Pioneering cargo bike importer Dutch Cargo Bike is broadening its horizons into more mainstream models, by bringing e-bikes from French manufacturer O2Feel into Australia for the first time.
Dutch Cargo Bike founder and Managing Director Jürgen Heikamp said it would be importing much of the O2Feel range but with a particular focus on its Vern, iSwan and iVog ranges of urban cruisers, city bikes and adventure bikes.
“O2feel is an innovative manufacturer who started producing e-bikes over a decade ago and we’re proud to represent them in Australia and New Zealand,” Jürgen said.
“We had been looking at O2feel for a while. Their portfolio is very much complementary to what we are already doing and will be a great addition to our range of high-quality e-bikes.
“We really like their style and the company has developed a long-standing partnership with Shimano, further increasing the confidence and future value of the brand.”
While O2Feel is well known for developing its own motor and battery combination, PowerPack and iPowerPack, it is using the Shimano Steps system in some of its higher-end models.
On the 10th anniversary of the company’s inception, O2Feel last year raised 9 million euros (A$14.5m), courtesy of investment company Compagnie d’Anjou and the participation of some banks.
The funds equipped O2Feel to boost its position in the French domestic market and accelerate its international expansion.
It was already exporting bikes to Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK.
Dutch Cargo Bike’s first shipment is due to reach Australia in November and will comprise the Vern, iSwan and iVog city and urban models.
“We envisage the adventure and sport models will be more towards February or March,” he said. The Sport range includes dual-suspension and hardtail e-MTBs.
“We have already experienced strong pre-orders for the first shipment but we expect to onboard and entertain 15 or more new dealers in the coming months.”
After carving out a solid niche market by pioneering Australia’s introduction to cargo bikes, Jürgen and his wife, company co-founder Emmy, are confident O2Feel’s more mainstream range will capture the interest of more dealers.
Dutch Cargo Bikes is already supplying 29 stores in Australia, with dealers in almost every state and territory stocking Tern e-bikes. A handful are also offering some of the other brands distributed by Dutch Cargo Bikes, Urban Arrow and Bakfiets.
“The introduction of O2Feel will create opportunities for more dealers to join us, with a lot of retailers looking to expand the e-bike range with quality brands. We believe that will then feed back into the cargo bike side of our business. Once we are working with those new dealers, there is potential they will be more interested in looking at moving into cargo bikes and exploring the Tern portfolio or the Urban Arrows,” Jürgen said.
“Australia is still at the ‘innovation’ stage with cargo bikes, if you look at the marketing curve.
“When will Australia become an ‘early adopter’, when the market will really grow?
“Some people say it will take a generation of education for things to really change but I’m hoping it will happen in the next three or four years.”
Visit the Dutch Cargo Bike website for details.