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Monday, 5 March 2018

Ten Years in the Electric Bike Business and still Growing Strong

Batribike has reached and passed the ten-year milestone of being in the electric bike business. When the company first started the industry was still in its infancy. Most of the major players in the cycle industry at that time thought it was just a fad or too risky to dip a toe in the water. I have found myself reflecting on the changes in design and innovation that the industry has seen in that time

Batribike saw a gap in the market.

The electric bikes that were available in the UK market then were lacking in spares backup and in some cases reliability. We saw a gap in the market to produce a quality reliable electric bike with UK based spares and back up.

When we first started Batribike, lithium batteries were just entering the market, motors were heavy and clunky and the complete design of the bike was only just starting to look more “bike like”. We even had an entry level bike with an SLA battery, and that battery weighed 15kg. The all up weight of most electric bikes is now not much more than that battery alone!

Improvements in technology

We have seen huge improvements in batteries. They have become lighter with greater distances and better reliability. This has lead to extended warranties. Motors have become lighter and more efficient and so have control systems. In the industry these are the things that we notice and remark on but as far as the buying public are concerned, it’s design and style that they notice first. That seems to be what draws them to a particular model, specification comes later.

Hidden batteries and stylish designs

Last year it seems that there was another step change in design, the emergence of hidden batteries into mainstream brands. A year down the line, at the recent Cycle Show, and batteries were even less in evidence than they had been before. Improvements in the way that cells can be packed to produce more compact and different shaped casings has certainly had an impact on the design of the bikes. It seems that customers are noticing and approving of new sleeker more integrated designs. Gone are the days of bolting a big square battery to the frame and announcing “its an electric bike!”

Looking at trends I can see that eMTB’s are definitely taking a share of the UK market, but it is in the leisure and commuter sectors where frame design and hidden batteries are making an impact. With these improvements and further innovations will also come the affordable electric road bike. Something that has not really been possible before due to weight, and to be honest, some prejudice against the concept. But more people are asking when this will be possible.

Electric bikes – future transport!

Vehicle emissions and congestion in cities are hot topics. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has recently announced transport strategy plans to make 80 per cent of trips in London to be on foot, by cycle or using public transport by 2041. These plans will undoubtedly include greater use of electric pedal assisted bicycles.

Going forward

The old-fashioned designs and clunky technology of ten years ago, have leapt forward and the future for electric bikes is assured and exciting – bring on the next ten years!


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