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Afraid to Buy an E-Bike? Try Friiway’s Subscription Service Instead

The service will allow consumers to "test-drive" e-bikes long-term to see if it's a match for their lifestyle.

a man riding an e-bikeThe Stromer ST2 Pinion, one of the two e-bikes you can "lease" with Friiway's new subscription service; (photo/Stromer)
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If you’re like me, you’ve been toying around with buying an e-bike for years but weren’t sure if the purchase would match your lifestyle. Yeah. You aren’t alone.

That’s why San Francisco-based startup Friiway is bringing a “subscription service” to skeptical urban riders in the Bay Area.

“For the e-bike curious, hesitation stems from poor infrastructure, upfront cost, and the commitment required to try it in their own lives. At Friiway, we’re here to cure that curiosity by making high-quality e-bikes affordable and flexible for first-time riders,” Friiway co-founder Joe Connors said in a press release.

So, how does Friiway plan to do this?

How It Works

Its plan is similar to a leasing program. First, head to Friiway’s website and pick out a bike. There are two to choose from: a Riese & Müller Multitinker cargo bike and a Stromer ST2 Pinion urban commuter.

After you’ve chosen your future steed, pick a program. Friiway offers three subscription tiers for each bike — as you might expect, month-to-month is the most pricey, followed by reductions in cost for 6-month and annual plans.

There are also add-ons available. For instance, the Riese & Müller bike has optional cargo and passenger accessories for an additional monthly cost. And yes, the bikes come with a lock and key.

Your subscription starts when you pick up your bike (you can reserve one for $49). You can cancel with 4 weeks’ notice after your minimum term is up (1 month, 6 months, or 12 months, depending on the plan you choose).

The best part is what all your subscription covers: insurance, maintenance, and (this is cool) the ability to apply 15% of your subscription toward the purchase of a bike at The New Wheel brick-and-mortar store, should you be won over. The Multitinker starts at $259, while the ST2 Pinion begins at $229 monthly.

a man and a woman hold the handlebars of an e-bike in front of a bike store
Leasing an e-bike from Friiway comes with insurance, maintenance, and a comprehensive “introduction” for new riders; (photo/Friiway)

Something to note: The program is currently only available in the Bay Area — you can pick up your freshly leased ride at one of three locations (San Francisco, Oakland, and Larkspur Landing in Marin County).

You may not live in the Bay Area, but you can always cross your fingers the program will expand into your area. A Friiway representative confirmed that the brand plans to expand into other cities. Or maybe your boss will toss in a subscription as part of your employee perks.

“Leasing has been a great success for us in Europe, making our top-of-the-line e-bikes available to more commuters. On top of that, many employers are now taking advantage of this model to support their employees towards [sic] healthier, more affordable, and more sustainable ways of commuting. We’re excited to expand these opportunities in the United States,” Matti Rajakylä, Stromer’s North American general manager, said in the press release.

We can hope, can’t we?

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