Interbike 2013: Electric Bicycles

As we prepare for the ever so wonderful Interbike show in Las Vegas next month, I can’t help but wonder what might be some of the trends we’ll see. In the last few years we’ve seen more and more brands start to offer e-bikes. Every year that goes by brings more improvements in the technology used, from longer lasting batteries that deliver up to 30+ miles of travel per charge to bikes that can hit up to 50mph. Some e-bikes even qualify for a deduction at tax time; who wouldn’t be happy with a variety of free tax calculators that could be found online ? After seeing this video below, I reached out to Cameron Pemstein, owner of Motiv Electric Bicycles to gain his perspective on what people should expect at Interbike.

BC: What do you anticipate seeing with the trend of ebikes?

Cameron Pemstein: The electric bike trend will continue to grow because smarter IBD’s can see the potential growth in this segment.

BC: What have you seen in your business that people want more of or hope to see in the future with e-bikes?

Cameron Pemstein: We hear this all the time: “I love my bike, but I want to go further!” Our “LR” (long-range) battery offers 28-30 miles distance per charge, so when I hear that customers want to travel even further on our bike, it thrills us to know we have a solution.
motiv electric bikes

BC: Is the possibility of ebikes traveling over 50 miles per charge coming soon?

Cameron Pemstein: Yes, definitely, it is just a matter of time. Battery technologies are changing at a rapid pace. For example, 5 years ago the batteries that we currently use weighed in at 15lbs, and now they weigh around 9lbs. I am excited to see what the future holds for the e-bike battery.

With that said, perhaps a trend that we might see this year at Interbike in the electric bicycle segment would be longer range e-bikes and probably a few brands offering kits or complete bikes that can go as fast as 50mph. Whatever it may be, I’m looking forward to seeing all that goodness next month!

interbike sponsorship


  1. listenermark

    While I appreciate the coverage, and I certainly wish Mr. Pemstein all the luck in the world, the market for this product seems like a pipe dream. The “safety” bicycle is one of the most perfect human inventions in modern history. This feels like yet another attempt to improve an already flawless design. The significant added weight, mechanical complexity, and price that motorization demands trumps the benefits imho.

  2. Ghost Rider

    @listenermark — the explosive growth in e-bikes is something to be reckoned with, for sure. Pike Research is predicting sales of 47 MILLION e-bikes a year by 2018 (30 million such bikes sold in 2012, details by clicking )

    All those e-bikes are not replacing traditional bikes for most; don’t forget that e-bikes are very popular with folks who, for any number of reasons, don’t have the health or stamina or flexibility to ride a “regular” bike unless it has some sort of assist (in the form of an electric or gas motor).

    Yes, the e-bikes are more complex mechanically, and lord knows they’re heavier. And the technology is maturing quickly, but has a way to go before range, speed, and simplicity are adequate. But, they are also getting a lot more people on bikes…people who would otherwise shun two-wheeled transportation. That’s a win in my book!

  3. bgreen

    I think the longer battery life would be a good thing. However, the higher speeds the article references, scare me.I believe there will be a significant rise in bicycle accidents/deaths with people riding electric bicycles at traffic speeds. Cars don’t see us now, and if they do they expect us to be slow. We all often see cyclists who ignore traffic rules, such as riding against traffic or riding on sidewalks. Think of the issues of someone doing that is moving at 30 or 40 mph. Not good.

  4. Ghost Rider

    The technology is already there to make 50MPH+ e-bikes. However, unless a LOT of legislation is changed, we are highly unlikely to see those fast e-bikes on our roads; there are many laws limiting the top speeds of such bikes before they are classified “mopeds” or even “motorcycles”. I think the cap right now is generally around 20-25MPH max in most jurisdictions.

  5. listenermark

    @Ghost Rider – Thanks for the thoughtful response and the link. The hard numbers included in the linked research are eye-opening but the real take away was the percentage of e-bikes being sold in Asia as opposed to North America. This helps to explain the complete absence of e-bikes on the streets of the large metro area I live and ride in (this absence had always made me question the viability of the technology.)

  6. Ghost Rider

    @listenermark, Yeah, I know what you mean: I keep reading and hearing that e-bikes are selling like gangbusters, but I rarely if ever see them either back in Florida or here in Ohio. Occasionally I’ll stumble upon a user of one (and have scored some brief test rides!)…but based on the media coverage, I’d expect to see bunches of them every day!

  7. Mike Myers

    E-bikes will never be legally allowed to achieve the speeds of which they are capable. Like Jack wrote, allowing e-bikes to go faster than 25 mph would either mean new legislation OR the requirement of a motorcycle license for the rider. I don’t know about you guys, but if I have to go to the trouble and expense of having a motorcycle license, I’m going to ride a motorcycle.

    So, maybe speed isn’t where the technology needs to go. Maybe range is the ticket. An e-bike that will allow me to cruise assisted for 100 miles or more on a charge would be useful. That could be a week’s worth of commuting, a nice assist on a S240, or even on an extended tour.

    Distance, not speed.

  8. Raiyn

    Unfortunatly the other side of the coin isn’t so shiny.
    Check this out

    I’ve got no major issue with an “assist”, but I’ve got a big one when you don’t have to do any of the work.

  9. alvin naraya

    A good idea, sometimes we are tired of the pedaling, the bike could possibly be the perfect solution to reduce our fatigue in cycling, without prejudice to real biking

  10. Josh K.

    Electric bikes will continue to grow and flourish, like electric hand tools have, with the development of better and better batteries. With a double battery pack, we can climb mountains, Like Independence Pass in Colorado, at 3 times the speed of your average road rider. 17mph is a significant difference than 4-5 mph when climbing for several hours in a row. Try Ride the Rockies.
    As an assitive technology, E bikes are changing lives for the better, more and more people are starting to understand the value proposition. With Classes like LEVA’s certification for E bike Mechanics, More and more IBD’s will feel empowered to service the new equipment, giving Joe Public a place for support. Check out our Indiegogo Campaign to see some of the most well developed E bikes to go into production. Peace, Josh K.

  11. Walter

    I still appreciate this post! <3

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