Electric bicycles will sell a million copies each year from France by 2025. All brands now offer their electric bike models, and this could change how city centers will look in the future.
The old bicycle wants its revenge. The Electricity fairy has passed by and sort of helped the old bike to reinvent itself. It was in part due to the polluted atmosphere of the city centers, which leads the municipalities to promote alternatives to now dominating cars.
Mountain biking has long since adopted electric direction, which has revolutionized many aspects of this mountain sport. This phenomenon is now transforming urban bikes.
“It’s simple, the electric bicycle market has an annual growth of 24%,” says Jérôme Valentin, President of the Cycleurop Group’s Sport and Cycle Union and CEO. His group of companies produces the brands of Bianchi, Gitane, and Peugeot.
The forecasts project that this market, which now sells 2.6 million units in the whole of Europe, hopes to reach the million mark in France alone by 2025. In 2018, 338 000 e-bikes were sold in France, 60% of which are city models. Those e-bikes represent only 13% of sales volume and account for 40% of sales value …
In this idyllic commercial picture, China has long played the troublemaker role. But European laws, passed last summer, against unfair competition (anti-dumping) have dried up imports. Due to this legislation, European and French brands can look serenely into the future.
For sellers, buying European brands, “also offers insurance of the future, serious after sales service, and spare parts available on demand. If you sell a model that you can not maintain or repair, it is useless,” says Didier Faibis, manager of the Altermove store in Saint-Mandé (Val-de-Marne). His store offers two brands – O2Feel (French) and Kalkhoff (German).
Once the Chinese threat was removed, electric bikes now represent a breath of fresh air for the cycling sector. All segments of bicycles that are moved by muscular power only are on the decline. Electric bicycles are quite a bit more expensive: 1,585 euros on average for an electric model, against 337 euros for a traditional cycle. And thanks to the aid paid by some municipalities to promote this new mode of travel, the bill is lighter for the customer.
French manufacturer Look has just launched its first line of e-bike models in its history, fully designed and assembled in its factory in Nièvre. This brand, whose reputation is well established in the world of traditional racing bikes, has not been able to stay away from the phenomenon of e-bikes. It hopes to find on the e-biking market similar success as it has in its classic models.
E-bike rating climbs – even among the pros
To gain a share of the cake, Look has invested and mobilized renowned ambassadors, former riders Bernard Hinault (read more about Bernard in this post) and Laurent Jalabert, who now explain the merits of the power-assisted pedal stroke.
“In five minutes you have the legs of a champion,” one of the Look technicians says … For a long time, cyclists and traditional brands looked with some caution on the electric bikes.
This reluctance never touched Mustache, another French cycle brand, whose 55 models with handlebars of the shape of … mustache flood downtowns. Born in the Vosges in 2011, this start-up only produces electric bicycles and targets to sell 40,000 of them this year. Thet sold 28,000 last year and more than half of them in France.
“Our founders believed from the start that the arrival of power assistance was a change in our lives,” says marketing director Yann Noce. We start with the customer experience. Today, using your bike every day is a credible alternative thanks to the electric assistance. Whether in the city and even in semi-urban areas.”
E-bike competitions are on the way!
Julien Absalon has also been won over by the electric. This dual Olympic cross-country champion (2004 and 2008) stopped competing since spring of 2018. ,”A bike lover”, as he defines himself, found in the mountain electric bike (all-mountain bike) a new youth.
Electric power assistance, which he praises as the Mustache brand ambassador, is not really a new discovery. For six years now, the five-time world champion has used an electric mountain bike in his preparation, especially after races. “I never hide it, but every time I talked about it, I was laughed at on social media. I heard – shame on you, do not touch this lazy bike. “
In 2018, the French Cycling Federation (FFC) was the first to award a title of French champion in electric biking, won by … Julien Absalon. This year, the International Federation (UCI) took over and organized at the end of August the first world e-biking championships at Mont-Saint-Anne near Quebec City.
The principle remains the same as for cross country races – one loop to be completed several times – but the climbs are very steep and the course is much more technical. “It’s very pleasant to be able to go up those climbs very quickly (can e-bikes go up steep hills? read in this post), as we were able to combine the power of the legs to that of the battery.”
This post was translated from French. The original version was published on Le Parisien. Photo credit – Le Parisien.