By Matt Kroschel
EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – New rounds of tariffs may spell the end of the bike path for one Colorado e-bike small business startup. The new company is filling a niche market with its shinny, new Wildsyde Vintage e-Cruiser e-bikes.
Paul Hields worked hard to pull off what many people fail at doing: building a brand and securing a factory to make his product.
The beefy bikes have an electric motor to help make the ride a little easier.
The threat of the newly-announced tariffs mean the small Colorado startup has two price lists. One for bikes already in stores and one they bring in after tariffs take effect.
“These tariffs are going to hurt our startup. They could make it a non-starter to tell you the truth,” Hields told CBS4’s Matt Kroschel. They spoke over FaceTime as he manned a booth at a bike trade show in Reno, Nevada.
The Vail Valley entrepreneur shared his frustrations with something totally out of his control.
“We are hoping that they won’t be implemented, but right now, the tariff is on electric bicycles, regular bicycles, and bicycle components. We’re seeing price increases,” he explained. “I decided I was going to build a brand around this because these bikes are head turners. They’re very cool looking. They’re fun to ride.”
Hields explained that since there aren’t any American companies making e-bike parts, he went to a factory in China. Now, that decision is causing extra stress with the Trump administrations’ planned 25 percent tariffs on bike and e-bikes coming from China.
“The comforting factors is we’re not the only people that are having to increase our bikes by 20-25 percent. We tried to soften the blow a little bit for our retailers. We’ve actually absorbed some of that margin.”
Tariffs mean the normally $3,000 bikes will cost an extra $500.
“As a manufacturer, I’m in the middle of that. I won’t be selling as many bicycles. We hope these tariffs are short-lived. We hope the government will come to an agreement.”
For this Vail Valley company. it’s a waiting game, but they do worry this could stop them mid-pedal.