The coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact has affected nearly every area of commerce by now. Electric bicycle manufacturers, especially those located in China, certainly aren’t immune to the economic ripples caused by the crisis. But electric bicycle manufacturer FREY Bike has created a unique program to assist new and current customers alike.
FREY Bike’s customer support program
If you aren’t familiar with FREY Bike, then make sure you check out our tour of their factory (video below).
We visited them last fall in Jinhua, China, to learn how they perform low-volume production of high-quality electric bicycles.
FREY’s e-bikes are mostly high-end electric mountain bikes that rival the quality and performance of top European brands for a fraction of the price. Oh yeah, and their e-bikes sport insanely powerful 1.5kW peak motors and can hit flat-land speeds of 59 km/h (37 mph), as I personally tested and confirmed.
But in light of current events, FREY has initiated a new program known as FREY is With You.
Due to FREY’s location, they have access to plenty of protective face masks during a time when much of the world is seeing a shortage. So they’ve decided to provide free protective masks to their previous customers and members of the FREY community. Check out their info page to get in touch here.
FREY has already packaged and begun sending out free masks
As explained by FREY cofounder Ivy Wang:
Due to the current special circumstances all over the world, FREY wants to do something for you, our original and new customers.
For our trusted original customers we would like to support you and your family. If you are in need of protective face masks due to local shortages, we will send you protective masks free of charge. Just let us know if you need them and we will reach out to you!
For new customers, we would like to offer a special project. The recent Frey group buy gave us a lot of feedback, people from outside of the US wanted to join, people wanted to participate after the deadline etc. We also understood some people preferred to wait longer and pay less transport costs.
As a second part of the program for new customers, FREY is offering free shipping for anyone that can wait a bit longer on delivery of a bike. Shipping has long been an obstacle for FREY and other small, boutique e-bike builders located far from their Western customer base. While FREY’s e-bikes usually range from around $2,000-3,000, shipping can cost around $500 by sea or $800 by air.
That certainly beats paying $5,000-6,000 for a comparable European e-bike, but it’s still a pretty hefty shipping price compared to the bike’s price.
And since FREY doesn’t want to devalue their bikes by dropping the price even lower, they’re now offering to pay the shipping for anyone who is interested in delaying shipment in exchange for zero shipping cost.
FREY’s new delayed-shipping program was inspired by the success of their previous US group buy, where they offered a discounted shipping rate for US customers who pooled their e-bikes into a single sea shipment.
As a boutique builder in high demand, FREY already has a fairly lengthy lead time of around two months for new orders. However, in exchange for free shipping, the expected delivery time for this program is 6-7 months. Riders in the EU will have their bikes shipped by rail, while customers in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand will have their bikes shipped by sea. Riders will have up to 30 days to cancel the order.
Riders wishing to receive their bikes in less time can still pay for standard shipping. In addition, FREY is working on expanding its local dealer network as well, with local operations available in the UK as well as Switzerland.
I’ve spoken to Ivy Wang and she explained that while they would love to be able to send free masks to everyone, there are still limitations, and thus they are hoping to at least provide this as a free service to their customers that are part of the Frey community.
I’ve seen other e-bike companies in China pitching in to help as well. EM3EV, a popular Bejing-based e-bike parts supplier that was also hit hard by the economic disruptions of coronavirus in China, is offering masks at cost to anyone who can’t find them locally.
Considering the either free or at-cost distribution from these companies, I think it would be hard to claim that either is profiteering from the crisis. Instead, I think it’s great to see that a country who was so deeply impacted by the crisis is now trying to help others around the world.
At the same time, it’s important to think about the environmental impact of so many extra face masks being used, and to consider how they can be disposed of properly.
Regarding FREY’s new free shipping discount, it sounds like a win-win for anyone who can wait that long. It helps FREY alleviate some stress on their supply chain after the coronavirus crisis while giving an effective discount of somewhere between 15%-25%, depending on the bike. Not too shabby! For me though, I don’t know if I could wait that long for such a cool bike.
Check out my review video below of their Frey CC full-suspension commuter model to see what I mean. These bikes can rip!
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