There are no firm plans or prices yet, folks, but I thought I might share with you a couple of Zongshen electric bikes we are evaluating for the US market. I rode both of these on a recent Chongqing secret mission, and we’ve been thinking about them ever since.
The first looks a bit like a Honda Grom, and it is incredibly cool…
…and the second is an electric scooter styled like a conventional gasoline-powered, step-through scooter…
I rode a lot of the new Zong bikes when I last visited Chonqing (including the RX4), and I liked the electric bikes the best. I especially like the first one you see above (the one that looks like a Grom). It was stable, it was sure-footed, it was very fast, and it was just flat cool. I liked it a lot.
These electric bikes are not cross country or freeway bikes. The top speeds are under 50 mph, and the range between recharges is well under 100 miles. They are city and town bikes…bikes for folks who take short trips and who have opportunities to recharge. I think they are also bikes for people who want something different and something cool. Ordinarily, we would probably not go after these bikes, but…
- When I rode across China, I was surprised to see that electric bikes dominated the city scooter scene in every city we visited. Everywhere we went, we saw 20 or 30 electric bikes for every gas scooter. We also saw electric scooters plugged in and recharging in many places, much the same way as we all plug in our iPhones wherever we go. It all just looked right to me, and it made sense. It was an amazing thing to see.
- When I rode the electric scooters at the Zongshen plant, their “off the line” performance was (pardon the pun) shocking. The bikes literally felt like they were trying to squirt out from under me…they were incredibly quick off the line. I guess that’s because an electric motor makes all of its torque at low rpm (or so I’ve been told). It was a cool experience. My strong feeling when I rode them was “I have got to get me one of these!”
- My daughter bought a Prius last year (no, not to drag race my RX3) and her car is the model that is mostly electric. She lives 15 or 16 miles from where she works, and she plugs the car in every night when she gets home. My daughter last bought gasoline more than 6 months ago. That impressed me.
The two bikes you see here are not your typical, cheap, sub-$1000 Chinese scooters. They are designed and manufactured by Zongshen, and that means the quality, the fit and finish, and the overall feel is first class. These are high quality products.
We don’t know much about the market for electric scooters here in the US, mostly because the data doesn’t really exist yet. We’d be making the market if we imported these, but we have some experience in doing that sort of thing (there wasn’t a market for a 250cc adventure touring motorcycle in the US when we brought the RX3 to America, and you all know how that story unfolded).
We’d like to hear from you. What do you think? Please write and let me know your thoughts (you can reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org). I’d love to hear from you.