HOW THEY GOT INTO
EBA: What made you, an independent bike dealer,
get interested in electric bikes?
Kyle: I think it’s the future of our industry! The first
bike boom was Schwinn. Then the next bike boom was
mountain bikes. The mountain bike boom boomed our
industry. The boom after that was road bikes, and I feel
that the next boom to hit our industry is electric bikes.
My first experience seeing a Bosch mid-drive motor
was last July when I pulled into the parking lot and I saw
this Felt bike in the back of a car. I see the motor, the
battery and thought they finally did it right! I could just
tell when I looked at it. I asked him if I could ride the
bike, and as soon as I did, I was hooked.
Once I came back to the shop I asked the guys if
they’d ever ridden one, and the reaction wasn’t too
positive. I listened, then I said, “Wow, you guys. What I
just tried was pretty amazing.”
Next I went to Culver City shop and mentioned it to
the guys there and got the same reaction, except one
guy who said, “Really, you think so?”
I kept talking about it: “You guys, it makes me want
to ride a bike again! I’m the perfect guy. I’m 50 years old.
I work a lot, and I don’t have all the time in the world to
stay in shape, to be fit, to ride four or five days a week.
But, I’d still love to go up to the top of that mountain!
And, it makes me want to get a bike.” That made my
guys start thinking.
We started having little conversations like that. I told
them, “This isn’t about us, but about how we can grow
the industry and how we can get more people involved! It
might not be for you, the racer, the competitive guy. How
can we get more people into this?”
And then the Specialized Turbo Levo came out, and
that opened everyone’s mind more. Over time, with lots
of conversations, we all got more and more excited
about e-bikes and were happy to plant the seed with
Unfortunately, we still hear plenty of customers who
come in and tell us that when they’ve been to other
shops and mention e-bikes, they feel like discarded
EBA: So what were the next steps
after that first ride?
Kyle: I put a plan together on how to
launch the whole e-bike segment and
how to create space in both stores that
made a statement to consumers that
we’re not messing around. We were into
e-bikes and committed to the category.
I went to the Interbike bike show
to find out what lines I should carry.
When I gave my dealer pitch, just about
any of the brands I wanted I could get,
IBDs that were going after the new
business back then. ■
1.) The workshop
at the back looks
like most, but it’s
fully visible from the
2.) There’s a full
aisle of helmets
from a variety of
almost every style
3.) The clothing
area is less than a
quarter of the store
but carries the top
4.) The original
location in Culver
City, California, has
been around since
1945. It’s home to a
showroom and the
It’s due for a similar