Father and son James and Alex Munro are changing the landscape for e-biking on the Shore, and beyond.
Since the pair from Stanley Bay, Devonport, first experienced the joys of e-biking, they’ve been converted. Even car enthusiast and former apprentice mechanic Alex. “I quickly started finding excuses for getting out on the e-bikes when Dad first introduced me to them. I actually now don't like to drive my car very much at all!"
Dad James has had the Electrify NZ business for three years, after stepping away from the corporate life of running Mercury Energy’s retail arm. He supplies some of New Zealand’s largest retail chains with e-bikes sourced primarily in Europe and the USA. Alex bought the North Shore Electrify NZ licence and opened up his store on the corner of Bute and Beach Roads in Browns Bay in October.
Over 80 models of e-bikes are available from the Browns Bay store; road bikes designed for commuting, trail bikes suited to tackling mountainous terrain, fold-up options, cargo bikes designed for towing, and even tandem e-bikes. All are NZ compliant, with 300w continuous-rated output. And gone are the days of the large battery pack sitting above the back wheel. “We’ve coined the term ‘The Campaign for Beautiful E-bikes’! We believe e-bikes should look nice as well as function brilliantly," says James.
And the father and son are relentless in their pursuit of e-bike perfection. They recently returned from Eurobike - a showcase for the very best of the international biking scene held in Lake Constance, Germany. “Around 40% of all bikes there were e-bikes. It just shows how this market is taking off around the world,” said Alex.
Prices range from the $2599 Magnum city bike, to the current pinnacle of e-biking - a $12,000 carbon fibre ‘super e-bike’ model which the pair can source from Italy on request.
What about those who criticise e-bikers for taking the ‘lazy’ biking option? Alex’s smile indicates this is a common comment. “It’s not like you’re not getting exercise, you are. It’s just easier and you can do a lot more on them, like ride off-road in the mountains and be able to get back up to the top of the hill without needing a gondola!
"It's funny, when people who say that come in and try one out, they're invariably back soon after - they're hooked!"
Alex is a former competitive sailor who ‘won couple of national champs’. So is there a competitive element to his e-biking? “Nah, I’m not getting out on an e-bike to try and win the Tour De France,” he laughs. “I’m doing it to get out there and enjoy the country I love!”