A golden opportunity for your shed from MeloYelo Join the revolution from your shed
IF THERE’S ONE THING THAT SHOULD GET YOU OUT AND ABOUT THIS SUMMER, IT’S TRYING OUT AN E-BIKE
Careful now, you might want one! It’s a real risk. E-bike evangelist Ken Agar of New Plymouth has seen it a thousand times. Someone heading out a bit nervously on an e-bike, then coming back wreathed in smiles, saying: “I want one!”
Ken has worked in electrical systems most of his life and has specialized in e-bikes for the last eight years. Now, in semi-retirement, he runs his own e-bike dealership from his garage.
It’s a model he says other sheddies owe it to themselves to check out. “It’s a way to get out of the shed and get some exercise — but it’s also a way to make some income from your time in the shed.”
Ken is one of nine nationwide associates of the home-grown MeloYelo e-bike business, and he says the time is right for new associates to take the business into many more communities across New Zealand.
MeloYelo offers a range of latest technology e-bikes at a substantial costsaving compared with similarly equipped brands, and it is contributing to the Kiwi economy in a genuinely inspiring way.
The business is a social enterprise set up to support the EVolocity programme, which helps New Zealand schoolkids towards a future in electric vehicles. EVolocity is an annual project-based challenge to design and build electric vehicles around motors and batteries supplied by the charity.
“That’s what made me want to be part of it,” says Ken.
Why are e-bikes on a roll?
The technology is now mature, reliable, affordable, and crucially, e-bikes can help more non-cyclists back onto two wheels. That will accelerate investment in safer cycling infrastructure, which is a win for everyone. They do this by answering two of the main objections from non-cyclists: that New Zealand is too hilly and too windy.
“E-bikes make the hills and the wind disappear!” says Ken. “I know people who have gone for a bike ride for fun, and it was — until they had to ride up the hill to get home or turn into a headwind, then they say, ‘Where was the fun in that?’”
He knows people who gave up cycling when they got fed up with the hard work on the hills, and who have since
rediscovered the joy of cycling on e-bikes.
Another common comment is that e-bikes are somehow ‘cheating’ and that half the point of cycling is the exercise. Ken says you can still pedal as hard as you want to, but the motor is there when the fun stops — and who doesn’t enjoy what feels like a strong following wind? He says e-bike riders use their bikes more than most cyclists so they are also more likely to be healthier as well as happier.
They also bring older people, especially couples, back to cycling to enjoy the outdoors and get fit together, without the hump associated with most exercise regimes.
E-bikes are also brilliant commuting machines. They are often faster than rush-hour traffic, they are comfortable, cost just cents to run, and nothing to park. And as they don’t have to cheat the wind like racing bikes do, they have an upright riding position. This is both more comfortable and safer as it gives the rider a much better view of their surroundings. The power assist also means that riders don’t need to break into a sweat, so they can wear normal street clothes. EVolocity principal Rob McEwen says that unlike a standard franchise operation, you don’t need capital for retail space or staff to join MeloYelo and there are no ongoing running costs. You pay a joining fee, and then you can operate easily from your own garage or shed.
Selling a bike commits you to building it up, setting it up to suit the customer’s riding style, carrying out a free scheduled service, and being available for any future service needs. Ken says that the largest part of his business over winter was in servicing and repair of all brands of e-bikes, not just MeloYelo bikes.
“I’m known locally as the go-to guy for e-bikes, so they just say, ‘Let’s take it to Ken’.”
He and other long-established members provide training sessions to help set new members up, so that they can do the same thing in their communities.
Ken is not expecting a MeloYelo associate to become the next new-tech zillionaire, but he earns a good commission on his sales and from selling service plans. “It’s just a nice little business to get involved with.”
All of the MeloYelo bikes have their motors in their rear hubs. It’s the standard arrangement for most e-bikes and works for 80–90 per cent of riding. Some e-bikes costing thousands more — high-end mountain bikes — have centrally mounted motors between the cranks. Using the bike’s gearing translates to more torque, but if 80 or 90 per cent of your riding is still around town, that strength is rarely used. “It’s like owning a Ferrari. Yes, it can do over 300km/h, but how often do you get to do that?”
Ken says MeloYelo customers appreciate the brand’s value for money, saving around $500 or more against similar models, never mind the Ferraris. And as the integrated Bafang motor, controller, torque sensor, waterproof cabling, and display were all designed to work together, they perform better than anything in their price range. Bafang is Asia’s biggest and most trusted brand in e-bike electrical systems.
One customer testimonial happily noted that at the end of a long trail ride they powered past some more expensively mounted riders, earning a few dark looks.
MeloYelo offers eight different models to suit different uses. They would all handle off-road cycle trails, but bigger batteries are also available for the longer trails.
Ken says that it’s essential for associates to invest in some demo bikes. “If you don’t have demo bikes then you don’t have sales,” says Ken. He continues to get a buzz from seeing cyclists old and new falling under the e-bike spell.
Even if you don’t plan to join the e-bike wave, you should still go and have a test ride, just because it’s so much fun.
“The sense of freedom is amazing,” says Ken. “It will genuinely be one of the most fun things you’ve done lately, and if you can see a business in that, well, good on you!”
Want to learn more? On the MeloYelo website, meloyelo.nz, see ‘Join our team’ or call Rob McEwen on 021 728 875.