THE ELECTRIC BIKE SHOP
Service a step above
Mike Majors was a civil engineer, but at one point in the last recession he found himself out of work. He was doing side jobs as a mechanic and fixing lawnmowers. Mike’s always been a tinkerer. He worked with his dad on go-karts, mini bikes and bicycles. He also raced BMX as a kid.
A friend of his bought an iZip electric bike in 2009, and Mike thought it was great. His friend started buying them and asked Mike to help build them and resell them online. They tried selling them at local Sacramento State University, only to find out that college kids can’t afford e-bikes.
In the summer of 2010, Mike’s dad invited him to their 55-and-over gated community’s clubhouse for the Fourth of July. Mike rode his bike there and sold three in one day. He realized the retired community was his target market. This epiphany led to some research, and ultimately calling Andrea Busch at Electric Bikes L.A. (now e-RYDE), who had started her shop in 2008.
“They work on all brands, even the ones they don’t sell.”
She gave him some great advice, and he decided to open an electric bike shop in California’s capital city of Sacramento in 2010. This was a big risk, opening an electric bike shop at a time when we were in a recession, as well as a time when virtually no one back then knew what an electric bicycle was. The store officially opened on December 11, 2010.
When it started, he carried the Currie Tech brands iZIP and eZip, as well as Hebb, and they’ve been a full-service bike shop since the beginning. They work on all brands of bikes and scooters, even brands they don’t sell. They fix the mechanical stuff, the electrical parts and offer tune-ups. The local Pedego dealer will only service their own brand if the bike is still under warranty. If it isn’t, they refer the customer to The Electric Bike Shop, who will happily accept the business.
Like so many other bike shops, Mike’s shop, too, has faced inventory issues owing to the supply-chain crisis, but they still have bikes to sell. Mike told us that even with fewer supplies, they have tons of repair business.
MAKING THE CONVERSION
The shop does offer hub-motor conversion kits from the MXUS brand for customers who want to convert an existing bike. Whether customers are buying a new bike or getting theirs converted, Mike says that 95 percent of his customers want a Class 2 bike with a throttle.
Because e-bike batteries don’t last forever, and sometimes customers have bikes from brands that no longer exist, they also have a battery-cell replacement service. A customer can bring in their battery case, and they will replace the cells in 95 percent of the cases through an outside company that also makes the batteries for their conversion kits. The coolest thing about this is that this then reduces the carbon footprint of owning an e-bike because it keeps an older one in circulation that would otherwise end up in a landfill/e-waste facility.
They are up front about their labor rates, at $85 an hour with a half-hour minimum or $70 an hour with a half-hour minimum for children’s bikes. They diagnose any issue, and contact customers with true estimates of parts and labor so the customer can decide to proceed or not. The shop currently carries bikes from Pegasus, BESV and Nakto, as well as Levy scooters. Each brand has a strength, and the staff knows those strengths and can match them to each customer’s needs.