The Spokesmen Cycling Podcast
EPISODE 253: Next Generation Tern GSD Unveil With Josh Hon
Monday 10th August 2020
SPONSOR: Jenson USA
HOST: Carlton Reid
GUEST: Josh Hon, team captain, Tern Bicycles
Carlton Reid 0:12
Welcome to Episode 253 of the Spokesmen cycling podcast. This show was engineered on Monday 10th of August 2020.
David Bernstein 0:24
The Spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast is brought to you by Jenson USA, where you’ll always find a great selection of products at amazing prices with unparalleled customer service. For more information, just go to Jensonusa.com/thespokesmen. Hey everybody, it’s David from the Fredcast cycling podcast at www.Fredcast.com. I’m one of the hosts and producers of the Spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast. For shownotes links and all sorts of other information please visit our website at www.the-spokesmen.com. And now, here are the spokesmen.
Carlton Reid 1:09
The Tern GSD, or get stuff done, is an iconic compact electric cargobike used by families and business the world over since its launch in 2017. I’m Carlton Reid and on today’s show I speak with company CEO Josh Hon. He actually prefers to call himself team captain rather than CEO and Josh tells me that he and key members of staff work for this innovative folding bike company because they believe so much in transportation cycling and could have easily got better paid jobs in other sectors had they wanted to. This enthusiasm shines through in everything Tern does, and their latest machine is no exception. And what a machine — it’s the much anticipated, 2nd generation GSD, packed full of improvements. Today’s the official launch day and I managed to catch up with Josh at the weekend — we chatted with a Zoom-style service and if you want to see the new GSD as well as sneak a peak inside’s Josh’s apartment in Taiwan then check out the YouTube video I’ve embedded on the-spokesmen.com The video uses the same audio as this podcast but you get to see Josh squatting down to run through the bike’s features …
Carlton Reid 2:40
Now tell me first of all, about the GSD version one. So that was 2017 because this is a an epoch changing bicycle. This was a bicycle that that changed the parameters of what an electric cargo bike looked like and could do. So go back in history and tell me about 2017 when you first came up with this thing.
Josh Hon 3:08
Well, it was really just it was an evolution right? So the GSD in its final form was not where we started it was it when we started it was actually quite a bit shorter. It wasn’t really cargo focused as much. But just as as we started to develop it and prototype it, and really spend time thinking about it, we were just thinking that well, you know, if you’re really going to develop an electric bicycle, and it’s going to be optimised for carrying a passenger or two and and more weight, you really have to design it differently than a regular muscle powered bicycle. Right, a muscle powered bicycle is, you know, you you optimise for low rolling resistance with large wheels, right and so you you can’t but you compromise with cargo space and centre of gravity. But with electric you, you don’t need to make that same compromise, you can compromise a little bit differently because you have that extra extra boost. So you don’t need the large wheels. But then you get the lower centre of gravity and more more room for cargo. And it also has to do with you know, just even your riding position, right, your riding position, muscle powered bike is is is a bit more forward, it’s down and and that’s less air resistance. Again, when you have an electric bike, you don’t have to make that same compromise and you can sit more upright, be a bit more comfortable, be more visible in traffic, right then you can see over the tops of cars, that’s something that’s nice. And so really that’s the GSD was really our kind of evolution and thinking about okay if we’re going to design an urban bicycle that can help people drive a little bit less. How should we design that? And how could we do it? And so it kind of evolved a few times. And we ended up you know, with the GST.
Carlton Reid 5:17
So, forgive me for saying this, I’m sure you know this, but it maybe it’s nice for somebody else to tell you this, it’s iconic. So it’s an iconic bicycle. I can spot it from a long, long way away. I know exactly what it is. And I have seen them all over the world. So when I’ve been in America, I’ve seen a GSD on the bike paths. In the UK, I’ve seen GSDs dotting about, so it’s an iconic bicycle. So, you’ve sold a fair few of these around the world?
Josh Hon 5:47
Sure. Yep. We’re pretty happy with sales. Yeah, it’s I mean, it was a leap for us, right. It was our first non-folding bicycle. We had quite a few debates, strenuous debates, on the team: do we go out with this small wheeled non-folding, relatively heavy bicycle? And I remember thinking, man, this is a bit risky. It could bomb, but it really could bomb. And we’re lucky. We’re fortunate that you know, in fact, our largest distribution partner, when we told them about the product, and we showed them renderings, they said, don’t do it. We don’t need that. And that’s, that’s a, that’s a bit that’s a bit hard when, right, your largest customer by far says, don’t do it, we don’t need it. Fortunately, you know, we’d been ridng prototypes quite a bit by that time where we, you know, we were confident enough to think they don’t know what they’re talking about. They’ll come around, and fortunately they did. But yeah, it’s It’s been it’s been a quite a journey.
Carlton Reid 7:03
I would describe it not only iconic but as a car killer in that you can do things on it – I mean, all cargo bikes are car killers – but this one in particular because you can do … It’s modular, it’s got lots of things on it. So I know we’re gonna be talking about the GSD version two, you’ve got a brand new one out, but let’s stick to the 2017 model First of all, so what did you have? What kind of modular things did you have to make this into a car killer? So you could all these different things you could you could put on it and take off and what do you have then? And we can we can talk about the new stuff in a minute.
Josh Hon 7:42
Well, I would start by saying it’s not intended to be a car killer. We also drive cars and for longer distances, cars make perfect sense. But you know, for short trips, right, less than five miles, driving a car is is a bit silly. And it’s just it’s crazy that in all of the cities around the world, you have massive congestion. And a huge percentage of those trips are all less than five miles. So the idea is can we make a bicycle that’s convenient, where, you know, I remember used I used to go out on rides, and you know, it’s been 20 minutes running around the house. I have to look for my lights, my helmet, my lock, the kids’ lights, and I’d have to see if they’re charged and it was just this huge pain and, you know, when you go out to drive your car, all you need is your keys, right? That’s it, you get your keys and everything that you need is is there on the car. And so I think with the GSD the thinking is the same thing, right? You have a trip to the market, a trip to the library, a school drop off, you just grab your bike keys, and hop on the bike and everything that you need is there and so that includes safety things, right. So, you know, we have a Clubhouse that that wraps around the children to keep them safe and centred on the bike. The lights are there, the lock is there, you know, so everything that you need. And so that’s what we’re always thinking about is, you know, how can we make that bicycle more convenient, and an easier choice and, and and largely we are the customers. So it’s really, you know, the GSD has its specific form factor, because we want to use it, right, so, we live in a building where we’re on the eighth floor and we have an elevator. So a cargo bike that doesn’t fit in that elevator just simply doesn’t fit in our lives. And, you know, I think the thing is, is that’s true for a lot of people living in cities. And, you know, another example is when we when we showed the vertical parking feature on the GSD we thought it was brilliant, because you know, all of us on the Taipei team live in apartments with elevators. But when we showed it to our German friends, our partners, their product team didn’t get it at first because they all have large garages and houses. And I think the funniest thing is that actually so they came back and they said, yeah, we we don’t get this vertical thing. You know, what are you guys thinking with this? It’s not it’s it doesn’t make sense. But the, the owner of the company, he got it. And so the great thing was seeing the owner of the company,a seventy year old gentleman at Eurobike. And he’s like, flipping the bike up and showing dealers and so all the product guys are looking at the owner going, oh, he gets it. He understands it. And so that that was that was quite a lot of fun. But I think it’s
Carlton Reid 10:58
Sorry, so you put it up on its end and then it just stands there?
Josh Hon 11:01
Yes. So it takes up the floor space of a potted plant. You know, you could stick it in the corner of your living room. Yep. Yeah.
Carlton Reid 11:14
So that’s 2017 and it was it’s a fantastic product has been fantastic for you it’s been fantastic for Tern’s brand awareness because lots of companies have got this this bike, lots of families have got this bike and I know you don’t want to call it a car killer but I’m sure lots of people have got rid of their second car and got this particular bicycle. And GSD, let’s just let’s remind people or tell people for the first time who don’t know this, it stands for Get Stuff Done. So it’s like a practical bicycle, that’s not a car killer, even though it is a car killer, it’s get stuff done. Yeah?
Josh Hon 11:51
That’s the PG version. Yes.
Carlton Reid 11:55
Okay stuff. Okay. Okay. I see where you’re going there. We’ll leave that. So 2017 we now spring forward to 2020 is this would you call it MKII? What do you how do you describe this, the new GSD?
Josh Hon 12:14
Well, it’s Generation Two. It’s, we call it just the New GSD. Yeah, so we basically, you know, of course, as in any product development project, you have to freeze things so that your, your supply chain can get to work on them. So we had to freeze things, you know, well in advance. And so, there have been so many things were we’ve seen, that could be improved or that could be improved and, and you have to wait. And in addition, right, our dealers, our distribution partners, our customers have made, you know, literally hundreds of recommendations to us. Could you add this, could you add this, could you add this, could you do that? Could this be lighter or faster? You know, more convenient. And so that’s what we’ve had, you know, two years to work on and so we are really excited for version two.
Carlton Reid 13:12
Josh, why don’t we now do an unveil? Like let’s let’s have a look at you touching and feeling the new GSD. Okay. And then you can tell me that the things when I’ve got a list here because you’ve sent me a press release, you’ve you’ve … Walk me through it, I mean, you can start with I mean, the first thing on my press release is a stronger, stiffer frame. So start with that.
Josh Hon 13:41
So here it is. Here’s the bike. Kitted out.
Josh Hon 13:47
Yeah, so the so here’s the frame.
Josh Hon 13:51
We we made it substantially stronger. That’s, you know, when you are carrying a maximum load it just It just rides a lot more stably when the frame is stiff, you know, there are
Carlton Reid 14:06
Sorry, Josh, is it heavier, stronger and stiffer and a little bit heavier or?
Josh Hon 14:12
The bicycle is heavier. Yeah, that’s the unfortunate thing with physics; if you want to make it stronger and stiffer you add more material. So the bike is a bit stiffer, is a bit heavier. But it’s just so we’ve we’ve actually sent the frames off to EFBE in Germany, for stiffness testing, we’ve just gotten the numbers back — in vertical stiffness, we are 40% stiffer. So in the words of the EFBE tech who was doing the testing, and version one was already the stiffness, stiffest frame vertically that they had ever tested.
Carlton Reid 14:59
So they It doesn’t matter because it’s electric. Yeah, it doesn’t matter that it’s that it’s slightly heavier. Well, yeah.
Josh Hon 15:07
Yep. I mean, yes, absolutely. But the stiffness matters a whole lot because when you have wiggling kids on the back or you have cargo and you’re manoeuvring through traffic, if you get a little bit of a wiggle, it makes you feel uncomfortable. And that’s so important with cargo bikes because there there are cargo bikes where the frames aren’t quite as stiff and you definitely feel that and when you feel unstable or unsafe, you go okay, I’m not gonna I’m not gonna do that route or that ride anymore. And torsionally we are 15% stiffer. And so EFBE said we are on par with kind of the the heavy duty sporty, kind of downhill bikes that they’ve tested. So we are very happy with, and of course, this is a longer frame, so having that torsional stiffness with a substantially longer frame is quite good, but 15% stiffer than GSD version one and 40% stiffer vertically than version one.
Carlton Reid 16:12
And just cuz, you’re now crouching down there, what’s that wheel size?
Josh Hon 16:16
So that’s a 20 inch wheel.
Carlton Reid 16:20
That’s the same GSD Onw, GSD Two, 20 inches is your platform?
Josh Hon 16:24
Josh Hon 16:28
Well, you can see just from the side view also there’s
Josh Hon 16:35
I mean, everything from the motor is updated as well. So we we’ve opted for the top of the line Bosch cargo line motor, 85 newton metres of torque, it has 400% assistance. It’s the best kind of cargo bike motor that, you know, that’s on the market today. Towards the front, you can see we used to have a rigid fork. So some people will had mentioned that, hey, with smaller wheels even though you have large diameter balloon tires, on bad roads, you know, like Berlin, lots of cobblestones. You know that that was an issue. So we decided to add a suspension fork for comfort, a little bit more control over bad roads.
Carlton Reid 17:29
And that suspension fork is across all of the models because you can go through what models you’ve got coming up, but that’s on all the models is the front suspension fault, but the rear one is only on some models.
Josh Hon 17:42
The suspension. Correct the suspension fork is on all models. Yes. Yep.
Carlton Reid 17:49
Okay, and it’s gonna sound like a daft question here but so what colours have you got? Let’s just say you know that we’ve got a very nice yellow there but what other colour options have you got?
Josh Hon 18:02
Well, for the we’ve got matte black as everybody does has, we have the original Beetle Blue, that very bright, kind of old VW colour which we like a lot. We have a colour called Tabasco. So we like Tabasco sauce, so it’s this kind of orangey red colour. We have a couple of different shades of grey, so a lighter grey and darker grey, we have a sage colour and we have Dragonfly Fruit, which is a bit of a polarising colour. So Dragonfruit is kind of this purplish red it’s very vibrant. I think you either love it or you hate it. And yet different people here on the team are in different camps.
Carlton Reid 18:53
That’s actually quite a lot of colorways I thought you’re gonna say white, yellow, red and black. But that’s that’s a that’s a fair few. Yeah.
Josh Hon 19:00
Yep. Okay, we’re finding that Yeah, in in, in some, in some, in some cities there are so many GSDs running about about that people are actually saying ‘you know, I don’t want to have the same colour as everybody else, you guys need more colours.’ So okay, so that’s what we’ve done.
Carlton Reid 19:20
Okay, so which particular model is this so you’ve got is it three models you’ve got? Which one is this?
Josh Hon 19:25
This is the entry level this is the S10. So this has a 10 speed Deore derailleur drivetrain. We also have the S00 which has the Enviolo hub with infinitely variable gears and a belt drive. And our favourite, which is the the R14. The R14 is with a Rohloff hub and a belt. It’s basically, we just put everything on that bike.
Carlton Reid 19:39
The Rolls Royce, that’s kind of bike, the bee’s knees. That’s the ultimate with a Rohloff. Wow. Yeah. So before we go, we could have done this at the end. But let’s let’s while you’re sorry for making you crouch there, Josh. But it’s a compact, you can almost get the whole thing in the video screen here. That’s great. So, tell me the prices. No, we’re gonna done this at the end. But as you’re as you’re down there now and we’re going to the various models, so start with the Rohloff, let’s go from top to bottom because Rohloff that’s gonna be that’s gonna be pricey. So how pricey is it?
Josh Hon 20:38
The Rohloff? Well, I’ll give you the US dollar pricing. It’ll be slightly different in Europe and the UK. Rohloff is if I recall, at $8,200.
Carlton Reid 20:55
So that’s not that much different from the Euro price. I mean, it’s roughly the same I mean, I’ve got the list here. I mean the yeah 8300 in effect. Yeah 8899 Euros so that’s the that’s the so let’s that we’re frightening people right now that’s the top of the range. So if you want the absolute best GSD that’s the one Rohloff hub. Eight and a half thousand pounds. This is why it’s a car killer, tthese are these are pricey things, Josh, you’ve got to get rid of a car to afford the bike.
Josh Hon 21:33
Well, this is what so this is not only just the Rohloff, it’s the E14 electronic shifting. So when you come to a stop, you hear it go ck-ck-ck. And it downshifts for you so you have the perfect gear to start off. It also comes with a double battery. It comes with, you know, our super premium lighting system. So it’s it’s really everything. It’s more than just this Rohloff hub.
Carlton Reid 22:00
Okay, put me down for three, three of those.
Josh Hon 22:04
Okay, no problem.
Carlton Reid 22:05
That’s fantastic. Okay, so that’s that’s the bee’s knees, that’s the ultimate right let’s step down. Let’s go to the yet. Let’s forget the middle. Let’s go straight to the, I don’t want to call it a bottom of the range because that’s crazy. Let’s talk about the one you’ve got there. The yellow one, the E10. So how much is that gonna cost people?
Josh Hon 22:23
The S10 is 4,500 Euros.
Josh Hon 22:30
That’ll be 4,500 euros, I think it might be $4,600 and it should be right about there in pounds as well.
Carlton Reid 22:41
And how much is what what price differences is that compared to the models that are already out there in shops.
Josh Hon 22:49
Basically, they are a $500 step up from the version one so you know you we’ve basically upgraded frame we’ve added upgraded fork we’ve upgraded the motor. We’ve we’ve added on a lot of standards, you know like that block is now standard. The lower decks are standard, the wheel guard is standard. So a lot of standard things and it jumps up by $500
Carlton Reid 23:16
OK. Now what I did notice there when when you’re crouching down was the kickstand. So you have an all new kickstand, it’s it says it’s patented. So what what what’s that kickstand going to do for me?
Josh Hon 23:30
Well, the kickstand is incredibly strong, incredibly stable. The beautiful thing about it is that it locks into place. So when you lower it, it locks automatically. And so when you are loading it up with cargo or you put your kids on it and they’re wiggling around, or even if you have it parked in your garage next to your nice car and somebody bumps into it. It’s safe. It’ll stay stable, it’s safe. It won’t tip over. The other thing that’s that’s really nice about it is that it has a remote unlock. So you load up the bike. And then you step over the bike, press the remote unlock, and roll forward, and you’re off. And so that’s a very different usage than, you know, like putting your kids on, holding it. Hey, you climb on using one hand to get them on. And then you have to swing your leg over while you’re holding your bike. So so it really dramatically I think, Carlton, you’ve used the original, right and, and you know that the original, you couldn’t load 40, 50 kilos of things on the back, step over the bike and then roll forward. You had to get it off the kickstand with with a bit of effort. And then you have to swing your leg over while the bike is fully loaded. So I think if you
Carlton Reid 24:53
Yeah, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t say that’s a weak point because that’s everybody you know, every every kickstand kind of does that no matter how beefy they are. But to have the remote one and to lock in that’s that sounds like an amazing upgrade. Yeah, especially if it’s slightly bigger and heavier and you’ve you’ve got kids on the back and you’ve got that’s gonna be amazing. Yeah, that particular so is that your? Is that proprietary?
Josh Hon 25:17
Yes. Yes. So version one to version one of the bike right? The the kickstand that we spec’ed was an off the shelf version. It was not as, let’s say robust or easy to use as, as people would have liked. And so it was one of the weaknesses of the bikes. We had some some complaints regarding it. And so that’s something that we’ve been thinking about for two years, and we’ve had two years to design something special. And so we we feel like we’ve we’ve hit a homerun with the skid stand. So we’re excited to let people see it because there’s there’s nothing out there on the market like this.
Carlton Reid 25:56
If somebody’s got a GSD now can they retrofit, could they say ‘can I get one of them on my existing one?’ Or is that got to be on this one?
Josh Hon 26:04
It has to be on this one. We did make retrofittable Atlas kickstand as you know. But this version, the connection points are quite different. So yeah, so yeah,
Carlton Reid 26:15
I kind of figured that I thought I’d ask. Yeah. Okay, so that’s called the Atlas lock stand I can see here. Yes. So that’s that’s pretty special. And then the frame geometry, have you have you changed how the frame rides looks, measures? What’s what’s the what’s the differences between GSD1 and this one?
Josh Hon 26:38
Well, we tweaked the geometry. So version one, I think people generally like the geometry a lot. But I would say that it wasn’t really optimal for people 6ft3, 6ft4, 6ft5 so really tall riders
Carlton Reid 26:55
I’m out here. That’s that’s, I like the small one, you know, Then I can fit this but anyway, sorry, sorry, six foot three. Okay.
Josh Hon 27:03
Okay, so the really tall riders would find our handlebars a little bit low, and the cockpit a little bit cramped. So you know that that describes quite a lot of riders. And so, again, we’ve tweaked the geometry and we’ve slackened the seatpost. We’ve raised the handlebars, so the handlebars are six centimetres higher than before.
Josh Hon 27:28
And the slacker seatpost to hold …. Yep, it’s a lot.
Josh Hon 27:33
And you know, with a slacker seatpost as you go up the the cockpit lengthens more quickly. And if you’re, if you’re shorter than you know, that cockpit, that cockpit shrinks, and so it’s really a better geometry for very tall riders, or if you’re on the shorter side.
Carlton Reid 27:52
Yeah, so, which is
Carlton Reid 27:53
me? Mike is definitely me.
Josh Hon 27:56
We’re in the average, we’re average.
Carlton Reid 27:59
And then the accessories you have, what are they? They’re different. Is is a different modular like, you know, clicking points it is a completely brand new platform is what I’m trying to say. Even even the accessories you’ve got are gonna be different or can accessories from the first one fit on this one or vice versa. what’s what’s what’s the, what’s the, what’s the thing that’s going on there?
Josh Hon 28:20
Yeah, the accessories are, I would say largely compatible. Not all but largely so in the front all of the front accessories that we had before will work on Gen Two in the rear, many of the accessories will be compatible. I think what we had in the front and the rear, we were pretty happy with but we we tweaked some small things and optimised a little bit. But yeah. The key is that we also have developed a number of new accessories as well. So we have announced three accessories. We have a Clubhouse Plus, which works better with child seats so you can have any combination of large child, small child or child seat and double child seat. We also have a lower deck and we have the new cargo hold panniers you can see here so it’s a
Carlton Reid 29:24
so that they expand out and how much can they fit in?
Josh Hon 29:27
Well, these hold 52 litres. The thing that we love is the Fidlock buckle.
Carlton Reid 29:35
So oh, what’s going on that then magnets?
Josh Hon 29:38
Yeah, they’re magnets. They’re they’re Fidlock. They’re a German design
Carlton Reid 29:43
Oh, Fidlocks, okay, I’ve got the water bottles. Okay. Yes,
Josh Hon 29:46
Josh Hon 29:49
Yeah, yeah. Just easy to use every every time you use it and you think that’s so cool.
Josh Hon 29:55
So, so the capacity of those paniers is 52 litres per side right? So that’s 140 litres. Wow, that’s a lot of shopping that you can do you know, your your, your kids can put their feet inside and there’s still room for their bags or you know, a grocery run.
Carlton Reid 30:15
How many kids can you get in there then, comfortably?
Josh Hon 30:18
Comfortably? Two .
Carlton Reid 30:20
Not in those bags? Sorry in the in the Clubhouse how many kids can get in the clubhouse? Two kids?
Carlton Reid 30:25
Or and then there’s
Carlton Reid 30:27
a Captain’s chair as well what’s that?
Josh Hon 30:30
The Captain’s chair is for bigger kids. So if you’re over 10 years old or 100 I don’t remember the exact something like 135 centimetres. So for an adult, you know, every now and then, you know, I’ve ridden my mom to work. So when I need to do some product testing, I enlist Mom, I say hey, can you hop on the back I want to see how comfortable it is and, and so the Captain’s chair is really it’s it’s essentially a backrest inside supports. For an adult you so that you really you’re a passenger, you just lean back recline, you can you can read a book. So we, my wife, and I ride our son to soccer practice every weekend. And my son is in the back reading his Kindle and eating his breakfast. And he’s very happy. And a couple of weeks ago, actually, I asked, I said, ‘Hey, you know, how to do prefer to get to’, you know, all of his friends. They arrive by by car, right? And we’re the only strange parents that are arriving by bike. And so I was curious, and I said, ‘what do you what do you prefer is a bike or the car?’ And I was so happy. He said, bike that’s what I like, the bike.
Carlton Reid 31:43
And how old is he, Josh?
Josh Hon 31:45
Well, he’s 14. Right? So
Carlton Reid 31:47
14 is amazing, but he’s still saying 14 Yes, you know, cuz I got, I had teen children. And I used to take them on the back of my cargo bike and I would say yeah, 14, 15 is when they’re starting to go ‘I don’t want to be seen on the back of my dad’s cargo bike’.
Josh Hon 32:06
Yeah, so yeah, I was thinking the same thing. And so that’s why I wanted to just double check and he was like, like, Dad. So I made me very proud.
Carlton Reid 32:17
Yeah, fantastic. Now it looks fantastic. We’ve gone through the prices and and people who are going to want these kind of things are going to, they’re going to want these things. They’re gonna they’re gonna ignore those prices and they’re just gonna go for it because as I said, it’s an iconic, epoch changing bicycle. Now, for people who don’t know Tern, let’s go through a potted history of where Tern’s come from, how did Tern get into becoming this, the maker of an iconic bicycle and also how big a market share in your company is the GSD. Is it like a flagship product? And you don’t actually sell that many of them, you know, in the whole, you know, product brand you’ve got, or is it something that’s actually quite important from a from a, you know, a volume sales point of view. So, history of the company, and then zero back in on that product.
Josh Hon 33:19
Well, we we started in, we launched. I think it was, I hope I’m correct, June 16 2011. So we are a bit over nine years old. I would say that it was really kind of a team of very passionate bicycle people and all of us believe in bicycles as a form of transportation. I think that’s the best way to explain it is. You know, we do have road riders or mountain bikers Well, but but i think it’s it’s this, this idea that bicycles should be the way to get around for short distances in cities. And that’s that unifying vision, which I think is so important to to a new young company. So, you know, all of us could have gotten higher paying jobs someplace else. But we believe in, in this vision and so I think that has, you know, that has united us for nine years. And it’s, and it’s honestly been been, it’s been a it’s been a tough road. It was a tough road launching, you know, soon after the, you know, the economic crash. And we started with folding bicycles. That’s what we knew. That’s what we were good at. That’s what we’re still good at. But at that time, you know, folding bikes weren’t doing as well. And so it was was tough. But I think, you know, that, that that vision that we all we all believe in, that’s the thing that kept us together, you know, right. If we’re all just, hey, we’re just here to make a fast buck, flip it and then and then exit, the company would have been finished a long time ago. So I think that’s something that, you know, it makes me quite proud that they’re, you know, we have so many people that have been, we’ve been here from the start, you know, from day one, nine years ago. So, so that’s, that’s kind of the, you know, that’s, that’s where we started. Today, the, you know, e-bikes are a very important part of our product line. You know, we we see, you know, if we think about urban cycling, we think about folding as being an important pillar of that. We think about cargo as being an important pillar, we think about electric and then just kind of lifestyle bikes, bikes that look good and feel good riding. So we look at those as kind of our four pillars for urban cycling. The GSD is definitely a flagship product for us. I think it’s it’s, you know, raised our profile a bit. So, yep,we’re thankful to have it.
Carlton Reid 36:18
And where does it fit into the ecosystem in terms of its flagship in that you’re selling a few, but it’s a really famous iconic bike, or is it really integral to your company? You’re selling a stuff load of these?
Josh Hon 36:35
What we’re selling. I mean, I think we’re a small company. We’re still small compared to the, to the big boys. But yeah, it’s it’s a it’s definitely an important, you know, important part of our product line. Hmm.
Carlton Reid 36:50
And then one thing we haven’t, I haven’t asked and that that’s quite important is when can people get a hold of these things? So somebody’s watching this and go or listen to this and going on ‘Oh God, I gotta have one of them. Here’s my money. Take it now.’ When can they physically get their mitts on this bike?
Josh Hon 37:09
The very end of the year or early, let’s say January 2021. So
Carlton Reid 37:18
people say excited about this bike, and now you’re telling them you can’t have it next week!
Josh Hon 37:25
It’s, it’s actually, it’s a bit of a challenge to, to try and do marketing without news getting out. You have so many stakeholders, right? You have your distribution partners, and you have your dealers and then you have media. And so there’s always this this balance of okay, well, how, how close can we, you know, so even, you know, Apple has some troubles, keeping a lid on leaks. And so, yeah, so the we we feel pretty good about, you know, we’re talking about it in August and that means we have to ship know if people are seeing them in shops beginning, you know, by the end of the year that means we have to ship at least, let’s say five to six weeks earlier. So that means we’re we’re shipping in a in a pretty short amount of time.
Carlton Reid 38:16
Okay, and then bike boom, how is that it impacted you as a company globally? And then and then because you’re based in Taiwan. So has the bike boom. Have you sold as the Taiwanese country because it’s the bicycle Kingdom now, isn’t it? Is it? Have you sold loads more bikes in Taiwan? And is the Taiwanese bike industry doing well from the bike boom, domestically, as well as internationally?
Josh Hon 38:45
Well, so we were we are headquartered here, but we’re doing business around the world. And honestly, the Taiwan market for us is very small. And in fact, you know, GSDs technically are not legal in Taiwan.
Carlton Reid 39:01
Really? Yeah. Why not?
Josh Hon 39:05
I think there are some
Josh Hon 39:10
believe it or not protectionist government policies at work, so that’s something that we, you know, that’s something that we are communicating with the government on, you know, let’s, let’s create let’s, let’s make it a healthy open market. And if there’s a healthy, healthy open market, then you will have a lot of people thinking about this market and developing products for it because the market is not Taiwan, actually. Right. The market is Germany, Holland, the United States, right, but those are the markets. So, so the in terms of bike boom, we are seeing, we’re seeing I mean, I think, as anybody in the bike industry, realises we’re seeing very strong growth in bike sales in most countries around the world. It’s it’s terrible that it’s taken a pandemic. But, you know, I think it’s a sea change right in, in how people view bicycles, you know, before it was ‘yeah, its recreation’ and UK is a great example where sales have just gone off the hook. Right? They’re there. They’re crazy. And the encouraging thing, right is that the government is stepping up and saying, Hey, this is a good thing. We can’t transport 8 million people per day through the Tube. We can’t take more cars on the roads. But, gee, bicycles sure are, you know, a relatively cheap way to move lots of people. So it’s great to see the UK Government stepping up and saying we’re going to allocate £2 billion over a number of years towards infrastructure. And it’s it’s amazing awesome
Carlton Reid 40:54
in the UK is going to be doing an electric bike programme. We don’t know the full details of it. A lot of jurisdictions around the world offer a subsidy for buying electric bikes. And how important is that to your business? The subsidies?
Josh Hon 41:10
I think if we’ve seen you know, if there’s a country or city doing a subsidy, the bike sales go up. But you know, honestly, that’s not something, you know, I don’t think you can depend on governments to to work quickly or in your favour. I would say if it happens, fantastic. We’re happy to take it. But, you know, the, the important thing is to create useful products, right? So if we can create a product, which is, you know, useful enough affordable for people and they could say, hey, maybe I don’t need that second car, maybe a cargo bike or an electric bike could replace that second car. That’s what that’s that’s what we’re thinking about.
Carlton Reid 41:51
Thanks to Josh Han there, and thanks to you for listening shownotes and more can be found at the-spokesmen.com. The next show, sponsored as always by Jenson USA, may or may not have a companion YouTube version, but either way, get out there and ride!