If you think e-bikes and scooters can no longer surprise you, have a look at Vinghen and reconsider
Alternative types of urban transportation are all the vogue nowadays, but Vinghen, a Bulgarian brand created by Tsvetan Iliev, stands out. Tsvetan Iliev's ideas are ambitious, his energy is relentless, and the e-bikes and push-scooters he creates are simply amazing. What is even better: you can now not only support his ideas, but also make some money out of it. Vinghen's executive manager and chief engineer shares more.
Why choose an electric instead of an ordinary bicycle?
E-bikes are already revolutionising the way people travel. They are becoming popular even on markets that traditionally are not bike-friendly. The reason is simple – they are more convenient compared to non-electric bicycles. You can use one to go to work without breaking a sweat, you will arrive faster, and you can feel good about yourself without putting too much effort.
It is a fast, convenient, and enjoyable way to travel. I am not saying that conventional bicycles are not fun or that they are dead, however in the future they will become more specialised.
Who is the typical e-bike user?
I first came across e-bikes about 15 years ago in Germany and the majority of riders were elderly people. However, things have changed a lot since then and today e-bikes are virtually for everyone, or at least everyone who does not think that riding a bike means that you have failed in life (you'll be surprised how many people still think low of cyclists around here).
Today there is a huge variety of models – from small, foldable ones you could take on a public bus with you, to mountain bikes and cargo bikes. I would also include electric scooters in this list. As a result, e-bikes are being used by couriers, by the elderly, by commuters, by people on a mountain vacation, by parents taking their kids to school, etc.
What is the concept of Vinghen push-scooters?
Our first model, Ti1, is what I like to call a half-scooter, half-bike. This is a bicycle sized scooter that comes with a head turning design and superb handling characteristics. It is not an alternative for the small scooters we see around, instead, it is an alternative for the electric bicycle.
We created a product that excels on the city streets. It was designed with the urban commuter in mind. Its geometry and fat tyres allow a comfortable and stable ride even on compromised surfaces. Furthermore, the concept makes it possible to ride it in clothes that are not really compatible with a bicycle – long coats, suits, dresses, skirts. It also makes it really easy to mount and dismount. This is not only more convenient, but also safer.
How can we purchase Vinghen bikes and push-scooters?
This year marks the start of production for Vinghen and at first we will manufacture in batches. This means that at the moment the best way to get a Vinghen is to pre-order one on our website. This gives you a discounted price and the possibility to cancel your order at any time.
We also plan on opening a small showroom in Sofia in the second half of the year.
What are your thoughts on manufacturing e-bikes in Bulgaria?
There are quite a few established Bulgarian bicycle manufacturers. This is a sign that it is possible to produce here and be successful on the European market.
When I started working on the idea of Vinghen, I saw Bulgaria as the place to manufacture – it is my homeland, its location is convenient with access to several international ports, it is relatively well connected to the larger European markets, and the manufacturing cost will be competitive even if we offer a respectable compensation package, i.e., salary and paid leave, which is my goal.
The trouble is that at the very beginning we already clashed with the public administration due to corruption. For me this raises a red flag.
To summarise, there is a great potential for e-bike manufacturing in Bulgaria, but it is up to the government to choose whether to sabotage it or to encourage it.
How can we become a part of the green revolution and profit from it?
Generally speaking, you could either come up with an idea or invest in someone else's idea. If you are more interested in the latter, I have some exciting news – Vinghen is currently raising a round and we are also utilising equity crowdfunding. This allows people with little or no investment experience to buy a few shares, thus limiting their financial risk. More information is available on our website.