Well, apparently everyone does. Since the beginning of the Covid 19 Pandemic demand for all things related to bikes has exploded worldwide. The rolling lockdowns and restrictions on socializing have driven an unprecedented interest in individual sports and recreation. Cycling offers an opportunity to get outside and be active when so many of our normal daily activities have otherwise been shackled. Health authorities are begging us to stay home and indeed with many of us now working from home just leaving the house can be a rare occurrence. Now, as Spring approaches and the claustrophobia of our own lounge rooms grows stronger, the appeal of jumping on a bike and heading out for a ride becomes a very attractive escape. This drawn out fettling of our daily freedoms has driven an unexpected growth in sales of bikes & e-bikes, trikes & e-trikes and other transport, whether its electric or gas powered. Many other recreational activities have seen similar patterns over the past year. Sales of travel trailers, hot tubs and winter sports equipment, have all gone through the roof.
Accepted, this massive growth in demand for sporting and outdoor equipment is fuelled by a desire to escape the boredom of a seemingly never ending pandemic. There is however a second rationale to this spend, and that is: disposable income. While it is obvious to say that many Canadians have suffered financial hardship over the past year, many others have seen life go on pretty much as usual with the absence of the ability to travel. Travel and yearly vacations are, for many Canadians, a regular highlight of their calendar. With travel restrictions in place, flights cancelled and quarantine laws now in effect regular travellers are finding their travel budget burning a hole in their pockets.
Building materials have suddenly become hard to find as decisions are made to use the travel budget for home renovations. Prices for timber have skyrocketed...if you can get it.
If we can’t go to Mexico this March we may as well redo the kitchen….
So with the demand for electric bikes and electric trikes at such high levels the retailers must be making a killing right?
Not so fast….
What happens when an electric trike manufacturer with the capacity to build a thousand trikes a month suddenly has orders for ten thousand? What happens when Shimano, the world's leading bicycle gears manufacturer receives orders triple the size of the previous year? It doesn’t matter where a bike is made, North America, Asia, Europe, … if the bike uses shimano gears the manufacturer will have to wait. Increased demand is the goal of any growing business but that comes with the caveat that the growth be manageable. At eTrikes Canada we have witnessed our pre covid manufacturing lead times go from 4 months to 10 months. Orders of electric trikes for adults we placed in late October 2020 we are now expected to arrive in Canada in early August 2021. On a daily basis we field enquiries as to when our Commuter electric tricycle will be back in stock and based on this level of enquiry we anticipate that we will again be faced with a sellout situation later this year.
Not only does the increased global demand blow out manufacturing lead times but it also gives rise to increased prices. Higher demand equals higher prices. Any form of bulk order discounting disappears and prices are at a premium for everything from raw materials to finished goods. Shipping freight has seen a rise of 187% since this time last year. So much product is on the move that securing a shipping container itself is proving to be a challenge. Many manufacturers are no longer accepting small orders for specialized products. Where, in the past, we may order a 20 foot container of a particular model of electric trike, the minimum order now is often double that.
Still, it is not all doom and gloom. Here at eTrikes Canada we have worked very closely with our manufacturers in an effort to replenish our inventory of e-trikes as quickly as possible. We have negotiated our partners to keep costs down and we anticipate that for the next order at least, we will be able to stick with 2020 prices. This is no easy feat but through the strong relationships we have built over the years and some economies in batch ordering, we will do our best to bring our customers excellent products at the best possible prices. So far this year we have seen the loonie rise in value against the US dollar and this has been a godsend amid rising costs. How long this will go on we cannot say. Gambling on currency exchange is not our strong suit. It is almost guaranteed that prices of our electric trikes for adults will rise in the coming year. For now though we will stick to our plan and offer locked in prices for any deposited etrike.
In order to offer our customers some sense of confidence in obtaining an electric trike this year we have set up an option to place a deposit online so that anxious e-trike purchasers can secure a trike from our next shipment before they arrive and go on sale.
Our incoming inventory is linked to the deposits so we can’t accept more deposits than we have trikes arriving in Summer. We have already taken deposits for 25% of our incoming stock so if you want to be sure to get a new 2021 Commuter eTrike when they land, jump online and put down a deposit.
While many customers are patiently anticipating the Summer delivery of the Commuter model trike, we still have the popular Cargo and City model e-trikes in stock for immediate delivery. The Cargo electric trike has a powerful 500W Bafang hub drive motor, rear differential for stable handling and a large capacity 48v 20Ah Samsung lithium-ion battery allowing for up to 60 km of pedal assisted riding. And if that’s not enough for you, we do have a few additional batteries for sale. The Cargo etrike sells for $3950 plus shipping and taxes making it the bargain of the 500W trikes in our range. The hub motor drives the front wheel and the pedal drive both of the rear wheels making it, for all intents and purposes an “all wheel drive” model. The Cargo is currently available in Sunburnt orange or Nebula Black (a bit like a dark eggplant colour)
The folding City trike is an urban cruiser that can be specified with either a 250w or a more powerful 350w hub motor. This trike is ideal for roaming the neighbourhood, grabbing some groceries and getting the legs moving with some light outdoor exercise. Starting at $3450 plus shipping and taxes, the City electric trike is eTrikes Canada’s best value option.
If either of these models suit your requirements then it would be best to jump on it straight away. Don’t wait for the snow to clear because we expect these too to sell out before the Summer. Both of these models can be purchased online at etrikescanada.com. Alternatively if you feel that the Commuter is more your style then hop online and grab a Commuter Deposit to guarantee you one from the next shipment to arrive. Deposits are $500 and we will contact you directly when they arrive. You will then have 30 days to complete your purchase after which the trike will be offered to those on the waiting list.
As always, stay safe and stay healthy.