David Geen is the knowledgeable and friendly face of Bosch training in Australia and part of the three-man team in their Melbourne offices organising their dealer training camps. The word camps tend to imply a stay of several days but this is not the case, Bosch has refined and distilled to a single, very informative, and easily digestible, single, six hour session. I began by asking him what people can expect from the training camps this year.
"The camps provide a thorough overview of everything to do with Bosch eBikes, covering general product knowledge as well as all the technical knowledge required at shop level to remove and refit the drive units of the five systems they have in the range now."
"This year we will also be talking about two really interesting brand new products. We have the Generation 3 drive units with an all new gearing concept, and we also have the power tube batteries, which are an internal battery that gives the manufacturers some really nice clean lines to work with and makes the eBike system disappear into the bike. The Generation 3 drive unit is a slimmed down package some 1.1kg lighter than the previous version, and when coupled with the power tube battery, you can make some really beautiful looking bikes.
Geen went on to say "The main questions we get asked at the camps are "how do I service it? How do I do warranty and technical, and what are the key points for me to actually sell these?" and they're all points we go through quite thoroughly. One of the main comments after the camps is "wow it's a really easy system to work on, straight forward and intuitive. It's a really nice thing to hear that we are not throwing them a product that will confuse them or the market.
"It's just really nice to work with. Everything that comes on a Bosch equipped eBike is made by us, that means we can make that system modular and scaleable, so if you have a head unit which you need to check is working, just swap it with another that you know is working, click it in and it just works, the same with cables and batteries."
The information sessions which all take place in just a six hour period don't assume any prior knowledge. "Even if you don't have deep skills you can come to one of these sessions and be confident that you'll walk away able to deal with anything that comes up really quickly and easily."
There are Bosch training camps scheduled in six cities, with multiple camps in each city. Geen and the team have not left out the country stores either. "We understand there are some good regional areas out there selling lots of product, so we'll be aiming to get to those later in the year too."
Robert Bosch is a massive global brand with business in almost every field. They have built a brand new facility (to house functions for their wider industrial pursuits) in Clayton Melbourne, where the bike industry was fortunate enough to secure a dedicated space for eBike training. "We're going to set this up as a really good interactive training space, and we'll be opening this up over the next couple of months, so if people want to come down and check it out, they are most welcome."
"The main things we will discuss are product knowledge, technical knowledge, the diagnostics training - so being able to use the tool and all the features and functions around that, the legals and the freight, because when we get into the lithium ion batteries you need to be aware of some freight regulations around the country.
We have plenty of time for discussion and questions, and there's also a quiz that gets people fired up. Then at the end of the day we like to get people test riding; especially now with the Generation 3 system. It's got a very different feel to the pedals, it has absolutely zero resistance when you pedal forwards, and it's a silent operating system as well.
Bosch understands the value of maintaining good legal compliance and the benefits for the industry as the category continues to establish itself and continues to build upon its encouraging growth.
"We cover all the legal parameters of the eBike categories as they pertain to Bosch systems. We are experts in our systems, but we are also aware of the other systems on the market. The other quality systems out there like Shimano, and Yamaha conform to the same requirements—the EN15194 which is the European standard for the 25kph eBike. We also cover the issues of tampering and how you can tell if a bike has been modified. Of course there are implications for people who do attempt to modify bikes for more speed etc.
What we have seen over the last three years of doing these camps is that the overall knowledge and acceptance in the industry has been really strong, and that the people who've come to the sessions are saying their service department is so much more confident, which gives the sales team more confidence, which means when we sell the bikes through and we see them bikes coming back were happy to do the servicing. After you've come to the training your confidence around the system is going to transfer into sales and happy customers. If we can give the end consumer the best experience possible with the Bosch eBike system, it means were going to keep those people and see more people get into the eBike field. The people buying eBikes aren't your standard bike customer. They're people who may not have been riding before, so it's a really positive thing all round.
Even if you don't currently sell eBikes the Bosch training days may benefit your store. "We actually get quite a lot of people who are on the cusp of deciding to take on a range of eBikes, or people whose stores aren't set up to service eBikes. They are pretty aware of eBikes through their own research. But through the dealer camps, these people will see that Bosch are in this for the long haul, they'll see the direction the industry and Bosch is taking. Our investment and time and effort shows that we believe that eBikes are a very strong category.
The camps are getting people over the line to sell eBikes. They walk away confident that they can sell and service eBikes...and this opens up a whole new category for them.
Servicing a whole new category of bikes with such different components would require new tools and equipment. What is the set up cost for a store? " If you come to our dealer training you can take the offer of a half price kit to start servicing Bosch eBikes. The diagnostic dongle, the lock ring tool and the battery gauge...once you have these you are set up ready to go. If you register during the dealer camp period. the half price kit is around the $80 mark."
The training camps themselves are actually free. There's no charge to attend and learn how to sell and service Bosch eBikes.
There are very few brands of bikes that don't have access to Bosch eBike systems. We work with over 20 brands in Australia and they provide bikes of all shapes and sizes, from the 180mm travel absolute 'plough' MTB, all the way down to the really relaxed city bikes, and because of our different drive units (of which we now have five on the market), they will fit into all these categories.
So we really encourage you to come along and learn how exactly the system works how to service it and how to sell it.
While the Brisbane camp was held last week the rest are listed below...click on the city name to find the registration page.
Use code ‘BOSCH2018’ to access the registration page.