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BRAIN E-Bike Retailer Tour charging through SoCal

Published October 9, 2019

ARCADIA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Over the years Bicycle Retailer & Industry News has conducted Dealer Tours in most major markets in the U.S. and Canada, riding bikes from store to store and learning about the market and local cycling community. This week we are on our first retailer tour via e-bikes, visiting shops in the Los Angeles area.

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Our tour is visiting retailers, new and old, that specialize in e-bikes as well as those who have only recently added the fast growing category to their offering. 

On Tuesday we visited two shops in Long Beach (Propel Ebikes and EBike Galaxy) and two in Fullerton (Fulleton Bicycles and Electric Bicycle Center). 

Our first day offered much variety. Propel is the first California store for owner Chris Nolte, a pioneer in the market in New York. The store specializes in upscale transportation and utility e-bikes and Nolte is heaviliy involved in local and national advocacy. His Long Beach store is in Downtown Long Beach, along some of the city's new bike lanes.

Not far away, but in a strip mall on a busy street, Ebike Galaxy offers everything from high-end Haibike full suspension models to $1,000 entry level e-bikes — along with electric scooters and skateboards. Owner Nels Hansen is a veteran of the  region's retail scene in other products, but this is his first bike shop. He opened the store last year, almost the same time that Propel opened across town. 

Fullerton Bicycles is a store with a long history — it opened in 1969 and has been owned since 2003 by Mike Franze. Franze loves to mountain bike, and the store offers everything from family bikes to pricy full suspension carbon bikes. Four years ago, he began stocking e-bikes. Although the category started slower than expected, it now contributes significantly to the bottom line, he said.

Our final stop was right next door at the Electric Bicycle Center. Owner Sam Townsend, who Franze calls "the King of E-bikes" has been involved with the category since at least 1988, when he began installing conversion kits at his moped store. Today, his store offers one of the widest selections of e-bikes in the country, with bikes from literally dozens of brands. 

On Wednesday we visit three shops in Pasadena/Altadena:  Electric Bikes Velo, Open Trails E Bikes, and Incycle Bicycles. We also visit  E-Bike Cyclery in San Dimas. On Thursday we visit stores in the Santa Monica area.

BRAIN editors, sponsors and others are riding e-bikes from Yamaha, the tour's sponsor. Kryptonite also is sponsoring the tour. Watch for full coverage in the November issue of BRAIN. Follow on social media at #brainebiketour.

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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