• “Cheaper on Ebay…” The danger of unknown E-Bikes.

    E-Bike Quality Control

    Going back a few years, it looked as if that the electric bike market was being flooded with cheap, low quality bikes that seemed destined to stall the rise of their reputation. The designs were crude and the workmanship even more so. Components used for the electrics were shoddy and nowhere near the quality standards required for consistent reliability.

    Well regarded manufacturers that had laid the foundations for electric bikes, now found themselves being undercut by inexperienced opportunists looking to make fast money. New companies seemed to be popping up every week trying to supply retailers with inferior products. Unsurprisingly, this did not last long as retailers, such as ourselves, employed a policy of quality control and assured back up for all products we sold. This led to countless containers of dodgy e-bikes without any reputable retailer to sell them. The short sighted opportunists had nowhere to turn but to sell them even cheaper than they originally planned on sites like Ebay to ensure they could at least recoup some of their investment.

    “But I can get one cheaper on Ebay?”

    This is a phrase I have heard from customers all to often over the past couple of years…and I do understand. E-Bikes are expensive and you want to look for the best deal for your money. Why would someone spend £1000+ on an e-bike when you can find one of almost identical specification for a fraction of the price?

    My answer would be for the same reason you wouldn’t buy an unbranded car that uses different engine components to nearly every other car in the country. It can be next to impossible to find like for like parts without getting super lucky. Not to mention, your local mechanic will often refuse to service or repair your car because it is unfamiliar and time consuming. On the odd occasion that a mechanic might be able to help you, be prepared to pay an astronomical fee in relation to what you paid for the car in the first place. You do get what you pay for.

    Unfortunately, despite my advice, temptation proves too much to some and they take the risk with the cheaper options that they see online. The following story will demonstrate…

    A few months ago man come into my shop looking to buy a Cylotricity Wallet. He was impressed with everything, but the price he said was a “little too high.” After a bit back and forth, he still seemed interested and said he would have a think and let me know. Two weeks later he arrived in the shop with a folding electric bike that I had never seen before. He had bought it off Ebay for a couple of hundred pounds and wanted to know why it wasn’t working. He mentioned it hasn’t worked since he bought it. Of course I had seen similar circumstances before. Maybe the controller was faulty or the battery cells had depleted as they almost certainly hadn’t been maintained. I think he knew by this point that he had made a mistake. As we began to locate the problem, I noticed the bike was a little light. I opened up the bike to inspect the electrics and battery…but there was no battery. The bike had been sold on Ebay as a bargain and advertised as a fully working electric bike…and it had no battery. Of course the embarrassed customer tried to get in contact with the seller, but to no prevail.

    Although this ranks as one of the most unfortunate stories I’ve witnessed with dodgy internet ebikes, stories of scams and rip-offs are way to common. Feel free to contact me with any questions or doubts when buying 2nd hand or new bikes. We will always be happy to help.

    Just remember…If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

  • Our First Electric Bicycle Company Blog by Colin Patterson

    Hello!! And welcome to the first Electric Bicycle Company blog!

    This is where we are going to be bringing you updates with anything happening here at Electric Bicycle Company and in the world of e-bikes. We want to keep on top of all things e-bike so that you guys don’t have to!

    So expect to see some exclusive test rides and get the latest from the industry’s most innovative manufacturers. Not to mention a few general musings on our experiences riding, selling and flying the flag for electric bikes!

    It’s been a long road for us to get to where we are, so to kick us off, I thought I’d let you know how we got here.

    Sometime around mid 2008, my dad and I tried out an electric bike for the first time. Dad was convinced immediately and decided he wanted his own. I, on the other hand, was a little sceptical.

    “Ok, well that was fun, but I already ride a bike everywhere” I explained.

    This was true. I was just out of university (therefore I was skint), I hadn’t learnt how to drive and if I needed to get somewhere, I’d ride a conventional push bike. “You should be doing the same!” I scoffed at Dad. He kindly reminded me of his bad ankle that he busted while ice skating at my younger sisters birthday a few years earlier. This had stopped him from being able to ride a bike for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time. “’Oh yeah,” I receded, “well, that’s fair enough”.

    So Dad got an e-bike, and went everywhere on it. Literally…everywhere. During the week, he had substituted his car and used his e-bike for his 17mile round trip to work. Then at the weekends, he was notching up another 30 miles or so just for fun. Now, although I thought they were a lot of fun and I could see how great it had been for Dad, I still wasn’t totally convinced that they were going to common place in the future.

    Then I got a job in Brixton. This was not close to me at all and it wasn’t ideal, but at the time, the job market wasn’t great and I reasoned with myself that a huge population of Londoners made a similar commute. It’s  was a 30 mile round trip, 1 and a half hour drive (always longer in rush hour) and 1 hour and 15minutes each way on public transport (if there are no incidents). I cycled in a couple of times, but I struggled with doing a full day at work and then spending the best part of 3 hours cycling too (not to mention turning up to work super sweaty!) After using the tube and bus for a couple months, I was already deflated due to the commute. I felt it was really wearing me down.

    I wondered if an e-bike would help. Then, I saw an opportunity. Dad went on holiday for a couple of weeks and I told him I’d “look after” his bike for him while he was gone. Surprisingly enough, I just wanted to try it out on my way to work and see if it was any better than the mundane monotony of my current commute. So I saddled up and as soon as I started off on a brisk morning, I knew almost instantly that I was converted. Not only was it more pleasant than public transport, I was actually enjoying it. Then there was the fact I was making record time and I could still feel that I was getting a good dose of exercise without having to expend all my energy before work. The sense of smugness I felt left an almost perma-grin slapped across my face.

    So, after doing a few sums to figure out if I’d actually save money on travel (turns out I’d save a lot), I bought an electric bike almost instantly. Problem solved.

    Myself and Dad had also become unofficial spokesmen for electric bicycles. Singing their praises to anyone who would listen. Unintentionally, we were doing some of the best market research we could by listening to people’s opinions and what they deemed pros and cons. We could see that our enthusiasm was rubbing off and people were buying bikes based on our recommendations. A light bulb went off. We realised that we could sell them and put our efforts into something we really believed in. So we did our homework, took a research trip to e-bike factories in the Far East and made connections with the best manufactures in the U.K. From there, we developed in to what we are today…Electric Bicycle Company.