Why did you buy an e-bike? PSU (and the bike industry) wants to know

A tried and true Surly longtail with electric assist from Stokemonkey (made in Portland, available through Clever Cycles).

E-bikes help regular people do amazing things.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

E-bikes are everywhere in Portland. Dealers report strong sales, they scored great press in the Willamette Week’s latest bike issue, and I have a feeling that in a few years we won’t remember what our bikeways looked like without them.

Like many trends in the U.S. bike scene, Portland is leading the way. We have a cottage industry of sellers, makers, and tinkerers who are pushing e-bikes into the mainstream. We also have an academic brain trust at Portland State University that has become one of the nations leading places for e-bike research. Portland State University has been researching e-bikes since at least 2011.

Now they’ve inked a partnership with national nonprofits People for Bikes (an advocacy group funded by the bicycle industry) and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association to learn even more about the e-bike market and push it further along into the American mainstream.


PSU’s Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) has teamed up with the University of Tennessee to conduct a survey of e-bike users in North America. Since the study is funded by product suppliers, the survey aims to glean insights into what influenced people to buy their e-bikes. They also hope to learn how the bikes are being used and what features are most valued by riders — and what types of upgrades they might want on future models.

This isn’t new ground for PSU. In 2013, they conducted the first ever national survey of e-bike owners in North America. That survey was a start, but with just 553 responses it offered limited data. By partnering with two major industry groups (one of which has direct access to lists of e-bike buyers directly from manufacturers), PSU will have access to a much larger swath of respondents.

If you own an e-bike, you can take the survey online. It should take about 15-20 and there are 10, $50 Visa gift cards up for grabs if you complete the whole thing.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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