As 2020 attracts to an in depth, these of us within the electrical bicycle {industry} look again on the 12 months with blended feelings. Whereas 2020 introduced struggling and financial hardship upon the world in a method many people had by no means seen, it additionally shook up the outdated established order for city transportation within the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That made 2020 a huge year for electric bicycles, and now we’re wanting again on the 5 largest tales of the 12 months. Our readers and viewers voted with their clicks and their eyes, and listed here are the outcomes.

Harley Davidson’s electrical bicycles spun off beneath Serial 1 model

This wasn’t simply one of many largest e-bike tales of the 12 months, it was one of many largest electrical automobile tales of the 12 months, interval.

It rivaled Tesla information and different heavyweights within the {industry} as hundreds of thousands of you tuned in to examine and watch our protection of the rollout of Harley-Davidson’s extremely anticipated electrical bicycles.

In October, we first broke the news of Harley-Davidson deciding to spin off an entire new startup, Serial 1 Cycle Firm, to producer and market the e-bikes.

Then in November we turned the primary media outlet to get an early first ride on the bikes.

That’s once we revealed the pricing beginning at simply $3,399, which shocked many who had feared a Harley-badged electrical bike would possibly command a a lot increased value.

However with a high-end Brose mid-drive motor, Gates belt drive system, 4 piston hydraulic disc brakes, novel body design with built-in lighting, and even a built-in glove field, the Serial 1 e-bikes really stood their very own as a aggressive new choice available in the market, rivaling different premium manufacturers in each elements and pricing.

Now time will inform simply how many individuals are able to put a Serial 1 e-bike of their storage.

serial 1 e-bike

Jeep’s 1,500W full-suspension electrical bicycle

Technically Jeep had two tales within the prime 5, each when they unveiled the e-bike throughout the Tremendous Bowl in addition to when the Jeep e-bike began shipping. Apparently readers actually wished to know what the heck Jeep was doing constructing an electrical bicycle.

By means of a partnership with the overlanding e-bike firm QuietKat, Jeep launched its new off-road full-suspension electrical bicycle in March for a whopping $5,899.

For comparability, probably the most widespread fats tire e-bikes that we’ve lined, the Rad Power Bikes RadRover, is priced at a mere $1,599.

So what makes the Jeep bike so particular (and so expensive)?

jeep electric bike

Consider it or not, it isn’t simply the sticker, although that doesn’t assist. The bike is a powerhouse of an e-bike with a large 1,500 W motor generally known as the Bafang Ultra, although QuietKat informed us that they put particular emphasis on controlling the facility of the motor and making the trip manageable. That’s a good suggestion, for the reason that motor is able to placing out as a lot as 160 Nm of torque and has been identified to shred bike chains when limitless and beneath sure circumstances.

I personally turned a bicycle chain into a piece of recent artwork with that motor on a distinct mannequin of e-bike when testing it out at the 2019 Eurobike show, a lot to the dismay of the dejected-looking Bafang rep after I wheeled it again in.

However I digress; again to Jeep’s loopy e-bike. Along with QuietKat, they outfitted the bike with huge tires, high-end RockShox suspension, and a 9-speed Shimano transmission.

And even should you thought $6,000 was an excessive amount of for an e-bike, loads of others have disagreed. I’ve it from a supply very near QuietKat’s ordering division that the corporate is pumping out hundreds of the Jeep e-bikes. So it’s not simply widespread on the web; the bike is making actual gross sales, too.

Electrical bicycle gross sales are booming, however what about customer support?

Not the entire largest e-bike information of 2020 surrounded new product launches.

In this story, we checked out a brand new downside being attributable to the huge uptick in e-bike gross sales this 12 months: customer support.

With e-bike firms usually doubling and tripling their gross sales in a matter of weeks or months, customer support turned an enormous situation shortly.

VanMoof was one in every of many electrical bicycle firms that noticed its gross sales skyrocket. The disclosing and graduation of its new S3 and X3 e-bikes additional boosted gross sales, but additionally laid the groundwork for an uphill customer support battle.

vanmoof s3 x3 electric bike

The Holland-based firm initially anticipated to area service requests or calls concerning round 1% of the bikes, however later discovered the quantity to be nearer to 10%, requiring an enormous improve in sources.

Lectric Ebikes, a US-based e-bike distributor that exploded in reputation this 12 months because of their highly regarded $899 folding fat-tire electric bikes, additionally felt the crunch of their customer support division. They started hiring shortly and set new, lofty objectives for themselves, similar to having 97% of cellphone calls being answered in beneath one minute and emails being handled extra like a buyer chat with fast responses.

Rad Power Bikes, the biggest e-bike firm within the US, additionally went on a hiring spree to make sure the corporate was ready to service its vastly rising buyer base.

Founder Mike Radenbaugh defined in a name with Electrek throughout the early days of the pandemic:

We’re already hiring like loopy, our buyer assist group is as much as about 40 or 50 proper now, I’m not even positive. It’s laborious to maintain monitor. We ought to be as much as round 70 within the subsequent month or so.

That was adopted by Rad Power Bike’s unveiling of its first ever sub-$1,000 e-bike when the RadMission was launched at $999. Now as much as its standard price of $1,099, the bike continues to be including to Rad’s market dominance and the corporate’s have to shortly reply to an ever-growing group of riders.

See my full Rad Energy Bikes RadMission evaluation here

Yamaha unveils new full suspension electrical mountain bike

Whereas Yamaha isn’t a newcomer to the electrical bicycle {industry} (the corporate is definitely accountable for the first-ever manufacturing electrical bicycle within the early Nineteen Nineties), the Yamaha YDX MORO was announced earlier this year because the model’s first fulls-suspension electrical mountain bike.

The e-bike used a novel and patent-pending body design generally known as a dual-twin design, which gave it a placing look.

Each the highest tube and down tube are literally cut up into two tubes every, with the decrease portion of the body cradling the battery whereas the higher body supplies deeper journey for the rear shock.

The bike additionally makes use of Yamaha’s newest motor design, the PW-X2.

The PW-X2 mid-drive motor system makes use of a singular quad-sensor setup that detects pedal velocity, pedal torque, bike velocity, and incline angle to extra exactly calculate the required pedal help output. 

The brand new motor additionally used helical gears to assist cut back the noise of the motor, which is very welcome in electrical mountain bikes that function far-off from metropolis noises that masks the sound of commuter e-bike motors.

The clever motor may even function in Automated Mode the place it auto-shifts between pedal help modes, relying on how laborious the rider must work to beat varied terrain.

I purchased a $261 Xiaomi electrical bicycle straight from China

After I set out alone private quest to buy a cheap electric bicycle directly from China, I by no means imagined it will grow to be probably the most widespread e-bike tales of the 12 months.

However with a lot of the e-bike industry’s manufacturing centered in China, apparently I wasn’t the one one fascinated with attempting out one in every of these ultra-cheap electrical bicycles.

Xiaomi’s crowdfunding platform hosted the launch of the Himo V1 electrical bicycle and I had a buddy in China purchase one for me for $261. I wired him the cash and a bit additional to mail it again to me within the US, after which I received to expertise the complete impact of a Low-cost chinese language e-bike unboxing. You may see my unboxing and test ride video here.

The small bike is definitely not designed for a typical American-sized rider. Luckily I’m on the smaller finish of the American measurement spectrum, and thus I match on the bike fairly effectively.

It’s solely powered by a cute little 250W motor and is capped on the Chinese language authorized restrict of 15.5 mph (25 km/h), however the tiny e-bike was nonetheless tremendous enjoyable to trip. It’s so small that you would be able to toss it behind a automotive one-handed and barely even give it some thought.

Whereas there’s nothing top quality about it, it nonetheless stunned me with what I received for $261. Full LED lights, horn, an onboard charger, fenders, and even a rear rack (that was concerning the measurement of my fist) all made it onto the bike.

Whereas it’s not going to rival my favorite e-bikes anytime quickly, the worth was via the roof when you think about the worth. It’s simply too unhealthy they aren’t obtainable within the US!

Onwards to 2021

There you’ve gotten it, the highest 5 e-bike tales of 2021!

I discovered the variability fascinating, with the highest tales together with every thing from new product launches, {industry} tendencies, and even e-bike testing.

I’m excited to see what you worth most in 2021, so maintain checking again right here on Electrek and be a part of the hundreds of thousands of others discovering our industry-leading electrical automobile and inexperienced power reporting multi functional place.

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