Austin’s e-bike trailblazer has made quick inroads manufacturing with partners in China.
MOD BIKES is both an homage to the stylish electric bike subculture of 1960s London and a nod to the future: clean, green, exceptionally engineered transport while looking effortlessly cool.
Founder Dor Korngold, a self-taught, jack-of-all-trades engineer from Herzliya, Israel, spent more than two decades crafting his electric bike business plan. He tested out one-of-a-kind modifications of his own design until ideas began to stick.
“I made a lot of prototypes from random parts in my garage back in Israel,” says Korngold. “That’s where a lot of our inspiration came from for the models we have today.”
Respectfully, he refrained from rerouting to favor other electrical modes of transport. “I didn’t want to get into electric cars or motorcycles. My thing was bikes.”
In 2018, Korngold relocated to Austin, Texas — an obvious candidate to blossom into the great electric bike hub of the United States. By the end of the year, he opened the first MOD BIKES storefront.
Korngold had already cut his teeth in one of the world’s great electric bike hubs. To get in on the ground floor of the next one, he knew what to look for and how to do it. “I was fortunate enough to be in this kind of movement before, where we saw the same electric bike boom happening in Israel.”
Three years in, and the fit appears to be like a glove. “Austin is investing a huge amount of resources to promote biking — having more bike lanes, more bike racks for parking. We’re working with the city of Austin and with organizations to promote bike culture and bike lockers in the big tech company buildings.”
For the foreseeable future, MOD BIKES will remain covered in Korngold’s fingerprints. Even with a successful business, he still considers himself a mechanic more than an entrepreneur.
“I’m the main designer and engineer,” he says. “The initial CAD drawing, the spec sheets, the electrical and mechanical aspects — I’m putting all those together and working with our manufacturers to bring it to life.”
“Me and the manufacturers figure out if there are any issues with my design and make those adjustments,” adds Korngold. “We source the components that I want, test samples, make improvements or adjustments when needed, then move into mass production.”
Where MOD BIKES manufactures
Currently, MOD BIKES uses two manufacturers in China for the five electric bike models available for purchase. Korngold considers Asia to be the worldwide fulcrum of electric bike manufacturing — both resulting from consistent excellence in quality and price point.
“[Electric bike manufacturers in Asia] are the most experienced,” says Korngold. “They have the most resources in this industry, and there’s a reason for why this whole industry is based there: This is what they do, this is what they’re good at.”
He continues, “We design everything in Austin, and we have our final quality control and assembly of each bike in Austin. But something to really understand is that this industry can’t go anywhere else; it’s based in Asia, and that’s a good thing. They know what they’re doing. Because of that, we’re able to offer these amazing bikes at very reasonable prices.”
Korngold acknowledges a continued push-and-pull relationship with the order-to-delivery timeline, both as a ramification of COVID-19 as well as the unquenched consumer thirst for rapid delivery.
Amidst the pandemic, he decided to discount product prices in favor of retaining sales and customer relationships. The choice came with a financial hit, but it also reset expectations for order turnaround times. “This is the new reality, where you buy something and don’t get it right away like you’re used to,” says Korngold. “So, you wait a little bit to get it, but also you get compensated for that. I think It worked out pretty well for both sides.”
The same reason MOD BIKES has been on an overall positive trajectory since opening in 2018 is the same reason it should continue to succeed in the future: its combination of quality, aesthetics, and pricing.
“We know how to make a good bike that will balance everything that you need,” says Korngold. “From the comfort level to the performance to the utility to the design. I think this is what makes us unique.”
The future of MOD BIKES is all about sustained growth within the U.S. The key to this, according to Korngold, is sustained exceptional customer service. “Moving forward, we want to continue to provide all the services and support in the best way possible to our customers across the U.S. We want to expand our distribution network and to not just sell bikes, but give customers great service.”