How kiwi is MeloYelo? And why should I care?
Price was a major factor, but also the marketing was different.
MeloYelo E-Bikes was founded in New Zealand in 2016. MeloYelo assembled a small team of kiwi engineers and bike mechanics to work together to choose frame designs, and then define each and every component that would go onto each frame.
We are much more kiwi-centric, and in a better position to build the kinds of bikes kiwis want, than most other bike companies. There are a few reasons for this:h
- We have studied – in depth – the needs and wants of kiwi ebike riders. A survey we conducted in 2019 drew 1100 responses and told us:
- How kiwis intend to use their ebikes;
- How far they expect to be able to ride on a charge;
- What features are most important;
- What frame styles were most popular;
- How much they expect to pay for an ebike.
- We take a team approach to specifying our bikes. Ken (New Plymouth) has sold and serviced ebikes for 10 years. Dave (Otaki) is a qualified mechanical engineer with extensive electrical engineering experience. Bill (Auckland) is a bike-aholic. Malcolm (Taupo) is an electronics technician with 30 years’ experience. Rob (Taupo) is a marketer who understands how to get engineers to develop products the market will want.
- We are solely focused on NZ. The majority of other bike brands are multi-nationals, designing and building bikes for the global market of which New Zealand is a tiny piece. Because of our focus on NZ and the fact that our entire team lives in NZ, we can identify and meet kiwi needs faster and better than the competition.
But your bikes are not built in NZ.
Regardless of what brand of bike you buy, chances are the bike was assembled in China. In 2018 for example, 95% of all bikes sold in the US were assembled in China. China also supplies more than 300 million components such as tyres, tubes, seats and handlebars – or about 60% of U.S. bike component imports.
MeloYelo ebikes are assembled in China, just like most other brands. However there are two key things to bear in mind:
- We contract with a German-led team living in China to source our components and oversee our quality control;
- This team has visited more than 90% of the ebike factories in China, and helped us choose the factory that assembles our bikes based on (a) quality focus and (b) size. Our factory assembles just 30,000 ebikes a year – a much better fit for us than a factory assembling 300,000 ebikes a year.
MeloYelo supports kiwis young and old.
The founder of MeloYelo, Rob McEwen, was also the founder of the EVolocity electric vehicle competition in schools. EVolocity involves teams of students designing, building and competing in electric vehicles, acquiring engineering skills & interests, while also developing an understanding of the benefits of electric vehicles. More than 100 schools around NZ are now participating, and MeloYelo donates a portion of its proceeds to EVolocity.
At the other end of the age spectrum, MeloYelo has built its sales and service network primarily through recruiting retired and semi-retired engineers & mechanics. Many older people are looking for something purposeful to do in their retirement – something that they enjoy, that gives back to the community, and that generates some supplemental income. MeloYelo has fulfilled that need for 17 team members to date, and the team is still growing.