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The Teenage Tinkerer Behind an E-Bike Revolution

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The Teenage Tinkerer Behind an E-Bike Revolution

By his junior yr, he’d based Rad Energy Bikes. Now primarily based in Seattle, his firm approached $100 million in gross sales in 2019. It has offered over 100,000 electrical bikes. Numbers aren’t nicely reported for this younger trade, however Rad Energy Bikes is extensively thought-about the biggest e-bike vendor in america.

When he was beginning out in Humboldt County — house to back-to-the-landers and backwoods pot farmers — Mr. Radenbaugh fielded requests. “They wished excessive handlebars, comfy seats, highly effective motors and lengthy vary,” he mentioned. In different phrases, a mix of a bicycle, moped, scooter and motorbike. This was in distinction to the few gentle and low-powered European and Japanese e-bikes accessible a decade and a half in the past.

Sixteen years later, Rad Energy Bikes is sticking to its method: consolation, energy and ease.

And that was earlier than a pandemic despatched the entire nation looking for a socially distanced method to get round. All through spring 2020, Rad’s gross sales tripled in contrast with the yr earlier than. Many fashions now have a three-month watch for supply. What had been a distinct segment product for Humboldt’s growing old hippies heading to Burning Man has turn into a mainstream choice for Everyman.

Guidehouse Insights, a market analysis agency, conservatively forecasts that electrical bike gross sales in america will develop to almost one million by 2023, up from 650,000 this yr. “For years we’ve been saying that the market wants a good, good-quality, comparatively high-performing e-bike for $1,000 to $1,500. That’s the candy spot,” mentioned Ryan Citron, a senior analysis analyst at Guidehouse Insights. “Rad Energy Bikes hit that mark.”

Mr. Citron cautions that Rad, which sells direct to customers, may lose clients who wish to take a check journey earlier than shopping for. Brick-and-mortar shops additionally supply e-bikes from the likes of Specialised, Trek and Large — though generally promoting for $2,500 to $5,000. Deluxe fashions climb to $15,000 and better.


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