Ali Al Madani has always had an interest in bikes – he used to ride one every day as a child. So, it’s little wonder that he’s one of three Emiratis behind the ever-popular Saluki electric bike, and as an extension of that, the eBikes UAE business concept.
“I used to live in Germany as a kid, and biking was a big part of my daily activity. I used to ride to my friend’s house, and we used to ride in the parks and forests of Munich," says Al Madani. “When we started the business [in 2014] we spent hours in the living room, on the floor, cutting wires, assembling parts and testing equipment, and doing a lot of research online."
The Dubai resident and his high-school friends, Fahad Hareb and Saoud Khoory, got the idea for the business after Khoory bought a high-performance electric bike from Australia. “Fahad was coincidentally researching electric bikes, looking into building his own bike, and I was fed up with my noisy Harley-Davidson and looking for something new to ride during winter," says Al Madani. “We realised that a lot of people would be interested in electric bikes and we wanted to be the first to focus on eBikes in the UAE to fill a gap in the market."
The trio used Hareb’s self-built bike as a test model for their now-popular two-wheeler Saluki, which can reach up to 90kph.
“We received great support from the Dubai SME incubation programme, and now have different brands of bikes available that vary from our own e-bikes [that sell] for Dh7,000 to our top-end bikes that are Dh42,000."
With a business-management degree and a master’s in administration and multinational commerce, Al Madani has some business interests in the medical and IT fields, too. “The biggest challenge in starting something new is in educating the public ... the best way to do that is to have them try it out." As for any advice he’s got for other entrepreneurs: “If you have a passion for a business idea, go for it: just make sure you understand how you’re going to profit from it."
Quick chat with Ali Al Madani
What is your favourite food, and why?
I am a carnivore and love meat, especially kebabs and steak.
If you could bike anywhere in the world, where would that be, and why?
My favourite place to bike is on Venice Beach in California.
Read the whole interview on The National's Website.