In an increasingly competitive market, Moustache Bikes, one of the pioneers of electric bicycles in France, is growing consistently.
One of the founders, Emmanuel Antonot, is a former member of Cycles Lapierre, the other, Grégory Sand, worked for seven years for Nancelle Mobilier et Agencement, which manufactured top-of-the-range and custom-made furniture for the hotel industry. Both Vosgians and cycling enthusiasts, they are, in 2010, looking for opportunities to start their own business. They are then put in touch by their accountant (a visionary!) who detects their complementarity.
First contacts, and first convergences. “I quit my job because I saw electricity as a magical tool to democratize cycling. “On this point, Emmanuel Antonot is joined by Grégroy Sand and together they created Moustache Bikes in 2011.
Dali and Magnum
A surprising name, in homage to “Dali, Einstein, Magnum and Super Mario”, according to Emmanuel, but especially the “moustache” handlebars they revisited when they created their first electric bike.
Monday e-bike model, with its open frame and low straddle, is also their first challenge. “When you build a bike, you don’t hide anything,” explains Emmanuel Antonot, “you have to respond to technical and aesthetic constraints with the same pencil stroke”. Thus, Moustache designed a triple-cavity diagonal tube “which provided good torsional rigidity, and also comfortable frontal flexibility that absorbs vibrations”.
This first product was a success and was very quickly followed by an entire catalogue covering all uses of bicycles: urban, mountain biking, leisure…
Read also: Moustache Friday 28.3: an electric bike built for the city – in this article.
In total, Moustache offers 10 families of bicycles. According to Grégory Sand, “the electric bicycle applies to all types of cycling”. And to all kinds of people! He continues: “Our public is mostly non-cyclists, so even in the development phase, we try to get feedback from people who currently don’t ride bikes.”
An efficient and balanced design
A policy that has a direct impact on design, “more inspired by architecture, furniture and art” than by the world of cycling, according to Emmanuel Antonot. The silhouette of the Moustache bikes, which can be recognized by the balance of its lines and the coherence of its proportions, owes nothing to chance, according to the former cyclist of the Cycles Lapierre. “We pay attention to details often forgotten by others. This is the case of the mudguards, for example. Ours are made of aluminium, double-walled, tubular, rigid, stable, we can integrate all the wiring there.
Confident, he concludes: “it’s not about designing for design. In the design of our e-bikes, there is nothing free”. This is also true when it comes to the checkout process. Moustache e-bikes are three to four times more expensive than an entry-level electric bike.
High-class electric bicycle
Grégory Sand explains this top-of-the-range positioning by “a sum of details: design, technology, heavy investments in what is not visible, such as cycling sensations”. Indeed, Moustache is continuously investing in its research and development. In-house production, in a factory in the Vosges region that employs 60 people, is another strong argument: “the e-bikes are assembled from A to Z by the same employee. For his part, it is more rewarding, and for us, it offers real traceability and quality control”.
Read also: Which electric bike to buy? Making your educated e-bike selection choice? – in this article.
Finally, the two partners insist on the local service provided by Moustache and Bosch, with whom the brand has been collaborating since the beginning. “They are more expensive, but they are the best”, Emmanuel sums up. Local service? Yet Moustache is a pure player which doesn’t have its own retail shops.
Grégory Sand replies that its 500 distributors (200 in France, the rest in Europe) are trained and hand-picked according to their views on electric bikes: “What is important is to work with people who share our vision of electric bikes, and that the other brands represented in their shops are compatible and/or complementary with Moustache”.
Pioneers on the electric bike market
According to Grégory, this vision of the electric is one of the factors that allows Moustache to continue to grow despite the multiplication of competition (the brand has achieved a turnover of 62 million euros in 2019, and plans to sell 42,000 bicycles in 2020). “We have seen other brands, whose core business was ‘classic’ bikes, who saw electricity as an opportunity to diversify. We do it out of conviction and from the very beginning of Moustache e-bikes. »
Read also: Moustache Sunday 29.3 review, a nearly perfect gravel e-bike – in this article.
Emmanuel Antonot follows: “We anticipated what was going to happen on the market, and participated in his education. In 2011, few people shared our vision of electricity in Europe, and in France we were the first to go all-electric”. A clear strategy from the outset and a “pure electric player’s DNA that brings together all uses” that has remained unchanged, enabling customers to identify Moustache as a player that counts in this market.
Listening to the market
Although the company guidelines have been the same since 2011, this does not prevent Moustache Bikes from diversifying. Last summer, the brand launched its first road e-bikes. A heresy for some purist cyclists, but “a way to have more fun and broaden your playing field” according to Grégory and Emmanuel.
Read also: How to select the best road e-bike? – in this article.
Read also: How much does a road e-bike cost? – in this article.
If the two founders of Moustache launched this product, it’s because they listen to the market. A strategy of anticipation that has already worked on several occasions. After discussions with consumers who wanted a bike for the whole week, or people who buy mountain e-bikes with double suspension to go to work, we came up with the XRoad, which makes it possible to commute to work and go for a ride on the weekend,” explains Emmanuel Antonot.
It’s important to listen to these signals to learn about new uses and respond to them. Thus, Moustache now offers more than 60 models.
To respond to the growth of the electric-assisted bicycle market, which grew around 90% between 2016 and 2017, Moustache, which employs 110 people in Thaon-Les-Vosges, plans to expand its factory, which now produces 250 bicycles a day. An additional 4,000 m² will bring the total surface area to 10,000 m². The creation of this new production line will require about twenty new hires.
A transformation that will begin after a very busy 2019-2020 season, with the renewal of a large part of the range and the integration of batteries into e-bike frames. Let’s face it, at Moustache, the world does not stay still!
Read also: How Moustache became the French champion of electric bicycles? – in this article.
Take a look at this video review of Moustache Friday line of e-bikes: