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Bird Branching out into Bike Sales

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Santa Monica, California, USA

A global high-flyer in shared electric scooters has bolstered its expansion into e-bikes, with Bird announcing it will make its soon-to-be-released Bird Bike available for sale.

Details of the Bird Bike were revealed recently by Bird, which operates share systems in approximately 300 cities worldwide and recently branched out into Australia for the first time.

Bird was the first company to introduce shared electric scooters in a US city and was quick to contemplate an expansion into e-bikes.  It released its Scoot-branded electric mopeds in Los Angeles in 2019 but paused the Cruiser program because of the COVID pandemic.

When Bird announced in May the company was going public, it enticed potential investors with an image of a shrouded bicycle and several graphs charting the meteoric rise in e-bike sales in the US.

Only a few months ago, Bird started preparing to roll out shared e-bikes in select cities in the US and Europe later this year and is now aiming to have bikes available for sale in both continents in coming weeks.

It has indicated the bikes for sale will be more powerful than the shared version, with a Bafang-built rear-hub motor that will come in 500 watt (for the US) and 250w (for Europe) configurations. The 36 volt / 12.8 amp hour battery is removable for easy charging and, based on the power setting, should provide up to 80 kilometres of range.

It will come with throttle and pedal-assisted power, which will propel the Bird Bike to a top speed of 32kph.

The Bird Bike’s striking design, with a slightly elongated top tube and embedded front and rear lights, has earned comparisons to the popular VanMoof e-bikes and will offer step-over and step-through frames.

They will come with a Gates carbon belt drive – which is becoming increasingly popular among bike manufacturers as a cleaner option with less requirement for maintenance – and a competitive price tag of US$2,299 (A$3,091) for its US release.

The bike can be connected to the Bird app via Bluetooth, enabling customers to turn the lights on or off and see the battery range and distances ridden. This information is also available on the bike’s LCD panel display on the handlebars.

The Bird Bike comes in two colours, ‘stealth black’ and ‘gravity gray’.

Bird also is one of the few shared scooter companies to sell personally owned scooters.

Bird’s decision to add e-bikes to its product line-up coincides with competitor Lime’s recent moves to expand its own fleet, including the addition of electric mopeds. Both companies are mostly known for their electric scooters but there is a growing recognition among micromobility providers that more varied vehicle line-ups improve their financial viability.

Bird’s expansion into Australia came with the announcement of an e-scooter trial around Harvey Bay, with the Fraser Coast Regional Council approving the six-month trial in July.

Bird plans to lease a commercial building and employ several local staff to maintain a fleet of 300 to 400 e-scooters.

The council recently started a process to amend local laws to allow the use of e-scooters on footpaths.

The six-month trial will start once this process is complete and a report will be provided back to Council in early 2022 on the outcomes of the trial.

Hervey Bay will be one of the first cities in the world to provide riders with the new Bird Three e-scooter, as well as exclusive and specially designed helmets locked on every vehicle for individuals to use during their ride.

Information in this article first appeared on The Verge website.

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