Dylan Brown lives the go and do kind of RV life. His early car camping and extensive overlanding experience plus a love for motocross sports led him to launch Terra Bikes. As an entrepreneur often on the go, he gained first hand experience launching a major manufacturing business from his garage. Terra Bikes are the new low powered electric motorcycle designed and fabricated at Dylan’s shop in Colorado. These are in no way your typical pedal assist e-bike. Terra Bikes are true long travel scrambler style dirt bikes built to climb anywhere and go fast. And, they’re a lightweight alternative to your traditional toad for any size RV or van.
Dylan describes the challenges of launching a manufacturing business in the regulation-filled vehicle niche with licensing requirements which may differ by state. We discuss the importance of identifying your target market, and the benefit of providing customization. You’ll learn tips for ramping up production as a new on demand manufacturer, and what steps are necessary to take your business to the next level.
All About Terra Bikes – the New Electric Motorcycle
Launching a Manufacturing Business with Dylan Brown
Your Host: Jim Nelson
Learn more about Terra Bikes:
Connect with Dylan:
Listen to The RV Entrepreneur Episode #313
THE RV ENTREPRENEUR
Join the RVE community on Facebook!
Connect with RVE on all your favorite socials
Got questions or comments for our hosts? Leave us a voice message! https://therventrepreneur.com/voicemail
(NOTE: Audio submitted may be published on the podcast unless specifically requested otherwise.)
Got a great story or tips to share with RVE Listeners? Complete our Guest Intake Form:
The RV Entrepreneur #313 Full Episode Transcript:
Launching a Manufacturing Business with Terra Bikes Founder Dylan Brown
RVE 313 Terra Bikes Jim and Dylan.mp3
RV LIFE: Welcome to the RV Entrepreneur podcast. The weekly show for Nomads, Work campers, RV ers and entrepreneurs looking to earn a living or build a business while enjoying the RV lifestyle. This week’s host is Jim Nelson. Let’s settle in and enjoy the RV Entrepreneur podcast brought to you by RV Life.
JIM NELSON: Welcome back to the Entrepreneur podcast. I’m Jim with RV Life and I think I’ve got something new to the show for this episode. I’ll need to check the archives, but this conversation is a must for anyone out there hoping to launch a major manufacturing business. I met Dylan Brown at the 2023 Adventure Van Expo in Evergreen, Colorado. Check out RV episode number 304 for my live report from the Expo. When I met some vendors there and first talked about Terra Bikes, you know, e-bikes are all the rage now, but the Terra Bike is not your typical pedal assist cruiser. In fact, it has no pedals. Terra Bikes are a true electric dirt bikes capable of tearing up the trail or getting around town. And at only at £160, it’s a manageable alternative to typical toads for any size, RV or overlander and a lot more fun. Dylan talks about the regulatory challenges of manufacturing, a vehicle that’s in this gray area somewhere between e-bikes and motorcycles. We discussed the evolution of the product and his business. We talk about identifying your target market and the benefit of providing customization. And finally, we touch on the growing pains associated with expansion of such a venture. So enjoy the ride with Terra Bikes on this one. But first, please consider supporting the sponsors who help make this show possible.
RV LIFE: This episode is sponsored by Wholesale warranties.
SPONSOR: Protecting your investment means being ready for anything and extended warranty from wholesale warranties is the best way to make sure that if an RV failure happens, you can afford to get back to enjoying the RV life as soon as possible. Rv warranties are available for motorhomes, fifth wheels and travel trailers new and used across the US visit wholesale warranties.com for a free personalized RV warranty quote today and hit the road with peace of mind tomorrow.
RV LIFE: This episode is sponsored by RV Flex Repair. Don’t let a damaged RV roof keep you from hitting the open road. Rv Flex repair by Zolo is the perfect solution for RV owners who want to keep their vehicles in top condition. Our easy to use complete RV roofing system can be applied in just one coat and is compatible with other products for added flexibility. Plus, with a lifetime warranty and free shipping, you can have peace of mind knowing your RV roof will last as long as your own vehicle. Visit rvusa.com today and join the thousands of other satisfied RV owners who have already restored their roofs with RV flex repair.
JIM: Dylan, thanks for joining me. I’m glad you’re here. Good to see you again.
DYLAN BROWN: Thanks, Jim. Yeah, I’m stoked to be here as well.
JIM: It is exciting because we met at the Adventure Van Expo a while back in Evergreen, Colorado. We were both there in our project from Four Wheel Campers, but you had a lot of interest in the two fancy bikes you had out front. Those are terror bikes. We’re going to talk all about that. But I like to ask all my guests a couple quick questions first, and that is, when did you first discover? What’s your RV life look like now compared to then?
DYLAN: I was introduced to, let’s just say, car camping at a very young age. Right. So, you know, like this overland slash Irving slash kind of trailer life that, you know, has taken the world by storm was really introduced to me by my dad and my mom. And we would pack up our Isuzu Trooper and go truck camping, tent, camping to Moab, to southern Utah, to the flat tops outside of Glenwood Springs, my home town. And that was really my introduction of getting to the places out there with a vehicle and then adventuring beyond that. Once the kind of the four wheel camper was discovered by my dad, he put one on his 2004 Tacoma and has had that since 2004. And I didn’t really understand what kind of the nomadic life was until I kind of discovered his set up in Escalante when he moved down there. And then after that, I got excited and I, you know, I didn’t have the money in college, but I was able to buy a thing called a Wilderness is a company that was building these kind of like the original kind of torpor, hybrid tent, rooftop things long before anybody else was really doing the whole canopy, rooftop tent. And I put that in air quotes there before their time. So I had that on my truck. You know, early teens, I picked it up for literally $500 and then rocked it on my Tacoma for a while and do three, four week trips, southern Utah trips and then Montana trips and then slowly but surely tested out the trailer system. I rocked a escapade trailer for a summer, and then I did a Taxa Outdoors cricket trailer for kind of a photo trade one one hunting season. And then ultimately I ended up back with the with the four wheel camper because ultimately I just haven’t like one vehicle. I always find that a trailer kind of is almost like a second vehicle. So I just like having the one vehicle.
JIM: Suite and you’re still finding time to go out and about and go and do.
DYLAN: Oh, yeah. I mean, in fact, I’m over in Fort Collins doing the bike stuff, building another round of frames with a frame builder up here in Fort Collins. And I have my four wheel camper, and instead of getting a hotel, I’m staying in the four wheel camper. Cool. Yeah.
JIM: So being an entrepreneur, what does that mean to you? What does it take to be an entrepreneur?
DYLAN: That’s such a complicated question. You know, it can be a myriad of different things. The bike business is my second go at a business as a small business. My other business is I’m a professional photographer and that is a totally different model because that’s essentially a solopreneur. So how do people say literally, it’s just me doing everything by myself? Whereas now as a proper business owner, I have two employees, technically three with our intern and then a handful of contractors that I work with very closely regularly. So instead of doing something by myself where I do photo and producing and directing and editing and literally live on my computer by myself when I’m not out shooting with the team, I’m now working with a team where I get to talk my ideas through with two of our project developers and then plus the marketing person as well to kind of get the ideas out to the world. It is different, but ultimately what entrepreneurship means is freedom and motivation are the two things like you got to be motivated to get your work done, but if you don’t get your work done, you’re going to lose that freedom because they’re going to have to go back to work to work for somebody else.
JIM: That’s for sure. The never ending cycle. And it sounds like you still got your hands in kind of all aspects as you know, growing what you’ve done here. And you kind of answered started to answer one of my first questions here. And before we dive into Terra Bikes, this new venture, what did you do in your previous life?
DYLAN: Yeah. So from about 2010 to now, it’s still going on. I was a commercial photographer. I cut my teeth as a photojournalist in Montana, then, then Utah, then a short stint working for Bike magazine. And then that slowly progressed into doing more commercial specific work, paid the bills, took me to places I made more money and honestly gave me more freedom like I was talking about. That’s what I did before. It’s helped me segway into the bike venture because I can do all the marketing content creation. I’m still learning what marketing looks like, but the content creation and capturing the imagery and the and the video and the motion of what the bike is meant to do and will look like. And the lifestyle is, you know, we’re trying to portray, I can do that. I don’t have to hire somebody. So like that really helps on that side. But what’s really exciting about Tara is the product development is the actual marketing, not the content creation is the whole business as a whole.
JIM: So let’s talk about Tara Bikes. You know, what exactly are Tara bikes? Let’s give me the short spiel here on the fabrication, the specs, the performance. Tell me about Tara Bikes.
DYLAN: So Tera Bikes is a low powered electric motorcycle. It’s a long travel scrambler, so it has eight inches of travel up front, 6.5in of travel in the rear has full size 19 inch by one, six five wheels. And then we wrap those in three inch rubber. So it’s a dirt bike that looks like a scrambler. So your classic scrambler from the 1960s and 70s and even 80s people took these street bikes and made them off road capable. We took a different approach. I from Colorado wanted to create an off road bike, but I wanted to make an electric and ultimately I wanted to make it look cool and urban and just like badass. So I said, I want something long travel. I want something capable. I want something that’s blacked out head tube. I want a good, comfortable wheel base. And so I put all those specs on the paper, on the drawings, and then got to work framing it, developing it, and then ultimately making the aesthetics match that scrambler look sweet.
JIM: And. And they do look sweet. And motocross people obviously understand a lot of that jargon, and everyone else needs to understand this isn’t your typical e-bike. So how has this particular bike evolved and do your current production models resemble that first prototype you wrenched together?
DYLAN: So the very first prototype that I made custom, yeah, it actually does resemble quite a bit like we did pretty good on the very first one. You know, originally the idea was to create a high powered e-bike. And what I came to realize is when you have throttle, your pedals get in the way. When you have something that weighs £100 plus the pedals get in the way. And ultimately, when you’re riding trail, you want to have pegs and not pedals because when you’re throttling, you got to counter that power. And if one foot’s forward and the other one’s back, you’re going to just clap out one leg and you just become out of balance, out of whack. There are things that like having two pedals is cool. You can drop a. Put on the outside. Turn and really put that outside pressure. But ultimately, where we ended up was if you’re going to have a bike that has the equivalent peak output of a 125 two stroke, you just need pegs. You’re not going to be pedaling it if you run out of juice. Let’s just be real. It has six inches of travel in the rear and eight inches in the front.
DYLAN: Even a downhill bike that weighs £45. You don’t pedal that thing really, You know, you pedal it downhill. So we scrapped the pegs, but we did keep a lot of the mountain bike componentry. We kept the handlebars or mountain bike. The stem is mountain bike, the front fork is mountain bike. And then ultimately that that allows us to run mountain bike brakes. So the mountain bike brake levers, the mountain bike rotors calipers, they’re all mountain bike. And the benefit of that is keeping the weight low. So with a low powered motorcycle like this, every pound affects performance. So right now, our bikes, our bikes sit right at £160. Wow. And then our peak output of the motor is about three kilowatts. And for every 750 watt is about one horsepower. So that comes to about 125 CC peak. You know, when you’re cruising around town and the nominal output, you’re looking at around three kilowatts. And so that’s how the law in Colorado, every state is slightly different. Views are bikes, is a low powered scooter. So typically, depending on how you want to ensure it, you can just you can register it as a low powered scooter.
JIM: That was you start to mention things about riding around and being a dirt bike, but riding around the city, were there regulation hoops you had to jump through? I mean, do people license these things or how does that work?
DYLAN: Regulation hoops? Not so much as more of like just figuring out the law and really trying to make sure that we’re developing a bike that can be registered legally in each person’s state. Ultimately, it does come down to the consumer and where they live because every state obviously is different, but we tried to make sure that we’re providing you a bike that is registrable in every state. So what that means is we provide our bikes with a Vin number and then a certificate of manufacture origin. So what you do is you go you either registered as a low powered motorcycle or just a motorcycle, and then you have your certificate and then you have your Vin number. And we’re in the system. You know, we’re registered with the NHTSA, we’re registered with SA. So the Vin is it’s in the federal system. And then it ultimately just comes down to your state. Here in Colorado, I’m registering my bikes as a low powered scooter, but I can’t speak to every single state. It’s kind of ultimately up to you. But you will be able to register it as a motorcycle or a scooter, depending, and.
JIM: Use them and register them as they see fit in their best interest in their local locality. Right. Legality. They could just buy it and go hit the trails with it and hope for the best, right? Or they can license it and ride it around town and that sort of thing.
DYLAN: Totally. Yeah. I mean, if you’re going to just ride it in the backcountry, there’s no reason you need to go register it. But they all come equipped with headlights, indicator lights, tail lights, dot approved, rubber horn and everything that you do need to be legal.
JIM: So again, not the typical e-bike. People can get these and use them as a motorcycle or a moped per se and register them if necessary and be totally within the law. You know, helmet laws in whatever states you are that kind of set, right? Yeah. But how far does this go back? Have you always tweaked on bikes or when did you first start building and then when did you when did you start like getting serious about producing them?
DYLAN: Yeah, I’ve been on two wheels since I was 2 or 3 years old. I have a photo of me riding a mountain bike on Slickrock when I was five years old. I raced in high school. I raced in college for the University of Utah downhill team. It was like just five of us on on the downhill team. But the mountain bike team was quite extensive. We would travel around the Western states and race. You know, I still ride mountain bikes. I love mountain biking. Like I said earlier, I worked for a bike magazine. So the two wheels non-motorized have been part of my life my whole life. But then my dad has been a motorcycle kind of enthusiast for much of his life. He used to tinker on Triumph’s when he lived in England, and then now he’s since kind of shifted over to Honda’s and Yamaha’s and he’s rebuilt a couple 400 and 50s, a couple of five 50s and his latest one was a 750. So really, since like 20, maybe 2005, I’d go home to visit my my dad and he’d have a new motorcycle torn apart in the in the garage. And I just kind of I loved that do it yourself mentality that you get from these earlier motorcycles, like my dad just educating himself and taking on a project where you can work on one of these motorcycles for three months and then have it practically be brand new.
DYLAN: But, you know, taking that, do it. Yourself mentality of a scrambler is what really put into the terabyte. You know, everything from the front fork can be swapped out, the brakes can be swapped out. Brake pads. Pretty much the only maintenance thing that you need to do. Very easy to swap out the chain. Tensioner is easy. It’s not anything complicated. Our dropouts are very stiff. You tension the motor on the front which tensions the chain. So it’s really one one screw tensioning screw and then two lock down fasteners for the motor. Electric is insane. I mean, it’s like you got your battery, you got your motor, you got your controller, then you got your, you know, your throttle and like that’s, that’s the system. It’s very, very basic. So if something fails, pretty much anybody can fix it in their garage, you know, with my guidance for sure. But even like if you’re a DIY guy, you can figure it out on your own, no problem. And I want people to do that on their bikes.
JIM: Cool, cool. So you mentioned Colorado. Where exactly are these built? Where are you getting the components? I mean, we obviously can call them Made in the USA, right?
DYLAN: You can say made in the USA for sure. So frames are all handmade in Colorado. The sheet metal work is all done here in Colorado as well. So everything is the frame is Chromoly steel. The battery box is 5052 aluminum and the faux tank, what we call the burrito holder is also 5052 sheet metal as well. All that’s done here in Colorado and welded in Colorado. The wheels are we’re moving to a partnership with Warp nine. So they’re based out of Salt Lake City. So that’s also a US based company. Our motors are actually purchased, yes, from China, but they’ve been doing motors from early 2000. And you can buy these motors off the shelf. They’re very high performance. They have worked out all the kinks and they work with me to program each bike for every consumer. So if you want to ride only off road and you want to be able to do wheelies over logs, we can program the controller to tell the computer to do it that way. For most of my clients and customers, we kind of detune the bottom end a little bit. So you don’t get that like wheelie effect right away, but you still get the rapid acceleration once you hit 2 or 3 miles an hour. And then the batteries, which are probably the most important part for people for safety factor, those are made in the US. And I have two different battery manufacturers that I buy batteries from.
JIM: Sweet Tell me about like your facility. When I saw you, these were like some of your first production models, right? How is the the team and the facility grown or like most entrepreneurs, are you still doing everything?
DYLAN: So I have half a dozen contractors doing the fab work. We have the powder coders here in Colorado as well. You know, obviously we buy the batteries from a reputable battery manufacturer and then we buy the motors. Like I said, once everything comes and is ready to be assembled, I assemble it by hand myself in my garage. I build the wiring harnesses in my garage and I test everything out. I have a 45 mile loop. I test out each bike on, which gives you about 3000 vertical foot gain. And then let’s see. And the average speed on that route is about 45 to 50. So very windy, just cranking. So I test out every bike before they go off road or anything.
JIM: It sounds like these are almost custom built. Tell me about the process. What’s the ordering like? Do people just buy one and pick one up or how does that work?
DYLAN: I think eventually we’ll go to that model. But right now, you know, it’s like you said, I’m a small, small scale businessman. We do them all high touch, custom style. All the frames are the same. But there are things that we can change. We can put in a bigger battery pack. So our nominal pack is a 40 amp hour pack that gets you about 60 mile range in eco mode. Or we can upgrade your pack to a 65 amp hour pack. That’s an option. But to answer your question, so the ordering process is you place $250 down to hold your build spot about 6 to 8 weeks before expected delivery. I call you up and I take 50% down. We talk about your battery size, we talk about your color scheme, we talk about if it’s going to be off road or on road use, which means we can put different style tires on. We can put slicks. If you’re, say, going to be in Manhattan and be using the bike as a commuter, you can do dual sport. If you live, say, here in Colorado and you want to ride it mostly for commuter, but then be able to go shred some trail. If you’re a rancher, you’re going to be riding it only on on your farm. Then we’ll put an off road tire on. If you’re six foot two like me, we’re going to run your 19 inch. If you’re, say, five foot even, we can put a 17 or even a 16 inch wheel on as well, which will then lower your standover height. So there are options across the board on how you want to do it. So once I take 50% down, I order all the parts I get put into the fabricator queue. We get those batteries custom made because they’re made individual for me from our partners and that takes about two months. Really. It’s always the battery to source high quality cells to test the batteries and then to make sure they’re they’re waterproof.
JIM: Sweet, sweet. So we kind of already talked about like the e-bike craze, the current craze with everyone out there with an e-bike. And I was going to ask what terabytes. What sets terabytes apart from that? But we already know that because you’ve described the bike, how do you set yourself apart from that demographic? Who’s out there with their gas powered motorcycles tearing up trails? There’s obviously just a demand for, you know, an electronic version or how do you set yourself apart from the husqvarnas and such?
DYLAN: Yeah, it’s a good question. People always say, well, it’s not a motorcycle. Well, it is a motorcycle because it’s two wheels and it’s and it’s, you know, motor driven, but it’s a totally different class, right? Like it weighs £160. Right? It’s quiet. It’s very nimble. So performance wise. Yeah, you’re right. It’s not like a Husqvarna 250 that’s been tweaked and someone’s going to be jumping at 150ft. But what it is, is it can be loaded up on the back of most tray racks by yourself. If you’re out exploring, you get three and a half to 2.5 hours ride time. It’s just a totally different experience. You know, Like I go riding all the time with my friends who have motorcycles and, you know, they come up to me and they have to kill their motor and we start talking and then we get ready to ride off and all of a sudden I peel away and don’t have to start my motor. You know, I unload the I unload the bike off the back of my truck. I don’t have to warm it up. I go hunting. I don’t have to warm it up for 20 or 30 minutes. I can literally leave camp and go explore. You know, I cruise up to the lake and someone’s fishing. They don’t even know I’ve even come up to the lake until I walk up and say hello. They don’t hear me, you know? So it’s a totally different, more nature, immersive experience.
DYLAN: But does that mean that it’s not very fun to ride? Hell no. Like, this thing is torquey as hell. You know, your approach to trail riding is completely different. You know, instead of like, using only momentum and high rpms on like a motorcycle, you now have low torque, low RPMs. You can tiptoe through baby heads, you can tiptoe over rocks. You know, it’s like if you got a dab a foot down because it’s £160, you know, you can self-arrest with hardly any effort at all. You know, I just went and did a super technical trail a couple of weeks ago with a buddy who was riding a trials bike, a beater, an Italian brand, and I was outperforming him on this like very, very technical trail specific bike on my bike, you know, And the reason being is because it’s that low end torque, you know, it’s because it’s lightweight, but it still has that long travel. I could walk almost through everything where he is having to like take up momentum and he hits one rock wrong and all of a sudden his front end is in the trees. Whereas I was able just to kind of like keep my momentum, but also with that low end torque, just kind of maintain a lower speed and and really feel more comfortable.
JIM: That’s pretty cool. It sounds like the challenge or the biggest competition might be ignorance or apathy, not really knowing that this is available. So there’s not necessarily a is it is it the first true electronic dirt bike or what’s the competition like? What’s that market? Are you just the first and brand new to it or.
DYLAN: We’re definitely the first long travel scrambler, that’s for sure. But no, I mean, our biggest direct competitor would be the Cake Motorcycle. That’s a Swedish based company. They’ve been in business for about five, maybe a little bit longer, five years. And pretty much their bandwidth and their power is exactly the same as ours. In the US, there are a couple other electric motorcycles more street oriented and kind of having a scrambler look. But they’re, you know, they’re not trail ready like our bikes. And really the, you know, the ultimate thing is like I’m not trying to replace the Husqvarna 250 or 450. You know, I’m not trying to replace a Harley-Davidson, you know, like, I’m just trying to be a terror bike. Like, I’m really just trying to show people like, Hey, this is a new way to travel. You know, like, are we going to go ride for 200 miles and go on an epic tour to, you know, on a on a two lane highway? No, But am I going to be able to go from like my town and up to the next town up for a coffee or a sandwich and rip a two lane highway at 55 miles an hour and then back home? Yes. Am I going to be able to use the bike to go commute 2 or 3 times a week? No problem. Absolutely not. And then am I going to be able to put it in the back of my truck, back of my RV, and then go camping up in Rocky Mountain National Park and then use the bike to go outside of the park or use the bike to get to the trailhead and back. No problem. Like all of those things I can do legally, comfortably and quickly and safely because it is a fast bike. You can get into traffic, you have indicator lights, you have headlights. But then for the people who are adventurous like me, you know, I can also go park at the at a trailhead for a dirt bike track and then go shred trail super fast, you know.
Speaker5: And ride.
DYLAN: On with a whole new experience. Yeah.
JIM: And you mentioned travel and RV in there. And having seen these things and based on their weight, there’s definitely some value there to have in this sort of bike on an RV. But what segment of the market are you targeting? It sounds like it might be like the Overlanding crowd.
DYLAN: I would say overland. I mean, but I think it truly fits in everywhere, you know, like and I hate when people say, Yeah, my thing does it all, but it kind of does. I see a lot of people with like those Honda Trail bikes, a lot of RVers with those old Honda Trail bikes that are like 50 cc’s, you know, like it can fit that bill, you know, it can take the the baby boomer from their paid campsite up to the lake and back. No problem. You know, it can take the, uh, like the sprinter van guy from they’re like boondock spot or maybe their campground or like, the neighborhood camp spot and then go into town to grab a coffee and work from the coffee shop instead of their van and back. Or it can be like, you know, like the like me, the four wheel camper guy who just four wheeled back in ten miles, set up an awesome camp, and I realized I forgot a six pack. And now I want to zip into town and grab a six pack down that awesome double track road or off road track and then back up to camp and then join my my wife and my dog again.
JIM: That’s so awesome. So you design them as a scrambler dirt bike, but they can be custom tailored. They could be mounted to anything, you know, as small as a van and have like an easy towed to get out and around town and it’s lightweight and such. So tell me about the first few of your customers. Is there a typical terabyte customer or are they similar or have they varied?
DYLAN: You know, I think most people who are getting them are definitely interested in a bike that can do it all. You know, like it’s definitely a the dual sport that is intriguing them. But the majority of the people who are buying them are definitely probably baby boomers, because I think it kind of is that 1970s scrambler kind of like heritage that people really like. You know, it’s like people want to be conscious, they want to be eco conscious and be like going with the trends. But if you look at a lot of like electric motorcycles coming out and even electric bikes, they all just like are going for this very futuristic plastic carbon fiber feel. But people want metal, People want something that feels like it’s going to last for decades or longer. And like, you know, one of our mottos is metal, not plastic. You know, like there’s hardly any plastic parts on our bike at all. You know, our fenders and our skid plates, plastic. But all the important bits are aluminum or chromoly steel, you know, like it’s so hard to figure out, you know, like who’s going to buy. A bike. And that’s part of marketing and part of like figuring out our demo. But I think the one thing is just people want to don’t want to be limited by what they buy. And ultimately that’s what I want. That’s what I built.
JIM: Yeah. And it sounds like it does address, you know, various niches. I mean, you even mentioned ranchers who might want to go work the fence and have an electric bike to do that.
Speaker5: And I would.
DYLAN: Never have thought that. You know, I get a call the other day and she goes, yeah, you know, like we use dirt bikes across our property to check fences. And she said, I was riding a 250 and I had to cross this like, big ditch. And I got kind of spooked and jumped off the bike and the bike fell on me and broke my leg, you know. And she said, when I saw Sarah ride in Sarah’s my partner riding the terror bike, I realized, well, if Sarah can ride it, I could probably write it. And ultimately we talked about what she needed, how it would fit in. And we’re going to equip her bike with dirt specific tires, and we’re going to put a little bit smaller wheels on it because she’s shorter and it’s going to perform perfectly for her.
JIM: Sweet Coming back to that, you know, custom build model that you’re doing, we did talk about the production time and process, but everyone wants to know what’s it cost. So what kind of price point are we talking about on these and how would that compare to, say, some of the higher end e-bikes or lower end cars that you’re going to tow around?
DYLAN: Yeah. Was just in a bike store the other day and a specialized s-works bike was listed for $15,000 and that’s wow. It’s a pedal assist bike high performance pedal assist bike. Our bikes are 12,000 flat. And then if you want the bigger battery, which takes you from a 40 amp hour battery to a 65 amp hour battery, it’ll be an extra $1,000. And so with the $12,000, you know, that doesn’t matter what tires you get, doesn’t matter what wheels you get, doesn’t matter what color scheme you get. It’s $12,000 flat. And then if you want the bigger battery, then it’ll be $13,000.
JIM: Yeah, that could still be the quarter of the price of a jeep. You might want a tow and still maybe a lot more fun.
DYLAN: Yeah. You know, like, what you’re getting is custom, you know, customizability from me. And then also, it’s just it’s a simple design, you know, like, I worked hard to make the proprietary components as minimal as possible. There’s very small things, very few parts on the bike that are proprietary. So what that means is like if you live in rural Mexico, outside Mexico City and you break something, guess what? You can go to the local shop, motorcycle shop and probably find it. Or the bike shop. You know, you live in downtown Denver? Yeah. Go to your bike store, get your bikes bled, go get brake pads there or go to the hardware store. Say you forgot, you know, after 500 miles you haven’t gone through and retightened some of the fasteners. You can easily go to your local hardware store and find any of these fasteners that we’re using. You know, everything is very.
Speaker5: Commonplace and.
JIM: These are chargeable via 110 outlet or even like a 100 generator or something.
DYLAN: So answer your question. Yes, 110 volt outlet, you need approximately 1000W. So if. Let’s see if you’re an rver as long as you have some sort of way to do 110 out at 100,000W, no problem. That’s our base. That’s what we you know what we deliver every bike with, which is 11 amp hours, 84 volt charger and then like that input is a 110. And then we will and do offer a bigger and faster speed. But 11 amps has been pretty, pretty fast for me. It’s about three hours.
Speaker5: So about.
JIM: Three hours to charge this whole thing up. And we didn’t actually talk about like the performance of how long they’ll last. It probably depends on which mode or speed you’re in, right?
Speaker5: Correct. Yeah.
DYLAN: So if you’re in eco mode or what I call e-bike mode, it handles kind of like an e-bike. It tops you out at about 28 miles an hour. It has like a mild acceleration rate. You can get 60 miles is kind of what advertised. You can definitely go further. I’ve gone further. And then if you’re on sport mode or highway mode, you’re going to get closer to 35 miles and that’s like top speed of 65. That acceleration is about 0 to 45 in about 3 to 4 seconds, a very quick acceleration. And then, you know, like when you’re off roading and your rooster tailing and you’re just doing all the fun stuff, yeah, you’re going to get 2.5 hours to 3.5 hours ride time.
JIM: Right on. Let’s get back to the business side of things again. So what type of challenges have you faced launching and marketing tear bikes when nothing really quite existed before?
DYLAN: I think the biggest challenge is, and I would never have expected this is the legality of it. We’re in this gray area, just like a lot of e-bikes are. So many of our competitors are just blatantly ignoring laws, you know, and we didn’t want to do that. Because I know that the law men and women are seeing these e-bikes, seeing the speeds, seeing that they’re ridden not only on the sidewalks, but on the street, and they don’t have appropriate equipment. And so I took the approach that all of my bikes are going to come equipped with everything to be registered and be street legal. But because we are in this gray area, we’re not like a full scale motorcycle. We’re not an e-bike. We’re literally in this kind of like middle zone. It’s been hard for the law to tell me exactly what it is that we’re offering. And so I’ve gone through the process of providing a Vin number, and that was a kind of a long, arduous kind of process. And once we got there, we’re, you know, we’re here now, but then you still have red tape, right? We still how do you sell them to the customer legally? So every state is different on how that that works. You know, like, you know, we have to become in Colorado, I am having to become a dealership, you know, even though I’m the manufacturer, I still have to be a dealership, you know, and pay my fees to to be legal in that sense. So the challenge is an entrepreneur is for me is starting a motor vehicle company. There’s been a lot of red tape.
JIM: Were you ready for that or are these big surprises like, oh, I want to build bikes, Oh, I need to start a dealership, Oh, I need to be a an automobile manufacturer.
DYLAN: I did not think it would be like this. I figured the regs to be street legal would be something, but I figured it would be like logging in online, submitting a number, submitting this and submitting that. But no, there’s not like there hasn’t really been a clear path for me, you know, And it’s been a lot of talking to other people who’ve gone down the path, who’ve created trailer company or created a vehicle company and just like really networking through the whole process to get guidance has been really more effective than Googling anything.
JIM: Sounds like it’s at that tipping point where it’s time to expand. I mean, are you looking at expansion yet and is that self-funded or are you seeking financing? Like if you want to start to get into dealerships and put them out there and grow your team, what’s the future look like? The near future look like for terabytes?
DYLAN: Yeah, we’re entering our initial fundraising phase right now. I own 100% of the company. I’ve been bootstrapping it, which is part of the the custom and the pre-order model that we’re doing. We don’t want to step away from the custom model per se, but we do want to be able to like provide bikes at a quicker, quicker rate and decrease our lead time. And to do that is we need capital. And so we are fundraising. You know, we’re doing a pre-seed round pretty soon. Right now we’re part of an incubator program through Co Venture, which is a nonprofit that helps small businesses in the Roaring Fork Valley. And we have a pitch competition coming up in in September. We’re one of three companies and we’ll be introduced to a lot of potential investors. You know, I have conversations all the time with people. What does it look like to invest an and, you know, what does it look like? I guess it kind of depends on who you are. How do you want to invest? I’m open to having conversations. I don’t want to, like put myself in the corner and say and pigeonhole myself and just say, this is the only way you can invest. You know, if you’re interested in terabytes and you, you know, want to be part of the company, you know, we can talk about a couple million dollars. You know, you’re looking to just help me get off the ground and you’re looking at a small loan, then, yeah, we can talk about 50 to $100,000. And then, you know, it’s more of a loan agreement than it is equity.
JIM: Will we see you on Shark Tank anytime soon?
DYLAN: Good conversation or a good question?
DYLAN: Maybe. You know, like and I joke about that all the time. We actually just had a talking about networking. We talked to a local entrepreneur. He creates a ski wax and he was on Shark Tank and we talked about his experience there and like all of that. But yeah, yeah, I would love to get Marc involved. That would be amazing. Sure.
JIM: So I was joking, but any financiers, investors out there might want to hit terabytes like. Com to find out you know what the opportunities on here how are you getting the word out I mean for social media like or is it word of mouth?
Speaker5: It’s a little bit of.
DYLAN: All of it. You know, like again, going back to who that key demographic is, we’re easing into it. But yeah, our social media, we’re predominantly on Instagram, terabytes, what is it, Instagram forward slash tera, underscore bikes, Facebook, Tera, dot e-bikes, and then, you know, YouTube channel will be shortly up and coming because again, going back to wanting people to be able to work on it themselves. I’m going to be starting a channel where I talk about all the maintenance to take place on the bike.
DYLAN: Fantastic everything.
JIM: Yeah, you’ll be offering support through that channel and kind of helping to helping the. Wires there. That leads right into my question. There is like, what type of content would you be sharing most? I mean, you’re a photographer and videographer, so obviously there’s lots of eye candy of the bike in play, but it sounds like there’s more to it than just that.
Speaker5: Yeah. And you know.
DYLAN: Part of it is that as a business owner, it’s like, what do I want to do? Like the last thing I want to do is like, sit down and like, make videos of the bike. I mean, I love to show the bike, but ultimately it’s product development, it’s doing newsletters, it’s doing, you know, quick social media hit. And then, you know, ultimately I think people really want to know how capable is this bike, you know? And the only way to do that is, one, to do a demo ride or two to really like do some sort of like YouTube video of where we show how technical of a trail can you actually ride? What kind of like city cruising is it? How does it feel to be on the bike, things like that. And so I think we do need to do more video content and that is to to come shortly for sure.
JIM: Awesome. So we kind of talked about, you know, the future and what you might have planned for Terra business wise, but do you have other products on the back burner or would you evolve the Terra Bike itself?
DYLAN: We’re going to stick to Terra. Well, you know, the Terra Prime for sure is like where we’re at. I definitely, as the creative behind this company, have like two other models in the back of my mind but don’t really want to talk about them. You know, like, I think this fits a really cool niche in the market. And you know, talking about Terra right now, it is like the low profile scrambler, but like the big thing that we’re going to develop and probably by the end of the year deliver the bikes with is a rack. And then I think the the low profile tail light loop will be more of a of a aftermarket thing for people. So I think we’re going to move toward the rack system a little bit brighter tail lights and indicator lights to get us dot compliant a little bit more. You know, luckily for us being a custom motorcycle shop, we can get away with a little bit more leeway right now. But as we scale and grow, we definitely want to make sure like our compliance stays within the parameters of NHTSA and Dot and Si.
JIM: Sounds like you definitely know what you’re talking about and where you’re going with this and uncovering, you know, opening up that can of worms. What do you have to say to that guy out there with a great product idea that is more than something outsource, something manufactured and he wants to get it up off the ground.
DYLAN: Keep it close to heart. I would say, you know, talk about it, be enthusiastic about it. But, you know, always remember that you are the professional when it comes to your own product. And, you know, like as much as I want to share what I’ve done with Terra Bikes, I also need to know that like, it’s special to me and I don’t want to share the whole recipe. So, you know, like, I’m happy to talk about bikes and talk about all the technical sides of the bike, but like ultimately you got to get your hands dirty and you got to learn a lot. And you also got to keep quite a bit of that close to your heart because there’s a lot of other people who want to do exactly what you’re doing and you can’t share the secret ingredient every time.
JIM: That’s exactly what came to my mind, was keeping it close to your heart while also trying to tell the world about it. So that’s kind of a challenge there. But a long time ago, a mentor or a boss of mine once said there’s always room for number two. So if the marketplace is saturated, you might want not want to go there. But if you’ve got a great idea and there’s one other one out there, go for it.
DYLAN: And I just had a conversation with a guy who’s developing a moped, you know, he’s a recent grad at Colorado State University, and he wanted to know about the business side of it. And, you know, I’m happy to have that conversation one on one with him, you know, and like, my line is always open and like, I’m super stoked that he reached out and I’m looking forward to seeing where his company goes in the future as well. Because like you said, there’s there’s a lot of people in this world and there’s a lot of different markets to tap. And he’s not developing something that’s a direct competitor with mine and, you know, would love to see him succeed.
JIM: It’s great that you’re so open in it, and I wonder what’s the best way for people to learn more?
DYLAN: Yeah, just visit TerraBikes.com.
DYLAN: Definitely sign up for our newsletter and definitely follow us on Instagram. Our newsletter is probably more informative than Instagram. We kind of use Instagram as a stock page, whereas our newsletter will. We’ll definitely talk a little bit more about our developments, our demos, kind of comparing our bikes to the competition, talking about our batteries and suspension, and also just kind of, you know, general achievements around terabytes.
JIM: Coming back to that authenticity and that, you know, the value added support and service. Dylan can’t thank you enough. I’m excited to see where this goes from here. Thanks.
DYLAN: Thank you, Jim.
JIM: Yeah. I really am excited to see what Dylan does with terabytes. There is definite potential for growth with what he’s done so far. Maybe some smart investors or listening learn [email protected] and check the show notes for links. As always, please let us know how we are doing or reach out to share your story in the entrepreneur Facebook group or at the entrepreneur.com.
The RV Entrepreneur is presented by RV Life – Tools that Make Camping Simple
You May Also Like: The RV Life Podcast
- How Escapod Trailers Meet the Needs of Adventure Travelers – RVE #317 - November 27, 2023
- What is RV LIFE Entrepreneur? - November 15, 2023
- Stylish RV Renovation for Full-time RVing with Alice Zealy – RVE #315 - November 13, 2023