Though relatively new on the scene e-Bike Capital has thrown itself in at the deep end of driving demand. Chris Keller-Jackson visited the store’s first event to see if people would come rain or shine…
Another overcast and gloomy day in the North West of England, and a chance to catch the “UK e-Bike show”, at the relatively new E-Bike Capital venture in Bolton, Lancashire.
Five minutes into my time at the show, and the heavens are doing what they always looked like doing, with the rain bouncing down on the fresh tarmac outside and filling the gazebos and pop-up roofs with fresh Pennine water. In the shadow of the well renowned and tougher than you think Belmont area of Winter Hill, this store is in a great location. This area also forms part of the last stage of this years Tour of Britain, also rideable on the tough Tour de Manc sportive (It’s all going on in Manchester – it’s the home of British Cycling after all!)
I don’t care about the rain right now, I’m inside E-Bike Capital, the self proclaimed biggest e-Bike only shop in the UK. Its impressive, and its more like a Tesla store than a traditional bike shop, white walls, space to move around, great lighting and a real mixture of brands, product types, parts and accessories.
There will always be novelty bikes, with E-Bikes being no exception, with demonstrators to ride from the laid back Ruffian and the Café Racer style Vintage bikes which rides very nicely. On offer and selling well are the excellent Tern Vektron folder and the utilitarian Tern GSD cargo bike. It’s also great to see the latest incarnation of the GoCycle G3, a folder that continues to innovate and offer a real packable solution, with a certain flair and clever design ethos. These ride well and look great, with price points that fit well within the e-Bike market.
The ‘bread and butter’ of e-Bikes has however always been the more commuter style bike, what used to look like a conversion but is increasingly looking like a ‘normal’ bike with an oversized downtube. Hiding the battery like this (as in the Raleigh Centros Grand Tour and the Reise & Muller Supercharger) is a great way to normalise e-Bikes to the masses though the range of bikes, styles and price points is impressive.
In addition to road going two wheelers, on show were the impressive off- E-bike Capital road range from Lapierre and Haibike, both early adopters of Electric Pedal Assist, and both very advanced with integrated designs, the latest motors and batteries. The cycling fraternity now seems to have got over the thoughts that e-MTB’s are cheating, it’s in the same category now as an ‘Uplift’ and is certainly very helpful on the hills around these parts and the routes close by in the Lake District and North Wales.
The show also provided more load carrying support in the form of the Reise & Muller Packster, as well as the excellent Jorvik Folding Trike and the Jorvik Odin Off-Road Trike, a great way to get back into cycling, or to carry a weeks shopping.
Thankfully the rain subsides, allowing the eager show goers to get out and ride some bikes around the car park (more interesting than you think!) and feel the power from different forms of Pedal Assist.
Can a Shop pull off a Bike Show ? E-Bike Capital have managed to secure staff, bikes and Pop-Up support from some of their Distributors, and with support from Family and Friends, have enough staff presence to ensure the large number of visitors, mainly families and older couples, have enough attention to get into the details and to swing a leg over what is probably their first e-Bike. Transactions were taking place on the day, and there was a steady stream of folk turning up, many who had heard of the show on Social Media.
That we need specific E-Bike stores remains to be seen. E-Bike Capital is by far the best E-Bike specific shop I have seen and whilst it is new to the market, it is in a great position, really well presented and on a busy through road in the city. It helps that the staff, led by the charming and down to earth Martin Cairns are so open and knowledgeable about the products and services they offer.
With e-Bikes booming and some very interesting innovations to be launched later this month in both motor technology and the way they are implemented, e-Bikes are set to command an even bigger presence in mainstream consumer and trade shows.