Entering an industry during a pandemic Rebecca Morley catches up with Steven May, UK country manager at JDM Products, on Knaap Bikes’ Innovation from a Newcomer win at last year’s BikeBiz Awards
eing a newcomer to an industry can be tough at any time – let alone in the middle of a global pandemic. The lack of events over the past 12 months has meant fewer opportunities to network and introduce new products and engage with them, meaning it has been challenging for those wishing to enter the market. Knaap Bikes, winner of the 2020 BikeBiz Innovation from a Newcomer Award, has seen ‘rapid acceleration’ in the UK since its rollout, recently celebrating reaching over 120 dealers across the UK. The twoseater 140-kilometre range 180-kilogram capacity e-bikes come in matt black or space grey and retail at £2,299. “Robin Cats, who founded Knaap, comes from a scooter background out of Holland, working with scooter hire solutions around the globe,” says Steven May, UK country manager at Knaap distributor JDM Products. “He saw an opportunity in a more robust product proposition that captured that stability, the ability to ride two people on it and potentially widen the market from scooter into bicycle. “When I rode the bike for a week, I stopped using my car. Every time I rode it people would turn their heads, stop and go: ‘Wow, nice bike mate, where’d you get that from?’ I was genuinely shocked. I’ve never ridden a bicycle that’s turned people’s heads before. “The JDM involvement was to look at the brand, see the opportunities, spend the first week riding it and understand where I thought it fitted in. And then with the Knaap team, we started to profile the target consumers into four categories.”
12 | April 2021
The first of these categories is ‘urban fashionistas’, May explains, which is people who ‘like to be seen on it as much as ride it’. The second is urban commute, which is the one and two rider solution for commuting. “And that’s not just central city commuting, it’s also towns,” May says, “because that journey doesn’t have to be less than five miles, it can actually be more because it’s a pleasant ride. The two-seater e-bikes come in matt black or space grey
“The third [category] is what we call leisure and recreation, which is like the weekend bike. It’s the second mode of transport outside of a car. Because it carries two people, it gives you the ability, as a couple, to go on the bike for those short two to five mile rides that you do, or journeys that you would do in a car, that you can now switch comfortably onto a bike.