Something big is happening at Old Spokes Home…
This week, two new e-bikes landed at the shop. It’s been a couple of years since we brought e-bikes into the shop and the decision to do so again wasn’t one that we took lightly. We’ve been thinking a lot about e-bikes and our relationship with them. Ultimately, we decided that they are something we can, should, and ultimately must offer, so long as they meet our standards for quality, reliability, sustainability, and affordability.
The recent announcement that the State of Vermont would be offering another round of e-bike incentives was the nudge we needed to take the plunge. One of our biggest concerns with e-bikes is the large price tag attached to bikes that are solid, durable, and of decent construction. Thanks to these state incentives, solid, durable e-bikes are now available at a price that is within closer reach for our core clientele.
Those incentives include $400 and $800 rebates for income-qualified Vermonters when purchasing e-bikes and e-cargo bikes, respectively. Both of the models that we’re bringing in fit in that e-cargo category, and thus are eligible for an $800 subsidy. You can learn more about that program and apply for it here.
Burlington Electric Department and Green Mountain Power both offer $200 instant rebates on e-bikes for their customers. Just present your most recent utility statement and your account number at the register and we will take the bucks off your bill.
Also available (exclusively at Old Spokes Home!) are zero-interest loans from Opportunities Credit Union. Folks need to apply through Opportunities, but once approved, they can walk out of OSH with no money down and fixed monthly payments.
Altogether, these incentives can take $1000 off of your bill and make paying the rest off entirely doable. But why did we choose these bikes?
Over previous years, we have noticed an unfortunate pattern of e-bike brands cropping up, selling a bunch of bikes, then disappearing. These brands leave buyers without brand support, sometimes only months down the road. We wanted to ensure that if we were to stock e-bikes at Old Spokes again, that we would be doing so with a brand that plans to stick around for the long run, that will be around to support customers (and us as a shop) for years to come.
The bikes we decided to stock here at the shop are by Benno Bikes, a brand that was started back in 2015. They’ve already survived years longer than many of the short-lived brands of the first e-bike wave, and they show signs of sticking around: they just had a significant presence at Eurobike, the bicycle industry’s largest trade show.
We’re bringing in two of their models, the eScout and the eJoy. The eScout is a full-size “etility” bike that includes an oversized rear rack out of the box, so how you’ll carry your cargo is never in question. It has a sligtly sportier feel – like that of a typical hybrid. It rolls on big tires, 27.5 x 2.4”, that provide ample grip and cushion. All of that tire clearance (with fenders!) means the eScout is perfectly positioned to be a year-round super e-commuter.
The eJoy takes a more casual approach, similar to that of a typical cruiser or “townie” bike, but more versatile than those categories are typically believed to be. It, too, includes an oversized rear rack, as well as mounts for a front tray. Rolling on smaller wheels, the eJoy may feel a little more maneuverable and less sporty, but it still rides on large, comfy, grippy tires. We think the eJoy is ideal for someone more concerned with comfort and ease than speed or efficiency.
Both of these models rely on Bosch mid-drive motor units and UL-certified 400wh batteries delivering up to a 95-mile range. We’ve opted to bring in the Class 3 versions of each, meaning they can reach speeds of up to 28 mph. All that power is kept in check on the Benno e-bikes, applied smoothly and safely in proportion to a rider’s own pedaling torque. Both are compatible with Yepp child seats, panniers, front racks, and come with fenders and integrated lights. The Benno etility bikes are the full package: bikes that we are proud to stock at Old Spokes Home as reliable, empowering, fossil-fuel-free transportation.
Their motors are controlled with an easy-to-read monitor, with four power settings: Eco, Tour, Sport, and Turbo. Buttons, easily reached by a thumb, make changing modes easier than shifting gears. The battery is also connected to front and rear lights, so that you're always visible on the road and never caught out after dark unprepared.
Both use high-quality Shimano Deore components that are sure to work well and last. With the use of the motor, the mid-range 10-speed is plenty for the hills of Burlington and beyond. Each is equipped with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes that deliver ample stopping power and braking control, but are easy to service and find parts for, should they ever need them.
So here we are, pedaling with e-assistance into the twenty-first century. We think the e-bike is a great tool to make bicycling more accessible to all and to cut down on car usage and fossil fuel emissions, now made more affordable by incentives from the state and utility companies, as well as our Opportunities Credit Union’s loan program.
Drop by the shop and take a Benno for a ride! They’re here to be test-ridden, and we’re here to help you out with any and all of your questions. We look forward to seeing you.
Want to ask questions before coming in? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (802) 863-4475.