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Giant Road-e, industry's first electric-assist road bike.
Giant Road-e, industry's first electric-assist road bike.

E-Bikes to EU Rescue

Month-after-month, the sale of electric bikes in Europe continues to grow, helping underpin the industry as a whole.

One of my primary sources of information on the bicycle industry - after BRAIN, of course, especially for Europe -- is BikeEu.com. I regularly receive an email update about trends and developments in that part of the world and theme that keeps repeating itself, month-after-month is the steady growth in the sales of electric-assist bicycles, there called pedelecs and speed-pedelecs.

Take today's lead story headline: "Sharp Contrast at Biggest in Bikes: Dorel and Giant 'Bleed', Accell Booms." Basically, the article is about sales shortfalls at Dorel, called the "‘mother’ of Cannondale, Mongoose, GT and other brands" and Giant, maker of the Road-e featured in the top photo. So far in 2016, Giant's total sales are $US925.5 million, down 3.7% from 2015 The company's net (after tax) profits dropped 5% to just over US$54 million on the production of some 2.56 million bicycles and e-bikes.

In contrast, the Dutch-based Accell Group -- owners of a couple dozen different brands including Raleigh, Haibike and Currie -- saw its profit rise 7% to US$37.9 million. While all its brands combined sold only about a third as many bikes as Giant over the same six months period, the average price of its bikes are higher: €541 (US$603) versus €325 (US$362). Reports, Bike Europe:

"E-bikes and e-MTB’s are causing the contrasting figures at the world’s biggest in bicycle companies. In the first half of 2016 Accell benefitted from its early entrance in the e-MTB market. The turnover in e-bikes increased by 39%. E-bikes are now taking as much as 43% of the total revenue of Europe’s biggest in bikes."

Giant, based in Taiwan points out in their latest financial report that "e-bikes shall continue to see growth." This despite their costing more than most conventional bicycles. For example, the Giant Road-e pictured below and in the top photo is the first legal electric-assist road-style bike -- in contrast to the "mechanical doped" models with motors and batteries hidden in their seat post tubes -- to hit the market with a suggested retail price of €3,899 (US$4351).

Giant Road-e electric-assist bicycle

As much as the cycling world may distain electric-assist, one fact is obvious, they are helping keep many of the leading brands afloat financially. And who knows, we may even see the day when electric bikes have their own race circuit and find their place in some future Olympics. After all, they brought back golf, didn't they.

Posted By: Bill Moore [11-Aug-2016]

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