Bike subscription model builds steam across Europe

The emergence of bike subscription services continues to build steam across Europe with the news that a Cologne-based business has partnered with Fleetpool, a platform that provides car subscriptions in Germany.

Thomas Bernik, Managing Director of Rebike Mobility says of the deal: “Spurred on by the general bike boom in Germany, the general trend towards subscription models and the Corona crisis, interest in an e-bike has literally picked up speed. Our subscription offer is an alternative to buying an e-bike. ”

The conversation on ownership versus usership has been bubbling away in the background in recent years, with many speculating that younger generation’s propensity to hire, stream and subscribe to services is now trumping their ability to own assets with high costs. Most recently the boss of subs firm Buzzbike predicted bike ownership would be “dead in a decade“, something that echoed an earlier call from IoT OEM Comodule who pitched the idea at Eurobike’s Bike Biz Revolution discussion in 2019.

The deal between Rebike Mobility and Fleetpool is one of the largest of its kind so far, giving the site’s regular car subscribers a first time access to a large range of electric bikes from a reduced rate of €73 per month.

Six, 12 and 18 month contracts will become available with the monthly rate inclusive of theft insurance, servicing and repairs, a security solution and property damage. When customer sign up they can expect the cycle to arrive at their door pre-built on a date of their choice, though a 39 delivery fee applies.

Subscription services already operational in the bike industry include the likes of Bromptons available from £1 a day, Dance (which raised €15 million to develop its services) and Vanmoof, among others. Joining Brompton in the UK, e-bike label Hurrecane is another to recently launch with a £50 a month offering that is upgradeable throughout the plan.

Subscription schemes even now exist for kids’ bikes where parents can switch the bike out as the child grows. The Bike Club was founded in 2016 by a wife and husband team, Alexandra Rico-Lloyd and James Symes.

On a similar note, Volkswagen’s financial services arm has begun leasing bike and electric bike lines found under the portfolio.

Back in 2019 CI.N asked a panel of retailers for their take on how this model’s emergence may come to affect sales and you can read the responses here.