Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Salt lake, UT
Bikes: This list got too long: several ‘bents, an urban utility e-bike, and a dahon D7 that my daughter has absconded with.
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I know it does you no good to hear this; but, you are on the bleeding edge. The US bicycles brands are still trying to figure out how to incorporate the e-bikes into their line-up.
The Brands know that they are important and a coming thing. At the same time they recognize that their bread and butter customers are very resistant to the existence of e-bikes in the bike shop where e-bikes become associated with and equated to pushbikes.
This is a classic problem for brands, do you jump on a new trend or do you strongly identify with your existing market?
This question spreads its influence into the service shop where the brand is unwilling to demand that the service dept be equipped and trained to work on e-bikes out of fear of offending the "sport" rider mindset that is the current profit driver.
The way I have seen the problem addressed here in China has been twofold. First, most odf th elow end e-bikes and low-mid grade bikes are sold at different dealerships, each with a different specialty. The brand that has managed to deal with both has bene Giant. Giant is seen as a brand providing upper-mid to high end bicycles and their e-bikes are among the best available; yes, with prices to match.
Normally, the e-bikes are placed in a different part of the floor from the sports bikes, be they mountain or road. This helps to distinguish them as a different line within the brand. Typically, different sales people will assist you as you switch from looking at sports bikes to e-bikes. There are other tings done in the shop that allow them to appeal to both sport and e-bike transportation riders. Service is generally performed by the same people (this is China, service is done on the sidewalk in front of the shop).
The point is that they are learning how to attract both sport and e-bike riders to the shop. This is something that the US brands are still trying to figure out. Look at even this board (however, it is much better now than it was a few years ago); sport riders are still offended by th epresence of e-bikes and feel that they must be deginierated. However, a brand can not take this position. It will be a challenge and you are on the edge of it.