Interbike today announced plans to host an “Electric Bike Media Event” where e-bike companies can push the idea on mainstream media and the cycling media.
While electric bikes sell well in certain parts of the world, they have never really taken off in the US. Interbike managing direct Pat Hus says that could change.
Specialized recently jumped into the electric bike market with its Turbo. The bike has a top assisted speed of 45kph — above the legal speed for e-bikes in the US and the EU.* Trek has been making electric bikes for longer, and with some success outside the US.
“It’s no secret that electric bike sales are exploding in Europe and Asia, and are creating both a new revenue stream and a different, unique consumer for bicycle retailers,” Hus said. “In countries like Holland, 20 percent of all bike purchases are electric – and the numbers are growing steadily.”
Interbike is actively trying to recruit companies to participate in the February 12-13 event in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. SRAM is the biggest company to have already signed on. Other companies include Prodeco, Easy Motion USA, Bikes Belong and Currie Technologies
“We have to be proactive in educating the public on the benefits of electric bike technology,” said Larry Pizzi, president of Currie Technologies. “Just as the other categories of bikes have their purposes and target consumers – so does electric. There’s a misnomer that electric bikes are like scooters or mopeds – but these machines are bikes first and foremost, that give an added ‘assist’ when the pedaler needs it most.”
* Under a 2004 European Directive, electric bikes are allowed a maximum assisted speed of 25km/h (15.6mph). However, some European nations have got around this by introducing a ‘superbike’ class of e-bike that slots in between bicycles and mopeds. For example, Germany’s ‘leichtmofa’ class includes electric bikes capable of assistance up to 45km/h (28mph) and with up to 500 watt motors. A licence and insurance is required but not a helmet and the bikes are not allowed on bike paths.