The Demo Days event on Sunday was a big success. Over 100 people showed up to try out the Sondors Electric bike which has now broken the $3.4 million dollar mark. Although the website says the pricing will increase $100 to $699 three days ago under the perk description, elsewhere on the site it says the lower price is extended till 2/20/15. There was not a single person who had much of anything negative to say about the bike who got to take it for a ride.
A professional interview of Storm/Ivars and agency 2.0 with Court from electricbikereview.com is located here. A much longer video with more shots of people riding the bike and giving their impressions can be found here.
There is a lot of positive things about this bike that people liked. It seems that Storm/Ivars Sondors has found a combination of price and features that appeals to a broad demographic of currently non-ebike owners. He may be on the cresting wave of an ebike revolution in the US.
Here is a summary from the video for those who don’t have time or inclination to watch them. (Thanks to Philip Hillis for this)
- Sondors Ebike slated for shipment in May 2015
- 350 watt rear-mounted geared hub motor by 8Fun
- 30 day comprehensive warranty (Storm says it’s on the website but it cannot be found anywhere)
- Local pickup MAY be available for those around Malibu
- 36 volt 8.8 amp hour 316.8 watt hour Lithium-ion battery
- Battery locks to the frame and can be charged on or off the frame (there’s a neat rubber cover that can be removed on the plastic triangle to reach the battery charging port)
- Basic LED power level indicator on the throttle with Low and Full indicator (Low flashes when battery nears depletion)
- Total weight is 58.5 pounds and battery weight is 5.3 pounds
- All steel frame and fork, frame size is ~17 inches (length of seat post tube)
- Prowheel cranks, Wellgo aluminum alloy platform pedals, Mixieer stem
- Zoom mechanical disc brakes with 180 mm rotors, “5” brake levers with motor inhibitor
- Generic padded saddle with rubber bumpers, quick release seat post
- Punched aluminum alloy rims
- Chaoyang 26″ x 4.9″ tires with schrader valves
- Single side kickstand mounted near dropout
- Double sided plastic chain guide
- The fit and finish and wire routing were impressive
- Motor controller is integrated into the bottom of the bottle battery
There are four things that still bother me about this campaign
- Their original claimed weight was originally 45lbs and the actual weight is 58.5lbs which is a 30% increase (It really is a FAT bike), that falls firmly into the ‘pretty lame marketing’ category
- The range is still not advertised accurately. They are selling this bike with 50 miles of range which is simply not true, it is closer to 10-15 miles. People are not going to add that much effort to the pedals when they ride this bike because they just won’t want to.
- They haven’t updated the description for the pricing on the website and it’s been at the wrong price under the perk description for the bike description for last 3 days. Maybe they can’t change the perk descriptions once they are set? Seems sloppy to me.
- The whole Storm/Ivars Sondors thing. At some point he will have to publicly address it, I think sooner is better than later. There is a whole lot of people out there who would love to see him fail, and this story might be the thing that could bring him down.
Did most of the people who rode it seem to mind the weight? Only one person mentioned that it was a little heavy, everyone else seemed to like it just fine. I didn’t notice a single person getting on the bike and trying to pedal it WITHOUT the electric assist. I think they would have found that it took a lot of effort to get the bike moving and to keep it moving. No one took it in the soft sand either, and I can pretty much guarantee you that this bike would not perform well on soft sand. To ride on soft sand you need something like a Hanebrink electric bike.
The majority of the 6,124 people who signed up for this bike were not interested in an electric bike, they are interested in a cheap electric scooter that LOOKS like a bike so they won’t get harassed by the police for driving an unregistered and uninsured scooter. The Sondors electric bike is completely street legal in most places in the US with a few exceptions like NYC and Moab. The majority of people who signed up for the campaign will not be disappointed in the bike when it arrives. Because the price is so low, so are their expectations. You can see from the video that people were pleasantly surprised at the utility, form and function of the bike.
One thing is for sure, Storm/Ivars Sondors is going to turn the ebike world on its head. If he plays his cards right can be the ‘Bikes Direct‘ of the ebike world. Companies like Bikes Direct still make a 30-40%+ markup on their bikes but sell them below what you can buy at the bike store because there is no dealer markup. Bikes Direct and their sister site Bike Island offer free shipping and no tax and they sell a lot of bikes.
They still have about 1.5 million dollars to collect from people for shipping charges. A lot of whether people will choose to pay the shipping charges or try to pull out based on whether the Sondors ebike team does what they say they are going to do when they say they are going to do it.
I would expect that the campaign will now stall out since most people limit their trust to about $4.75 million (includes the estimated maximum shipping payments) in two people’s hands. I know it’s about the limit of my level of trust. If Storm is an actor, he rivals Brad Pitt with the performance he put on for the public on Sunday. What I saw was a passionate surfer type who really wanted to create something that people would get excited about.
Lets hope Storm/Ivars and Jon come through with their promises. In the end they stand to make a whole lot more money if they can ride this wave.
Thanks to everyone who showed up to shoot video, ask questions and support the new age of electric fatbikes. You rock.