When you’re first looking at electric bikes, it can be hard to know whether the price you’re looking at is fair.
Depending on where you look, you’re likely to see wildly different price tags ranging from $500 to well over $10,000!
How can you tell whether you’re getting a good deal?
There are a variety of features and aspects to consider when making your purchase, but a general rule of thumb is that an electric bike between $1,000 and $3,000 will give you a good balance between performance, quality, and price.
That being said, there is a lot of variety between different types of electric bikes and their intended purposes. There are specialty eBikes for a whole variety of tasks and activities, and the specific demands of each of those activities can impact the final price.
Before I purchased my first electric bike, I was at a loss for what I needed and how that should reflect in the price, but you can reap the rewards of my trial and error!
Below are some of the most important things to consider before you buy your first eBike.
And more importantly, how much those things will impact the final price!
The first thing you’ll need to know is the difference between the three classes of electric bikes.
Class one electric bikes have no throttle and only offer pedal-assisted power. The max speed of these bikes is 20mph (32kph). These bikes are typically regulated the same as non powered bikes.
Class two electric bikes have both pedal-assisted power and throttle, with a max speed of 20mph (32kph) just like the class one electric bikes. In most places, these bikes are also treated the same as regular bikes.
Class three electric bikes are only equipped with pedal-assisted power but have a greater max speed of 28mph (45kph).
These bikes have varying legislation governing how they are treated, with some places treating them the same as motorbikes. It is important to find out about local legislation before purchasing a bike of this kind to avoid fines.
So, once you’ve decided on the class of eBike you’re going to purchase, it’s worth taking a look at some other features that can have a big impact on price and quality.
Folding or Non-Folding
Electric bikes come in a huge amount of different shapes and sizes. The main decision you’ll want to make before you pick out a specific body type is whether you want a foldable eBike or a non-foldable model.
The main draw for folding eBikes is the ability to keep it stored out of the way. It’s a great path to explore for people living in apartments, or if you’re planning on taking it to work with you.
The compactibility of these models also makes it much more viable to take with you on public transport or even in the back of your car if you want to take it for a leisure ride far from home.
These benefits don’t come without their downsides of course. Foldable bikes tend to have much smaller wheels than their non-foldable counterparts, which can make a bumpy road quite a bit less comfortable than it would be otherwise.
The impact that smaller wheels have on speed is less severe than it would be on a standard bike thanks to the electric motor, but if you plan to use pedal power to get above the speed cap that electric bikes have, you will have a tougher time on a foldable bike than you otherwise might.
Much like a regular non-folding bike, there is plenty to recommend a non-folding eBike. If you want to take your eBike on trails, you’ll definitely want to invest in a non-folding model. The increase in stability that the rigid frame and larger wheels afford are indispensable when you’re riding on anything other than paved roads or manicured grass!
Another feature that these models have over the folding variety is their ability to carry cargo. The lack of hinges and locking mechanisms mean that non-foldable eBikes can carry more weight along with the rider without risking something coming loose.
The obvious downside to non-foldable eBikes is their size. It is a lot easier to store an electric bike when you can fold it up and stick it in a corner. If you’re living in a small place, or you need to take it inside with you to keep it safe at work, things might get a little crowded with the addition of a larger model.
What Else to Consider?
There are so many other little bits and pieces that you could worry about when you’re buying your bike that it could stop you from buying it altogether.
Luckily, you really don’t need to focus on most of it. Once you’ve picked out what class and general body type you’re happy with, there are only a couple of other things to think about.
Knowing how far you’re going to get on a single charge will save you a whole lot of sweat and leg pain. Once the power cuts out of your eBike, it’s still ridable but the added weight of all those electronics can definitely be felt when you’re doing all the work!
Most manufacturers will have a range listed on their websites, and you can expect to get anywhere from 20 miles (32km) up to around 40 miles (64km).
Once you have your bike, it’s always a good idea to give it a full charge and then go see for yourself how far you can get. There are plenty of factors that can impact the range of the product you receive and you don’t want to overestimate how far you’ll get!
Having a good idea of what you want to do with your electric bike will inform a lot of the decisions you make about the final product you purchase.
If you plan to go offroad, you’ll likely want a big wheel eBike with good suspension.
If you’re planning to use it as your main commuting vehicle, it might be wise to go for a model with disk brakes and high-quality lights to avoid accidents.
If you want to carry a lot of goods with you, it is a good idea to look at bikes with racks and bag slots to make certain you don’t have to leave anything behind.
Generally speaking the details sort themselves out once you’re clear on how you intend to use the eBike. Once you’ve sorted that out, the marketing buzzwords and extra fluff that companies try to sell you won’t seem so daunting!
How Will These Factors Affect the Total Cost of Your eBike?
Naturally, these wide varieties of differences will impact the total cost of your eBike. The table below will cover the main varieties of eBike and their adjusted value.
|Standard||General riding activities||$1,000 – $3,000||
Quality batteries, motors, and engineering without a whole bunch of unnecessary bells and whistles fall into this price range
|Folding||Easy Storage and Portability||$1,500 – $3,500||
The extra folding mechanics can be hard to get right and spending a little more for this feature to ensure quality is wise
|Cargo||Carrying a lot of stuff||$1,800 – $8,000||
Making sure that your eBike is strong enough to not just hold, but propel large amounts of cargo means that the price point is a bit higher than regular eBikes.
|Off-Road||Mountain trails and other rough terrains||$2,000 – $5,000||
Electric parts add a lot of extra weight to a bike, and propelling that over uneven ground in a speedy manner is a tall order. You’ll have to spend a little more for these features.
Cost After Purchasing
Like any mode of transport, there will likely be some additional costs after you purchase your new eBike.
The only upfront costs will be any extras you decide to pick up to add to the utility of your new set of wheels.
These are the fun aftermarket expenses that can really add to your experience.
The first thing you’ll want to get your hands on is a helmet. Okay, this one isn’t all that fun. Speaking from experience, however, I can attest that coming off a bike moving at 20mph (32kmh) and landing square on your head is a whole lot less fun!
After that, you might want to look at getting some storage if it doesn’t already come with enough. A backpack is a great way to go with this, but there are also plenty of bags made specifically for bikes and eBikes.
A repair kit and tire pump are also some less exciting investments to make, but when you’re on your way home from a long day at work and you ride over a shard of broken glass, a quick patch and pump up will potentially save your evening!
A water bottle holder will also go a long way to increasing your user experience if the bike isn’t already fitted with one. They’re pretty cheap, and the relief you get from that first mouthful of water when you come to a stop is priceless.
Repairs and Maintainance:
These are a little less fun, but essential to keeping your eBike in good condition.
Getting your eBike serviced regularly will keep it running at peak efficiency and will generally keep it going for a whole lot longer. It is recommended to get it serviced approximately every six months when you’re actively riding it, or around every 500 miles (800kms).
This will likely cost somewhere around $150 for a basic service, and it will help flag any major problems that might be creeping up without your notice, like battery wear and tear, or rust.
Of course, there is basic repairs such as changing tires and tubes, though it is worth noting that depending on the way your eBike is configured, this may require some extra tools. Depending on your tire type, this can cost anywhere between $20 and $60.
Finally, there is likely the biggest repair cost, which is replacing the battery. The battery should last for a long time, but if at any time it does fail, it will cost between $500 and $800 to replace. The battery should last for 3 to 5 years, however, and can last even longer with proper care.
Overall, in a ten-year span, including maintenance, battery replacements, and an annual tire and tube replacement you will be looking at an additional $3,000 – $5,000 in repairs and maintenance.
As time goes on, eBikes will only continue to advance and become more mainstream. Their significantly lower cost to run and maintain than traditional motor vehicles are a major draw, and armed with this knowledge you stand to spend as little as you need to for a quality product.
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