The E-Bike market is growing and attracting more and more new ventures to get a piece of the money cake. Most start-ups operate from one location and offer their bikes via online shopping and/or Trademe. But is E-Bike online shopping really a good idea?
First and foremost, would you buy your next new car online? I guess not. A potential buyer surely wants to experience the way how the car drives, the comfort, noise and performance. This should be applied to an E-bike as well – a test ride is crucial, otherwise you might end up with a bike, which does not tick all the boxes and then it is difficult to return it.
Secondly when ordering online, someone has to do the final assembly. What if something is not quiet right? What if the customer assembles the bike wrong and gets involved in an accident? With no local back up you are on your own – bike shops are reluctant in servicing bikes not bought from them, especially when they are electric ones. So it all depends on the service the online seller will offer you – possibly few hundreds of kilometres away.
It is all about the service
When talking about service – it is one of the most important points to make the best of your new E-bike. Especially new bikes – push bikes and electrical – require a follow up service after 200-500km. This is crucial to ensure all screws are still properly tightened, brakes and gears re-adjusted and spoke tensions checked. All these points influence also the warranty. Same with a new car – if you don’t go for the service, one will lose the warranty. If you buy local, your bike shop is trained on the bikes, they have access to spare parts and know how to handle problems. Not if you get an E-bike online.
In fact, what happens if you have a warranty issue? Let’s say the battery fails or your display stopped working? Again it means you have to chase up the supplier, shipping parts around the country, hoping to get things fixed, most likely also engaging a bike shop, which are reluctant to work on it.
Can I trust you?
And finally – trust. One can write anything on a web site – but what about real bike experiences from customers? Check out if there are any trustworthy testimonials (with real names). We also recommend a read of the Consumer.org e-bike buying guide, which gives you useful tips to compare the different brands.