We started Karmic Bikes in 2014, before most of the big bike brands saw the potential of ebikes in America. Our Kickstarter was in May of 2015 and we’ve seen an abundance of ebikes being crowdfunded since then. A friend said that “2015 is the Year of Karmic Bikes” — which was just a bit premature.
2017 is shaping up to be an amazing year for us and the ebike industry.
What do you drive? Chances are you own a car, and more often than not, that car is actually a truck. We call them SUVs, MUVs, CUVs, or Crossovers but the regular four-door sedan is becoming less and less of a standard. Now your “car” is bigger, taller, comfier, more capable, while still remaining just as fast (or faster!) than most cars. The utility of the design is winning over car buyers, myself included. Let the old car guys lament a turning of the tide.
What do you ride? Is it slimmed down speedy road bike with carbon, carbon, carbon and skinny (but not too skinny) tires? Is it a tough trail bike with 130, 140, or even 150mm of suspension travel? Technology has made regular bikes a lot better than their predecessors from just 10–20 years ago. The same is true on the ebike side of the industry. People think of “cheater bikes” when they talk about ebikes. The reality is that ebikes come in all forms. Most aren’t used for cheating on anything besides your automobile.
What’s next? Are you already driving an electric car? Or are you considering one for your next vehicle? EVs have faced similar adoption resistance as Crossovers, but it seems pretty clear that they too will win the market and reach the level of ubiquity of SUVs. Everyone wants a Tesla, but products from Chevy, Nissan, Toyota and Fiat (I loved my Fiat 500!) make electric cars available to everyone. I’ve long shied away from any comparisons between Tesla and Karmic. Sure we both use modern battery technology, design amazing electric vehicles and operate out of Palo Alto, California. But we always imagined that Karmic Bikes would be much more democratic. We think all bicycles will be electric in the future. We want everyone to ride.
The thing about Crossovers is that the car industry initially hated them. The Engineers, Designers and Magazine Editors complained they were neither smooth and fast sedans, nor tough and rumble trucks. Yet the manufacturers kept making more and more of them. Now many of them outsell their sedan counterparts.
How did these trucklets become the car industry’s darling all of a sudden? Because customers demanded them. It was the best product for most people. And money talks. Despite all the early objections, cars are now Crossovers.
The bike industry is facing it’s own crossover moment. They want to keep cycling pure, as if it is some sacrosanct institution that requires cultish membership. Ebike posts and articles will inevitably get nasty comments from folks who’ve never even tried one. That’s just silly. We think it’s just a bike. More people can have fun riding bikes. What’s the problem with that?
We’ll keep making what people want.