CROWDFUNDING - OPEN TO BACKERS WORLDWIDE
One of my personal greatest inspirations in my continuing endeavors to become a global enabler for electric bike technology comes from one of the pioneers of this movement: Sondors.
Sondors brought the affordable electric bike movement mainstream with a $499 USD Electric bike as below on both the kickstarter and indiegogo platforms:
Sondors raised millions for his electric bikes that were backed all over the world and i even had a chance to see one on a recent trip to Riga, Latvia below:
We recently received an update email from Sondors with the fantastic news that they are entering the 'Folding' ebike space meaning that we over at stark drive were onto something when we launched Stark Drive, as the original Sondors above no no ability to fold.
Their first entry into the folding space was Sondors Fold (at the top of this page), and we are intensely interested in introducing a complimentary product as part of the 'Stark Drive' line-up of bikes, more on this later.
More importantly, Sondors has now introduced the Sondors Fold Mini which seems to be a distant relative of Stark Drive Mini (which we are launching in Late Spring/Early Summer.
Sondors has priced his Mini for $799 with an impressive set of features. Once design choice he made which we thought was a bit of overkill was disc brakes on a bike with low inertia and momentum, such a powerful braking system adds, unnecessary cost to the design, in our opinion.
Stark Drive Mini will be infinitely upgradable and starts at an unbelievable $299 US.
Backers will even have the possibility to back a Stark Drive Mini you can fly with anywhere in the world, batteries an all.
The First eBike in the world designed to fly!
Sondors Fold Mini
Sondors Fold Sport (Starting at $899 US)
Sondors Fold (Starting at $1229 US)
Note that if you do want to have some weather protection (fenders) and a rear rack for a Sondors fold, the cost to upgrade this feature is $169 USD. If you compare to Stark Drive City the cost to upgrade this feature on our bikes is a rather more affordable $70 USD.
We think competition drives innovation. Instead of competition we consider these other players our Mate. Pushing us to innovate, driving us to compete, but of course doing all of this legally and above board. We believe that in a functioning market economy it is the backers that decide what ultimately survives in the marketplace and what is out-innovated by competition.
CEO, Stark Drive LLC.
Although our blog updates have been somewhat less frequent things are still moving and shaking here at Stark Drive headquarters. Bikes have been leaving the factory and the new batch of bikes has officially closed and been released to for production. The factory is just finalizing some issues related to currency fluctuations which has held up the physical start of production but we anticipate this very soon. The currency fluctuations have been caused by the devaluation of the RMB over the last several months in comparison to the USD which has several contributing factors not the least of which has been the trade war which has ensued between these respective superpowers. The factory originally quoted us in USD and as we have such excellent pricing, it does have an effect on their bottom line. In the future we have requested all pricing in local currency to avoid any hold ups in this regard.
EU Tracking Numbers Added
We are pleased to announce that all the EU tacking numbers (minus Sweden, and a few other countries) have been added to your respective accounts and/or paypal (if you backed us via paypal). These are placeholders. The numbers are accurate (Delivery via UPS) and will begin to function once imported into the EU. This is the same as how the US/Canada bikes were sent meaning the numbers will show no activity until they reach the carrier after clearing customs and they take possession to deliver the bikes to the backers. This could take a few weeks but less time then it took for our overseas based backers.
Non EU bikes Shipped (if you have covered additional shipping/import charges)
the following countries have also been sent out:
We will be in touch with the respective backers with tracking information once we receive it as well as ETD, and ETA dates.
Delays to Sweden Bound Bikes
In the last several weeks there have been some catastrophes due to lithium ion batteries on board cargo ships bound for countries around the world departing China. We are super please to report and feeling quite fortunate that Stark Drives Cargo Container Was Not Among the Damaged. However due to the catastrophes which you can read more about below (use a translator as the news in in Chinese) the Chinese government has really stepped up monitoring and security precautions for any containers containing lithium cells meaning that although the Sweden bound bikes left the factory several weeks ago they have been stuck at the port waiting to board a cargo ship for the last few weeks. This is horrible news for our manufacturing partner as they are legally forced to cover all 'storage' charges at this port while the government conducts their audits and this has already run into the thousands of dollars. This will not effect any of our backers or Stark Drive but it does effect the bottom line of our manufacturing partner and consequently in the future possibly Stark Drive.
The first meeting between our respective councils and the arbitration judge took place as scheduled. It baffles us at Stark Drive that Mate decided it was not worth their time to take part in the proceedings. Indiegogo was there in a more reserved fashion. This type of behavior would only serve to frustrate the judge and does not reflect well upon Mate. The judge has given Mate until the 27th to respond in written form.
On an aside, I remember watching cartoons as a child, specifically those of an ostrich whom when frightened or in danger decided to duck its head in the sand and since it could no longer see the coming peril it obviously did not exist. From what i remember in these cartoons, it never worked out too well for the Ostrich.
I would like to revisit one of my favorite songs by one of the best groups of all time below:
CEO, Stark Drive LLC
Super excited to report that the EU bikes as of a couple days ago left the factory. Below you can see photos of the bikes as they head to the logistics partner for eventual loading on to a train bound for the EU. Last time (which was near christmas 2017) we experienced really long delays during the EU import process and we were very hesitant to send the bikes the same way this time but we were assured that this would not occur now as the christmas rush is over and we are using a different import point. Theoretically, the train should be about 50% faster then the boat for transport to the EU at 2-3 weeks.
Once it arrives to the EU, they will go through import and inspection and then will be sent to the local delivery agents warehouse for final delivery to your respective doors.
Since the delivery will be much faster then time, we dont anticipate any issues with low voltage batteries and we have packed these bikes much better so we anticipate no damage during the shipping process. Further, EU delivery agents generally are much kinder to our bikes then their partners in the USA.
Tracking Numbers for your respective bikes will be sent after they are imported to the EU and once the local delivery agents get the bikes, these will be uploaded to paypal (if you backed us that way) and/or sent to you via email.
We have closed batch 3 and submitted it to the factory, manufacturing will take approximately 1 month and then we will ship. We are moving forward with our MASTER PLAN and have included in this batch 2 units of STARK DRIVE TORQUE which will eventually be the first ever torque based electric bike launching at under $1000 USD as unbelievable as that may seem. (comparable bikes on the market start at around $4000)
Rest of The World Bikes (Non USA/CANADA/EU)
Talk about a logistics nightmare! we have been trying to find the most affordable ways to get bikes to far away places such as Costa Rica, Argentina, Uruguay, Kuwait, Mexico India etc) and due to the various import procedures and taxes etc the delivery can vary from Express air shipment to Boat shipment delivered to the port.
Note: we always work to get you the most affordable delivery method but in some cases such its impossible due to local regulations to get a super low price. We have a solution for this however, tell all your friends when you get your bikes so that next time we send a minimum of 150 units to your respective countries and then we just send a container which is ultra affordable.
All of these bikes are going out next week, we should have photos of them as they leave the factory which we will publish when we receive them.
We love feedback and some of our backers have thoughtfully taken the time to send us reviews of their bikes from batch 1 which we appreciate, we want to improve all the time and make Stark Drive the best electric bike in the world. Also if you have the opportunity to review us on Trustpilot, that would be excellent, good or bad it helps us to improve.
Indiegogo/Mate Arbitration in USA
The first meeting regarding this arbitration for tortious interference between Mate/Indiegogo and ourselves has taken over a year since the events took place (February 23 2017) but its finally happening. April 10th is the first meeting between the respective parties. We will of course keep you updated on the events as they transpire as we aim for full transparency.
CEO, Stark Drive LLC
The Container for EU bikes are about to leave and you dont want to miss the boat. If you have been contacted about covering duty and taxes for import into europe please cover these fees ASAP by clicking on your individualized link. Note we have fixed the issue we were having with our shipping calculator on our website.
These bikes are going out and there are some instances where we have had to pay our import agency in the local country in order to get the bikes through customs, these fees are passed onto the backer as it ends up saving the backer a significant amount of money from them trying to do this work themselves. If you have been emailed please cover these fees.
A tough nut to crack, shipping to ones home is extraordinarily expensive in some instances such as Brazil. We recommend that our backers in south america act as importers and import their own bikes to save on costs.
No significant problems shipping here. Please keep checking your email if we need to pass along any information to you.
We are please to say that batch three has now closed and manufacturing will begin shortly.
Questions? Comments? Recommendations?
we appreciate all comments and queries that we receive from backers. We even more appreciate feedback that we have received on our bikes from some backers and their experience with them. Thank you! These comments will help to improve Stark Drive for the future.
CEO, Stark Drive LLC
We have started sending out some requests for paying for importation duty and customs fees to our backers in the south pacific, asia, middle east, and south america. you may have received an email regarding this if you have backed an email from these locations. Note that these fees are a real bargain as we learned in our first batch of bikes to the same, sending it via LCL (less then a container load) incurs many extra fees not to mention the fact that the backer is required to act as the import agent which in itself takes a long period and incurs storage fees at the port. None of these additional funds to go us rather they to go the logistics company.
All the EU bikes will have customs and duty fees sent to the backers and must be paid before they leave the factory. These will be coming in the next few days.
Below you will see photos of the full container for the above titled locations. Once these get to Sweden we will send customs payment requests and then send them out via UPS or DHL to your homes. We expect it to take about 4 weeks for the bikes to arrive to us here in Sweden.
Mate Libel Lawsuit in Denmark
I went to Denmark last week for the day in order to attend the trial that was brought up against our lovely competitor mate for breeching the marketing act in Denmark. I had the chance to meet Michael and his sister. The trial went exceedingly well and we believe that we have succeeded but the results and decision are not going to be posted till April 25th.
CEO, Stark Drive LLC
Hello EU Backers!
We are excited to report that the Sweden container has been packed and left the factory and the EU bikes have done the same. (Yes Sweden is in the EU, but for this back we have asked for additional bikes in order to launch our showroom).
All the bikes have been paid for and are departing on their boat voyages to the European Port in Germany for eventual distribution throughout all of the EU. We are not using the train system this time as it turned out to be exceptionally slower then boat shipments due to the overload of shipments coming this way from China and the underprepared reception point in the Netherlands. As the saying goes, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on us. It is estimated to be a 4 week boat journey at which point it will take a few days to clear customs and then out via local carrier (NOT TNT) to the final destination - your homes.
We are shortly going to be sending out customized links to each and every one of you to cover duty and taxes. Each link will be to our website and customized only to your backing, and hidden. Once payment is made it will automatically register and confirm your bike and its final journey to your homes.
It's very important to cover these fees ASAP to avoid any redirection or delays of your bikes.
Any questions can be directed to us via our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rest of the World
These bikes are also done and we will be contacting you to cover taxes and additional fees if applicable for your countries depending on your individualized governmental charges.
Closing at the end of March. 100 USD Upgrade rebate for new backers still applies, get your backing in now for an anticipated shipping of end of May.
CEO, Stark Drive LLC
Finally after sitting for a long time in a UPS warehouse far far away somewhere in the US of A, the bikes for Batch 2 are finally being updated on the UPS website with the tracking numbers we provided you. On a few checks we noted that some bikes are due to be delivered even this coming Monday March 16th. All the remaining US Batch 2 bikes should be delivered latest by friday next week.
EU / Rest of the World
The rest of the bikes have been paid for and the Sweden bound bikes (this includes far away places such as bermuda, iceland, norway, turkey, isreal) are being shipped to us by the end of this week by boat. From our logistics in china this should take 35 days to arrive. Once arriving to Sweden we will reship them out to each individual backer. Customs and Duty fees will need to be covered before they are sent out but we will be in touch with each individual backer regarding this.
The rest of the world bikes will be finished by March 20 and will be sent out after this. We will work hard to find the fastest possible shipping solutions for NON EU based bikes.
Batch 3 Closing end of March ($100 Accessory Upgrade Offer)
We are closing the batch 3 bikes at the end of march with anticipated shipping end of May. Right now we are offering $100 in free upgrades for all new backers that back a bike before the close of this production cycle. This applies for any upgrades such as a better battery, more powerful motor etc. It does not apply on just a base standard (ie non upgraded bike). The refunds will be applied directly after the backing is made once you email us.
Further Improved packaging for Bikes
See below for some photos of the further improvements we have made in the packaging when shipping out the bikes to ensure they arrive to the backers in the condition that they left the factory.
Thank you for helping to launch and spread the most affordable electric bikes in the world.
CEO, Stark Drive LLC
Here at Stark Drive we are continually scanning the marketplace to ensure that we are the most affordable and most well equipped electric bike on the market and we like to especially like to scan through ebay as there are many sellers that are offering similar modeled electric bikes to the one we have chosen as our flagship. As regular readers of our blog know, the electric bike that we offer on Stark Drive was not created by us. In order to save costs and make the bike as affordable as possible we have relied on standardized moulds and have built Stark Drive around what is already available in the marketplace.
Below you can see an example of what is on offer by a brand called RichBit. This is a very similar electric bike to the one we offer, but without the opportunity to customize various options on the bike such as the ones we offer on our website.
When pricing this bike in US$ one arrives to just north of $1500 delivered. The seller claims that this will be shipping from the UK meaning that for EU buyers, there should not be any additional VAT added to the total.
Now when configuring a similarly equipped Stark Drive City with the same Motor, battery and other options visible in their listing one arrives to a price of 937.99 including shipping ($200 USD). Of course one must pay VAT when importing to the EU and the total price including VAT for our offering would be in the region of 1230 USD. This is a savings of approximately 300 USD and does not include the fact that Stark Drive is customizable to a high degree.
Our goal at Stark Drive is to always offer the best value proposition for anyone that is interested in owing an electric bike and we will continue to strive for this both today and in the future.
Stark Drive Mini
Currently we are in the process of launching the worlds most affordable portable electric bike starting at an unbelievable $299 USD. We have also managed to build (from our knowledge) the worlds first fully functioning electric bike that one can take with them wherever they may travel by air. Stark Drive Mini will have an option to bring bike (batteries and all) onboard a plane, legally. This means that no matter where your commute you can always rely on Stark Drive to get you where you're going.
CEO, Stark Drive LLC.
Stark Drive was honored to be invited to attend the 2018 Kiev AktivExpo (http://www.activexpo.com.ua/) as a guest to discuss partnerships to bring Stark Drive to Ukraine. As hard as it may be to believe our electric bikes are less expensive then many non electric models in the Ukrainian marketplace and as such we want to get affordable green transportation to everyone that wants it in Ukraine.
While at the expo we saw a plethora of electric bike offerings with differing styles, designs, and price-points, however once again Stark Drive was the most affordable to be seen anywhere in the conference center. We did see a very familiar style of electric bike that we can exactly place but perhaps you backers can help us in solving this mystery.
It would be good to remember that the prices you see below are in Ukrainian hryvnia's meaning that 10.000 Ukrainian is worth approximately 376 USD.
15,670 Ukranian (590 USD) includes front light, rear rack, a comfortable seat as well as many other standard features.
Directly Driven Bike with no Chain!
And of course what expo would not be complete with the friendly expo representatives!
Batch 2 (Rest of the world exclusive USA/Canada)
these bikes will be done around March 20 and be shipping directly after that to everyone in the world. We appreciate your patience, it will be well worth it with the host of free upgrades we have made to this batch as detailed in a previous blog post!
CEO, Stark Drive LLC
We love competition and we are honored to be playing in the same league as Sonders, the company that started the affordable electric bike revolution.
We recently got an informative advertisement from Sondors and their new Sonders Stainless Electric bike.
Its a fat tire bike for the USA/Canada market with a 350W motor and a 36V 12.8Ah battery pack. The differences in price between Stark Drive Fat Tire and Sondors dont seem great at first until you start to look at all the accessories that are standard components with Stark Drive that are not even available with Sondors.
Stark Drive Includes by Default
Stark Drive Below:
As you can see Stark Drive is Ultra Competitive when it comes to price and features, even when compared to the big boys that have similar delivery logistics as us (90-120 days delivery time).
We see no competition whatsoever for our upcoming Stark Drive Mini launching late spring early summer 2018.
CEO, Stark Drive LLC