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E-bikes: Can’t put these babies in the corner anymore

Published September 23, 2016

 LAS VEGAS (BRAIN) — You don’t have to wander deep into the bowels of the Mandalay Bay to find electric bikes anymore. Several brands are “mainstreaming” e-bikes at their booths this year, as they quietly add electrified models to their 2017 lineups.

Advanced Sports International (Booth 7141), for example, is launching a 27.5-plus hardtail and a city trekking bike under its Fuji brand, and two versions of its Breezer Greenway e-city bike in the U.S. for 2017. 

“We’re trying to take a couple of models into the U.S. and see what we can do here,” said Brian McKinney, senior marketing manager for road and mountain. “We’re not pushing them too hard; just testing the waters to see what’s going to happen there.”

George Simone, ASI’s vice president of global business development, said he is a longtime supporter of e-bikes because he believes they can bring more people into cycling.

“Our industry has to embrace them to bring more people into the activity,” he said.

Although Simone said some e-IBDs have done a better job selling e-bikes than conventional retailers, ASI plans to sell the e-bike line only through its existing dealer network.

“Right now, given how small our line is, we would focus on our existing dealer base,” Simone said.

The Fuji Ambient 27.5+ 1.3 is an e-hardtail based on the Fuji Tahoe. The Fuji E-Traverse Classic is a city trekking bike with front suspension and comes in three versions. Both Fuji models use Bosch motors, while its Breezer e-bikes come equipped with the Shimano STEPS mid-drive system.

Orbea, which has also had a big presence in the European e-bike market, is also displaying an e-hardtail MTB and an e-city bike at its booth (5189). 

For the U.S., its e-MTB, the Wild, comes in three builds for 2017, with suggested retail prices ranging from $3,499 to $4,999.

The Keram Asphalt model for commuters comes in two versions, and Orbea is also offering the small-wheel Katu-E.

Jokin Diez, Orbea’s press manager, said the Spanish manufacturer expects to launch a full-suspension e-mountain bike soon given the popularity of the category in Europe.

In the U.S., Diez said Orbea would sell e-bikes only through existing retailers.

“We have a really big commitment with our dealers. We prefer to develop a really nice relationship with them, and our business is with them,” Diez said. 

He believes the e-bike line will help retailers reach new customers. “For the market, it’s not that it is going to steal sales from other bikes, but we think that it’s going to add more customers and it’s going to add more sales.”

Scott, which offers a full line of e-bikes in Europe, is highlighting its E-Silence commuter and E-Scale e-hardtail mountain bike at its Interbike booth (12194).

The E-Silence uses a Brose mid-drive system, while the E-Scale is equipped with Bosch.

Cannondale (5091) had a few of its Moterra e-mountain bikes available to ride at OutDoor Demo but isn’t showing them at its main booth because the company chose not to display any of its mountain bikes.

 

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