Mega-retailer Best Buy is throwing its weight into e-mobility by offering electric transportation products including scooters, mopeds, and, yes, e-bikes.
Products from Unagi, Segway-Ninebot, SUPER73, SWFT, and Bird, which recently launched its new retail electric Bird Bike at Eurobike, hit Best Buy stores just as the company headed into Labor Day weekend. Best Buy is kicking off the launch of the new products by offering customers up to $300 in savings on select e-transportation products during a Labor Day Sale starting on Sept. 3.
What’s more, it’s aiming to compete with local bike shops with its Geek Squad, who can now add basic bicycle maintenance to their resumes. For $99, Geek Squad will assemble and tune bicycles purchased at the store, including brake, seat, and handlebar adjustments.
“There’s been incredible innovation in the e-transportation space, and we know more customers are looking for ways to efficiently and sustainably commute,” said Frank Bedo, senior vice president at Best Buy. “As we grow this selection, we look forward to helping customers find the right products to fit their needs and supporting them as they hit the road safely.”
At Eurobike, Bird (yes, that scooter company) was showing off the new BirdBike. This isn’t available for sale through Best Buy yet, but may be once it’s available. Besides the striking similarity to a Vanmoof, the BirdBike will include a 500w rear hub motor, a 36v/12.8Ah removable battery in the down tube, and integrated lighting in the top tube of the aluminum frame.
A slick LED display is built into the one piece bar/stem combo, and the bike is ready for all conditions with a carbon belt drive and full coverage fenders.
Once available the BirdBike will be offered in black or grey for the A-Frame model, and white or grey for the V-Frame (step through). Pricing is expected to be around $2,300.
E-Bikes and Big Box Retailers
Big retailers like Best Buy leaping to the bicycle space could spell trouble for local bike shops, but such moves are not unprecedented. Harley-Davidson, known for the rumble of big twin engines and leather, rather than ultra-light frames and lycra, recently began selling their own e-bicycles. As e-transportation grows, more brands could follow suit.
The market is clearly there. Since lockdowns swept the world in 2020, bicycle popularity surged. People escaped into nature on bikes, or traded out their crowded daily commuting paths for bike lanes. E-bikes did not miss a beat during the boom.
Those without the legs or lungs for traditional cycling found a haven in machines equipped with assisted pedaling. Major bicycle brands also rolled out and refined a plethora of new models that cater to road riders, gravel aficionados and even die-hard mountain bikers, provided they aren’t too concerned about weight. E-bikes also have provided an alternative to public transit for many who feared contracting COVID-19 on buses, trains or rideshares.
In March, Cycling Industry News reported that electric bikes made up 17% of complete bicycle sales in the European Union in 2020. How the e-bike market will develop in a post-coronavirus world has yet to be seen, but many companies have gone all-in to provide e-bike options, many of which come at top dollar.
Best Buy will begin selling e-bikes this month at locations in Austin, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, Puerto Rico, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tampa.