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E-bikes power up PressCamp

Published June 24, 2015

PARK CITY, Utah (BRAIN) — Wednesday’s slate of meetings with exhibitors at PressCamp was electrifying, literally. The number of e-bike brands showing their wares doubled compared with last year, from three to seven. In terms of total footprint, the e-bike category represented nearly a quarter of total exhibitors.

First-timers included Focus and Kalkhoff, both German brands owned by Derby Cycle, that brought their e-bikes to the U.S. in January, and BESV, a relative newcomer to the category. The Mountain View, Calif., company has been selling its e-bikes in Europe for two years and in the U.S. for one year. It is owned by Darfon Electronics, a global manufacturer of laptop keyboards and other consumer electronics.

Along with BionX, Izip, Raleigh and Bosch, the lineup offered a variety of e-bike systems and bikes for journalists to see and test ride, from full-suspension 27.5-inch mountain bikes to city, hybrid/fitness and fat bikes.

Lance Camisasca, VP of sports for ECRM, owner of PressCamp, said he felt less pushback from editors to meet with these companies compared with last year. “People were so dug in and anti-motor a year ago, but I’m seeing some who were greatly opposed to them coming around. I definitely think there’s a shift,” he said.

Still, with about 70 percent of attending media hailing from cycling publications and 30 percent from active lifestyle/non-endemic media, the e-bike category is a hard sell for some of the avid riders who would rather join the Wasatch Crest shuttle ride on the newest Pivot than pedal Bosch’s eShift automatic transmission on nearby roads.

“Editors are curious but don’t want to do demos here. Still, more are open to e-MTB than last year,” said Bosch’s Jonathan Weinert. “While it’s still difficult to get the hardcore (cycling) magazine editors on it, once they try it, their minds open up to it. But we’ll get more traction with non-cyclists and non-endemic media,” he said about e-bikes.

Thursday evening, PressCamp will host the Bosch Uphill E-Bike Challenge. The race will offer a $250 cash purse each for the male and female riders who complete the largest number of loops in one hour. The challenge is limited to pedal-assist models only, with 20 mph top speeds — no speed pedelecs. (Some brands are showing models with higher top speeds.) 

Check the photo gallery below for details on some of the e-product on show.

For Day 1's PressCamp coverage, go here

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