Electric Bikes - Brands and Prcing

brucehawsker

Pedelecer
Dec 17, 2009
119
0
I been away a few days at the London Bike Show and a couple of things have struck me. One from a thread here which noted:

"The two Bearprint Company owners Phil and Steve were very approachable and helpful both via email and by phone during my purchase of the Ebike. They confirmed that the Bearprint is virtually identical to the FreeGo Ebike and indeed the front connection box even has FreeGo name stamped on it. I believe that the Juicybike Ebike is also manufactured in the same factory in China. I very nearly purchased a Juicybike and would have done accept that the 2011 Sport model was not available at the time with the larger capacity battery. Bob at Juicybikes was a great help and very impartial in his advice to me. In the end I preferred the design of the New City Bearprint and the extras it had despite being more expensive. If money was no object I probably would have bought a Wisper but alas I could not afford it. I still think the Juicybike offers best value for money."

So here we have three different brandings of what may seem to be essentially the same bike. And someone else in the forum has previously, I seem to remember, commented that the Lifecycle was also similar - so it may be the case that there are at least apparently 4 variants of essentially the same bike with four different labels - how to confuse the poor consumer..... Bit like SEAT and FIAT....

But then at the show I looked closely at the EBCO Eagle for the first time - and then I read on a recent thread that there was a Sachs Electric Bike which to me at least superficially looks identical and is called an Eagle but was priced £150 less than the price EBCO were asking at the London Bike Show.....

There was also the Spencer Ivy at the show which is at least superficially similar to a member of the Kalkhoff range, but priced a bit above 50Cycles offering, as far as I can tell.

Looking further at the Eagle Electric bike on the web, it seems it might be a JD product from Taiwan, the TranzX PST, which may be branded by EBCO and by Sachs in the UK, and presumably by other 'importers'.

So what I had thought was a product designed and specified by EBCO turns out at least apparently to be one which is designed elsewhere and simply imported by them. I may be maligning them in saying this, of course they may have been instrumental and led the design project. I simply do not know. Quite possibly I have gained the wrong impression from their materials, but there is at least to me a real lack of clarity which might confuse the buyer. It has confused me :confused:

Perhaps the time has come to distinguish between on the one hand:
* companies in the UK which appear to be primarily importers with rebanding, which may include some or all of those mentioned in this post, where others in the UK offer very similar products with different labels but from the same factory of family of factories (we all know IP is porous in China), and
*those like Wisper, Ultramotor, Batribike and ourselves (to name three) where we have put specific input into the product, where there is genuine co-owned or fully owned IP , and genuine exclusivity in at least the UK market...

Let me be clear, I am not criticising any of the firms mentioned here or suggesting any impropriety or wrongdoing, and if that comes across I retract, withdraw and apologise. If there is any criticism at all it is perhaps of the ultimate manufacturers who seem to have a confused distribution model or confusion over IP….. Just to repeat, this is not about CLONING per se, but about confusing, probably completely unintentionally, the buyer. The buyer should I suggest know with whom they might be dealing and how close the "manufacturer" is to the actual R&D and manufacture....

Perhaps BEBA could question its members and categorise them accordingly? We appear close to the parallel import situation so common in the Pharma industry.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
42,889
18,837
I think this sort of thing is so common these days that it's probably gone too far to hope for clarity in any field.

You mention FIAT and Seat, but that's old history on the Panda model. These days, VW, Skoda and Seat models are all the same group using the same basis, just the tin box on top altered on some models and the usual engine/wheel/trim variations. The main top model, the Passat is virtually unchanged as the Skoda Superb and now the Seat equivalent. And as if that's not enough confusion, Audi is the same company and their models are mainly revamped VWs.

The Jaguar X type at introduction was a Ford Mondeo tarted up, and up until the latest model the Ford Galaxy people carrier was actually the VW Sharan, the 3 litre even with the V6 engine from VW.

The latest Ford Ka is just a FIAT 500 rebadged and much of the input on Ford's smaller cars is from FIAT. In turn the FIAT Sedici is the Suzuki SX4-SZ5 4wd rebadged, fitted with a Fiat diesel engine option or the 1.6 Suzuki engine

Vauxhall's Corsa uses the FIAT 1.3 diesel engine as do some other car manufacturers, and of course Vauxhalls are largely just rebadged Opels mostly made in the German Opel factory.

Citroen's latest C4 uses an engine developed by BMW.

The MINI from BMW uses an engine co-developed with Chrysler and made in a common South American factory.

In France, Peugeot and Citroen are one company with models having much in common, and years ago they formed a French design and engineering engine plant at Douvrain which has supplied engines to themselves, DAF, Volvo, Renault and Chrysler at various times.

The SAABs as part of GM are revamped Vauxhalls, one only still using the 4 cylinder SAAB engine.

Ford owned Volvo for some while and currently uses Volvo's 5 cylinder engine in one Ford model.

The Daihatsu Terios was co-developed by Toyota and uses a whole bunch of Toyota parts in it's construction.

There are numerous other rebadges in the motor industry, sometimes models almost completely unchanged, and I could rabbit on at length, but you get the picture. How many realise that only Honda and Toyota in the Japanese motor industry are Japanese owned? The rest are all owned by Western motor manufacturers, and that's often true of oriental makes from other countries.

I can't see this ever becoming unpicked in the personal transport field, and e-bikes are just following the same route. The core problem is, at what point of difference do we say something is the same brand? In practice it's impossible to specify.
.
 
Last edited:

eddieo

Banned
Jul 7, 2008
5,070
5
But I thought the Cat was out of the bag:D from the earlier thread, and that your bike is just a rebadged, more expensive version of an identical Spanish bike:confused:

from a consumers point of view it is the companys that have set up a proper retail/repair, countrywide infrastructure that are surely moving the e bike market forward.....
 
Last edited:

EdBike

Pedelecer
Sep 10, 2010
181
0
Forget it...

As Flecc goes on about cars, the umbrella companies interchange parts with so many different things, its as if every Bugatti, Lambo, Bentley, Audi and Porsche is just a tizzed up Golf.

A third of the worlds laptops come out of the same factory in Taiwan.

The real question is with all these things is the marketing problem; you may have the best, most innovative bike in the world with the IP to its genius and drag every other company who vaguely resembles yours through a legal battle but you're still left where you started...

The mission is to educate the customer, to explain the benefits of your product and then to take the sale. I don't think its an issue to keep getting hung up about.

I think BEBA's brought this up in item 2 of their code of practice - Code of practice - but I don't think it matters so much.

We will only really know what's great and what sucks (comparatively) by trying all the models worth trying all in one place. Sounds like a project for the Spring? **coughcough**
 

eTim

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 19, 2009
607
2
Andover, Hants.
I had a chat with the people on the Spencer Ivy stand, very nice people they were too, the bike is made in the Derby factory in Germany and I think you would be very hard pushed to notice any difference from a Kalhkoff. It was liveried in a very nice 'London' black and would be my choice of colour against a Kalkhoff however it had the 10ah battery and was priced at £1,800 so not sure where it stood in that respect.

I was surprised to see it with a Spencer Ivy brand on it.
 

brucehawsker

Pedelecer
Dec 17, 2009
119
0
For the record, Big Cat Electric, eddieo, is not "just a rebadged, more expensive version of an identical Spanish bike:confused:" as was alleged in a previous post. I would be happy to give loads of details as to why, but for now please believe me that a CANbus wireless enabled bike with an IP address and a genuine 40 mile range in almost all cases is not the same as the bike advertised in Spain, which was old stock on discount (we think). Apart from anything else, it has a throttle which is enabled up to 15.5mph :D . And our new logos:p

Seriously, the frame is the same, but the Big Cat Electric input has been major and the UK bike is very different.

We had it for sale at the show at £1500 and it fared very well against a full set of competition. Compare it to the EBCO at £1750 or the Spencer Ivy at £1850 and then suggest it is too expensive....

And as for national coverage, we have a mechanical support network and a cast iron 7 day distance trial scheme with guarenteed full refund including freight costs - not that anyone has rejected a bike yet......

And our second battery costs £360.....
 

eddieo

Banned
Jul 7, 2008
5,070
5
Last edited:

brucehawsker

Pedelecer
Dec 17, 2009
119
0
Eddio, forgive me, but I am not being funny. The price on the manufacturer's site which you kindly provide a link to is not for the same bike as we sell in the UK. And we do have a national support network for Big Cat Electric bikes which we will be announcing in due course - probably in March. Those who have purchased a bike from us are already supported and we have recieved no complaints regarding support so far.

We have a flagship high profile retail shop in the Southampton town centre (161 High Street) which has won praise for its quality of fit out. This was not cheap - with a ten year lease.... People have so far travelled over 100 miles (eg from North London) to see our bikes and will continue to do so we expect.

As to national dealers, we have had many requests from dealers in the past six weeks and are currently considering our strategies as to how to go forward. Our current business plan is to take a credit card, send out a bike, and if the client is unhappy and tells us within 7 days, we get a courrier to pick it up and refund the money. No one has taken up this offer - everyone has been very happy with our product.

Our business model is unashamedly at the moment different from many others in the market - but I hope you will agree that I am not being a "funny guy". If I was a funny guy I would not have invested over £100,000 of our personal money into this project. We are here for the long term.

I will stop corresponding now on this matter but I would invite anyone who is interested to come and visit us in Southampton, or PM or email me, and I will happily answer any questions you may have.

Thank you

Bruce
 

eddieo

Banned
Jul 7, 2008
5,070
5
Smoke and mirrors....

10 Ah, 6 gears and £1650 and you try and compare it to a Panasonic bike:confused: Not so slick marketing and a rebadging excercise me still thinks. One born every minute I guess, hopefully not to many on here! lol:)
 

alex_h

Pedelecer
Dec 28, 2009
197
4
Bruce meet Eddie

Hi Bruce,

I see you already met Eddie, our Master of Spanner Works. Eddie will be the first one to knock you off so chill out and take it easy. You have a good bikes, good looking and hopefully you get your reputation right too. Good luck with business.

... and Eddie how are you my friend? Have you decided on getting the Swiss Flyer?

best regards

Alex
 

eddieo

Banned
Jul 7, 2008
5,070
5
... and Eddie how are you my friend? Have you decided on getting the Swiss Flyer?

best regards

Alex
A bit grumpy:D its the weather....just went out and it really is still to cold for me, not enjoying riding at all. Bikes, If I can get the wife to sell her stepthrough I will get a Panasonic bike and have one of each. probably a Kalkhoff because of bigger battery and they have a store reasonably near me for problem's. I dont want more then 2 GOOD bikes waste of money otherwise IMO, unless you are a tinkerer which I am decidedly not!

And you? still saving?:) what do you fancy these days........ Surely not convinced by Bruces smoke and mirrors and marketing BS? lol
 

EdBike

Pedelecer
Sep 10, 2010
181
0
Hi Bruce,

I see you already met Eddie, our Master of Spanner Works. Eddie will be the first one to knock you off so chill out and take it easy. You have a good bikes, good looking and hopefully you get your reputation right too. Good luck with business.

... and Eddie how are you my friend? Have you decided on getting the Swiss Flyer?

best regards

Alex
How to diffuse a situation 101 :D

As per the OP, its easy to see how easily bikes can be seen as re-badged. Perhaps a video demo by Big Cat to show the any differences might help folks make up their minds?
 

eddieo

Banned
Jul 7, 2008
5,070
5
How to diffuse a situation 101 :D

As per the OP, its easy to see how easily bikes can be seen as re-badged. Perhaps a video demo by Big Cat to show the any differences might help folks make up their minds?
Oh come on! its the same 6 speed/10 Ah Spanish bike, with a £500'ish price hike for the poor old gullible UK punter. If not from Spain def from the same Chinese manufacturer, I mean is is a coincidence that it was tested in Barcelona the home of the Spanish bike? And both UK and Spanish website have the same images? lol......I fink not:D

Nice looking bike though...

 
Last edited:

EdBike

Pedelecer
Sep 10, 2010
181
0
Oh come on! its the same 6 speed/10 Ah Spanish bike, with a £500'ish price hike for the poor old gullible UK punter. If not from Spain def from the same Chinese manufacturer, I mean is is a coincidence that it was tested in Barcelona the home of the Spanish bike? lol......I fink not:D
Maybe you're right. Its hard to tell without examining bikes alongside each other in detail - vamos a Barcelona amigos?
 

brucehawsker

Pedelecer
Dec 17, 2009
119
0
Hi Edbike, sorry not to see you at Westminster today. Please do not worry, you were sorely missed. In your absence you have been assigned many 'interesting' jobs .

A video is beyond my skills on the way back to Brockenhurst....

I can however provide the following list of differences to the bike – I know there are more differences but these are the ones I remember:

· Full CANbus compatibility
· CANBUS to USB capability enabling me to plug my trusty Samsung into the bikes and reprogram their power profile, amp draws, speed limits etc etc
· iPhone compatibility enabling me to record journeys including all GPS data including elevation, amp draw vs. time, cumulative Wh consumed etc etc
· Revised more efficient motor with laser cut nylon cogs
· UK profiled power schemes
· New BMS and latest battery cells
· New controller circuit board with on board memory
· Our new logos
· Our revised lights for UK usage
· A full throttle capability
· Conformality to UK regulations
· iPad application which enable me to review all aspects of the bike in real time – when my co-director is not playing Angry Birds
· Revised tyres

I hope this helps.
 

Streethawk

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 12, 2011
633
14
This iphone/ipad/laptop thing. I'm and IT professional and complete gadget freak, but i really cant see why i'd want to connect any of these to my bike. It should just have the necessary control on the bike in the form of buttons on the handlebar, maybe a nice readout.

So, convince me, why would i want to do this? What do i gain?

Also, why a "New BMS and latest battery cells" but no more amps in there?

"New controller circuit board with on board memory" to what advantage?

Also, nylon cogs... i wouldnt shout about that one if i were you.
 

fishingpaul

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 24, 2007
870
85
Oh come on! its the same 6 speed/10 Ah Spanish bike, with a £500'ish price hike for the poor old gullible UK punter. If not from Spain def from the same Chinese manufacturer, I mean is is a coincidence that it was tested in Barcelona the home of the Spanish bike? And both UK and Spanish website have the same images? lol......I fink not:D

Nice looking bike though...

And your bikes are so completely different from all those similar looking copies from china at £500 pounds less, with the same frame, same motor the same 6 speed gears and even the same bell.
 

brucehawsker

Pedelecer
Dec 17, 2009
119
0
It is hard being a manufacturer {sigh}

Very quickly cos it is late and I was at BEBA all day:

On the cogs - the key point is that a laser cut advanced nylon composite is really hard compared to a softer moulded more conventional plastic. I am happy to stand by a significantly improved efficiency compared to the Chinese convention - at least in Bafengs I have taken apart. I have used this stuff in the marine industry and I do know what I am talking about. It is a b****r to cut, runs noisly cos it is so hard, and just does not wear so efficiency stays very high.

Circuit board gives greater degrees of freedom in power profile design.

More memory allows us to record more information for longer periods which in turn allows us to optimise power usage based on that data.

Amps are not everything. It is how you use them! Clever use will encourage pedalling and give the user the best expereince. End result is lower power consumption. Just for example, if you can put down lots of amps fast and for a short burst the bike accellerates faster - then you can quickly rein back the ampage. That reduces consumption overall. For that you need really well designed cell management and cells which can run hard from standby.

Why iPhone - I will address tomorrow but there are MANY applications....

And to the bikes - the motor is not the same, as I have said, the bell and gears have been unchanged so are the same, the frame is the same but is designed and copy protected in Spain by Ecobike and is not available to any one else, from China or from alywhere else. Yes we use the same photos as the Spanish because our web site is in beta and we have been so busy selling these too expensive bikes to arrange a photo shoot and the bikes are similar in overall look. A good thing because they look great....
 

eddieo

Banned
Jul 7, 2008
5,070
5
And your bikes are so completely different from all those similar looking copies from china at £500 pounds less, with the same frame, same motor the same 6 speed gears and even the same bell.
Of course not? But I am not trying to hoodwink people am I.....at least mine has a 7 speed and a far more useful 14 Ah battery then an I phone connection (I have a Blackberry:D)

If you are suckered in by these grandiose claims and BS fair enough.......But the £500 cheaper ECO bike would be far more welcome I would think:rolleyes:

I will try and remember "Amps are not everything" when out riding today!
 

Related Articles

Advertisers