The Electric Bike Corporation
Whether you are “in” or “out”, one thing is certain, it is difficult to predict what is going to happen in the cycling market.
Currency fluctuations, legislation and the size and shape of the market are almost impossible to speculate. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The e-bike market has been huge on the continent for some time and this growth continues in the UK despite voting out of the union.
In these economically uncertain times, e-bikes are offering individuals both a leisure and transport solution. E-bikes are now more accessible, the technology is vastly improved and the cost has come down if you look at the longer pattern. Yes, pricing may rise, and has risen in the short term due to the ‘out’ vote, but what the consumer can now purchase in the UK market for their pound is incredible. (Currency has had an effect on retail prices – since the brexit vote we have seen currency fluctuate on the US dollar and the euro by as much as 20 percent. However, as it stands at the time of writing, there has been a slight recovery, with the US dollar showing a deficit of 11 percent and the euro nine percent. This has seen retail prices increase over the last year by between 10 percent and 20 percent.)
Take this, and add the fact that e-bikes are now cool, no longer considered “cheating” and offer a hugely improved ride experience for many, and it is clear to see that the e-bike has established itself in the UK. They are green, efficient, fun, cost-effective and have improved aesthetics. All of these factors are giving both the UK cycling trade and consumers a reason to get involved.
Bikes such as the Pulse Leisure ZL2 have opened up the market to both new and existing riders by offering the e-bike experience and all its benefits at a price that is affordable. This new generation of e-bikes ride much better than their predecessors, with better reliability, geometry and styling.
E-bikes are now available in all aspects of the riding scene from MTB to touring, commuting and folding bikes (for those who have limited storage space). Growth in the e-off road market has brought a younger rider to the scene, a rider who loves the tech and the fact that you can keep riding for longer, faster. With bikes such as the
Corratec E XTB Full Suspension offering top of the range componentry, high-end frame build quality and the latest motor and battery technology, the e-bike is evolving into a must-have item.
If transport policy, town planning and infrastructure follow the example set in cities such as Copenhagen, Malmo and Ghent, then we could be entering a new golden era of cycling in the UK, with e-bikes leading the charge (no pun intended).
The Dutch and German e-bike markets are more advanced than ours, with the value of the Dutch e-bike market actually exceeding the size of the standard bike market.
We are catching up with the European cycling ethos with government initiatives to encourage active living, the creation of more segregated cycle lanes and continued Westminster support for tax-free bicycle schemes.
It’s true to say that when people’s lives are so busy and economic conditions are very tough, that the bicycle and e-bike can offer a solution; a pressure valve release in both leisure and commute time. Studies show that cycling and power-assisted cycling not only help with fitness levels, but also wellbeing, which in turn helps productivity.
With bicycles available such as the EBCO UCL 30, an urban commuter e-bike fitted with puncture-resistant tyres, mudguards, luggage rack and lights, it is clear there are bikes on the market that are ready to go for the modern city life, and at price points that are on or near the Cycle To Work Scheme package.
So, what will “hard” or “soft” Brexit mean for the e-bike and how will it steer its way through the negotiation process – silently and quickly like dodging white vans in the inner city?
Recent EU legislation has only improved the UK e-biking scene in our opinion, making it harder to import “twist and go” handlebar accelerated bikes and scooters. This new law has meant that true pedal assist or power assist bikes are now dominant in the UK market, bringing us in line with mainland Europe. These bikes are bikes in the true sense of the word, in so much as the rider has to pedal them and they give support to their physical effort. This change in legislation means that there is a better quality of product available to the consumer which is giving the rider a better, more enjoyable and safer ride experience. There has been no other significant change in legislation (the UK unified European legislation in January 2015) and we don’t see any reason why it should change post-Brexit.
By K B Jepsen, Max Bikes PR Ltd and Paul Stanforth.