The “American e-bike kit” -The Quickest Race to the Bottom?

Where is the American e-bike kit market heading right now and who is the target customer?

In some regards, it is much like the consumer electronics tablet market. The iPad tablet ($499 MSRP) and the Bionx e-bike kit (starting at $1499 MSRP) are market leaders of their respective sales category. Some may argue the competition is better at “this” or “that.” However, for the most part they have been grandfathered into the top sales spot, unreachable by any competitor. As such, both Apple and Bionx alike can command a premium price for their marketing and aftermarket support efforts. Both products are deemed more of a status symbol in there respective markets.

Bionx_motor_kit
Apple Ipad and Bionx e-bike kit “undisputed Kings of their categories”

e-bike kits are much like the tablet market, there is no middle ground and the quickest race to the bottom is on!

Example 1) Amazon releases the Kindle Fire @ $199 -retired Mom’s with reading glasses go crazy.
Example 2) Google releases their Nexus 7 @ $199 -entry level tablet plagued with early adopter woes.
Example 3) CurrieTech releases theirĀ Electro-Drive e-bike kit @ $299 -sold at Best Buy stores in ’09 and used a cumbersome outboard brushed motor.
Example 4) Clean Republic releases theĀ ProPack Bike shop e-bike kit @ $299 -front wheel drive kits really have their limitations over rear wheel drive kits (albeit easier to install.)

Most electric bike kits out of mainland China have reached an all time low at the quest for entry level price point. In fact you can score some on Ebay for as little as $55 plus shipping (sans battery.) Many of them, (not all) fail to offer decent, if any after-maket sales support. Makes you wonder why Bionx will only sell through authorized dealers, hmm….

Arguably, entry level products help get noobs into a new category, this is most certainly true! Both a Kindle Fire and an Ipad will get someone to read a book on a screen, or onto the internet easily. Likewise, both a Bionx and Clean Republic kit will propel a bike in a forward motion.

The million dollar question is: Shouldn’t it be about the heightened feeling you experience through the use of a quality designed and well thought out product???

Would consumers pay nearly double the entry level e-bike kit for a more premium product? One that is below the market leader in features, but released with the highest quality standards. If so, would the kit be priced out of reach for the intended market?

We can not say for certain, but perhaps we should study the consumer electronics “tablet” market to find out!

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