CYCLING experts are predicting a triple digit growth in ‘electric bike’ sales in 2017, with the rise in popularity of pedal-assisted models taking off in Aussie corporate circles.
According to 99 Bikes, the ‘e-bike’ is a game changer for everyday city commuters, as well as boomers who may need a little extra push to keep up, following an injury.
A survey recently conducted by the bike retailer found that more than 70% of e-bike customers were aged 40+, with most admitting to purchasing the battery-powered model because their fitness level didn’t allow them to comfortably ride far enough on a standard road bike.
99 Bikes founder and CEO Matt Turner, son of Flight Centre founder Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner, said the current upward sales trend was steep, with the company reporting a continuous month-on-month growth this year.
“We’re expecting sales to be around 500% up on last year in the Australian market, at the very minimum,” said Matt, who is fast building a retail bike empire, known as the Pedal Group.
“e-bikes are relatively new here in Australia, but interest in the products is growing rapidly – particularly online, where electric
bikes get more traffic than any other product, overtaking road bikes, mountain bikes and BMX bikes.
Aimed mostly at commuters and recreational riders, the e-bike features a control hub at the centre of the handlebars that gives the rider important data on speed, distance and battery life in a neat display.
As opposed to electric scooters or motorbikes, an e-bike requires pedalling in order for the electric assistance to kick in, so a longer commute will provide a light workout, but you don’t need a separate license to operate it.
“This type of bike can provide a basic rider with assistance at the times they most want it, while vanishing into the background when they don’t – with bikes like this, anyone can ride – it’s an incredible evolution for the cycling industry,” he said.
Similarly, MERIDA Australia’s general manager, Andrew Garnsworthy, said the new models were designed to be practical and look stylish, without breaking the bank.
“A lot of people are buying commuter e-bikes to replace regular car trips or public transport journeys, both midweek and on weekends, because they are more affordable and can often save them time,” said Andrew.
“City commuters, who are looking for an easy and economical method of transport, can travel to and from work completely sweat-free, without having to use end-of-trip facilities.
“In the new MERIDA designs, we have put form and function together to make a trendy, smart, reasonably priced bike that happens to also be electric, rideable by men and women of all ages.”
Andrew said the brand’s bestseller was the ‘MERIDA e-ONE Sixty 900e’ model, since it is an affordable performance e-bike that is great for keeping up appearances.
Other MERIDA e-bikes are competitive in price, retailing at 99 Bikes from just $2,999 for the Merida E-Spresso.
- Typical weekday commute from Bondi to Sydney’s CBD by car in peak hour traffic is 30mins; similarly by bus is 40mins and by bus + train combo can be up to 1 hour; compared to an e-bike, which would take around 20mins on the bikeways (without traffic and congestion).
- Amount of kilojoules, burned when riding for 40mins per day (20mins to/from work) for a 70kg person is 1464kJ, compared to ‘zero’ if you were sitting still in your car.
- The e-bike wins out easily, as far as purchase cost is concerned. The average e-bike costs $3,000-$4,000, whereas the average price for a new medium sized car is currently $30,000.
- An average weekly cost of running a medium car in 2017 is $200 per week (including loan, rego, petrol, tyres, service, repairs); yet an e-bike would have no insurance costs, no registration charges and no petrol requirements, making it an economical means of transport.