Kruse + Company offers alternatives to sitting in heavy traffic in Pacific Palisades.
“The traffic is so horrendous: E-bikes are so much more convenient,” said store co-owner Andrew Grove. “I’ve stopped using my car.”
Grove and wife Tara transport their three children to school via electric bike from their home in the El Medio bluffs, and “We don’t have to worry about parking. We use a bike all the time, it’s cleaner and healthier.”
At the store at 15121 Sunset Boulevard, Grove gave this editor an oversight of electric bikes and what a consumer should look for in a product.
Many people only look at the price points on e-bikes—or they buy them online and might neglect the most important aspect of owning one: safety. Any bike purchased, should have had third-party testing for safety.
There are three classes of e-bikes. Class 1 is a pedal assist only. Once speed is higher than 20 miles per hour, the motor no longer operates.
Class 2 has a throttle and pedals. One does not even need to pedal for this bike to run. Grove said the throttles on this bike, “make it more like a moped, so it could get someone in trouble.”
Class 3 has pedals and will assist with power up to 28 miles per hour but does not have a throttle. This bike is not intended for anyone under the age of 16.
Since E-bikes can travel at faster speeds than a regular bike, a good brake is really important and it is one of the areas the shop owner tells people not to “skimp.”
“All the bikes we carry have a dual-piston, hydraulic brake,” Grove said and noted that e-bikes are heavier than regular bikes. “The lightest bike we have is 50 pounds.”
If a bike has a cable system, “it needs to be checked regularly,” he said. “I would recommend a hydraulic brake for safety—but it will be more expensive.”
Grove was recently at the Palisades Recreation Center with his son, when he saw a kid the same age, pull up on an e-bike.
Since, he understands the ins and outs of this technology, he looked at the cable brakes and suggested to the mom, that they should be checked.
There have been stories about e-bikes catching fire because of the lithium-ion batteries. New York City reported 130 fires in 2022.
“We use Bosch [batteries],” Grove said, calling it the “gold standard.”
Those batteries are certified to UL 2849 and contain a battery management system that detects sources of error and prevents them from overheating.
A charged battery can go 20-60 miles and Grove charges his once a week for three to six hours.
The store, located in the 1,900 sq. ft. space that previously housed the Puzzle Zoo toy store, has a wide variety of E-bikes.
Grove urges people to stop by and test the different bikes. “You have to ride it to experience it,” he said. “It’s like the difference in cars, you need to test ride them to know which you like the best.
“The bike should fit you well and you should feel like you’re in control,” Grove said.
He said that a lot of teens are being given e-bikes, but that parents need to educate themselves about the brakes, the battery and the safety of the bike.
“I want people to be on electric bikes for environmental reasons,” he said, and added “Not all e-bikes are the same.”
He acknowledged that people might find a cheaper e-bike online because they look strictly at price points.
“We have to stand behind our bikes,” he said, and generally, “the more you pay up front, the less you pay over the lifetime of a bike.”
The Groves have also opened a bike repair shop in the rear of the store.
Kruse + Company will also repair traditional bikes. Employees Chris Boscamp and Hector Morales invite you to stop by if you have a problem with your bike, whether it is electric or a traditional two-wheeler.
Grove, who was from Atlanta and worked at a real estate developer, met his wife at a birthday party in Chicago. She was moving to Los Angeles for work, and he followed her. They moved to the Palisades in 2013.
Mark your calendar, a store grand opening will be held March 4. (Visit: krusebikes.com or call (310) 526-7668.)