Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jax Ebikes Opening

Opening today with little fan fare is Jax Ebikes. Tucked in a corner of the Mary Built building on Stockton St. at College St. is a totally new source of transportation for Jacksonville. The Electric Bicycle.

I first met Dylan Philips owner of Jax Ebikes through an email to Bike Jax inviting me to a curious "brain storming session" at his home. The list of invitees was a mix of whos-whos and never-heard-ofs from within the urban core. I RSVP'd and on the appointed day, unsure of what to expect I rode my bike over to his Riverside home.

Soon after arriving at Dylan's home I learned the focus of the meeting. Dylan it turned out, wanted to get into the bike business. And not just any of type of bike business. He wanted to open an electric bike shop in Riverside. Upon hearing that, it took every ounce of my will to not show utter contempt and disappointment at the thought of electric bikes. But as the meeting went on and I listened to what Dylan (with his infectious enthusiasm) had to say about bikes as transportation and he in turned listened to what we had to say. Once I came to grips that electric bikes are indeed a viable alternative source of transportation. Once I could see how this was a perfect solution for the working poor that can't afford a car and has no other option for transportation but our very poorly functioning bus system. Or the commuter that doesn't bike because they are concerned about arriving to work sweaty or their work doesn't provide type of facilities to clean up or change. How about those with health problems that would like to get outside and ride a bike? And now could do so with the assistance of the electric motor. I could actually feel myself coming around to the idea.

Dylan's business plan didn't limit itself to the selling of electric bikes as transportation. He also wanted to create a place open and welcoming to those in the community. A place where designers and artists could show their work. A place where people could come in and sit with others and talk to about what is going on in the community. I imagined something like a modern day floyd's barber shop. And I liked it.

Over the next few months after that initial meeting I had the chance to get to know and work with Dylan as his plan for Jax Ebikes took shape. Every time a new bike came in I got a call to come check it out and ride it. And I do have to admit, the more time I spent on those electric bikes, the more I could see the transportational value in them. I watched and listened as Dylan worked with manufactures to make sure that every bike that came through his doors met his very high standards. I would watch as Dylan would open a boxed bike, put it together, ride it and then start tearing it down and re-boxing to return it the manufacture because it didn't meet his standards of quality.

After some major frustrations along with lots of trail and error, Dylan found the bikes he felt met his demanding standards for daily transportation. Jax Ebikes will be carrying two different manufactures of electric bikes. He will handle the full line of Ultra Motor electric bikes and limited models of the Currie izip. Jax Ebikes will have models that range from 15 to 40 miles per charge which will easily fit within most peoples commute and lifestyle distances.

If you have not ever ridden or heard of an electric bike. You owe it yourself to go check them out. I promise they are unlike anything you would expect an electric bike to be. Electric bikes should not be confused with electric scooters. An electric bike can go anywhere a normal bicycle can. Scooters can't. In fact, in the state of Florida, while it perfectly legal to sell electric scooters. The state will not license them. An electric bike is still by it very design a bike. If for some reason you deplete the battery away from home. You can always peddle back. Electric scooters on the other hand become 300 hundred pound bricks with wheels.

Here are a few of the advantages to electric bikes over gas scooters:

*The annual cost of an electric bicycle has become significantly cheaper than gas powered scooters. At $3.50 gas, riding an EBike for an hour each weekday can take you 5200 miles in a year for $20 in electricity. Accounting for insurance, driving a 50cc scooter that distance will cost $482 and generate 4x as much CO2. Driving a passenger car will cost $910.00, in gas alone, and generate 20x more green house gases. Thus, fuel costs for an electric bicycle are now 12% of a gasoline scooter and 2% of a gasoline car.

*Up front costs also favor an electric bicycle over a quality gasoline powered scooter. Each of the bikes from Jax Ebikes comes with a 2 year warranty (versus a 1 year warranty for quality scooters like Yamaha, Honda and Vespa). But most importantly, only electric bicycles can commute from Riverside to downtown via the Riverwalk or any other bike path.

*The unassisted range of electric bicycles has improved dramatically with the conversion to lithium batteries. All of the bicycles go 15 miles unassisted, and most models can go up to 30 miles unassisted. Yes, you can peddle and use the motor at the same time. Peddling does not recharge the battery. But it does extend your batteries distance by about 15%.

*Lithium batteries significantly reduce the weight of electric bikes, substantially increasing the speed. Although an electric bike will not go as fast as a gasoline scooter. Most of electric bikes go 20 MPH unassisted.

*All of the bikes purchased through Jax Ebikes are sold with light kits.

Plan a stop by Jax Ebikes and take one for ride. And then pull up chair and hang out and chat for awhile.

Jax Ebikes is located at:

875 Stockton St.
Jacksonville, FL 32204

Hours are Tuesday thru Saturday 10 am to 6 pm


Shek said...

I will have to come and have a look. These bikes combined with a good bicycling infrastructure would make Jacksonville a much more pedestrian and bicycle friendly place. Improving the range definitely opens up the options for longer distance bicycle commuters.

I was wondering how it compares to electric motor kits that you can attach to your bikes. Quality may suffer but does it the better quality of Jax Ebikes justify the cost?

Dylan Phillips said...


I've looked into carrying the EBike kits: Bionx, Wilderness Energy and EVDepot.

At the moment, the quality of the kits is very poor and more importantly the batteries are unreliable.

Our Ultra Motor bikes come with a 2 Year Warranty and our Currie Bikes come with a 1 Year Warranty. So you can rest assured that what you purchase will run.

Generally the hub motor kits, run for about three months, and then totally crap out. Controller, Battery, Motor or a combination of failures. The quality used to be much better, but now the major manufactures of hub motor kits are locked up with the EBike Manufactures, including the Asian Manufactures.

The demand for these things is so big, it's expected that the manufactures won't be caught up with demand for another 12 months. So, what's left? Mom and pop shops without solid quality control.

If one of my EBike breaks down, you can come to my shop. I'll fix the issue and give you a loner, while we are repairing the vehicle. No phone message. No ignored emails. Old fashioned quality service.

When the Hub Motors catch up in their Quality Control, you can bet we'll carry them. I can't wait to electrify my Releigh!

Come stop by my shop. I bet you'll be impressed.

-Dylan, Jax EBikes

Shek said...

@ Dylan
Thanks for your response. I have done no research into the electric bike business and you have a shop, so I am sure you have considered all comparisons of quality and reliability.

I live in Southside, so Stockton is a little out of the way for me. I may drop by over some weekend though.

Ann said...

As an exclusively electric vehicle dealer for the last 7 years, may I recommend that you revisit the BionX system. It comes with a 2 year warranty on the product, 1 year on the batteries and the 36V LiIon 350 watt motor is very torquey and helpful with the hills. The company has been very good at addressing some design issues and improving the performance. Its really the best of the kits out there right now. Also, as a lighter weight, rear wheel system, it has a more natural 'bike' feel to it. The smaller kit I only recommend to folks riding on really flat type terrain or my super strong riders who only want a little assistance. Really, the BionX system is way superior to the others you mention. Talk to Alex one of their reps who is also very technically knowledgeable.

Electric said...

Ultra a2b is $2700 retail
europa model is a bit less
both max out out 20 mph
he wont sell kits because anyone can buy them anyway
Those wanting faster speed need to get their own kit online
Bionx.. overpriced, slow,"torquey"? compared to what ?, try calling canada to get your Q's answered !

Dylan Phillips said...


I never said anything about BionX being, "overpriced or slow". I rather like the BionX product, although the 350 Watt max is a little weak. I'm looking forward to the 500 Watt Motor.

Maybe, you might be an employee of BionX? Scanning Google, looking for references to BionX, then posting your standard reply to the site.

This is BikeJax baby, our community is more savvy than that!

If your eye for quality is as good as your eye for detail, your judgment might be circumspect.

While the A2B is priced at $2600, that's our top of the line model. We have bikes ranging from $850 to $2700.

As you'll see with the following links, we are very price competative with the quality kits BionX & Crystalyte:


P250 $1095 + Bike
P350 $1395 + Bike


Phoenix - $999.99

My Bikes
EzGo $850
HG-1000 $949
Portia $999
Urban Cruiser $1049
Trailz Enlightened $1399
Europa $1899
A2B $2599

As I explained to Shek, we're totally stoked to stock kits. But we've seen a significant drop off in quality, as the U.S. resellers (or rebranders) are searching to fill demand from a variety of Chinese Manufactures.

Until they get it right, we won't be stocking the kits. We are Jacksonville residents, selling to Jacksonville customers. No online store, just business by handshake. We are unwilling to hide behind a URL, when our customers receive a substandard product.

Go back and reread the BikeJax post on our business. We 'return' substandard products, when they don't meet quality standards. Can I get kits cheaper? Absolutely! But, I'll let someone else sell the junk kits. I like to sleep well at night.

Shek said...

I like that Dylan.
Finally somebody takes quality seriously.

michael said...

nice collection