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Will Electric Bikes Overtake Standard Bike Sales?

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Will Electric Bikes Overtake Standard Bike Sales?

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Old 11-08-18, 02:23 PM
  #76  
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My take is the future is all e-bike. In the future, almost all bikes will be e-powered. Pedal bikes will be as common as fixies are now.

E-bike with limited to low speed will be dominating. E-power provide electrical advanage; while derailleirs provide mechanical advantage that made riding hills so much easier. People said derailleirs were a fad and a cheat. People's opinion change.

The key is cost. When the price of e-bike is about the same as a pedal bike.

I'd luv to have an e-bike. But I would only use the e-motor for hill climb or fighting head wind. It'll make the riding experience more enjoyable. And I bet I'll ride more often because it becomes more fun to ride instead of gruelling and painful. So many times, I decided not to ride because too windy or too hilly...but if I had e-bike, I would have done it.

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Old 11-08-18, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by boggy View Post
I don't think so. Road bikes are perfectly legal on bike ways, and are capable of achieving higher speeds than legal e-bikes. Not only I commuted on racing roadie for years and know about this first hand, I can also see roadies pass my bike pretty fast every day, when my speedometer shows just a tad below 20MPH. I can tell some of them are going at around 30MPH. Kinetic energy is directly proportional to the mass of the object and to the square of its velocity, so legal road bikes can already bring more hurt to pedestrians than heavier legal e-bikes, especially when you consider mass of the rider.
That speaks more to the skill and experience among seasoned road riders, than the relative safety of e-bikes. A person who works hard and experiences much to achieve power, is less likely to be careless with it than someone to whom power is just given.
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Old 11-08-18, 02:47 PM
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An interesting post from a mountain bike rider who feels guilty because he enjoys his e-mtb more than his regular mtb:

My analog bike is in existential crisis- Mtbr.com
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Old 11-08-18, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by radroad View Post
An interesting post from a mountain bike rider who feels guilty because he enjoys his e-mtb more than his regular mtb:
My analog bike is in existential crisis- Mtbr.com
I feel the same way, I am riding my e-bike all the time, and my other two bikes are garage queens now. Primary factor is fun. Secondary factor - no pain. I was hit by a car in 2012, and had open fracture of both tibia and fibula, they patched me up with a nice sporty titanium rod. I even have a photo of it happening from traffic camera. Now my leg hurts after every strenuous ride, and it hurts for the next couple of days too. I just accepted it, and never thought about it, until I got the e-bike that is. When I started riding e-bike I noticed that my leg does not hurt after rides. I discovered that pain can be very convincing motivator.

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Old 11-08-18, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
My take is the future is all e-bike. In the future, almost all bikes will be e-powered. Pedal bikes will be as common as fixies are now.

E-bike with limited to low speed will be dominating. E-power provide electrical advanage; while derailleirs provide mechanical advantage that made riding hills so much easier. People said derailleirs were a fad and a cheat. People's opinion change.

The key is cost. When the price of e-bike is about the same as a pedal bike.

I'd luv to have an e-bike. But I would only use the e-motor for hill climb or fighting head wind. It'll make the riding experience more enjoyable. And I bet I'll ride more often because it becomes more fun to ride instead of gruelling and painful. So many times, I decided not to ride because too windy or too hilly...but if I had e-bike, I would have done it.
As long as many mtb trail systems do not allow ebikes, they will not take over in that arena.
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Old 11-08-18, 03:21 PM
  #81  
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Since my state does not allow e-bikes to exceed 20 mph, riding a non assisted bike means I can go faster. Faster is more fun.
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Old 11-08-18, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Since my state does not allow e-bikes to exceed 20 mph, riding a non assisted bike means I can go faster. Faster is more fun.
Monitoring speed is something that's possible to do on the roads, but who will protect the MUP, the bike paths and the trails?

Last edited by KraneXL; 11-12-18 at 01:50 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-08-18, 04:45 PM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Motoring speed is something that's possible to do on the roads, but who will protect the MUP, the bike paths and the trails?
The pedal assisted motor shuts off when legal e-bike reaches 20MPH. From that point you are exclusively on your own leg power. Also, the assist you are getting is being scaled to speed, in other words once you hit over 19MPH motor is providing much less assist that it would at, say, 17MPH.

Bikes that do not have this speed limit build in by manufacturer are not bike path legal, nor they are considered to be bicycles by the law. If you illegally modify your bike to "hack" the speed limit (third party add on mods that are rather expensive and not easily available in the US), then your bike would become illegal and it would void all manufacturer warranty etc. Not to mention it's going to ruin your expensive battery life and reduce your range to fraction of factory specs (past 20MPH energy require to overcome wind resistance becomes prohibitively expensive).

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Old 11-08-18, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by boggy View Post
The pedal assisted motor shuts off when legal e-bike reaches 20MPH. From that point you are exclusively on your own leg power. Also, the assist you are getting is being scaled to speed, in other words once you hit over 19MPH motor is providing much less assist that it would at, say, 17MPH.

Bikes that do not have this speed limit build in by manufacturer are not bike path legal, nor they are considered to be bicycles by the law. If you illegally modify your bike to "hack" the speed limit (third party add on mods that are rather expensive and not easily available in the US), then your bike would become illegal.
Actually, it was the temptation for modification that I was alluding to. Manufactures have to adhere to those design limitations, but personal users do not. This is my greatest fear with E-bikes. I suspect its only a matter of time.
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Old 11-08-18, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Actually, it was the temptation for modification that I was alluding to. Manufactures have to adhere to those design limitations, but personal users do not. This is my greatest fear with E-bikes. I suspect its only a matter of time.
Well, let's say I hack my bike. My current range is about 20 miles if I go all out on the maximum assist. I have to go 20 miles, and to prolong battery life i want to have at least 20% of battery left after I arrive to my work. So I have to play nice, and reduce the assist, pedal more so battery does not get taxed as bad. If I hack my bike for $200 and try to go at 30MPH to my work, the battery will hit 0% after 10 miles. If I want to preserve my battery life (that sucker cost $1,000 to replace), even with the hack I have to play nice and do the exact same speed I do now.
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Old 11-08-18, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post


As long as many mtb trail systems do not allow ebikes, they will not take over in that arena.
Until e-power becomes so small and unobtrusive that there's no visual or aural distinction between an e-bike and "standard" bike.

At which point, it won't matter what ordinances or laws exist. Folks will do it, once it's cost-effective enough to do.

Sort of like LED lighting. At some point, it'll be all there is, given the relative cost-effectiveness, reduced power consumption, improved light coverage, etc.
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Old 11-08-18, 05:48 PM
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Total bike sales in US for 2017 is $5.9b, and e-bikes are $77m, growing at nearly 2x per year.

So I have no doubt that e-bike sales are growing. But for those who predict the demise of the conventional bike, my question is: When? Anybody can predict anything if they don't have to say when they think it will happen. When will e-bike sales overtake conventional bikes?

Either way, I win, because I buy used bikes. Either the market will be flooded with conventional bikes that people have lost interest in, or it will be flooded with e-bikes that people have lost interest in. People in my locale are already getting bargains on used e-bikes.

https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/u...ding-the-pack/
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Old 11-08-18, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by boggy View Post
Well, let's say I hack my bike. My current range is about 20 miles if I go all out on the maximum assist. I have to go 20 miles, and to prolong battery life i want to have at least 20% of battery left after I arrive to my work. So I have to play nice, and reduce the assist, pedal more so battery does not get taxed as bad. If I hack my bike for $200 and try to go at 30MPH to my work, the battery will hit 0% after 10 miles. If I want to preserve my battery life (that sucker cost $1,000 to replace), even with the hack I have to play nice and do the exact same speed I do now.
Maybe you're not interested, but "where there's a will there's a way." Shall we bookmark this page?
Originally Posted by Clyde1820 View Post
Until e-power becomes so small and unobtrusive that there's no visual or aural distinction between an e-bike and "standard" bike.

At which point, it won't matter what ordinances or laws exist. Folks will do it, once it's cost-effective enough to do.

Sort of like LED lighting. At some point, it'll be all there is, given the relative cost-effectiveness, reduced power consumption, improved light coverage, etc.
My point exactly (Can you say Walmart?). Anyway, the sleeper e-bikes have been on the market for some time now.
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Old 11-08-18, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
Total bike sales in US for 2017 is $5.9b, and e-bikes are $77m, growing at nearly 2x per year.

So I have no doubt that e-bike sales are growing. But for those who predict the demise of the conventional bike, my question is: When?
Doesn't surprise me that the numbers show such growth. And as unit-costs continue to change for e-components (batteries, controllers and related items), it might be that cost improvements will drive even speedier inroads into the traditional bike market.

No telling, as yet, whether there'll be a flood of unused equipment above and beyond what's available these days. Likely, much of that slack will be taken up by bike makers changing as the market changes.


I'd suggest that it's all good. Plenty of bikes will be there for those preferring traditional, even used. Plenty of bikes will be there for those wanting assisted-drive bikes or some other technology (like the e-power scooters and whatnot). And a small percentage from each camp will pooh-pooh the choices of others, culture being what it is.
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Old 11-08-18, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820 View Post
Doesn't surprise me that the numbers show such growth. And as unit-costs continue to change for e-components (batteries, controllers and related items), it might be that cost improvements will drive even speedier inroads into the traditional bike market.

No telling, as yet, whether there'll be a flood of unused equipment above and beyond what's available these days. Likely, much of that slack will be taken up by bike makers changing as the market changes.


I'd suggest that it's all good. Plenty of bikes will be there for those preferring traditional, even used. Plenty of bikes will be there for those wanting assisted-drive bikes or some other technology (like the e-power scooters and whatnot). And a small percentage from each camp will pooh-pooh the choices of others, culture being what it is.
Indeed, there will be plenty of smugness for everybody.
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Old 11-08-18, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by radroad View Post
E-bikes have supposedly already overtaken standard bike sales in Europe. See video below. Out on the rec trails locally, e-bikes seem to makeup at least half of all bicycle rentals (single rider bikes). Non rental e-bikes are also becoming more common on the rec trails: not quite rare, but a long ways from becoming the majority.

I scoffed at e-bikes 3 years ago, when they were starting to become commonplace at the trade shows. I thought they were a joke. strictly a sales gimmick or maybe a tiny niche for the lazy and/or unfit. I've ridden quite a few e-bikes since then and can no longer deny the fun factor is off the charts.

What do you think? Will electric bikes overtake standard bike sales?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJEEX72H1Jc
Most bikers dont tour or race so, electric bikes have a good chance of selling more. Also, electric bikes are cheaper now and ridden for exercise, recreation and commuting by regular folks within the battery range more often than regular bikes collecting dust and flat cracked tires. You see, electric bikes are more useful and entertainment oriented. They allow you to enjoy the scenery and hills usually without shifting gears, just changing the power setting. Yes, they are heavier, but not so twitchy. They are purpose specific not to be spat on. Not everyone needs a hybrid or racing bike to marginally enjoy the scenery or commute in discomfort and sweat.
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Old 11-09-18, 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
Indeed, there will be plenty of smugness for everybody.
Yup. There'll be many who will have too much pride in their achievements, whatever it is they imagine they've achieved.

Nicely, there's plenty of room in free society for all. Those who have a given item, choose a different item, choose to do without, choose to dump on others, etc. Everyone's happy.

Better than the alternative.
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Old 11-09-18, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by General Geoff View Post

For now.

Give it another 5 years and a dozen fatalities involving e-bikes. Idiots always ruin things.
Why would it?
We've had cars capable of twice the legal limit available to pretty much anyone for ages. They've contributed or enabled the death of I don't know how many people. No one seems to be getting around to stopping them.
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Old 11-09-18, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Actually, it was the temptation for modification that I was alluding to. Manufactures have to adhere to those design limitations, but personal users do not. This is my greatest fear with E-bikes. I suspect its only a matter of time.
+1

I'm with you there.

Apart from the DIY monstrosities I see on the streets on a weekly basis, I have a couple of colleagues contemplating off-the-charts-illegal builds in the 2-3kW/50 mph range that they plan to ride among cyclists.
And I cringe when I see what they are planning to base their builds on, basically whatever they can drag out from under the patio, back of the garden shed etc.
1" steerers, stamped-metal caliper brakes. "Suspension" forks whose usefulness actually inceased when they rusted solid.
Any attempt at ever so delicately raise any concerns about their plans is met with a complete lack of understanding and the comment: "relax, it's only electric" - as if impact energy would care about what energy it was that made things move.
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Old 11-09-18, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820 View Post
Until e-power becomes so small and unobtrusive that there's no visual or aural distinction between an e-bike and "standard" bike.

At which point, it won't matter what ordinances or laws exist. Folks will do it, once it's cost-effective enough to do.

Sort of like LED lighting. At some point, it'll be all there is, given the relative cost-effectiveness, reduced power consumption, improved light coverage, etc.
The difference between LED lights and ebikes is only a small fraction of the serious mountain bikers I know have any interests in even adding an eMTB and a minuscule fraction (if any) would outright replace with an eMTB. OTOH, I am not aware of a single person who ever thought twice about switching to LED.

The difference is that while anyone would welcome more light, not everyone wants a motor. Not everyone wants it to be easier. A motor is antithetical to why many people cycle for sport.

IMO those who thinks that ebikes will take over mtb or road riding do not really understand why a lot of people do those sports to start with. They will certainly continue to grow a lot among those mtb riders that have always hated to pedal (I know some folks who see a shuttle as a near requirement to truly enjoy the ride), I cannot see any of the folks I ride MTB or road with switching to ebikes for those sports.

I am not saying ebike sales in road and mtb will not grow (they definitely will) but they are not going to fully displace standard bikes - or even come close.

Commuting and utility is a completely different story. Plenty of cyclists I know have either gotten one or (like me) are planning to for utility and/or commuting. But in most cases, the ebike is replacing something other than a bike as a means of transport. I had zero interest in an ebike while I lived where it was flat and did most local errands by bike (including grocery shopping). Now that we live at the top of a huge hill, I started driving more. So now I am getting an ebike to replace the car for a lot of that.

But the eBike is not replacing my road bike. I WANT to ride my road bike up this hill (I did all the time even before moving up here).

This is why it does not surprise me that ebike sales are so strong in a place like the Netherlands where bikes are just a way of life, with great utility, not always a sport.


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Old 11-09-18, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
As long as many mtb trail systems do not allow ebikes, they will not take over in that arena.
MTB trails is one singular area I agree with prohibitions. The extra torque can rip up deformable surfaces much easier, and IMO if you don't have the physical capability to power yourself on a MTB trail, you probably don't have the physical dexterity and reflexes to ride MTB trails. I.e., an ebike can allow you to get yourself into a lot more trouble on a technical or fast trail.

Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Motoring speed is something that's possible to do on the roads, but who will protect the MUP, the bike paths and the trails?
The same people who do now against group rides pushing 20MPH?

Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Actually, it was the temptation for modification that I was alluding to. Manufactures have to adhere to those design limitations, but personal users do not. This is my greatest fear with E-bikes. I suspect its only a matter of time.
Probably, but the issue already exists with mopeds. Most jurisdictions allow a displacement and/or speed limit, it really isn't that hard for a home mechanic to take something that was manufactured legally and soup it up and get to lower end motorcycle performance. Handle it the same way: deal with it on a case by case basis as it is discovered.

In the Detroit area, it is already incredibly common to see bikes with weed whacker engines mounted on them, which effectively are mini motorcycles. Occasionally, they are even on the MUPs. Other than the smell of two stroke engines, which I fully admit I don't care for in such an environment, they aren't particularly any more a danger than group riders without situational awareness. Heck, if we want to take it a step further, bike haven Netherlands allows mopeds and motorcycles (and even tiny cars) on a lot of the cycle infrastructure, I never felt a danger.
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Old 11-09-18, 10:07 AM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
But in most cases, the ebike is replacing something other than a bike as a means of transport. I had zero interest in an ebike while I lived where it was flat and did most local errands by bike (including grocery shopping). Now that we live at the top of a huge hill, I started driving more. So now I am getting an ebike to replace the car for a lot of that.

But the eBike is not replacing my road bike.
I assume that you getting an ebike to use as a substitute for your car for a lot of the local errands currently being done with your car, but the ebike is not "replacing" your car because you will keep the car because it still serves a useful purpose for trips that are not just local errands.
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Old 11-09-18, 10:18 AM
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For me my bicycles are utility vehicles. I commute by bike and run most my errands by bike. 2K to 2.5K+ per year. But I am not really interested in cycling for just sport reasons. Yes I love the exercise as long as I can combine it with some usefulness. No matter if it is getting to work, the groceries, a few beers at the next pub or just plain sight seeing. Yes I love cruising the trails here on my recumbent and just enjoy nature.
When I was in Germany a few weeks ago I rode my late dad's ebike my mom still keeps for visitors. I really liked it. Especially the support of the motor when going up hills. I have arthritis in various parts of my body and have been thinking about it several times to switch to an electric assist bike. It would take the pain of my knees at some sections of my route I commute to work.
Another reason why they are so popular in Europe: People in the 70s and 80s still use them as utility and leisure vehicle. Honestly I have never seen an 70+ year old here in the US riding his/her bike to get groceries. Hell I hardly see young folks doing that. My mom (73) does it on a daily basis. And the electric assist bike helps her tremendously to get up hills or overpasses.
So as long as bikes are just seen as sport or leisure vehicles I don't think electric assist bikes will become a big seller here in the US.
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Old 11-09-18, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
I assume that you getting an ebike to use as a substitute for your car for a lot of the local errands currently being done with your car, but the ebike is not "replacing" your car because you will keep the car because it still serves a useful purpose for trips that are not just local errands.
I am pretty sure that "substitute" and "replace" are essentially synonymous in the context I was using the term "replace", because I specified it was for certain uses.

But you are correct in your understanding of my point.
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Old 11-09-18, 11:12 AM
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Yes, they will overtake normal bikes in the developed world.
I have thought about getting a cargo e-bike. Couldn't bear riding an e-bike rather than my road/CX/MTB or other recreational bicycle though. But you see them. I see more e-mtbs than mtbs here in southern Germany
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