Meet The Luna Crew : Less Like an eBusiness, More Like A Family

A little over a year ago I sent my first email to Eric of Lunacycle.com right after he first started his ebike ebusiness. 2 months ago I packed up the minivan and headed out on a 6000-mile journey to meet him and see the whole Lunacycle operation. The idea was that I would actually work for him for a month and get paid (wow a real job) helping him set up his new ebike shop in LA. Driving across the US was a pretty hard thing to do by myself and I when I was doing it couldn’t help but have the overwhelming feeling that this was a nation in serious decline. I have driven across the country about 25 times in my life and where there used to be a lot of interesting shops and stores decades ago, now it seems like America has become an endless string of Walmarts, strip malls and fast food restaurants. In so many ways it was intensely depressing, what happened to American culture? When I hit LA, my depression took hold pretty hard and it became hard to function at all.

Ashley and Eric are the loving parents of the Lunacycle family

Ashley and Eric are the loving parents of the Lunacycle family building bikes so awesome (and dangerous) no one else would ever think of selling them

I’m not sure what made me think that I could just drive across the country and work for a month like a normal person, but in retrospect it was pretty nieve of me. While it was great meeting Eric and Ashley, after a few days I felt like I needed to flee LA from the traffic and the noise and mostly all the people everywhere. Eric didn’t judge me and he wasn’t a jerk, instead he just dropped everything he was doing and decided that we should do some riding together. He got in touch with Josh Fisher from the shop and arranged a night trail ride with him and his dad Curt Fisher in Torrence. Although I could not work for Eric in the time I was there, that was the night that changed my trip to LA and this article is about how everyone associated with Lunacycle influenced me for that month I was on the west coast.

It’s easy to judge someone who suffers from Depression if you’ve never had it. My belief is that this comes from the inability of people to imagine themselves ever getting really sick. I consider myself a depression survivor, in that for vast stretches of my life I’ve had a hard time seeing the silver lining and mostly just resented being alive at all. When I get sick I have a mantra that I repeat over and over in my head “just do the work”. The work is not working at a job, but rather working at myself. Taking care of myself, eating enough of the right kinds of foods, getting enough sleep, getting several hours of exercise every day. If I do all those things with enough focus and energy I can usually crawl my way out of the deepest depressions.

For the last several years I’ve done really well, but the election and a healthy dose of news addiction were what started the decline. Although news addictions sounds pretty pathetic, I have a very addictive personality and I have to be very careful how much sugar I eat, how much TV I watch and how often I check Google News. I can’t even consider having a drink, or eating desert or doing so many of the things that most people take for granted. The slightest indulgence sends me over the edge.

Josh and Curt Fisher have one of the most beautiful father\son relationships I've ever seen

Josh and Curt Fisher have one of the most beautiful father & son relationships I’ve ever seen. Amazing to witness.

I had seen Josh and Curt originally in the Father’s Day video here which I still believe is the best video Lunacycle has ever released. Every time I watch it I feel like ‘these guys have it, they have what everyone else is trying to get’. I think of my own relationship with my partially estranged son and I feel like sometimes I would do just about anything to have him want to go for a bike ride or a hike with me.

Meeting Curt and Josh Fisher was everything I thought it would be and more and that night ride was a huge turning point for my trip to LA. Curt had a house in Torrance that we all met at and we spent two hours hitting tons of great single-track trails around Curt’s house. There was even one drop that scared me pretty good and Eric almost lost it on when his bike light flew off the handlebars on a very sketchy descent. I was riding my crappy full suspension build ‘My Little Bronie’ with a 14Ah 52v GA shark pack and everyone else was on 50 Amp Ludacris powered fat bikes. At one point we ran into a large group of other mountain bike riders and I was surprised that they were genuinely nice about our ebikes and instead of scowling and giving us a hard time they said stuff like ‘nice ebikes’ and ‘those must be fun’. This is a very far cry from the kind of reactions I’ve gotten accustomed to on an ebike which generally are far more negative. I’m not sure if it is just that the people in California are nicer than everywhere else in the US or the fact that it is the only state with an actual reasonable set of e-bike laws that is why the attitude is so much better there.

Eric and Ashley in the beginning

Eric and Ashley in the beginning, it’s insane how it’s grown in only a year

After the ride, Curt brought out his 72v 3000W Cyclone Luna cargo bike build. In my wildest dreams, I never thought that the bike would be as much fun as it was to ride, but it was all that and more. I spent almost 30 minutes just zooming up and down the road at night at almost 40mph while Curt and Eric watched on. At one point I even went to hit a big bump in the road to see how well the non-suspended cargo bike would do and while I expected to be thrown off the bike the fat tires absorbed almost all of the impact. It was such a great build I resolved to make one for myself and documented his ebike on my blog here. That was the first custom build that anyone else had ever done that I felt was worthy of a place on my blog.

Curt was incredibly friendly and offered to let me stay in his vacant home in Torrance during my stay in LA. I refused at first, mostly it was because I didn’t understand how someone who I had just met would so happily hand over the keys to his really nice house in a really nice part of LA. I thought he was absolutely crazy. After a while, I began to realize that Curt felt like he intimately knew me from this blog, and that it had helped him get into ebikes in a big way. I get a lot of negative flack from people on the internet and sometimes it can be hard to see that my efforts actually are much more of a benefit to many people than I am likely to ever realize.  I write because I feel like it is something I can do to help me understand myself and the world I live in. If people can get benefits off of my efforts then that is a great thing, but ultimately my creative endeavors are a completely selfish act.

There are so many awesome people that contribute to the success of Lunacycle, Santiago is shown here grinding a brake adapter down

There are so many awesome people who contribute to the success of Lunacycle, Santiago is shown here grinding a triangle adapter down

Eric

My first impression of Eric was that he looks like a crazy homeless person. His passion for ebikes far outweighs his interest in personal grooming or how he is dressed. It’s funny to see him walk into the most expensive hotels and restaurants and plop down like he owns the place and just start ordering stuff. He was incredibly generous when I was there, although I could not eat most of the fancy foods that were ordered. I’ve figured out that a strict diet of rice and beans and lots of veggies is really what I need to stay sane. Any sugar or wheat products always affect me in a very negative way. Eric was incredibly accommodating to me and not only offered me a place to stay but also cars, bikes, anything I needed to make my stay more comfortable. The thing that struck me about Eric was how many balls he was able to keep in the air at one time. The Luna warehouse is way too small for their operation and everyone works like crazy to get all the orders filled in an orderly fashion. When you go to the shop it is always totally chaotic all the time. Eric is more like a father than a boss, he has a playful kind of energy and an intense excitement about the ebike industry that I’ve never seen in anyone else. Other ebike shop owners often seem more interested in profits than the products they are actually selling. Eric is the exact opposite, he doesn’t seem to care that much at all about money and is much more interested in creating new and exciting products to sell. Like me, he is someone who actually rides, and when you get on these ebikes and start pushing them to their limits you quickly realize that we all have a long way to go.

Ashley

I had talked to Ashley a couple times briefly on the phone but mostly knew her from what Eric had said about her on the phone. There are people on the internet that say that Ashley is in some way being exploited by Lunacycle, and nothing could be farther from the truth. If Eric is the father of Lunacycle then Ashley is undeniably its mother. If Ashley was to get hit by a bus, then Lunacycle would simply no longer function. While Eric is the idea and internet man, Ashley is the undisputed commander of the Luna army. She makes everything happen and keeps track of so many things in her head at the same time. Not only is she beautiful, she is also Chinese so she understands the Chinese culture and customs. In many ways, the relationship between Eric and Ashley is a perfect match as it bridges two distinctly different cultures with a beauty and grace that I have rarely seen. Although she is incredibly attractive, she never uses that for leverage. People work hard for her because she is just an awesome person and they really love her. Ashley is also a 50% owner in Lunacycle and from what I can tell she works every bit as hard as Eric does to make things happen. When I was stranded with a dead Lunascooter on the Strand and Eric disappeared for 90 minutes Ashley was the one I called. She is the command central and always knows what is happening everywhere. She got us an Uber back to our cars and billed it to the Luna account and we didn’t have to deal with paying for the ride or the tip. When I was in LA I told Eric several times that his relationship with Ashley is the most important thing in his life and to not take it for granted and to never forget that.

Josh Fisher

Josh is the closest thing to a shop manager you will find at Lunacycle, but it can be hard even for him to control all the chaos. I loved talking to Josh, and he shares my passion for not only ebikes, but also for riding intermediate singletrack terrain. He is charismatic and smart, when he does videos they are not only informative but also compelling. In front of the camera, he is a real natural and you can tell that he is one of the few people on this earth that is totally comfortable in his own skin. He doesn’t try to pretend he’s something that he is not, when he doesn’t know the answer to a problem he goes out and finds it instead of trying to bullshit his way along. In short, he is a large part of what Lunacycle is and the direction that it is growing in. Like Eric and Ashley he seems a lot more interested in the people than in profits. The overwhelming feeling I got at Luna was that they were going to do everything they possibly could do to take care of their customers, even if it meant they were going to make a lot less money doing it that way. Josh invited me into his home while I was there where I got to meet his beautiful wife Danae. Not only was it some of the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life, the next morning I got to go trail riding with Josh and Danae for about 90 minutes in Torrance. To have a wife that cooks like that and can hit the trails as hard as she does makes Josh one of the luckiest guys I know. His father Curt is one of the nicest, smartest and most generous people I’ve ever met. Not only did he let me stay in his house in Torrance for a week, he also offered up his summer-house at Joshua Tree for us to stay in for a week. The amount of trust and love he shared with me and my wife was incredibly moving for both of us during a very trying time for us.

Josh The Professor

Josh the Professor is in charge of all things battery at Lunacycle. He is quiet and funny at the same time, but he also knows his stuff when it comes to batteries. Luna is working on doing things that no one else is doing on the scale they are. They have invested in a full machine shop and while I was there some dude from SpaceX was there carefully measuring bike frames with a 3D machine. The coordinates for the new frames get fed into the plastic molding machines which allows Luna to build really nice custom battery boxes for any frame they get their hands on. While I was there they also got a very large format 3D printer which would also be able to easily make large battery boxes for any frame. Eric is talking about actually building custom 18650 battery packs in the US which no one else is doing on a massive scale right now. Without Josh, it would be impossible for them to do that as Josh is the man behind the custom packs at Luna. When Eric wants to try the new Luna Apocolypse scooter with a 72v pack he just says ‘Josh make me a 72v pack for the Lunascooter’ and walla, one will magically appear a few hours later. I really loved Josh’s energy and enthusiasm for ebikes. He was not only smart, but had a solid work ethic and seemed to enjoy being part of the Luna team.

Josh the Professor in his lab

Josh the Professor in his evil lab. So many batteries, so little time

While there were many, many other people that worked and contributed to the success of Lunacycle, these were the main 4 of the Luna dream team that I got to know best during my time there. I have spent over $5600 on kits and bikes from Lunacycle in the last year and a half and I can say with some certainty that I have never regretted a single penny I’ve ever sent them. Every product that has lot lived up to my unreasonable expectations they have repaired or replaced for free. I have never gotten any flack from them about breaking stuff and in so many ways they look at my abuse of their products as being incredibly valuable for their business. I doubt there is anyone out there who rides the Lunacycle products harder than I do, and my testing of their products helps them to build better stuff to sell. Although it is a shame that I couldn’t work and contribute to Lunacycle the way I wanted to, it was still an amazing experience for me to see their operation and meet the people who make it happen.

Right now is a pretty hard time for Lunacycle. Their competition is not ‘playing fair’ and has decided to try to sick every government agency they can on them in the hopes that the business will get shut down (true story). I can’t tell you how distasteful I find this, and when I look at these other ebike kit sellers doing this I have to wonder what kind of darkness is in their hearts. How do they sleep at night while trying to rat out the competition instead of just lowering their prices and trying to compete like they should? They are not interested in moving the industry forward, they are interested in only one thing, and that is their own profits. When you worship the almighty dollar then you end up missing out on all the really good things in life. When it gets right down to it the question really arises, who do you want to give your money to? If you support ebike profiteers who slander other companies and try to mislead their customers about what their products are and where their products come from or who makes them then after a while that’s all you’re going to be able to buy from. The reality of the situation is that the best thing that Luna could do is close up their US shop and move to Hong Kong and run the whole business from there. They could make a lot more money and charge a whole lot less for their products. Eric is committed to creating jobs and many of his products right here in the US (mounting adapters, chainrings, tools, custom batteries and boxes). The fact that it is a little more expensive than many Chinese ebike kit resellers has a lot to do with the fact that labor in America is a lot more expensive. Again you have to ask yourself, who do you want to support?

If there is anyone other than Luna talking about doing large scale custom pack construction here in the states, I haven't heard of it

If there is anyone other than Luna even talking about doing large-scale custom pack construction here in the states, I haven’t heard of it

When I spent time with Luna I felt like I was part of a family. It might have been a large, disorganized and somewhat dysfunctional family, but there was no shortage of love. I knew when Lunacycle first started that I wanted to support Eric and everything he was trying to do because electricbike.com was such a huge part of my introduction to ebikes. I really wanted to find a way to pay him back for all the work he did with that site. Although my site gets a tiny fraction of the traffic that electricbike.com does, I have worked hard in many ways to imitate his site a try to create something that is actually really useful to people. I try not to review products that I don’t actually use, and I try to keep the content relevant. I don’t know if I’ve succeeded, but I really have tried. I want to help grow Eric & Ashley’s newly formed empire of Lunacycle.com and electricbike.com and I will do everything I can to make that happen, the rest is up to the Luna family.

I am glad to think of myself as part of it, even though I’m not really part of it at all.

Ride On.

 

 

26 thoughts on “Meet The Luna Crew : Less Like an eBusiness, More Like A Family

  1. Karl, you’ve written some great articles, but this is one of the best. I had this feeling about the crew there even though I’ve not had the close contact with them that you have. You can tell they’re passionate about what they do.

    I have been into what I call “high-performance personal e-transport” before it was even a real thing – I was the first purchaser in the US of the Super Lithium 1500 scooter (that thing is nuts – spiritual Granddaddy to the Luna Apocalypse scooter). I’m still terrified of the capabilities of my 3000w Evolve skateboards. Also love high-performance cars, I’ve spent years modding my GT-R, reaching 1000hp. And I absolutely am in love with the Santa Monica mountains – I feel so fortunate to mountain bike them so nearby home. So when I discovered Eric and Luna earlier this year, I was super stoked. In the past, I thought both e-bikes and fatbikes were for balding, overweight old guys only. Then I realized there are like-minded people into cool, high-performance e-bikes, too.

    Really, really sucks that the overpriced competitors are trying to sabotage them/run them out of business. Hopefully they’re the ones who will soon be out of business. Judging by the (deserved) growth of Luna, that may happen sooner rather than later. And I guess this BS from competitors is the reason all 60v and 72v packs are currently unavailable b/c of the shipping testing being done.

    Also, GREAT news about the making of custom battery cases for different bike frames – believe it or not, I was laying in bed the other night thinking about this very thing! (Strange, I know.) The train of thought was that one of the things that makes the Full S Fat look great (as well as the Addmotor Motan, if you’ve seen that) is the super-cool custom fitted battery case they made for it. And I really hate the half-assed look of velcro strap soft cases. I was thinking, they could have a great side business making that same type of hard battery case for a variety of bike frames, I’d certainly buy one.

    Now, that’s needed is for the jealous idiots to leave them alone.

    Oh yeah, and a 72v, 40amp capacity (with 40A/80A BMS) battery that fits in a shark/dolphin pack.

    And, forgot, BBSHD 50A controllers sold separately or with the motor kit, and/or a Grin Phaserunner fitted into the controller casing of the stock BBSHD controller.

    And wait, just a few more wishes for the Luna elves…

    Like

  2. Quote : “Eric is talking about actually building custom 18650 battery packs in the US which no one else is doing on a massive scale right now.” Wow ! I love this initiative from a seller ! For some reason it seems that no one else makes high-amps rated packs excep DYI builders. People still use crappy nickel strips that have too high resistance for high amp packs. Please make some high amp batteries with ultra-low resistance connections (using thick copperstrips instead of the more traditional nickel strips). We need these high amps battery pack intensly. Combine good low resistance connection with high amp cells and you have the best long lif3e battery (almost no heat !), I’d love to see Josh the Professor play with that state of the art “Orion 250i EV spotwelder” that has enough kick to spotweld Copper strips to 18650 cells !. Right now nickels strips are the bottleneck to high amp load battery packs. My dream would be a 14S12P made of 30amp capable VTC3 Konion cells (or HG2) all spot welded with multiple layers of 0.2 mm thick 10mm wide COPPER strips. That would give mad ludacriss power !

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    • 20s!!!

      72v is the future, and Karl (and Alan at ERT) have shown that the BBSHD loves high voltage more than high amps, and can take it. I want a 72v shark pack that can deliver 40A continuous, as well as the larger triangle/backpack sized 72v packs. Great input on the copper strips, they should definitely try that and test otherwise identical packs against each other

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      • Yes 72 Volts would be great. But as it is, the BBSHD controller would need some serious redesigning. It’s made to max out at 60V. I think there is a lot more to it than just changing the capacitors in the controller… I’m not sure the electronics can of the bafang controller can handle 72 volts. But i’d love to see if it could !!Also, I wonder if the Bafang PAS would still work at 72 volts. And what about the bafang display that shows battery voltage. would it work at 72 volts ?

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  3. I really appreciate your writing style and honest, often irreverent comments. Fun reading every time! I also value the GREAT information you share on ebike builds. It inspires me to soon build my own. Thanks for sharing your honest and heart-felt Luna Cycle experience too. They’ll be getting some of my money when the tax return comes. Joy and Happy Holidays to all who contribute to pushing the envelope of what ebikes can be!

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  4. Karl,

    I haven’t even finished this blog post and felt compelled to say Bravo! As a lifelong bike geek and mechanic I struggled for years before just recently meeting with a therapist to discuss depression (I’m 40 now..) Your post and it’s honesty made me realize that there are others out there like me and that life goes on. Thank you Karl.
    Happy Holidays,
    MIke
    Maine

    Like

  5. Awesome write-up. Sorry about the hard times Luna but I know you will pull through. I have supported Luna in the past and will continue to

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  6. Not just your efforts are a benefit to many. YOU are a benefit to many.
    For every one person that comment on how you’ve helped them, I’m sure there are a hundred or more that go unspoken. I know I am one of them, and I wish I had gotten to meet you when you were out here.
    My first response to Eric after seeing the video of you crusing up & down the river channel was “I love the energy he brings!”
    Thanks for coming out to play!

    Ride on.

    Like

  7. Wow. GREAT article with lots of interesting personal touches. This is your best article because the writing style is so personal and heart fell. So glad I subscribe.

    Like

  8. this story literally made ashley and i cry this morning….. it was such a delightful surprise…. such a breath of fresh air…thanks so much for this Karl…. and thanks for being an inspiration…..without your blog i doubt we would work so hard…. you are part of the team but not in the way some people accuse you are 🙂 anyone who knows Karl knows he writes real and is a loose canon and there is no controlling a loose cannon…who knows which way he will shoot….thats what i would write to describe Karl…. right below Eric the homeless guy…..

    I have this story about Karl and he asked point blank some question that is secret company info and i refused to answer him….. he told me later that makes him more likely to find out and write about it because i didnt tell him. He is like that. He tells it and writes it like it is.

    I remeember getting to know him and talking on phone for hours….at first i thought of himi as that crazy back pack battery guy…. riding in the woods on his bbs02 that kept falling apart…. i remember the first tim i talked to him his vision when it comes to ebikes is very similiar to mine…and the begining of electric bikeblog reminds me of the days of starting electrcibike;com…. ride on Karl… you are awesome. you are inspiring me to start making content again for electricbike.com…something i haven’t done in a few years.

    Thanks again….

    ERIC HICKS

    The Dream Is Free…. The hustle is sold separate

    Liked by 2 people

    • Eric, THANK YOU for running a business with a conscience. In these loony times, I always try to support businesses that make things locally and treat their employees like humans. I never feel guilty ordering stuff from you. Karl, thanks for doing this blog – it gave me the knowledge and confidence to build my own damn bike.

      My little homebrew BBS02 bike gets me around San Francisco each day, climbs our infamous hills with ease (as long as I keep the batteries charged) and ultimately will pay for itself with all the money I would otherwise spend on bus fare, gas and parking.

      –Cindy (reformed Del Amo mallrat and Narbonne alumna)

      Like

  9. Pingback: Meet The Luna Cycle Crew | ELECTRICBIKE.COM

  10. I’ve been a reader / lurker of this blog for quite some time now. I enjoy the e-bike wisdom that always seems wrapped up in a story of it’s own. I think that’s what keeps me coming back.

    I started my quest toward e-bikes really as a means to enjoy cycling with my wife. My initial plan was to convert her existing bike into an e-bike, and I would ride on m own power. This, in my mind, would allow us to really enjoy riding together at another level. In doing my research, I ran across your blog which really inspired me to not only explore an electric option for my wife, but also for me!

    Karl, thanks for the inspiration and thanks for this blog. When I do pull the trigger and really start e-biking I will have you to thank. I will try to share my experiences in the hope that I may inspire someone else as you have inspired me.

    Ride on.

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  11. Karl Thank you for the blog. It’s the only one I read regularly. A new post means reliable information and honest reporting. Your advice has led me to LunaCycle.

    Keep up the strong independent journalism.

    William Everts

    >

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  12. Merry Christmas and bless you for your heartfelt insight and honesty. I love whenever I discover an article you’ve written and this last was especially poignant and sweet. Thanks also for the glimpse at the inner workings of Luna.Ride on, stay positive and remember “most folks are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be ” Aloha

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  13. Pingback: Too Much Is Never Enough : Reprogram Your 50 Amp Luna Ludacris BBSHD Controller To Run At 60 Amps | ElectricBike-Blog.com

  14. Hey Karl,

    Just wanted to say AMAZING blog with so much information that I have spent the majority of the day reading here, Luna, electricbikes, and endless-sphere.

    I have yet to jump into ebikes yet but have a lot of bike experience in general and I know a lot of your riding is snow related so fat bikes appeal to you more plus your full suspension is a bit dated, but any plans to review the Luna Giant Stance?

    I am very much a DIY’er but man that deal they are offering is killer plus gives me yet another excuse to add another set of wheels to the corral.

    Like

  15. Pingback: Use The Right Size Pack For Your Ebike Build : Ignore ‘Peak Power’ BMS Ratings | ElectricBike-Blog.com

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