Image via Riide

Customer interest has never been a problem for D.C.-based electric bike-maker Riide. The startup broke through its original $50,000 Kickstarter goal in less than 24 hours when it began early last year, and the company boasts a months long waiting list for its product.

Even so, the $1,999 cost for a Riide bike still presented a problem for buyers of a bike that lets you switch between pedaling and using an electric motor to travel at 20 miles per hour for about a 25 mile distance. So Riide decided to take a cue from mass transit systems in other cities to introduce RiidePass, a monthly fee tied to a kind of lease-to-own program.

Image via Riide

“People loved Riide but didn’t think it was accessible because of the price,” Riide-co-founder and Georgetown University alumnus Jeff Stefanis told DC Inno. “RiidePass gives them that access like a monthly metro pass in San Francisco or New York.”

RiidePass costs $79 a month and gives customers the bike and a lock along with theft insurance. People in D.C. and San Francisco also get unlimited free maintenance.

Customers need to sign up for at least a year, but if you stick with the program for two years you can then either just outright own the bike or get upgraded to whatever new model emerges, while maintaining the same monthly leasing price.

“It’s pretty flexible for anyone, Stefanis said. “The program is available in all 50 states. I think it fits the general trend in the hardware space moving to a subscription model.”

“I think it fits the general trend in the hardware space moving to a subscription model.”

Stefanis said he and his co-founder, George Washington University graduate Amber Wason, looked at the prices for monthly public transit passes to figure out the monthly cost they would charge. The $80 to $120 price they saw helped Riide peg the $79 a month cost they landed on. At this point, it’s really just the production time of about three hours that’s keeping the waitlist extended. And there’s nothing quite like RiidePass out there, Stefanis told DC Inno.

“We want people to enjoy their commute,” Stefanis said. “They can bike to work without showing up sweaty and then exercise on it later. Now they don’t have to pay as much up-front for that chance.”