Pedego HQ.

The best reason to become a Pedego branded store is support and advice. They want you to succeed, and they don't mind spending their time and assets to help you do it. They have a large network of dealers to provide them with info. Their marketing department knows what's been working and what hasn't. Their tech department knows what issues mechanics have had and how to deal them.

Plus, personally, I like focusing on one brand. Familiarity with the product is important in sales and in service. Carrying other brands, using different systems, would require more knowledge and effort and time. My wife and I handle everything around here, and there are enough Pedego models to keep us busy.

I'd keep writing, but bikes need servicing!