For many people, ebikes might seem to have quite a high price tag when compared with their traditional, unassisted counterparts, but why exactly are ebikes so expensive?
The price of an ebike will vary greatly from model to model and it’s definitely possible to find more wallet-friendly options. But as a general rule, ebikes tend to lean towards the pricier side of things, and there are many reasons why this could be.
The “E” in “EBike”
So probably the most prominent reason why ebikes are so expensive is because of that little “E”. For anyone who doesn’t know, that E stands for electric which naturally means that ebike = electric bike (or electric bicycle).
It makes sense that a bicycle supported by electricity would be more expensive to manufacture and therefore more expensive to buy than a conventional bike, and this is exactly the case. The electric components of an ebike such as the battery and motor are much more complex than the simple mechanisms of a traditional bike and require more expertise to manufacture.
- Ebike motors will vary in complexity and price depending on bike model but you can be sure that the more expensive the motor, the higher the quality and at the end of the day, you want quality.
- If you’re looking to go at a decent speed or plan on going up hills, then you’ll need a more powerful motor to drive the bike against greater resistance. Stronger motors of 48v+ will cost more than smaller ones.
- There are several different kinds of ebike motor including mid-drive, hub-direct, and hub-geared.
Mid-drive motors work together with the chain drive to augment your pedalling power rather than creating an all-new source of power, whereas hub-direct motors work by spinning around the axle of the front or rear hub. This is less effective than a mid-drive motor although hub-direct motors can also generate energy when you brake.
The third kind of motor, hub-geared, uses gears to reduce RPM (revolutions per minute) and increases torque, maximising efficiency. These are usually the most expensive kind but there is a lot of variation across different manufacturers.
- Ebike batteries generally come in two varieties: lead acid and lithium.
- Lead acid batteries are similar to car batteries and are larger and heavier, and therefore less common. They are also not as durable so will need to be replaced more frequently.
- Lithium batteries are closer to those used in other small electrical appliances and are more technologically advanced and compact, making them a more streamlined choice for an ebike. Most lithium battery manufacturers are big names such as Panasonic and LG, meaning they will come at a price.
Expensive Parts + Expensive Expertise = Expensive Bike (unfortunately).
Another simple reason for ebikes being more expensive than unassisted bikes is that they generally come with quite a few additional accessories that a normal bike doesn’t need. Such accessories include:
- Like all battery powered products, ebikes do not have infinite battery life and will therefore require charging. Find out what happens when the battery dies here.
- Having a battery charger is much more efficient than having to get a new battery every time you drained one.
- Most ebike brands and models will have a display of some description built into the bike to enable the rider to monitor and control different aspects of their ride more conveniently.
- These displays vary widely in complexity but even the simplest ones represent an additional cost that unassisted bikes do not incur.
- This piece of equipment connects all of an ebikes electrical component and is basically the hub of the bike’s power.
- Without a motor controller, you wouldn’t be able to control your speed, pedal-assist, sensors, or display and riding your e-bike would basically be exactly the same experience as riding a normal bike.
- Due to the electric nature of some of an ebike’s parts, it is imperative that these parts remain dry and safe even in unpleasant weather.
- Waterproofing is important to ensure the bike’s electrical components remain able to function at optimal levels, as well as to minimise potential danger to the rider.
These are the four main additional features that will add to the price of an electric bike, and in the majority of cases, there’s no getting around them.
While this might seem like an inconvenience to your pockets, it’s worth considering that these accessories will enable you to enjoy your ebike to the fullest and are therefore very necessary.
So now that we know what parts of ebikes contribute most to the price, are there any other factors? What about non-essential features?
Like conventional, unassisted bikes, ebikes also have a range of smaller add-ons that can be used to customise the style of your bike and add convenience. Some popular choices include:
- Whether you’re going on a short zip into town or a longer country ride, staying hydrated should be a top priority.
- How better to ensure you’re drinking enough fluids than to add a bottle holster to your ebike? That way, when you feel yourself getting parched, you can simply whip out your bottle on the go.
- More adventurous riders might like to consider a bag rack for their ebike, providing additional space to store and carry hiking gear or other hobby equipment.
- Many bag racks come with bags included, many of which are dry-bags – perfect for unpredictable weather!
- Any rider thinking of riding anywhere at night or in other poor visibility conditions should not do so before kitting out their bike with some lights.
- Most bike lights that are not pre-fitted will be able to fit on most traditional bikes as well as ebikes, and there are so many options available including solar-powered ones.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ebike accessories and it’s easy to see how the prices can add up! For the keen cyclist, the higher price tag of a kitted-out ebike is a worthy price to pay for making the ride as smooth, comfortable, and convenient as possible.
Another Perspective on Price
For many people, regardless of all the necessary and additional costs that make up an ebike, they still come out as quite expensive. It might help to see the matter from a slightly different point of view:
Ebikes cost what they cost, and what they cost is most likely going to be cheaper than a motorcycle or a car. They might be more expensive than a lot of unassisted bikes, but ebikes are more convenient and, in many ways, can’t really be fairly compared to unassisted bikes.
There is also such a vast array of unassisted bikes out there that many of the more high-end options will cost more than a standard ebike. Ebikes are not necessarily the priciest bicycle choice out there which is important to bear in mind.
Ebikes also have several important health benefits which could make the price even more understandable. You can read up on these benefits here.
There are many reasons why ebikes might seem expensive, and there are definitely models out there that cost a seemingly disproportionate amount. However, most ebikes cost exactly what they should for the features and added convenience that they offer.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your own cycling capabilities, what you plan on using your bike for, and how often you’ll be riding. These are the factors that will determine how worth-it an ebike will be for you.
That said, you don’t need to break the bank in order to get your hands on a quality ebike, and as long as you take proper care of it, you can expect to enjoy your ebike for many years and many rides!