The 'Dirty Little Secret of the E-Bike Industry'.

GypsyTreker

Well-Known Member
You might be surprised to find out that the oldest Millennial is 39 years old now.

Here's what the RadPower "kids" looked like last year (the 2 in the center started the company, the end folks invested in it):

View attachment 47871


And here's a little history of the business: https://cleantechnica.com/2019/05/31/a-look-behind-the-curtain-at-rad-power-bikes/

You realize of course that I was teasing. I am well aware of Radpower. I was evoking an image.

The satire was aimed at the idea that the "dirty little secret" was no secret at all. Either my humor flopped or your being to serious LOL
 

AREM

New Member
If you truly take a look at the engineering behind the Trek, Giant and Specialized ebikes you will find the difference between the basic and the more expensive bikes. They are all intended to do basically the same thing. Some just do it (at a higher cost) with a little less drama and maintenance. Spec has a dedicated high tech facility in Switzerland where they design and test the whole bike, including motors. I am pretty sure Trek and Giant has a crew of dedicated engineers too. Yes, they both take advantage of cheaper labor to build their designs, but they also have full time product managers making sure of quality control, and reacting to deficiencies as quick as possible. And they all seem to come up with problems now and then. It's how the big brands try to efficiently handle these issues is one of the differences.
I still think it comes down to a good lbs to take care of issues, unless you are really really handy at not only fixing bikes, but electrics too. That is where the support of the big brands/lbs for many people is indispensable. Just my observations. Sorry for rambling/preaching, but not much else to do in quarantine.
I know what you mean. It's too cold here in Ontario to even go for a ride...sigh.
 

erider_61

Well-Known Member
I know what you mean. It's too cold here in Ontario to even go for a ride...sigh.

What are you talking about....been riding my Voltbike Bravo all winter. Just got to dress according. Today I was cleaning chain and upgrading to ceramic brakepads. I would say there were less than 7 days of not riding for me...
 

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AREM

New Member
What are you talking about....been riding my Voltbike Bravo all winter. Just got to dress according. Today I was cleaning chain and upgrading to ceramic brakepads. I would say there were less than 7 days of not riding for me...
I'm almost 68 and have suffered from severe degenerative arthritis for many years. Winter sports and activities are no longer in my purview...
 

AREM

New Member
Here's an example of what I was discussing about cookie cutter e-bikes. KevCentral reviewed this bike which looks remarkably similar to mine, except for the colour, cosmetics and some options. Still a good review.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
Are you telling me RAD is not a bunch of millianial "hipster" kids, in the Northwest, cranking out frames and motors? When will honesty return to the marketplace? Can anyone answer me that?
To return honesty to the market - meaning brand designing, not copying - somebody would have to invent a time machine, to go to about 1980s, before massive relocation of manufacturing to you know where.
(Sorry to disappoint you about RAD, - their frames are pretty common and used in several other models. I hope you were not serious about RAD cranking out their own motors).
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
I remember attending an auto show when Russian Ladda's were first introduced to North America. The build was atrocious and quite laughable...trouble is, I don't think the Ladda ever improved 😂.
The same cannot be said about Japanese products over the last 50-60 years.
So yes, maybe the Chinese have taken a lesson from Japan and not Russia.
Er... for the sake of clarity: Russian Lada was a legitimate clone of Fiat. Italian design, equipment and technical assistance.
It was 2 steps ahead of Russian domestic models of the time and they were able to export a lot of it in Europe, due to lower prices. Because the clone was a legitimate one, in order to avoid competition with Fiat there was an agreement to use several years old Fiat as a prototype, not the latest model (which was still fine with Russians, as their domestic brands were really dinosaurs).
There were also agreements where to export Lada and where not to, again due to potential competition with similar Fiat models.
One of rare examples of honest copying.
 
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AREM

New Member
Er... for the sake of clarity: Russian Lada was a legitimate clone of Fiat. Italian design, equipment and technical assistance.
It was 2 steps ahead of Russian domestic models of the time and they were able to export a lot of it in Europe, due to lower prices. Because the clone was a legitimate one, in order to avoid competition with Fiat there was an agreement to use several years old Fiat as a prototype, not the latest model (which was still fine with Russians, as their domestic brands were really dinosaurs).
There were also agreements where to export Lada and where not to, again due to potential competition with similar Fiat models.
One of rare examples of honest copying.
Maybe honest - and thanks for the spelling correction and history - but the quality sucked!
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
... but the quality sucked!
Naturally. It was made in late 70s (in Russia) based on 1960s very basic Fiat model as per agreement. Yes, stealing is more productive.

I remember in the late 80s Russians came up with a new submarine class, strikingly resembling certain US submarine of the day. Didn't ask permission to copy this time. It was impressive, fast and very quiet. US Navy were having difficulties tracking it when they crossed the Atlantic heading towards the US coast. Lost the track somewhere in Sargasso Sea. There was quite a panic in Pentagon for a while.
 
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erider_61

Well-Known Member
My friend had a Lada. Had an annoying habit of the passenger door popping open on lefthand turns...I made sure to always wear my seatbelt...
 

steve marino

Active Member
It's not stealing and it's not a dirty secret. The basic design of a pedal bike has not changed substantially for what, well over 100 years? Sure there are recumbents and a few other esoteric designs, but other than that, a bike, is a bike, is a bike. It's only natural that eBikes would follow exactly the same strategy. After all, an eBike is simply a bike with power. Different autos and trucks are almost indistinguishable from each other no matter who the manufacturer is.

What we're talking about is simply the most efficient way to do things. If someone could have improved the basic designs of bikes, cars and trucks, they would have done it by now. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That Lada door popping open probably wasn't a bad door design, it was crap quality control. I have a cup of wine in front of me that has exactly the same design as those going back many, many centuries.
 
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Browneye

Well-Known Member
SE Asia has been knocking off euro and American ideas for decades. Even in the very early motorcycle days of 'merica, they were never that good at actual creation of design, mostly all copying of something else. So this is nothing new. Lots of other innovation goes thru the same kind of evolution.

The modern racing four-stroke motorcycle motor came from Husqvarna, a Swedish company, that got sold to an Italian company, and later to an Austrian company. Their history and design copied over and covered up forever, by everybody in the industry. Innovative and successful design parameters have become the design norms, accepted as simply as 'how things should be' and 'what works'. Like suspension layout, wheel size, overall dimensions, and on ad infinitem

Y'all just look back at Japanese import cars from the fifties and sixties, even seventies. They were crappy little nothings of cars - look at them today!

The only downside to knockoffs is that in many cases they also cheapened it in the process as well as copying it. So you get cheap junk that is just not the same thing.

Unfortunately, nearly all bicycle stuff is made in SE Asia, the vast majority out of China, whom are the king of knock-off. Even the big-3 are all made in china now. Don't be surprised when a few leaders pull manufacturing back over to the US, making them even more expensive than they already are. Or china's economy will be decimated to the point where our USD's will be worth more. The way they're printing money now for this new paradigm, I doubt that's going to happen either.

I have a ROAM phone mount for my ebike. I liked it so well I ordered another one on ebay, advertised as a 'roam universal phone mount', at a good price with shipping. Since I already knew what a ROAM mount was about, it was easy to see that what they sent me was a cheap knockoff from china. No extra silicone straps for sizing, no logo, cheap box, no manual, cheap looking plastic and screw - just not the same thing. I replied for a return to the seller, telling them how pissed I was for them lying about their product, so they sent me a ups return label and guess where it's going? Amazon returns. Cheating ebay'r is buying them from amazon and selling them on ebay. I reported them all to ROAM USA. This kind of stuff has got to be completely frustrating for legitimate companies.

A friend has built an entire online business patrolling manufacturer's dealers and resellers for MAP rules. Discounting and undercutting destroys the value of a brand. And companys will pay big bucks to protect their place in the marketplace, regardless of where their product is manufactured. Product knockoffs are the epitome of this undercutting.
 
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Mike TowpathTraveler

Well-Known Member
Here's a great comparison between the original, American Spur Cycle Bell and the China Rip Off Rockbros bell. Virtually identical, even down to the packaging. One is 49 dollars and the other is 11.

For my Specialized FatBoy fatbike, I went with Spurcycle....

 

AREM

New Member
Here's a great comparison between the original, American Spur Cycle Bell and the China Rip Off Rockbros bell. Virtually identical, even down to the packaging. One is 49 dollars and the other is 11.

For my Specialized FatBoy fatbike, I went with Spurcycle....

I went with the classic beer bell...
 

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AREM

New Member
You realize of course that I was teasing. I am well aware of Radpower. I was evoking an image.

The satire was aimed at the idea that the "dirty little secret" was no secret at all. Either my humor flopped or your being to serious LOL
Actually, I liked the picture and not too worry, I'm never that serious...my bad. Being a newbie to the community, I was shocked and surprised at the common denominator - style, specs and sources of most e-bikes. Call it being naivete. Thanks for your response.
 

Rick53

Active Member
Giant, Trek, Specialized may be tied to real bike shops, but I'm not sure it's that different. Pretty much everything but the frames come from a couple suppliers and the frames often come from
the same factories; they just get painted and badged differently. I imagine the factories will customize for them a bit more, because they're building in bigger lots. For years, Giant was building most everyone's bikes.
While you statement is True it's misleading : Frames may be made by just a few Suppliers : But how things are machined and fitted is what makes the differences : How the crank and Forks fit as well as line up all add up to the differences in Cheap ,Good Quality and Top of the line. :

Perfect example I have guitars made by Bill Crook : He makes Brad Paisley's guitars : I can buy the Same identical brand and quality parts and put it together myself, and have : It's just 2 slabs of wood. I'd have a nice playing piece of gear : When Bill Crook puts the same parts together With the same identical hardware : It plays like butter : Nothing compares to Them : You wait a Year to get one :

So not to say Lesser priced E-Bikes aren't Good Bikes : But quality comes from How it's put together : Not who made the parts :

Is it essential ??? NOT UNTIL YOU experience The difference :
 

Rick53

Active Member
If you truly take a look at the engineering behind the Trek, Giant and Specialized ebikes you will find the difference between the basic and the more expensive bikes. They are all intended to do basically the same thing. Some just do it (at a higher cost) with a little less drama and maintenance. Spec has a dedicated high tech facility in Switzerland where they design and test the whole bike, including motors. I am pretty sure Trek and Giant has a crew of dedicated engineers too. Yes, they both take advantage of cheaper labor to build their designs, but they also have full time product managers making sure of quality control, and reacting to deficiencies as quick as possible. And they all seem to come up with problems now and then. It's how the big brands try to efficiently handle these issues is one of the differences.
I still think it comes down to a good lbs to take care of issues, unless you are really really handy at not only fixing bikes, but electrics too. That is where the support of the big brands/lbs for many people is indispensable. Just my observations. Sorry for rambling/preaching, but not much else to do in quarantine.
Pretty difficult to fix relays and sensors without diagnostics available : Most of the problems seem to be Software related : Although When you look at over complaints : per sales It's low :