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.

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(credit: CBS)

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.

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(credit: CBS)

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.

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Paul Hields (credit: CBS)

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.”

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(credit: CBS)

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.”

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(credit: CBS)

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.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

Comments (3)
  1. Yvette Roberts says:

    Matt, your old journalism teacher here. Please ask someone to spell “shiny” (“shy-nee”) not shinny (“shin-nee). And thanks for putting a local face to an international problem. Good job!

  2. Paul Nourse says:

    China has had huge tariffs on American goods, the goal is no tariffs. By putting ever increasing tariffs on China it will eventually force China to agree both sides eliminate or reduce tariffs. Its only 10% now and hopefully China will see the light before Jan 1st when it becomes 25%. I’m building a custom cargo e bike and while I don’t like paying more to the government I understand it will eventually lead to fair trade on both sides, and that is good for America.

    Yes it temperately hurts US consumers. Yes manufactures will need to eat or pass on the cost. In the mean time smart businesses will source what they need from countries other than China. Its up to China as to when they agree to a fair trade agreement. Its discomfort for the US, its doing damage to the Chinese economy. As big as the Chinese economy is it is no match for the US economy, especially now that its been unchained by reduced regulations and taxes.

    Eventually High Country E-Bike Company may want to take advantage of the Chinese market and expand sales overseas.

    For an example on how this strategy works look at the trade opening up in Europe. Tariffs suck, but as a means to an end they can be very effective.

  3. Paul Nourse says:

    Yvette Grammatical rules are descriptive, not prescriptive. These rules are capricious and they are constantly changing.

    Looking to feel good about yourself through public corrections by providing evidence that other people’s language skills suck or yours are superior so that you can feel better about yourself is weak sauce. You might ask yourself why you feel you have something to prove, either to yourself or others. It could also be that you’re threatened, as in you didn’t get the job in a Newsroom.

    FYI temperately should be temporarily 😉

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