Pandemic spurs demand for alternative mode of transportation: E-bikes

A Bucks County manufacturer is cycling through dozens of special orders
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — COVID-19 has pushed more and more people toward other less-crowded modes of transportation, like bicycles, rather than busy buses and trains.

Manufacturers have been trying to keep up with the demand — even converting your everyday bike into electric ones.

Electric Bike Technologies, an electric bike manufacturer in Bucks County, has been inundated with special orders. Sales have been through the roof during the coronavirus pandemic, a big seller being DIY e-bike kits.

“At this point, because people can’t find new bicycles and tricycles, they’re going to flea markets. They are going to grandma’s garage. They are looking for anything and they are fixing them up, and then they’re making them electric,” CEO Jason Kraft said at his Croydon warehouse. “With the conversion system, you can turn any bike electric. You can retrofit that and do it yourself in under an hour, and you have a nice electric bike.”

Electric Bike Technologies e-bike kit
Manufacturers like Electric Bike Technologies in Bucks County have been trying to keep up with demand during the pandemic. Their big seller: DIY e-bike kits. Photo credit John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio
Electric Bike Technologies custom tricycle
Electric Bike Technologies CEO Jason Kraft displays one of their custom electric tricycles in his Croydon warehouse. Sales have been through the roof during the coronavirus pandemic as more people are turning toward less-crowded modes of transportation. Photo credit John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

Bikes that were back-ordered three months ago at Electric Bike Technologies are just now ready to hit the road.

The company has four electric bike brands, including the conversion kits, which come with wheels.

“We hand-build all of those wheels here,” Kraft said. “We do more wheels per year than anybody else in North America.

“So you are going to get a wheel from us and you are going to transfer over your tire and intertube, then you are going to get a set of components and a battery pack. How you are going to put that on really depends on your bike or trike, but it is pretty universal.”

For the entry-level kit with a battery, you’re looking at about $1,000.

“We do have dealers for the e-bike kit. We have about 750 dealers. There’s a dealer map on our site. … We have 20 in the Philadelphia area, but otherwise, if you have seen MacGyver, you can do this on your own.”

The company is working hard to meet demand, so it is hiring additional staff at its warehouse, including bike mechanics.