Magnum Ebikes CEO Interview

I recently zoomed with Yoni Kayman, CEO of Magnum Ebikes based in Utah. Watch the 20 min interview and/or read the transcript below.

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Chris Crossed:
Welcome back to the show, everyone. Yoni Kayman is the founder and CEO of Magnum E-Bikes based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and he joins me now on Zoom to give us an update and talk e-bikes. Welcome, Yoni. Nice to have you.

Yoni Kayman:
Thanks, Chris. Great to be here.

Chris Crossed:
What’s the e-bike business like these days? How would you characterize it in September of 2023?

Yoni Kayman:
That is a fantastic question. E-bikes are definitely the thing of the future. They’re actually becoming more of the thing of the present where they were the thing of the future. The adoption rate has been climbing, so that’s really exciting. The annual growth rate for the industry is still strong, estimated probably about 17% year over year. It might be more than that. The estimations are not necessarily so up to date with everything that’s happening. We are seeing tons and tons of e-bikes.
At the same time, there are a lot of challenges. Challenges with overage of inventory many manufacturers have. There are a number of brands just popping up, fly-by-night brands that are just bringing a couple of one or two models in trying to slash the price, coming and going. No real foundation long-term. Those are some of the challenges that we face as well, but it’s exciting.

Chris Crossed:
Yeah, definitely is. It feels like pricing has come down this year. There’s just been this downward pressure on prices of e-bikes. You’ve seen that?

Yoni Kayman:
Absolutely, we’ve seen that. We felt that. I strongly believe it’s a temporary thing. I think that many manufacturers are overstocked and are slashing prices or bringing prices down temporarily. Inflation has hit in every area besides for e-bikes, so everything is costing more money. E-bikes is coming down. It does contribute to the adoption rate though, so there is something good that’s coming out of it. Volume is going up.

Chris Crossed:
What’s the history of Magnum? Give me a quick history lesson there.

Yoni Kayman:
Okay, sure. I actually launched Magnum Bikes overseas in Israel in 2010. I started working in e-bikes before they were even legal. I went to the bicycle manufacturer and said, “Hey, guys, this is going to come on the market soon. It hasn’t been approved by essentially the Department of Motor Vehicle to bring into the country, but this is going to come on. Let me help you and I’ll manufacture for you.” I had great contacts with factories in China. In 2013, I decided I’ve done that.

I’m going to open my own brand, choose the right bikes that are going to be affordable, that are going to be high quality. Magnum was born in 2015. I’m from New York. In 2015, I realized that the opportunity was ripe in the US. I essentially moved the company over to the United States in Salt Lake City, partnered up with a close friend of mine, who’s now the COO and a partner of mine, Jesse Lapin. He’s from Salt Lake City, and when I came across Salt Lake as it’s a really great outdoor space, great employees, cost of living is good.

That was where we landed. We built it out as a national manufacturing distributor. We also have some international distribution in Canada, New Zealand, in Israel, going into Australia soon, hopefully. That’s in a nutshell Magnum Bikes. We’ve been around for more than a decade just with the brand Magnum, but I’ve been in the e-bike space quite a long time. I’ve seen it evolve from almost nothing to where it is today.

Chris Crossed:
Yep. What’s a day in the life for you right now? Give me a quick walkthrough of that.

Yoni Kayman:
Sure. A day in the life of Yoni, CEO of an e-bike company. Like I said, there are challenges, so it’s a matter of dealing with and balancing the challenges that we face on a daily basis with the planning, projecting, creating new… We constantly are living in the present, as well as in the future. That’s the balance that we have. I mean, for me, I oversee the company. We have a little bit over 50 employees. We have a retail division with five retail shops of our own.

We have a wholesale department that focus on wholesale sales, as well as some international business relationships and B2B sales. There’s a lot of plates spinning at the same time, making sure that my directors, managers are on top of things, making sure that every employee has their place and they’re doing their job overseeing. Like I said, there are plenty of challenges that we’re facing and each one needs to be dealt with and celebrating the wins. It’s that balance.

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Chris Crossed:
Yeah, yeah, definitely. How many Magnum E-Bikes are there in the world today roughly?

Yoni Kayman:
Roughly, definitely over 100,000. My estimate is probably somewhere around 120 to 140,000 out there based on the number of years that we were in business, the distribution that we have internationally as well. They’re out there. You’ll see them.

Chris Crossed:
Yeah, I run into a few of them. Where are your retail shops? Are they all out West?

Yoni Kayman:
We have three in Utah. All out West. We have one in Scottsdale, Arizona and one in Encinitas, California. All of them are amazing, staffed with… The best focus that we can have is service. That’s really important, the service for the product. Like I said, we’re not a fly-by-Night company, and there are other brands that are slashing prices, but actually making sure that you’re going to get the quality product and get the service involved.

It is a hands-on product, so those retail shops really focus on. We have one in Park City, Utah, one in St. George, Utah, and our main shop in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Chris Crossed:
What do you think differentiates your bikes from the others out there? What would you say to that question?

Yoni Kayman:
Great question. First of all, we do have a wide variety in our lineup. At this stage, I think it’s a little bit too wide and we are working on consolidating some of the models, but we do have a product, we have an e-bike for everyone. There’s no rider out there that’s not going to find a bike that will fit them. There are plenty of companies that really have a limited scope of models. We do our best really to get as many people in every stage of life and for all types of usage to go ahead and get on an e-bike.

We have Cruiser bikes and we have city bikes. We have mountain bikes. We have recently brought out some mid-drive e-bikes because we saw the demand there. People were asking for them. We also focus, like I said, on the combination of quality and affordability. We like to be in that 1,500 to $2,500 range. That’s really a good space to be. We do have a couple of bikes that go over the 2,500. Those are mostly either very large batteries, mid-drive bikes, et cetera.

But that’s where we want to be. What distinguishes us is that we have a wide lineup, we have great quality, we have affordable pricing, and we have the team and the company to support it.

Chris Crossed:
Nice. What do you ride? What’s your daily rider, Yoni?

Yoni Kayman:
That’s a great question. I mean, typically I ride the bike that we’re testing the prototype, so it kind of shifts around. Personally, I love our new Vertex, and that’s really what I’ve been riding. The Vertex is that yellow bike right there. It’s a mid-drive mountain bike. It performs really well. I’m an aggressive rider.
We do have other bikes that are more leisurely, especially our Cruiser and Lowrider style bikes, and some of our city bikes. If you want to hop on and off a trail or on and off sidewalks, or if you want to really pedal hard and feel your speed as you’re pedaling with the right components, it’s awesome.

Chris Crossed:
Very cool. Let’s scroll to the top here and just give me a quick run through of these bikes here, because you do have a lot of e-bikes. As you mentioned, e-bike for everyone.

Yoni Kayman:
As I said, we are consolidating, but I’m going to go through some of our most popular models. We start with the Cruiser bikes. Cruiser and Lowrider, we actually have a three series Cruiser family. We have the Cruiser. We have the Lowrider bike, which is very similar to the Cruiser. It’s just more of a low step over. We have a Ranger. The Ranger is like a four-inch fat, fat tire Cruiser bike. You have the Ranger right there in the left. Those three really are, I would say, unique kind of family, not much competition out there in the beach cruiser style bikes.

We have that leisurely, your pedals are a little bit forward. You’re sitting back, relaxed. You’re not high up with your back arched over. It appeals to a lot of riders. It’s one of our bestsellers. We’re in the process of doing a significant promotion on the Cruiser on Lowrider bikes. You’ll see those coming out very soon, but those are I would say one of our top sellers. We also have some Pathfinder bikes, which is another… I’m going to go in order of what comes to mind as far as the demand.

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The Pathfinder bike is also another one of our top sellers. It’s very versatile, obviously very different than a Cruiser or Lowrider, which is a little bit more niche. Pathfinder has a 20 by three inch tire, very versatile, meaning any rider could really ride it. I’m six feet tall, no problem riding it. You can have somebody that’s four foot 11 get on that bike and still feel confident, comfortable. Handlebars adjust, go up and down. The step over height is quite low, probably the lowest you can get.

The seat post is up and down. We have two different models of the Pathfinder, actually three. We have a 350 watt, 36 volt, which is our lowest end. Then we have a 500 watt, 48 volt, 13 ampere battery. And then we have the 500 watt with the torque sensor and a 17 and a half ampere battery. That’s a great family. We are introducing one more model, not named as the Pathfinder, but it’ll be like the big brother to the Pathfinder, and that’s going to be a new model called the Cosmo 2.0.

We’ve gone through a few variations with our Cosmopolitan, which is more of a city, low step city bike. You see the Cosmo there now. The Cosmo 2.0 will have a similar frame style to the Pathfinder, but share the same battery and a number of the same components. Just kind of consolidating the line. Really it’s a beautiful bike with a lot of different colors totally. The battery as well, the battery case will be painted in line with the bike. Just modernizing that low step.

That family, I think that’s one of the bread and butter families of e-bikes today because the majority of the riders are looking for something that’s versatile, that’s easy to get on and off of.

Chris Crossed:
Do you sell more step throughs than you do step overs?

Yoni Kayman:
Yes, we definitely sell more step throughs. Again, more universal. We have the Metros and we have our Navigators, which are all low step step throughs. Again, some of these will be transitioning out of in the next six months or so. We also have the Nomad, which is a four-inch fat tire step through. We have quite a few step throughs. We’re just looking to consolidate them in the near future.

But that really is the key to getting people on bikes is making it accessible, easy, comfortable, manageable, controllable so people don’t feel like they don’t have real good control over it. Again, a lot of these people that are getting on e-bikes nowadays are not avid bike riders, otherwise. You’re not taking pro bike riders. I know you’re a great bike rider, as am I, but the average person and the objective here is really to get everybody on an e-bike. You got to get bikes that are going to appeal to everybody and feel good.

Chris Crossed:
Yeah, all your bikes have hydraulic brakes?

Yoni Kayman:
Not all of them, but most of them. Some of the lower $1,500 price range or so, they’ll still have some mechanical brakes. Next year, we are shifting in the direction to unify all the bikes with hydraulic brakes.

Chris Crossed:
Yeah, that’s one thing that is always a problem on mechanical disc brake e-bikes is that sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re bad. They require that maintenance that many of these users… They don’t know how to fix the brakes.

Yoni Kayman:
Absolutely.

Chris Crossed:
Cool. Any sales you want to mention coming up? You got anything for Black Friday?

Yoni Kayman:
We just had a Labor Day sale that a lot of people took advantage of, and that Labor Day sale is still valid in some of our dealers and some of our shops, where you get four or $500 off the first bike, and then there’s progressive. If you buy two bikes, 600, if you buy more than two bikes, three bikes or more, you get 800 off of each one, which was great. Like I said, we are focusing on the Cruiser and Lowrider, so that’s going to be coming out really soon. And that is a fantastic bike.

It’s really the most comfortable bike. Some people don’t like bigger bikes and they look at it and they say, “Well, this bike is really too big for me.” Because in your mind, you might think that it’s very difficult to maneuver. But when you get on it and you feel the geometry of it where you’re sitting and you’re sitting low to the ground or your feet are flat and your pedals are forward, that’s a great bike that we’re going to be… We have some inventory of those models specifically, so we’re going to be updating them in the future as well with our new battery case.

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We will have additional sales that will come out in the future, but that’s I would say the biggest ones immediately. We also did something really interesting in Utah where we partnered with UCare. It’s Utah Clean Air Initiative. It’s a nonprofit organization and issued a voucher for qualifying people where they get anywhere between 600 to $1,200 off a bike purchase through UCare if they’re signing up. And if they sign up quickly enough, they’ll qualify.

Chris Crossed:
Another question I just thought of, your batteries, are they UL certified? Or if not, are you going to get those certified?

Yoni Kayman:
I mean, when we brought the majority of our bikes that were from let’s say last year, we didn’t actually get the UL certification requirement until more recently. We since then have tested and are in the process of completing the tests on all of the different battery models. Yes, they will all be certified. Some of them are already certified with UL certification, some in the process. We didn’t change anything. It’s just a matter of actually sending the product to the UL Laboratory to get tested.

Chris Crossed:
I imagine you see it becoming more important as we go along here in the future. States are starting to get involved with some laws.

Yoni Kayman:
Sure. I mean, I think it’s good to have a standard. I think it’s important to have a safety standard. We never deviated from using high quality components, so I’m not worried.

Chris Crossed:
Do you use Samsung, LG cells in yours?

Yoni Kayman:
Yes. We use either Samsung, LG. We’ve used Panasonic on some runs. I mean, it depends on what’s available at the time of manufacturing, but we’ll use the top tier battery manufacturers.

Chris Crossed:
Gotcha. As far as support goes, what can customers expect? I see you have a phone number here on the website, but give me a sense of can I call today and get somebody right away?

Yoni Kayman:
Yeah, I mean, I’m excited to talk about our support. It’s really fantastic. We have a chat support. We have a phone support option. We have tickets if you’re filling out a contact us form for support. We also have obviously support that goes through our dealer network. It’s very important to get hands-on support. Not everybody needs it, but I suggest to the majority of the listeners here that if you’re going to buy an e-bike, you want to buy it from a shop that somebody could actually help you set it up correctly.

Someone could be there to support and answer questions. Sometimes a small mistake with assembly could lead to an egregious error. You don’t want that to happen, and you don’t necessarily feel like you’re the most professional bike mechanic. Obviously if you have an e-bike, you should learn how to service it, but you also want a professional to be able to support it.

We do have our own support from our headquarters where we’re helping customers resolve issues, sending out replacement parts when necessary, sending out videos for customers to really understand how to use the bike properly or how to overcome any type of issue. We also have support through our dealer network, as well as our own retail shops.

Chris Crossed:
What’s your warranty on the bikes?

Yoni Kayman:
We give a one-year warranty standard. We also have an option online to extend your warranty up to three years. There’s a fee for it, but it costs you something, but it definitely is an option that many people are interested in and going forward with.

Chris Crossed:
Nice. Well, Yoni Kayman from Magnum Bikes, appreciate you joining me today. Keep us up to date.

Yoni Kayman:
Thank you so much, Chris. Check out our new bikes. I mean, we have those new Pilot and Vertex models that we’ve really designed from ground up. Those are awesome. You’ll see some new modernization of our bike lineup coming in 2024.

Chris Crossed:
Awesome. Well, can’t wait. Can’t wait.

Yoni Kayman:
Thanks again. Thanks for having me.

Chris Crossed:
All right, Yoni, take care. Thanks for watching, everyone. See you next time.