Will Ebikes become a fad in the US?

jplanaux

Member
Region
USA
Ebikes solve unique transportation (parking, costs, ease of use, etc.) issues. Ebikes are more expensive and complicated than conventional bicycles. The small bicycle shops are disappearing. I am in my sixties and live in New Orleans. I have witnessed the small bike shops disappear, however, I just noticed a new large Trek bike store. It got me wondering if Trek believes they need a new shiny (dealership) to push out the newer pricier Ebikes.

It seems that a large percentage of people who would ride Ebikes are unable (or do not prefer) to perform maintenance on regular bikes, not to mention the complexity of an Ebike. It seems there are business opportunities for people who may be interested in repairing Ebikes. But, are inexpensive Ebikes even repairable if you can find a repair shop and are willing to shell out what may be more expensive hourly rates?

Ebikes certainly are appropriate for those with a touch of mechanical/electrical handiness from a cost and maintenance standpoint. But will Ebikes ever become mainstream?

I have no idea what the future holds for Ebikes in the USA.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Northeast Pennsylvania
Many e-bike parts are simply standard bicycle hardware and can be easily serviced by an owner or just about any bike shop. The main issue is the large number of e-bike brands that use proprietary parts, which are difficult or sometimes impossible to find.

As a result, many owners are learning to do their own work. Some, including myself, are modifying their bikes to use parts that are more readily available.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Traditionally spikes in gas price have resulted in increased bicycle sales overall, especially if they coincide with a warmer season of the year. Unfortunately the Covid situation that has disrupted the supply chain and seems to continue to do so will inhibit this and as a result prices will rise as customer demand rises and supply diminishes. Large corporate companies like Trek/Specialized will be able to use their buying power to corner the supply market and smaller companies will struggle to survive. As suggested there are some openings perhaps for repair/service shops but the fact that there is no standardization as well as proprietary components will make that all but impossible. A large part of the market are cheap eBikes that are being sold online to people who have 0 understanding of how they work or how to treat a bicycle that will end up in the bin or hanging in the garage as they fail with no one to fix them nor the parts to do so.

Electric vehicles in general should see more acceptance during the coming period but I am afraid that as soon as gas prices stabilize, no doubt at a higher average price than historically, and the weather turns colder this fall folks will be back to the pump as usual. As a whole globally we really need to address this cycle and plan for a less oil dependent future but unfortunately I don't see it happening, in fact quite the opposite with people wanting to cling on to the past and even re-live it in some form of perverse ideology. Making the world's future great seems like a much better idea.
 

Bikeknit

Member
Region
USA
City
Kansas City
Nope, not a fad. I'm not usually a person to predict the future but ebikes are everywhere in my Midwestern city. My social group of people in their 60's and 70's, many of whom rode bikes for years are about 50% on ebikes. They keep us riding. I see food delivery guys on ebikes, parents with kids in the box on cargo ebikes. All of the ride share bikes are now ebikes and way more popular. I know people who were early adopters who are still riding their ebikes 5 and 10 years later. Many of the issues in the U.S. using bikes for errands or commuting are at least partially solved by ebikes - distances, hills, headwinds, sweaty rides in humidity. Unlike peloton exercise bikes, the potential market is huge.
 

teskow

Active Member
I believe ebikes are here to stay as a way of some daily transportation in the more densely populated areas where parking is an issue. At this time they certainly are a fad that will die down but not disappear. In phoenix AZ in the large retirement parks people use them to get around the facility. Theft will be the biggest deterrent for them when used around the malls and shopping centers though. In areas of the world where bikes are a common mode of daily transportation junky bikes are the norm to prevent theft. I believe the biggest deterrent to bikes or any pricy bike for that matter is the ease of picking it up, placing in in a pickup and driving away. The lighter the bike the easier to steal.
 

ChezCheese:)

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Kitsap Co, WA
As a general trend, I see fewer young people - - by which I mean anyone under 45 - - as tool-using mammals. They can't fix or maintain anything except possibly a database. They don't know - - and don't consider trying to learn - - how to maintain their homes, appliances or modes of transport.

There is opportunity there, for anyone of any age who wants to make a business of fixing things.
 

fauconnier

Active Member
Region
Canada
As a general trend, I see fewer young people - - by which I mean anyone under 45 - - as tool-using mammals. They can't fix or maintain anything except possibly a database. They don't know - - and don't consider trying to learn - - how to maintain their homes, appliances or modes of transport.
I don't think so, with the help of Youtube they are doing very well.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
The future of ebiking in the USA is more legislation. Europe has long restricted the unlicensed ebikes to 15.5mph. In the US, this was set at a more reasonable 20 mph, but a window was allowed for the more athletic riders to have pedal assist to 28mph. Many of the chinese imports ignore this and allow owner to go as fast as what the electrics will allow. I'm a hypocrite here, because I can put together bikes to go faster than fast. All my bikes have throttles. Still, I am fine riding at Euro pedelec speeds.

Meanwhile, younger riders don't want bicycles. They want the flat motorcycle seat, vestigal pedals, and 25 mph, plus the freedom of not needing a drivers license, and being allowed on bike paths. The really old riders want big trikes they can ride w/o having to pass vision/skill tests. Every one but me wants to own my fat tire bikes ..."oooh, cool bike!"

It's getting messy on my bike paths, and it's still March in Illinois. I noticed one couple on ebikes silently carving thru the traffic, no calling out, ignoring oncoming riders/walkers. Passed us w/o any warning, except I saw them coming. A little bicycle etiquette needed here.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Northeast Pennsylvania
The future of ebiking in the USA is more legislation. Europe has long restricted the unlicensed ebikes to 15.5mph. In the US, this was set at a more reasonable 20 mph, but a window was allowed for the more athletic riders to have pedal assist to 28mph. Many of the chinese imports ignore this and allow owner to go as fast as what the electrics will allow. I'm a hypocrite here, because I can put together bikes to go faster than fast. All my bikes have throttles. Still, I am fine riding at Euro pedelec speeds.

Meanwhile, younger riders don't want bicycles. They want the flat motorcycle seat, vestigal pedals, and 25 mph, plus the freedom of not needing a drivers license, and being allowed on bike paths. The really old riders want big trikes they can ride w/o having to pass vision/skill tests. Every one but me wants to own my fat tire bikes ..."oooh, cool bike!"

It's getting messy on my bike paths, and it's still March in Illinois. I noticed one couple on ebikes silently carving thru the traffic, no calling out, ignoring oncoming riders/walkers. Passed us w/o any warning, except I saw them coming. A little bicycle etiquette needed here.
Sadly, this is true. It only takes a few idiots to ruin it for us all.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Sadly, this is true. It only takes a few idiots to ruin it for us all.
People have been saying this since ebikes became a thing in the USA. My generic response is 'the sky is not falling'. Most of the reason for that is rooted in the fact that while a vocal minority thinks that EU-level restrictions are coming any day now...

1. This isn't the EU, where that government is notoriously regulation-happy and the population historically have been ruled subjects until relatively recently.
2. Our infrastructure is much better at supporting higher speeds. The kind of urban environment in an EU city (windy, pedestrian-filled streets) is totally different from the USA.
3. The often-predicted wave of injuries and deaths from hooning ebikers has never happened. Anywhere. Globally. There are a few one-offs here and there and thats it.
4. In the USA ebike legislation continues to trend to loosening up restrictions, not the reverse. Last I checked we were up to 36 states codifying 28 mph with the 3-class system.
5. Ebikes play straight into *ahem* progressive urban planning scenarios. Its politically incorrect to discourage them in any way here.
6. We already have laws that govern bicyclist behavior in the USA. Enforcement requires no new ones. We have ebike-mounted police on the main path here nowadays. And I'm grateful for it. It keeps the analog bike commuter buttheads from speeding thru pedestrian traffic... not ebikers. Bicyclists.

As for ebikes being a fad, thats not the case. Look at industry sales projections, and historical ebike sales. The trend is only upward at a steep slope. If you want to see how its going to go, this is one time you can look at the EU. I believe in at least one country ebikes are now the majority of purchases, edging out analog bicycles. This, I think, is to be expected: Ubiquity. Just like we don't look twice at a bike with a derailleur, which was once a fancy contraption as well.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
A large part of the market are cheap eBikes that are being sold online to people who have 0 understanding of how they work or how to treat a bicycle that will end up in the bin or hanging in the garage as they fail with no one to fix them nor the parts to do so.
This, but IMO unregulated poorly built batteries will create a flurry of regulations. Sellers continue to violate all shipping regulations. Sadly it seems we need disasters before common sense.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
This, but IMO unregulated poorly built batteries will create a flurry of regulations. Sellers continue to violate all shipping regulations. Sadly it seems we need disasters before common sense.
Garbage equipment in particular cheap batteries can't go on forever. It didn't take long to ban hoverboards and their shoddy batteries, and sooner or later *something* has to happen with regard to quality control in the case of these unexploded bombs that are being bought by people who lack the brains to look out for themselves and buy quality.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Garbage equipment in particular cheap batteries can't go on forever. It didn't take long to ban hoverboards and their shoddy batteries, and sooner or later *something* has to happen with regard to quality control in the case of these unexploded bombs that are being bought by people who lack the brains to look out for themselves and buy quality.
FWIW a recent shipment came with required labels removed. I’m not clear why. Ideas?
14C20804-BEF2-4DA8-A7AB-1D8B342A24D8.jpeg
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
FWIW a recent shipment came with required labels removed. I’m not clear why. Ideas?
I once had a battery shipment stopped dead in its tracks (a warranty return to the reliable manufacturer) on the farking delivery truck at the destination by a driver who didn't like the phone number on the label. The label had been placed by UPS themselves when I had them specifically label the package properly to avoid any problems (I believe they no longer do this). Anyway... the battery was then shipped from Colorado where it was supposed to go, to their nationwide battery problem resolution center in Tennessee. Where it was only assigned a 'case worker' (not making this up) after I watched its tracking leave the destination and sit across the country for several days, and lit up the phone lines demanding to know WTF was happening. The fact that UPS themselves was responsible for the error (I think it was just a phone number leading to the recipient and not the sender) didn't matter.

Cutting off the fawking label would have saved me from this nonsense.

Having watched how, in actual practice, the 'safety' system works (not the least of which is transporting the supposedly dangerous item further than it needed to go in the first place) I don't blame anyone for doing everything they can to maintain a low profile. I know its naughty of me to have this attitude, but I've lived the dream here and would prefer a smart seller to just keep the voltage low and the packaging extra-careful.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Northeast Pennsylvania
People have been saying this since ebikes became a thing in the USA. My generic response is 'the sky is not falling'. Most of the reason for that is rooted in the fact that while a vocal minority thinks that EU-level restrictions are coming any day now...
I honestly hope you are right.

Unfortunately, I've already seen ALL e-bikes banned on three of the trails I ride regularly, due to numerous complaints about unruly riders.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I honestly hope you are right.

Unfortunately, I've already seen ALL e-bikes banned on three of the trails I ride regularly, due to numerous complaints about unruly riders.
Here locally, they were banned on the shared-use path that is sort of the Main Street for bikes in town. But it caused such an uproar the ban was apparently lifted. I say apparently because they are all over the place and the bicycle cops on patrol now don't give them or me a second glance. So something must have happened at a city council meeting to overturn the typical knee-jerk reaction.

Again... as ebikes head toward ubiquity (they aren't there yet in the USA) what was once only a few riders out of a population will become pretty much everyone. When everyone who votes for the city council wants to ride their bike, the politicians will listen to their voters (campaign contributors). Its only a matter of time.

In my town ebikes are now at roughly 50%, although that includes tourists on rentals. (100% of rentals are ebikes now and this is a tourist town).
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
The future of ebiking in the USA is more legislation. Europe has long restricted the unlicensed ebikes to 15.5mph. In the US, this was set at a more reasonable 20 mph, but a window was allowed for the more athletic riders to have pedal assist to 28mph. Many of the chinese imports ignore this and allow owner to go as fast as what the electrics will allow. I'm a hypocrite here, because I can put together bikes to go faster than fast. All my bikes have throttles. Still, I am fine riding at Euro pedelec speeds.

Meanwhile, younger riders don't want bicycles. They want the flat motorcycle seat, vestigal pedals, and 25 mph, plus the freedom of not needing a drivers license, and being allowed on bike paths. The really old riders want big trikes they can ride w/o having to pass vision/skill tests. Every one but me wants to own my fat tire bikes ..."oooh, cool bike!"

It's getting messy on my bike paths, and it's still March in Illinois. I noticed one couple on ebikes silently carving thru the traffic, no calling out, ignoring oncoming riders/walkers. Passed us w/o any warning, except I saw them coming. A little bicycle etiquette needed here.
If you do much reading on reddit ebikes, you'll find you are very conservative with that 25mph mark for the minibike crowd. 45mph is the usual video of how they modified their machines.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Those reddit b00bs (Luna too) will be the sort that eventually bring down the house of cards that is the MC with pedals crowd.