Tucked away in the Austin industrial corridor is a company that has been doing brisk business across the country, selling kits that allow bicyclists to convert pedal-powered bikes into electrically powered bikes. 

Originally based in northwest suburban Schaumburg, eBikeling moved to an industrial building at 5658 W. Fillmore St. in 2018. In addition to selling bike conversion kits and converting bikes, the company sells replacement parts. It also repairs e-bikes and electrically powered scooters. 

While eBikeling does most of its business online, the company gets walk-in customers from Oak Park, Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood and even from as far away as Indiana and Wisconsin. 

The company touted its customer service, competitive prices and its online presence as major reasons behind its success. The demand for its conversion kits shot up during the pandemic as many people were stuck at home. eBikeling is planning to do more video tutorials on conversions, as well as to expand its product line.  

Cyclists can ride electric bikes by either paddling them the way they would any other bike or using the electric motor to help them along. This means that any pedal-powered bike can be converted into an e-bike, so long as the owner installs the right parts. 

eBikeling was founded by Selahaddin Ganioglu, of northwest suburban Hoffman Estates, in 2008. According to Berkay Doma, the company’s General Manager, Ganioglu thought that bikes and cars were increasingly moving toward electric power, and the demand would only increase. The company name, Doma said, came from combining the words “e-bike” and “cycling.”

A close-up of an electric motor installed on a regular bike. | Provided

Doma said that eBikeling moved to its current location because they wanted to be closer to Chicago. The warehouse space in the industrial section of Austin south of the Eisenhower Expressway was affordable and had enough room to suit their needs. It also had the advantage of being closer to a highway than the Schaumburg location.

e-Bike conversion is the core of the company’s business. Doma said that, while ideally they would’ve liked customers to bring their bikes to them, the fact that most of their customers are outside Chicago makes that impractical.

“We prefer to convert your bike, because we do it professionally,” he said. “One person has a chance to fail due to the wrong assembly. But because we sell all over the country in 48 states, people purchase [the conversion kits] and we provide them with instructional videos of the installation process, so people can install them by themselves.”

The videos and instruction manuals are available on eBikeling’s website. Murat Soyhan, the company’s brand manager and head of customer service, emphasized that, if followed correctly the conversion process typically takes n more than an hour. He said about 1% of the company’s repairs involved fixing botched conversions.

Doma estimates that between 95% and 98% of the customers buy products online, with Soyhan mentioning that they get a lot of orders from Ohio.

Doma and Soyhan touted the advantages of e-bikes, noting that their products are water-tight and they sell snow tires and other equipment that makes them viable in winter. 

“We are not limiting you to paddling,” Soyhan said. “You can pedal and you can use motor power.”

“You don’t have to pay for gas each week and this is a sport, basically,” Doma said. “Each day, you’re exercising.” 

eBikeing is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about the company or to order their products online, visit https://ebikeling.com/

Igor Studenkov is a winner of multiple Illinois Press Association awards for local government and business reporting. He has been contributing to Austin Weekly News since 2015. His work has also appeared...