It’s a sign of the times (albeit a strange one) that electric bicycles are rapidly expanding beyond simple transportation alternatives into trendy equipment. Thanks to the interest of many luxury brands, e-bikes are fast becoming trendy fashion items.
Starting over a decade ago, electric bicycles have spent years as niche transport and recreational vehicles, providing many of the same benefits as traditional bicycles but with less effort thanks to an electric motor that assists pedaling.
In the early 2010s, US sales were relatively low and brands were barely in the dozen. But towards the end of the decade, e-bike sales were increasing rapidly as hundreds of ever smaller companies vied for the growing market.
Then came the COVID19 pandemic, which helped e-bike sales skyrocket further as motorcyclists sought out socially distant alternatives to public transportation or fun recreational activities to escape the boredom of blockages.
Now luxury brands are cashing in on that popularity explosion by partnering with leading e-bike companies to create exclusively licensed versions of hot-selling electric bicycles.
It’s a move we’ve seen started as a small spark in the past, but has now ignited in a much larger flame that shows no signs of letting up.
E-bike companies like Super73 are famous for their brand partnerships, creating all kinds of interesting e-bikes as part of licensing deals with famous brands.
While Super73 partnerships often see the e-bike company partnering with pop culture brands like HotWheels or sports teams, a recent partnership with fashion company Saint Laurent demonstrates a shift towards fashion-conscious bikers.
Louis Vuitton also recently partnered with cycling company Maison Tamboite, which also manufactures electric bicycles.
Other collaborations between fashion companies and cycling companies include collaborations between Jacquemus and VanMoof, as well as between Stella McCartney and Cannondale.
But partnerships aren’t just limited to electric bicycles. Electric mopeds and motorcycles are also popular targets for luxury treatment.
Feng Chen Wang has partnered with Piaggio on his new Piaggio 1 electric scooter.
In that case, the partnership with the designer was further expanded in a line of accessories also for the electric scooter.
Accessories included a dedicated helmet and a collection of unisex streetwear garments.
The fashion collection was unveiled during Shanghai Fashion Week 2021 and is expected to be available for purchase next month.
Another luxury collaboration saw DAB Motors jump into bed with Burberry to create a unique lightweight electric motorcycle with the fashion brand.
In that case, the 10 kW light electric motorcycle got a new coloring, monogram upholstery and other fashion notes.
So what explains the move to luxury brands partnering with e-bike companies?
Second Rowing, there are several reasons.
For starters, luxury brands have seen a shift in the buying habits of young shoppers, with many more demanding and environmentally friendly products. And e-bikes scream eco-conscious than just about any other means of transportation.
Pandemic pressures have also placed an emphasis on staying local and seeking more from their neighborhood. In these cases, electric bicycles have become the main urban vehicles for young motorcyclists.
Vogue also pointed out that cycling culture has become much more inclusive of women. Women have become a much larger part of the two-wheeled clientele, for both electric bicycles and motorcycles. In the motorcycle industry, women have increased their share of motorcyclists from 10% to 20% over the past decade.
Regardless of the reasons, the trends are quite clear. With more e-bike companies than ever and a growing number of luxury brand partnerships, this probably isn’t the last time we’ll see fancy and expensive e-bikes passing by.
Take by Electrek
Look, if you had told me a couple of years ago that as an e-bike journalist I would have cited Vogue as a reference, I would not have believed you.
But of course I probably wouldn’t have believed that soon we’d all be Lysolling our mail, a ship the size of the Empire State Building would be stuck sideways in the Suez, and that the President of the United States would tell us all to drink bleach. So it’s been a doozy of a few years.
All in all, the trendy pant brands coming into the e-bike action is one of the least surprising things I’ve seen lately and it generally makes sense to me. As e-bikes become more common, more luxurious e-bike brands have started to stand out. Establish partnerships with actual luxury brands are a great way to do this.
As more and more celebrities embrace electric bicycles as well, the industry becomes ripe for fashionistas looking for their piece of the pie. Several weeks ago Britney Spears allegedly posted an Instagram photo of her riding a Super73 e-bike. I only know this because my e-bike news feed was then flooded with Britney Spears for days. I couldn’t hide even if I wanted to. That’s how strong it was. Imagine how many people had no idea what an e-bike was, then suddenly they saw their favorite pop icon riding one. It is a powerful marketing tool.
Personally, I don’t intend to ride a Louis Vuitton e-bike, but I understand that at least some people will take an interest. And they will largely come from the new group of bikers who are not used to the e-bike market as it existed for the last decade. I’m a new biker type used to buying fancy things with fancy labels and are looking for something familiar in this new world of e-bikes they just discovered.
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