A Little About Propel
Thanks for checking us out and taking the time to find out what we’re about. We’re not in this to
make a quick buck – we’re here for the long haul, to transform transportation as we know it.
In 2011 by Chris Nolte
Brooklyn NY, Long Beach CA & Wilmington DE
Why We Exist
E-bikes can transform transportation as we know it, and enrich a lot of lives
What We Sell
Pedal-assist electric bikes, only if they meet our standards
Who We Serve
People of all ages, literally all over the world (but mostly in the US)
To understand Propel, you need to know our founder, Chris Nolte.
At only 18 years old, Chris saved up to purchase 55 used bicycles from a police auction. His plan: to restore & resell each one, putting the money towards a college degree. To cover the rest of his tuition, Chris enlisted in the US Army Reserves. Following the 9/11 attacks, Chris was shipped out to Iraq to transport fuel.
After suffering a back injury and returning home as a disabled combat veteran, Chris found himself unable to live an active lifestyle. Riding a bike, something he couldn’t imagine not doing, was suddenly out of reach. Rather than dwell on his misfortune, he searched for alternatives. It wasn’t long before he purchased his first pedal-assist electric bike.
The E-bike turned his life around.
Chris recognized that this technology could transform transportation as we know it. After his experience in Iraq, Chris felt compelled to do what he could to lessen the United States’ dependence on foreign oil. In 2011, Propel was born (then known as Long Island Electric Bikes).
Propel became one of the nation’s leading e-bike dealers.
Beginning with only six bikes in an office building, Chris gambled that the US was ready for an e-bike boom. Sure enough, he was able to quickly expand to a warehouse with an ever-growing selection. Propel soon became one of the nation’s leading dealers of electric-assisted bicycles. Today we have a storefront & warehouse in Brooklyn, and we recently opened a second location in Long Beach, CA.
We're contributing to a better future.
Although we’re best known for selling high-quality e-bikes, we’re also working to educate our local legislators to ensure e-bike riders are treated fairly under the law, and making sure that e-bikes are represented responsibly in the media. E-bikes can enrich a lot of lives and transform our transportation economy – we’re doing everything we can to make that future more likely.
In The News
In the media, we are ambassadors of electric bikes above all else.
We’re grateful for all the press we receive, and mindful of the responsibility that comes along with it: making sure the very new relationship between the US and e-bikes starts off on the right foot.
Hell on Two Wheels, Until the E-Bike’s Battery Runs Out
Dec. 26, 2022
“One of the oldest purveyors of electric bicycles in the city is Propel, situated at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This pedal-assist-only business was started by Chris Nolte, who returned from military duty in 2003, disabled with a back injury. ” Read More
E-bike batteries raise safety concerns amid rise in fires: ‘Very hard to examine’
Dec. 31, 2022
“Chris Nolte, founder of New York retailer Propel Electric Bikes, which only sells UL-certified Bosch batteries, said the issue has been mainly centralized in New York City in recent years, which is why the federal government has been slow to crackdown on the problem.” Read More
Don’t Blame the E-Bike
Nov. 17, 2022
“As Nora McCauley, who works at the Propel electric-bike store in Brooklyn, testified at the hearing, a brand-new bike from their store starts at $3,000 and comes with a certified Bosch-brand battery covered under warranty that costs anywhere from $800 to $1,000 to replace. Those batteries have never started a fire in the city, according to McCauley. But that price is out of reach for low-wage workers. ” Read More
E-rehab market growing along with e-bike popularity
May 05, 2022
“Chris Nolte, the founder of Propel Electric Bikes, knows this well. As a U.S. Army Reservist, Nolte returned from the Iraq war a disabled veteran. Discovering the benefits of the e-bike helped him regain his active lifestyle — and later in 2011 — emerge as a successful e-bike dealer.Read More
E-Bikes, Congestion Pricing and New York’s Need to Fix the Subway
Dec. 4, 2017
“This is a transportation solution, a key part of the puzzle,’ explains Nolte. In the transit desert around the Brooklyn Navy Yard for example, many of Propel’s customers find e-bikes a clean, healthy way to get around New York without getting on a train, bus or into a ride-hailing service like Lyft or Via.” Read More
A Tesla Too Pricey? E-Bikes Offer Entry-Level Electric Transportation
Nov. 23, 2017
“E-bikes are beginning to acquire a certain cachet, Mr. Nolte said, with more aesthetically appealing models that are difficult to distinguish from regular bicycles. Proponents say the best argument for e-bikes, however, is the experience of riding one.” Read More
Life After Service: Veteran Finds New Mission In Electric Bikes
Nov. 2, 2017
Fox News covered us as part of their promotion for the film “Last Flag Flying”. Watch Video
City Vows Crackdown On (Throttle) E-Bikes
Oct. 19, 2017
“Smaller and lighter pedal-assisted e-bikes will continue to be legal. That’s good with Chris Nolte, owner of Propel Electric Bikes, a shop in Brooklyn that sells pedal-assisted bikes.” Read More
Veteran-Turned-Entrepreneur Navigates Young And Evolving Electric Bike Industry
Oct. 4, 2017
“We’re working with the city and other partners on ways to utilize the benefits of electric bikes while avoiding many of the safety hazards which can result from poor planning and a lack of guidelines. I feel that taking the more sustainable approach of selling bikes that are safe and legal will help us to build a business that has the power to help improve our city rather than capitalize on its weaknesses.” Read More…
Ready Technology to Cut Traffic and Smog: Electric Cargo Bikes
Apr. 18, 2017
“According to Chris Nolte of Propel Electric Bikes, an e-bike shop in Brooklyn, delivery businesses have favored another bike from the company a bit more, the Packster. It is available with 60 or 80 cm loading area, with various customizations available to specialize for particular kinds of cargo.” Read More…
Five Lessons This Longtime Cyclist Learned As A First-Time Business Owner
Apr. 11, 2017
“As CEO and founder of the Brooklyn-based Propel Bikes, Nolte now looks back and says his experience as a new entrepreneur was actually pretty similar to learning to ride a bike. Both are tricky balancing acts that take patience, practice, and constant on-the-fly recalibration.” Read More…
Locally Owned Shops Where New Yorkers Should Spend Their Money In 2017
Jan. 11, 2017
“With only a $20,000 loan, Brooklyn army vet Chris Nolte turned a storefront on the edge of Vinegar Hill into an amazing business that sells electric-assisted bicycles.” Read More…
This Injured Veteran Regained His Passion Building an Electric Bike Business
Jan. 12, 2017
“Chris Nolte was an avid cyclist before a debilitating back injury suffered in Iraq. He got back on the road and is helping others, too.” Read More…
Injured Iraq War Veteran Becomes Electric Bike Entrepreneur
Mar. 20, 2016
“Then in 2011 he opened Propel Bikes, a bike shop in Brooklyn, to share his love of electric bikes with others. Watch the video above to hear his triumphant story.”
For Our Friends In The Media