Units are moving well after January unveil
As my dad, mom, sister, brother-in-law and 14-year-old niece took turns atop the Bintelli B1 beach cruiser I had been loaned, the ideas of how to use the bike flowed. We talked about how I could ride it to the department store four blocks from my house; my dad could take it on his 2.5-mile commute to work; it could be ridden to the bus stop; or I could take it for a leisurely ride around the park just two blocks from my house. The possibilities were endless.
Bintelli’s e-bikes offer full pedal-power, pedal assist or electric throttle riding, so they appeal to a wide audience, making them a potential new-traffic generator for dealerships.
Bintelli introduced the vehicles at its dealer summit in late January. Shortly after, a loaner model appeared at my house, and I was able to put it through its paces for a few months, trying all three forms of propulsion.
Introducing the e-bikes
Unveiled on Day 1 of Bintelli’s 2017 dealer meeting, the e-bikes have barely stopped at Bintelli headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina, before heading straight to dealership showrooms and then into customers’ garages.
During the dealer meeting, Bintelli quickly sold out of its initial shipment of e-bikes. “We did basically a soft launch to see the reception, and it was so overwhelmingly positive that we really re-upped hard on the order,” Bintelli sales executive Jason Perske told Powersports Business. “We just finally caught up back up here the beginning part of July actually. We finally got all the different models and colors in stock for the first time this year.”
Justin Jackrel, president of Bintelli, said four of the dealers who ordered the e-bikes in the first round sold their first model within an hour of it landing on the showroom floor. One dealer recently reported to Powersports Business that customers were calling him for his Bintelli e-bikes because many e-bike dealers for other brands in his area were sold out early this summer.
Bintelli added the e-bikes, as well as youth ATVs, as extensions of its product line, which includes gas-powered scooters and citEcar electric personal transportation vehicles. Bintelli launched a new Bintelli Bicycles brand for the e-bikes.
“It’s a huge progression for us, and it’s obviously a huge spot in the market that’s really taken off. So we did our homework. We did our research and got feedback from the dealers that were actually selling comparable models before we started, so we kind of heard the pros and cons of the e-bikes in general, what they wanted to see improve,” Perske said. Bintelli staff had been receiving dealer requests for e-bikes six to eight months before launching the vehicles into the market.
The lineup includes four different models that are all powered by lithium ion batteries. The E1 economy has an $999 MSRP; the folding F1 has a $1,299 price; the B1 beach cruiser sells for $1,299, and the M1 fat tire mountain bike is $1,599.
“We tried to just get a couple different models for a couple different demographics,” Perske reported.
What dealers have liked about carrying the Bintelli e-bikes is that they appeal to a wide audience, from college students to the elderly.
“It is across the board. We have some of the younger crowd; we’ve seen some 18-, 20-year-olds with their pictures with registrations, and then some older folks simply just looking for a means to go around the neighborhood,” Perske said.
College students appreciate that the bike offers convenience when it comes to parking on campus. Working adults gravitate toward the electric throttle capability, allowing them to get to the office at up to 20 mph without breaking a sweat. And the folding F1 model fits easily on a bus, in a car or at someone’s desk. Older riders look for the pedal assist and electric throttle to help them ride despite any knee pain or medical issues that would prevent them from powering the bike using the pedals only.
“It really depends on A) If you’re marketing it correctly, and B) Where you’re located,” Perske explained. “A lot of college towns are selling to the college kids where maybe there’s a parking situation; it takes up less space. And a lot of guys in the more rural-type areas, they’re attracting the older crowd. So it’s really interesting to see that wider demographic it appeals to.”
Bintelli dealers have also seen some families buy more than one, so they can ride together. “There are a lot of the dealers who have sold a single e-bike to a father or mother. They usually come back a few days later, and once they’ve had their toy basically, and they’re showing it off to the family, they come back, and they’re buying it for their sons, their daughters, their spouse,” Perske said. “They’re really getting the whole family in on it. And for a lot of these dealers, seeing that repeat business within a week of that first sale, that’s a big deal for a lot of these guys, if you can sell four or five different products for the whole family. You don’t see that too much on the scooter side or the golf car side.”
Customers are also able to invest in more than one Bintelli e-bike, as the prices are much lower than others on the market, which can run from a few thousand dollars to several thousand dollars each.
Bintelli added e-bikes to its lineup to help dealers sell more product and improve their businesses.
“If it helps them out to move an extra five or 10 e-bikes a month, as you can imagine, put an extra $2,500-$5,000 in your pocket in the bottom line, it’s always a good thing for these guys, especially the smaller dealerships,” Perske said.
Bintelli is offering dealers 100 percent margin on the e-bikes. The program also offers a free economy bicycle for a dealer’s inventory with every 10 bikes they order. And Bintelli has launched an online pass-through program in which 100 percent of the margin on each bike sold online is passed along to the closest dealer to the buyer.
Now that Bintelli has a stock of the e-bikes at its South Carolina operations, the company is looking to add dealers to its network. It’s expanding beyond Bintelli dealers and inviting other retailers to add the vehicles.
Perske said dealers can buy into the Bintelli Bicycles program — and protect their exclusive territories — for a couple thousand dollars. Bintelli bikes can be floored through Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance or Northpoint Commercial Finance.
“It doesn’t take much to really get your foot into the door with us, and I think ease of access for a lot of these dealers who may not have a lot of their funds liquid right now, this is easier for them,” Perske said. He added that the bikes don’t take up much in terms of showroom space, and some dealers have even hung them on the wall to display them, simply to get them off the floor.
In its first spring and summer with e-bikes, Perkse reports that Bintelli Bicycles has fared well, and there are no signs that the business is slowing down any time soon.
“We had a number internally that we wanted to hit this year, and once we realized the reception that we had at the dealer summit, we knew we were going to blow that out of the water, so we had to readjust our goals a little bit,” he said. “We’re very pleased at the way that it’s going, obviously. I think the e-bikes in general, as far as a market trend, is really emerging; there are a lot of guys who are still entering it. So we picked a good time to come in, obviously with the dealer network that we already established. That usually helps as far as the entry into the market. But we’re super, super pleased with how it’s working so far.”