Electric bikes are taking the world by storm. Already a 16 billion dollar industry, the bike market is expected to grow to almost 24 billion by 2025. Most demand is being filled by small private brands and good old fashioned retail.
An electric bike is a low-speed alternative to a moped, scooter, or motorcycle. It occupies a unique space in personal travel, somewhere between licensed cars and unlicensed bikes, skateboards, and blades.
Electric bikes that actually look like bikes have been slowly gaining popularity while the early “e-scooter” and “e-motorcycles” fade to obscurity.
What does an Ebike do that makes it so revolutionary? Isn’t it just a bike with a motor? An electric moped?
An Ebike is a bike first. You can pedal, change gears, and operate as you would on a standard bike. Municipalities everywhere have rules about the electric motor operation, by having a functioning bike the e-bike rider can simply turn off the motor and pedal like any other bike.
Ebikes also encourage some exercise through a mechanism called pedal assist. When an e-bike is in power assist mode, it allows the rider to pedal comfortably while receiving an extra boost from the engine.
Finally, Electric bikes allow you to travel without having to pedal at all. Thanks to advancements in technology, a small, relatively light, battery allows an e-bike owner to travel at speeds up to 20mph. Ebike owners are able to easily ride between 40-50mph on a full charge, without pedaling.
The electric bike is a big part of the future of personal transport. The average battery only requires about 0.5kwh to completely charge it. In most places, a kwh is around 10 cents, meaning you can ride 50 miles for less than a few cents, with zero emissions. Extend your range by using trains and busses, and never have to take a dodgy Uber again.
The electric bike is not a new idea, but the technology used to build them has dramatically improved. Many people looking for a new ebike online quickly realize that there is no authority. There is no Coca-Cola of bikes, the best e-bikes you will likely find come from China and have a private label sticker on them.
With very little knowledge, one can start their own line of e-bikes. As COVID has shown us, reliance on public transit can prove unreliable at best, or dangerous at worst. Ebikes have made a lot of sense as an alternative to public transit. If you have capital on the sidelines, buying e-bikes just might be your play.
Most e-bike retailers and private labelers, don’t order mass amounts of stock. Some dealers won’t place an order to China until someone actually buys a bike. This creates an opportunity for those who can manage to keep more stock than their competition. The easiest way to gauge the demand in your industry is to call up a few local retailers and attempt to buy a bike – if you can’t find one in stock – there is not only a huge retail opportunity, but also a wholesale one as well.
Conversions kits are plentiful, but people who are able to install it are not. A conversion kit can be either a front, mid or rear motor that transforms your current bike into an ebike. Depending on the battery and the kit, a few hundred dollars in parts could be a thousand dollar job.
The challenge with converting versus buying new is the weight of the bike or the type of breaks. Most older bikes do not have disc breaks like Ebikes do. As with the electric engine, brake kits can be purchased to convert a bike into a fully functioning e-bike with the added safety of disc breaks.
Parts And Repair
Parts and repair are the back-bone of the retail Ebike shop. Owners of Ebikes will be looking for everything from a tune-up, to a new battery.
Accessories are plentiful and are sought out by owners of e-bikes. Items like trailers, rainwear, helmets, storage, display screens, lights, and more, are in demand.
Repairing an e-bike is similar to working on a standard bike. As long as you are mechanically inclined this shouldn’t be an issue for you. As you see more bikes and gain more experience, you will build a following, and perhaps you will be the goto repair shop for all brands of e-bikes in your neighborhood.
Ebikes are not simply an environmentally friendly way to get around. Sure they are one of the most efficient ways to travel, with the ability to run both on human power and battery power, but they are also fun.
Whether you sell, covert, repair, or rent e-bikes, you are getting into a wide-open industry that can pay off massively. These bikes are being used both as transportation and as offroad vehicles on tracks. As this industry evolves, higher speed offroad bikes will emerge, as will more efficient on road bikes.
As this niche becomes more popular it will be increasingly more difficult for new brands or retailers to get into the game. Those who are interested in personal transportation should jump on this opportunity before it becomes impossible to compete.