Ikenna Ofoha Co-owner Of Tempus E-Bikes

Ikenna Ofoha co-founded Tempus Electric Bikes in September 2015. When the self-titled designer-mechanic-businessman’s website says “Built by hand in Canada” it’s his hands he’s talking about. A 20-year-old former Ryerson computer-engineering student, Ikenna’s passion for building has been a lifelong one.

“When I dropped out I had to think ‘What am I the best at? What do I have the most hours towards?’ Since I’ve been building things since the fourth-grade, that was the area where I was least confused.”
The Tempus CRT1, Capable of speeds up to 50km/h with a range of 50km

He began building motorized bikes in Grade 8 after his mom bought him his first bike which lasted about a month before it got stolen. He says that’s about par for the course growing up close to Scarborough, ON.

Undaunted, he then convinced his mom to buy him a motorized bike kit – a four-stroke 49cc Honda engine that mounted onto a bicycle and let him cruise at speeds of 45km/h – and created his first after participating in his neighbourhood ‘recycling program’, so to speak.

“You know how there’s always that one bike that’s been sitting on a fence that nobody touches? I’d give it some time, and after like a month if nobody touched it I'd take it and my brother would help me rebuild it from scratch. That summer [of Grade 8] was probably one of my favourite summers because I was just cruisin’ around, and that was when I fell in love with motorized vehicles.”

In the 10th Grade the seed for electric motorcycles was sown. Ikenna read an article on them and realized no one could tell how much power you had under the hood just looking at it. His mom agreed to loan him $2,000 to build a bike that looked more like a real motorcycle and could get up speeds of 80km/h, on the condition that he enter it into a science fair.

He won bronze competing against some of the smartest kids in Canada after sleepless nights in his garage, learning about soldering, electronics, computer engineering, and battery management.

“I learned to solder in my garage at 2 a.m. when the science fair started at 8 a.m. the next day. I had to solder wires with enough energy to electrocute me, and after burning my hands to a crisp I plugged it in at about 6 a.m., and everything worked. When the sun was coming up I took the bike out on the road, and the wind on my face and my pounding heartbeat was like no drug I’ve ever done.”

Ikenna did the thing most of those gifted in math and science are told to do and focused on engineering as a study and career goal. He got accepted to Ryerson computer-engineering, moved by the Danforth, and soon became unhappy in a program that focused on advanced mathematics with little practical application. He dropped out after one semester and a job at a propane tank refurbishing company for four months, which was “crazy, stupid labour”, then moved back home.

Listless and floating between career one idea and the next, Ikenna found himself re-sanding and painting the frame of the science fair bike in his garage with Xavier Chan, his current business partner.


“We started talking, and I wasn’t even trying to start a business with the bikes at that point, but I realized it was all about the day to day. You can’t just talk all day without working every single day towards the goal. I remembered seeing a kick-starter campaign for a $500 electric bike that got $6.5 million, and my goal became to get that kind of kick-starter, make that money, and build a bunch of bikes for the next ten years.”

he took another loan from his mom, got grants from the government of Ontario and the University of Guelph, chipped in $17,000 between himself and his business partner, for an accumulative $42,000 invested into Tempus Electric Bikes. Three prototype bikes and a fourth in manufacturing as a pre-production model later, they have made five pre-order sales so far and plan to launch their kick-starter in April 2017 with a production run of 50 bikes.

“We’re expecting around 15-20 pre-sales before our launch this April. Assuming five of those pre-sales drop out, 15 sales will allow us to build for a full year. 15 bikes breaks us even. That’s my goal to get to before the kick-starter. By the amount of interest we’ve got based on emails, messages, and followers on our social media I think we’ll do somewhere between 25 and 50 orders.”

The plans for the company post-kick-starter and during their production run involve getting out of “shadow-mode” and breaking into the limelight at trade-shows like the Electric Bike Expo where they can build meaningful relationships with other companies and consumers.

Over the next 18 months they also plan to introduce two different models in the line: a downgraded model in the $2,500-$3,000 price range, and an upgraded model that can reach up to 70km/h speeds with a battery range of 90-100km for $6,000-$6,500. They also plan to increase the price of their base-model to $4,500, and revamp their website to provide customization options for customers such as tank and seat colour, and battery and motor size.

Navigating to the pilot seat of Tempus Electric Bikes been a circuitous route for Ikenna, but it's this realization that helped him get there:

“You’re the programmer of your own life. Growing up poor with a single mom and four older siblings I’d get into the victim mentality. But that programmer attitude burrowed into my head, and now I realize you’re the programmer of everything, positive or negative, and you can change it. Whether you'll do it or not is a different question."
Created By
Matt Curtis


All photos are courtesy of Ikenna Ofoha

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