Where Should You Buy Your Next Ebike?

August 01, 2017 1 Comment

Where Should You Buy Your Next Ebike?

In our About Us video we say that Really Good Electric Bikes is your premium online retailer for electric bikes. But you may wonder if this is just marketing hype, or if we really are different than the other online electric bike stores. Well, in this article we evaluate the competition, so that you can be fully informed as you shop.

At Really Good Electric Bikes we like to say that what separates us from the competition is that we specialize in electric bicycles, and we carry some unique brands that no other online stores are authorized to sell. We also happen to carry a curated selection of related products, such as electric scooters, electric skateboards, mountainboards, kick scooters and kick bikes, and conventional bicycles.

The online electric bike marketplace is quite dynamic, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future, for several important reasons. First, online sales in general are expanding rapidly, while at the same time physical retail stores are on a continual downward trend. This reality of our times has had a dramatic effect on bicycle stores nationwide, and ebike stores even more so because of their specialization and the fact that many conventional bike shops will not stock, sell or service ebikes.

The current market for electric bicycles is thus made up of four primary channels (with some overlap), including: 1) brick and mortar stores which only inventory and sell ebikes from their physical store location; 2) so-called click and mortar stores, which inventory and sell ebikes from their physical store and through online channels; 3) ecommerce stores which do not have a physical presence and only sell on their own websites, with fulfillment directly from the warehouses of their suppliers; and 4) online sellers who sell their products on ecommerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Target and other big box retailers which allow third party commerce on their online stores.

Retailers like Amazon or eBay sell thousands of products, so they lack the specialized knowledge to answer specific questions on assembly, warranty, and product benefits and features. Moreover, online marketers who sell on these platforms are often fighting with each other to provide the lowest possible prices, not taking the time to develop the expertise required to provide world-class customer service. This may be fine for inexpensive products like clothes, furniture or other non-technical products, but ebikes are highly complex electro-mechanical systems that require proper setup and regular maintenance to operate safely.

For these and other reasons, Really Good Electric Bikes does not sell any of its brands on eBay or Amazon, and we strongly recommend to our customers that wherever they end up buying their ebikes, they should also avoid these platforms.

Next we have physical bike shops that do not sell online. These are the traditional bike shops that so many of us in the industry grew up in and around, and they are an important part of the American retail landscape. Unfortunately, their numbers have been declining over the last decade, and even with the advent of electric bike specialty stores, it is becoming more and more difficult to shop for an ebike if you do not live in a large metropolitan area.

The Electric Bike Expo is working to bridge the gap, by providing a number of demo days around the country each year, where customers have the opportunity to try a number of different ebikes all in one place, and talk with company representatives about their various offerings. The electric bicycles showcased at these expos are some of the highest quality, best engineered machines built today, and they are definitely worth a try. The eBike Expo has strict sponsorship requirements, and for this reason, the ebikes that can be test-ridden at their events must all be sold by brick and mortar shops with certified technicians on staff.

The third category are what is known as brick-and-click shops, which combine elements of the physical store with online shopping opportunities. Under this business model, a store will inventory a small number of tester bikes, sometime offering discounted rentals and local tours, but then offer a wider array of catalog offerings through an online store. This type of shop can be useful for customers who are early in the shopping process, where they are looking for general information about ebikes, with the chance to try out a few before doing more detailed research on the internet.

Fact be told, most ebike buyers, whether they complete their purchase online or in a physical store, do 95% of their research online. And many of them end up doing their shopping online, because they have a much wider range of choices, free shipping, no sales tax, and other purchasing incentives that may not be offered in a brick and mortar shop. This makes sense, since physical stores are required to put up so much money up front to stock their inventory and maintain a physical bike shop.

Finally, and last but not least, are the online-only stores. We are the guys who believe that online shopping has developed to such an extent that even a complex piece of engineering technology - an electric personal transport device - is suitable for online shopping and home-delivery. Collectively, we have sold thousands of ebikes in all shapes and sizes to happy cyclists all over the country.

However, as the saying goes, Caveat emptor (Latin for "let the buyer beware”). Not all online ebike stores are the same, and when you plan to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 on a replacement for your car, it’s important to shop around. Ok then, with these preliminary remarks out of the way, let’s look at the online competition and see how we all shape up and compare.

The following vendors are discussed in no particular order, and readers should keep in mind that this evaluation is simply based on a review of the websites themselves, at the time of this writing.

First up, Bike Exchange, the mega superstore of all things cycling, as brought to you by the global marketing platform Marketplacer. Marketplacer is by their own description “a fully hosted solution that enables you to create a tailored marketplace anywhere in the world, in any language and for any product, service or industry.” Ebikes make up a very small percentage of the 65,000 products that can be found on Bike Exchange, and bike shops who list their products here must pay a minimum $200 for the right to present their offerings. If you find a retailer you like, it might be worth checking our their own online store, to see if they have additional bikes for sale that may not be listed on Bike Exchange.

Next up, Upzy (formerly the Super Scooter Store), who now sell a variety of conventional bikes and ebikes, along with a wide range of products in other categories, such as off-road all-terrain vehicles, skates, and kid’s scooters, bikes, and ride-on toys. At the time of this writing, Upzy was featuring a 5% Off Deal Alert, and no less than 5 trust badges.

Electric Bike Revolution is a relatively new ebike store, which carries about 16 brands of ebikes. Like many of the stores in this space, EBR (not to be confused with the Electric Bike Review) carry generic import brands such as E-Go, Bat-Bike, X-Treme and Juiced, and a few speciality brands such as Platinum, Phantom and Jetson. This store offers its customers a free ebike Buyer’s Guide in exchange for emails, but has turned off their chat function, making it more difficult for customers to get questions answered when they are on the site.

Chargd Electric Bikes is another upstart online retailer, currently offering about 16 brands, including X-Treme, Prodecotech, Green Bike USA, Enzo and Surface 604. They have onsite chat (offline at the time of this writing, which might indicate an offshore-based operation) and Norton shopping guarantee. The Norton trust badge is well-respected in the ecommerce community, because the store owner paying for this gets ID protection up to $10,000, purchase guarantee up to $1,000, and low price guarantee up to $100. Whether online shoppers need the extra shopping protection offered by Norton is a personal choice.

Electric Bike City is a leader in the niche world of ebike ecommerce, offering a nice range of ebikes, scooters, trike, mopeds and mobility scooters. Of course there is a risk that if you try to master too many different categories you excel at none, but EBC seems to have a good handle on running an online store from abroad. EBC carries many of the same drop ship brands as other stores, at similar price points, including E-Go, E-Joe, Enzo, Emazing, Juiced, and X-Treme. They have a really good ebook ebike shopping guide, which they will give in exchange for your email address, which can be really useful when learning the basics of ebikes.

Bike Mania dot biz is another bicycle superstore, which describes itself as a “comprehensive bicycle catalog with over 5.600 products” some of which are in the ebike and ebike conversion kit category, i.e., brands such as Emazing, iGo, Juiced, PFIFF, and HyBikes (not to be confused with industry leader Haibike). Bike Mania dot biz accepts bitcoin and Paypal which are convenient payment options for the online shopper.

Ebike Catalog carries about 16 ebike brands, and at the time of this writing was running a Spring sale of 5% on all electric bicycles. Their buyer’s guide is available on the site without the need to provide an email address, but it has a limited amount of information given the subject matter. Ebike Catalog self-describes as an online retailer for electric bicycles “and other electric transportation products” who aims to grow their business no matter if they are an engineer, accountant or customer service expert. They are backed by no less than 4 trust badges, including Protected by Signifyd, Upfront Merchant, Secured by PayPal and Shopify Secure.

Zappy Wheels is another newcomer to the world of ebike ecommerce. They carry 15 drop ship friendly brands including Addmotor, E-Go, E-Joe, Emazing, Emojo, and Green Bike USA. Their free ebike ebook is provided in exchange for your email, and you can also get a $70 discount code. They donate S$10 from every order to invest in “our” environment.

eBike Joy is another one of the drop ship friendly online ebike retailers, carrying such brands as X-Treme, Grace, PFIFF, Green Bike USA, Joulvert, and a wide range of mobility scooters and accessibility trikes. At the time of this writing they were offering a $100 discount on select brands as part of a Spring sale.

eElectro Pedal is another drop ship starter site, featuring less than 10 of the standard set of mid-market ebikes (X-Treme, Green Bike USA, ProdecoTech, etc.). They have online chat turned on and the site has Norton shopping guarantee. Oddly, while the blog has a few recent posts, the requisite About Us page is missing.

Electric Rideables is an online store that carries a few of the basic ebike brands (X-Treme, Shocke) but also conventional bicycles, scooters, hoverboards, unicycles, ride-on toys for children, drift scooters, and oddly (in our opinion), $800 cooler scooters.

Electric Scooter Pro only sells the X-Treme brand of ebikes; otherwise it is a starter store carrying a mix of scooters, go-karts, ride-on toys, skateboards and hoverboards. On their About Us page, they describe themselves as “the nation's #1 online store for competitive prices on electric scooters.”

There are several other stores online that offer ebikes for sale, but with a limited range of brands that can be found on other sites, they may not be the best places to make such an important investment. However, to be fair, please also consider Bike Express, eBikeLogic, Electric Bikes US, Ewheelshop, and Shop eBike.

Now, after providing this overview of the competition, why do we believe that Really Good Electric Bikes is, in fact, the best place to buy ebikes online? Well, for starters, we carry 40 brands of ebikes, electric scooters, electric skateboards, as well as a few leaders in the mountainboard and kickbike world. Many of our brands cannot be found on any other drop ship site, such as easy boarding Biria, EZ Pedaler, Fifield, Platinum e-BIKES, QuietKat, Steppenwolf and Zumaround.

Not only that, but we work closely with all our suppliers to ensure the best customer experience, providing in-depth descriptions of each of the products we offer, along with review videos and other supplemental information. We frequently communicate with customers by phone, learning about their particular needs, and guiding through the product evaluation and purchasing process. 

We update our blog several days a week, and have an ongoing video series where we interview real people who share their love of ebikes. This is our passion and we want to share it with the world.

Finally, in addition to offering free shipping, which is pretty standard for online stores these days, we also offer our customers one year of free roadside assistance, fulfilled though Better World Club, which is unique in the online ebike marketplace.

These are the facts. We hope you can see by this presentation that we are 100% committed to providing you - our customers - with the absolute best shopping experience - and we encourage you to contact us with any questions, by email, phone or chat.


Kindly,


Really Good Electric Bikes

ps - we love it when our customers take time out of their day to write us thank you notes. Here is one of our favorites.

really good electric bikes customer thank you letter


1 Response

Norbitt
Norbitt

May 02, 2017

Hey Steve, thanks so much for this post. I think you gave an honest presentation of the online stores that are currently shipping direct to customers (or trying to). But I was wondering how many of these stores are less than a year old? I mean that’s why I shop of Amz a lot, b/c I know they are very organized and will handle orders very professionally. But when you said that some of these stores might be false advertising, were you referring to the countdown discounts that continually reset themselves? Or that their product descriptions are generic and do not accurately explain the features (and benefits) of their offerings? I took a look at your site before writing this, and looks really detailed, with lots of photographs and videos, so I can really research products. I appreciate that. Anyway, good job. Thanks. Nrbt

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