Three motorcycles are set up in a showroom
From Pivot Magazine

The e-bike revolution is coming

How Toronto’s Beachman Bikes are looking to capitalize on a growing market by pairing retro design with cutting edge technologies

Three motorcycles are set up in a showroomBeachman is hoping its retro-style e-bikes—and the experienced CPA in its corner—will help it stand out (John Cullen)

How do you build a product with the climate-consciousness of an e-bike and the cool factor of a vintage café racer? In the case of Beachman—a one-year-old company with three sold-out product lines in its repertoire—the spark was a chance encounter between neighbours. Ben Taylor, who had a background in branding and a penchant for all things retro, met Steve Payne, a sound engineer and mechanical whiz who builds motorcycles in his garage for fun. They put their skills together and launched Beachman Bikes—a brand of ’60s-inspired two-wheelers with the bodies of vintage café racers and the guts of modern e-bikes. 

The concept initially took root in 2016 when Taylor launched @thebeachmanlife, a popular Instagram page dedicated to the freewheeling aesthetic of the ’60s and ’70s. 

Advances in lithium ion technology have made batteries lighter, cheaper and more efficient, which in turn has accelerated the development of electric vehicles and bikes. According to a Deloitte report, there will be 300 million e-bikes in circulation by 2023—up from 200 million in 2019. That year, The Verge published an article titled Forget electric cars—e-bikes will be the top selling EV in the next decade, citing battery improvements, the shift toward low-emission vehicles generally and a growing number of bike commuters in urban centres. 

When the pandemic arrived, public transit ridership plummeted across the country, and the demand for “micromobility” vehicles like e-bikes surged. And, if Beachman’s recent Indiegogo campaign is any sign, the rush has yet to die down. The Beachman ’64, with a 30 per cent longer range than its predecessor, off road-capable tires and upgraded battery housing, hit $353,000 in funding (its goal was $15,000). In March, the company’s original model, dubbed the Founder’s Edition, sold out within 48 hours. 

One of the major selling points is that you don’t need insurance or a driver’s licence to ride an e-bike. Regulations vary slightly from province to province but, broadly, for a vehicle to qualify as an e-bike, it must have pedals, can’t go faster than 32 km/h and riders must wear a helmet (Beachman’s products—at least those it’s released so far—fall under the e-bike category).

The company has an edge in the form of CPA Adrian Joseph—former CFO of Steam Whistle Brewing, which was co-founded by Taylor’s father—who is handling the business’s finances and accounting. “I’m excited about the product and optimistic about this unique sector,” says Joseph, “especially since everyone is looking for more movement and independence since COVID. It’s been really fulfilling to see all the demand.” 

Taylor says working with Joseph has been a serious boon for the business; with the CPA’s help, the company incorporated in 2021. “He gave us a lot of great advice at the start, like helping us write our shareholder agreement,” says Taylor.

Joseph is also helping the team navigate an application for Canada’s Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit program, which will help support its technological research.

In line with Taylor’s aesthetic-driven Instagram page, the ultimate goal for Beachman is to capitalize on its image and stretch its product line beyond electric bikes. “I want to create a space at Beachman where a team of industrial designers will make ’60s-inspired, mid-century modern products that are new but have a quintessentially Beachman look to them,” says Taylor. “Basically, to allow ourselves to produce whatever we want and bring style back from the utilitarian, IKEA age we live in right now.” 


Read about the tax implications of electric vehicles, the world’s first electric personal watercraft and the self-driving buses being tested now.