When we heard that contestants on BBC One's The Apprentice would be designing and selling electric bikes, we instantly sent out a company-wide memo to watch it.
We knew that Lord Sugar is a fan of electric bikes - in fact he owns a Corratec electric bike - so we were interested to see if the weekly challenge would bring anything particularly special. One could say, that yes, it was 'special'. Here are three moments from the episode that had us cringing behind the sofa...
Do you remember when aerobics classes hit their peak in the 80s and people wore lycra that was so loud you could see it from space? It seems that is exactly where the contestants drew their inspiration from.
The whole point of electric bikes is that you don't have to wear lycra to enjoy riding a bike. If you actually want to wear lycra, go ahead, but most of our customers like the fact that they don't need to tog up in 'performance wear' to ride their electric bikes.
2) Red? Rockets? Really?
There's nothing wrong with a red bike, per se, but when you are targeting somewhat mature leisure rider, it's generally a good idea not to create a bike that looks more 'play days' than 'away days'. Also don't call it an 'E-Fit' - that's what the police publish when on the look out for criminals. The red E-Fit bike with a rocket on the front stood out, that's for sure, but perhaps for the wrong reason.
Making sure you have an electric bike that fits the customer is the bedrock of our business. Whether we are talking to commuters, retirees or students, we try to make sure we have electric bikes to suit all of them. That's why we recommend visiting our showrooms to actually see the bikes in the flesh and try them out. There's more to an electric bike than its colour palette.
3) No demo rides?
Does anyone actually remember seeing the contestants or potential buyers trying the bikes out? To us, the test-ride is the most important part of the electric bike buying process. There is no way of telling how your body, and your riding style, will react to a bike unless you give it a go.
Every e-bike on display at our showrooms is available to test-ride, and had we been in the room being pitched to by the contestants, we would have asked to have a try.
There are limits to the format of the show of course ie. the contestants were really only branding the bike and not engineering it from scratch - and perhaps the actual cycling was edited out - but it seems to us a significant error that a show about electric bikes hardly featured cycling at all!