Fremantle startup leading global e-bike revolution
Fremantle startup Tiller Rides has designed a cutting-edge e-bike for urban riders wanting a
healthy, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to travel around their city. They’ve
recently launched an ambitious equity crowdfunding bid on Birchal, to raise up to $3 million
to set up production and meet demand for its Roadster e-bike.
Co-founder of Tiller Rides, Julian Ilich, is a designer, engineer, and behavioural change
expert. His team has been road testing six beta bikes on Perth streets for the past four
months and has already pre-sold more than 100 Roadsters.
“After two years of customer research, design, engineering, prototyping and testing, we’ve
created an e-bike well beyond anything else offered in the world,” Ilich says.
“The next step is raising investment to manufacture our product and expand the sales and
distribution network across Australia. We’ve decided to use equity crowdfunding because
central to the Tiller Rides business is a connected community of riders who also care about
solving the problems that we launched the business to solve.”
While analysts agree the Australian e-bike market is in its infancy, there’s a surge globally
for e-bike sales on the back of falling battery prices and a greater focus on health and cutting
carbon emissions, increasing e-bike market exposure.
Globally, the highest growth region for sales for e-bikes like the Roadster is Europe. Based
on the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI) Industry & Market Profile
(2017), it is estimated that some 2.2 million e-bikes were sold in Europe in 2018. This market
is currently growing at 14.3% per annum.
A Technavio market research study also predicts that this will continue to accelerate to
around 18% per annum by 2022.
With an estimated average e-bike price of $2,600 AUD, the European market is now worth
over $4.5 billion dollars (AUD) and is growing rapidly. The Pedelec (electric assist) segment,
to which the Roadster belongs, is the highest growth segment.
Similar to Apple technology, the Tiller Rides Roadster has style and an abundance of built-in
features. This is made possible by a sleek lightweight pressed-aluminium frame that
seamlessly integrates a removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a keyless motion
sensing alarm and GPS ‘find my bike’ tracker, as well as built in cable lock, automatic brake
lights, sturdy double stand, greaseless belt drive, integrated lights, tyre repair, and even a
With all these features, the bike weighs a light 25kg and the long range battery has a range
of 80km on the highest power setting.
“As the cities of the world grapple with transport and pollution problems, it’s hard to imagine
that electric bikes would not become a major part of the solution. In fact, several countries
already have double digit e-bike adoption growth rates as people seek to travel in a
healthier, more efficient and sustainable fashion,” adds Mr Illich.
“The Roadster multiplies your riding efforts by detecting how much force you put on the
pedals and adding a proportional amount of power to the motor. You put in a third of the
effort of a normal bike and it goes up to 25km/h.”
Tiller Rides was founded in 2016 when Ilich spotted a gap in the market for stylish yet
functional e-bikes. The company has secured intellectual property over unique features
protected via registered IP measures in global markets and has built strong margins per sale
into the business.
Before founding Tiller Rides, Julian regularly cycled to business meetings in city traffic
and felt there must be a way to make cycling easier. Despite searching the globe, he
couldn’t find a bike that he considered aesthetics whilst also highly functional.
In 2015, he teamed up with two friends – a 3D modeller and a graphic designer and set
about designing a bike that was both stylish and highly functional. Together, they built the
first prototype in 2016 before setting about establishing a board, approaching investments
and commercialising the project.
Early adopters of electric bikes used retrofit kits that could be fitted to almost any standard
bike. While retrofits are still available, there has been a shift in recent years towards bikes
with electrics already installed.
“Despite a growing electric bike market globally, bicycle manufacturers have so far failed to
create a stylish ebike that makes urban riding as appealing as taking a car, which is why we
felt compelled to step in and service this market,” Ilich adds.
“Hundreds of people have contributed to the business in one way or another, and are a
testament to the phrase: ‘if you want to go far, we must go together.’”
Tiller Rides plans to roll out additional bundled services such as bike insurance and roadside
assistance in the next two years.
A survey of existing urban cyclists revealed that 76% of respondents who already ride to
nearby places said they would ride more often if they had a Roadster.
To learn more about Tiller Rides and the Roadster visit tillerrides.com.
To invest in Tiller Rides, visit their equity crowdfunding page on the Birchal website