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Electric bike sales surpass standard push-bikes for first time

15:09 27/04/2024

Belgians now ride electric bikes more than mechanical push-bikes, according to a new study by mobility professionals Ttaxio and market intelligence experts GfK.

The research showed that electric bicycles accounted for 51% (290,419 models) of all bicycle sales (569,605) last year. Belgians bought 279,186 traditional bikes.

According to the report, this trend towards electric bicycles is set to increase further in years to come.

The research also showed the increasing success of specialist cycle shops - as opposed to big chains such as Decathlon or discount stores such as Cash Converters.

“Customers are favouring their know-how, service and proximity, especially for their electric bikes,” Traxio spokesman Filip Rylant made clear.

Philippe Courtois, owner of two such retailers, Vélophil in Etterbeek and La Maison du Vélo in Schaerbeek, told RTBF that the Covid-19 pandemic was instrumental in pushing the popularity of electric two-wheelers.

“There has clearly been a before and an after," he said. "People appreciated the fact that they could cycle again, because it gave them a sense of freedom, and one that was effortless in this case. The electric bike is flattening the city, it eliminates hills and difficulties.”

The advantage of the electric bicycle is that it attracts people who would not have bought traditional models, he said: “It is clear that we are seeing a whole new group of people.

"First of all, older people, who were delighted to rediscover the joys of cycling in a less challenging way. Next, and this is still a major trend at the moment, there are the mums and dads who get on their bikes to take their children to school and then go to work. Cargo bikes are still very popular.”

The explosion of electric bike sales, which cost between €2,000 and €4,000 in specialist shops, has certainly boosted the bike sales sector.

More surprisingly, it has also encouraged people to buy mechanical bikes: “This is a trend that we are seeing very clearly. People are cycling more in general. People who have switched to electric bikes in their everyday lives are sometimes encouraged to cycle on traditional bikes at the weekend, often in a sporty way and with friends.”

In addition to electrification, bicycles are incorporating more and technological developments, including hub-integrated gears and connected systems.

Cities are also adapting. Following Brussels’ example, towns such as Liège and Charleroi are developing their networks of cycle paths.

Written by Liz Newmark