With the current e-bike wave hopefully growing into a tsunami and spreading over the whole of Europe; after sales service for electric bicycles is a topic that needs special attention to say the least! E-bikes are presenting challenges for those mechanics in traditional bike workshops now facing the added complexity of Watts, Volts and Amperes.
Even computer interfaces are stepping into their workplace, as self-diagnostic systems go mainstream with current e-bike drive systems. Electronics hooked up to the handlebar display and a computer in order to check the status of the complete system. That’s something else compared to fitting an new tyre!
Mechanics at bike shops have been struggling with the new e-bike technologies and the electronics that come with it. In The Netherlands it has became clear to what extent that struggle continues. In the country where the e-bike trend in Europe started, there are now some 600,000 electric bikes in use. Mechanics at bike shops are confronted with the service this product needs on a daily basis. The inescapable conclusion is that mechanics simply lack the skills and the knowledge to cater to that need. This conclusion comes from an institute in Holland called Two-Wheeler Academy, which is part of the Innovam training center for the mobility sectors, including the automotive industry. After testing over 1,000 bike shop mechanics and employees on their knowledge and skills for servicing e-bikes, they concluded it to be insufficient. On a scale of ten, the Two-Wheeler Academy rated those skills on average below 4!
This conclusion spurred a discussion between representatives from bike manufacturers Gazelle and Koga, dealers, and the Two-Wheeler Academy on how to improve mechanics’ e-bike skills. A report on this discussion will be in the trade journal for bike dealers in Holland and Belgium; Tweewieler. Here the Gazelle and Koga representatives pointed to the training they are providing to their dealers. However, the Academy representative said there’s more needed. He pleaded for education programs beyond the separate training provided by the bike brands. He said an overall training program is required and it needs to come with a nationally recognized diploma.The two dealers present at this discussion said that it would be commercially useful to them to become a ‘Certified’ e-Bike Dealer.
This current situation in Holland applies to discussions in other European countries too. In Germany e-bikes are coming on strong. German dealers are like those in Holland, while the same goes for Denmark, France or Italy. Mechanics are facing, or will be faced with challenges that come with servicing e-bikes. In my view those challenges should be met in the same way as the automotive sector did ages ago; with proper training leading to recognized diplomas and certified dealers. Do you agree with me or not?