Matching growing consumer interest in e-bikes, REI Co-op announces new investments in the category. The co-op is expanding its e-bike assortment, advocating for clear regulations and improved access and education to ensure consumer benefit when purchasing e-bikes.
Consumer interest in e-bikes continues to climb and in 2022 it was the fastest growing sector of the domestic bicycle market. In 2021-2022, e-bike sales at the co-op jumped +14%, aligning with industry data from Circana that also reported industry wide e-bike sales growth of +14%.
“E-bikes are here to stay. They’re fun, and make cycling possible for many people who may otherwise may not be able to bike for transportation or recreation,” said Gautham Rao, divisional vice president for activity at the co-op. “They can help more riders overcome challenges presented by topography, trip distance, lack of time or physical limitations.”
To serve this growing consumer base, REI now offers four e-bike models through its in-house Co-op Cycles line. The newest range, Co-op Cycles Generation e electric bikes (Gen e) debuted in June 2022 as a lifestyle-oriented model designed to carry cargo over varied terrains. This season, Gen e bikes have been updated with faster gearing and are getting positive reviews from customers:
“This thing is awesome. I recently bought this, has the new gearing. It rides perfect for commuting. Riding 5 miles each way, very comfortable. I’m not sure you can beat this bike for the price. New gearing feels great, braking works well, removable battery is great, built in racks are awesome. Just compare this to other brands/models and it’s not even a contest. One other small thing I like is the incredible turning radius, because of the small tire can whip this thing around in a bike room or garage easily.” -Tehchinkills
This year, REI will bring in new road e-bikes and e-mountain bike models from its in-house Co-op Cycles brand as well as many other brand partners, plus in-shop maintenance, classes and guidance to keep e-bikes working well. Every e-bike purchased at REI comes with coast-to-coast support across the country, including free flat fixes and 20% off shop services, and two years of free adjustments for REI Co-op members; non-REI members get one year of free adjustments.
The co-op’s e-bike focus extends beyond new products and seeks to deepen customer relationships through service programs, guided trips and educational resources. Through REI’s Experiences, the co-op offers e-bikes for no additional charge on its cycling adventure trips including the San Juan Islands, Death Valley, Yellowstone, Glacier, Moab, Arches and Grand Junction.
Customers can also find e-bike resources on REI.com through its Expert Advice e-bike-related articles, with various resources on “how to choose an e-bike,” “how to transport an e-bike with a car rack,” “which accessories are best to complete their cycling kits,” and more.
As for creating better e-bike access, the co-op is engaging its community through the REI Cooperative Action Network. Through the initiative, REI members are encouraged to take climate action by sending a pre-written letter to their state Congress representative. In this case, the co-op community is working to encourage Congress to pass the e-bike act, which would offer a 30% tax credit of up to $1500 on the purchase of new e-bikes and help make climate friendly transport more affordable for everyone.
The co-op is also partnering with industry groups and cycling nonprofits to support cycling infrastructure improvements.
“We know the largest barrier to bicycling participation in the U.S. is a lack of access to safe bicycle infrastructure close to home,” says Chris Speyer, REI senior vice president and chief merchandising officer and board chair of the PeopleForBikes Coalition. “We encourage all members of the industry to support PeopleForBikes in its ambitious infrastructure funding initiative designed with local efforts to improve infrastructure across the country.”
Although e-bikes are allowed on many trails across the country, they still are not allowed everywhere. The co-op recommends riders educate themselves on where e-bikes are allowed, and encourages riders to review resources such as People For Bikes Ridespot; Trailforks; TrailsAreCommonGround.org; specifically, the guide on natural surface trails identification guide; and MTB Project.
 Source: Circana/Retail Tracking Service, U.S., dollar sales, January-December 2022 vs. 2021
About the REI Co-op
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 23 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 181 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.