Electric Bike Sales Increase in Vermont | Local News
Sales of e-bikes (e-bikes) in Vermont are on the rise, mainly due to a growing interest in outdoor exercise attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in the number of senior cyclists passing bikes with conventional propulsion to electrically assisted bicycles.
âElectric bikes are selling well, the sales growth is there,â said Noah Tautfest of Bicycle Express in Waterbury. Sales accelerated in the early stages of COVID with people “trying to get out”.
Today, the growth in sales of electric bicycles in its cycle store continues with increasing demand. âHere, 30% of sales are electric bikes,â says Tautfest.
âLooking at people’s ages, the majority of e-bike sales here are for the 65 and over age group,â said Caleb Fredette of Onion River Sports in Montpellier. He sees the sales growth reflecting the trend that âpeople keep riding, which they otherwise wouldn’tâ, on a conventional bicycle.
Electric bikes are battery powered bikes with an electric motor that allow riders to use the pedal assist feature of the motor to give pedaling a boost. Assist allows riders to pedal longer distances than they would with a conventional shift bike, while making hill climbing much easier. In a state like Vermont, these e-bikes are a boon for riders who might otherwise have given up on all but the flattest roads.
âIt breathes new life into the entire cycling industry,â Doon Hinderyckx said at Green Mountain Bike in Rochester.
The Hinderyckx store sells e-bikes to a wide range of cyclists, including “people who want to have fun”. COVID-19 has driven sales and in his store there has been “a 100% increase in sales of e-bikes and regular bikes since the pandemic,” according to Hinderyckx. Over 100 e-bikes have sold this year, which is “twice as many as before the pandemic, and that’s with limited availability.” I could sell more if I could get more, âhe noted.
At the Brattleboro Bike Shop, Barbara Walsh said e-bike sales have increased as seniors shifted from conventional to electric bikes. âWe sell a number of them. Sales here go to “more people over 60 than people over 20”.
âThe geography of Vermont is good for e-bike sales. Walsh attributed the growth in sales to the rolling, mountainous terrain of Vermont, making classic cycling difficult for older riders.
Walsh said âIt’s electric bike time in the sun. People see them there and the word is spread.
Chris Hunt of the Vermont Bicycle Shop in Barre said a growing number of customers have reached retirement age. E-bikes were its top performers in the past three years even before COVID.
This year, bicycle shops note that sales were only limited by the availability of e-bikes, as most brands are made in China and there have been issues with shipping delays.
Walsh, in Brattleboro, said his store had fewer supply issues as they sold a Dutch brand “which appears to be able to source more easily as shipments arrive on the east coast.” The disruption of supply, especially on the west coast, she acknowledged, is a problem. âSupplies can be a year or more behind. It won’t be normal until 2023, says the cycling industry.
âThe old baby boomers are buying them,â Tautfest said in Waterbury. âIt’s coming back to doing what you did at a younger age. You can now make the trip that you thought you could not do.
Word of mouth drives increased sales. âIt motivates people to go out and stay in touch with friends who receive them. It’s not just that they can afford the bikes too, it’s that they are looking for exercise and activity.
Electric bikes from the Waterbury Bike Store cost between $ 1,500 and $ 10,000. But âmost e-bikes sell in the $ 2,500 price range,â Tautfest said.
The average price of an electric bike sold at Onion River Sports is $ 3,000 and up. Fredette, estimating the age of buyers, said that “the majority are in the 65 and over age group.”
At Brattleboro Bicycle Shop, sales of e-bikes drastically increased results. Sales here have gone from $ 60,000 in pre-pandemic revenue to around $ 200,000 this year in the first three quarters. âElectric bikes are a big part, it’s a big boost for us,â Walsh said.
Sales also benefited from Green Mountain Power’s $ 200 rebate to its customers who purchase an electric bicycle.
Prices at Barre range from $ 2,700 to $ 9,000 for an electric bike with the most popular bikes in the $ 2,700 range. Hunt said e-bike sales will continue to grow in the state as there are more and more opportunities to ride. Also, he said, e-cyclists aren’t just those on back roads. He sees riders in Montpellier moving around and many are equipped with child carriers. âThe electric bike will be more for regular use than on the trails,â he predicted.
Hinderyckx in Rochester sells electric bikes in the $ 2,000 to $ 12,000 range. Most sales are priced from $ 3,000 to $ 6,000. He also expects continued sales growth. âThe whole COVID experience has restructured many people’s priorities. Retirees have money to spend and face their mortality. They want to have fun and buy electric bikes.
Summarizing the growth in e-bike sales in Vermont and beyond, Walsh sees a bright future. âWe have a lot more active seniors, so the future looks pretty bright for sales. In addition, we sell a significant number of electric bikes to people for whom it is their only means of transport and we sell to people who wish to use electric bikes instead of car trips.
Another boost to continued e-bike sales will come as the roads improve for cycling. And, finally, said Walsh, if the infrastructure bill awaiting passage in Congress passes, “there will be a federal tax credit.”