12 things you need to know before buying a cheap electric bike
12 things you need to know before buying a cheap electric bike
Due to the growing interest in electric bicycles, the price of electric bicycles has finally fallen. But this does not mean that you should buy a cheap electric bike. I have researched all the problems that may arise when buying a cheaper bicycle and when I can save money.
Most electric bicycles cost between US$400 and US$4,000, although some electric bicycles cost as much as US$5,000 or more. Therefore, it is fair to say that anything less than $1,000 can be considered cheap.
However, before deciding which bicycle to buy, there is a lot of general information about electric bicycles to know. Saving money by buying a cheap bicycle may make you unhappy and feel as if you are wasting your money completely.
Therefore, before you buy a cheap electric bike to save money, please understand 12 things you should know before buying.
1. Why do you want an electric bicycle?
First, ask yourself what you will mainly use an electric bike for. If you plan to ride it on your daily commute or school, you may want a road bike with tires that perform best on the sidewalk.
However, if you plan to ride on muddy trails, sand, snow, or muddy roads, you will definitely want a bike with larger or “fat” tires. Or, you might choose a bike that might be the best hybrid of the two.
Therefore, it is not a good idea to buy any bicycle, especially because it is cheap and there is no guarantee that it can meet your greatest needs.
2. Think about how fast you want it to run
The speed of electric bicycles varies greatly. If you plan to get somewhere quickly or ride fast just for fun, you can buy a bike with a 1500-3000 watt motor and a speed of 35 mph. However, a bicycle equipped with these motors will cost you a lot of money.
In any case, most electric bike riders don’t want or need that kind of speed. You may want to buy a bicycle equipped with a 250W-750W motor. The prices of these bikes are still higher than you want to pay, but you can definitely find some cheaper options here.
Most of these bicycles can easily reach 20 mph. Nonetheless, make sure you know how fast you can ride before buying a specific electric bike.
3. Consider how far you want the electric bike to travel (very important!)
When deciding whether to buy a cheap electric bike, knowing your minimum battery requirements may be the most important consideration.
Some batteries can drive you 45 miles or more. However, cheaper bikes will have cheaper batteries and won’t take you far without a new charge.
So if you bike 20 miles to work and 20 miles back every day, you better know that your battery will last… or at least you have a safe place to recharge the battery every day at work. I mentioned that it needs to be a “safe” place, because your battery replacement is very expensive (a high-quality battery costs more than $500)!
4. Look at maintenance costs
All electric bicycles need to be adjusted to stay in top condition, and may cost $75-150 per 500 miles. Therefore, what you really need to check here is how often you might need to replace other parts.
If you buy a cheap electric bicycle, you are likely to change things more frequently. Because these bicycles are made of cheaper parts, these parts will break.
The good news is that if you replace the damaged parts with cheaper ones, it won’t cost that much. The bad news is that even new bicycle tires can cost $30 or more. In addition, the maintenance cost of a cheap electric bicycle is roughly the same as the maintenance cost of a slightly more expensive electric bicycle.
No matter what kind of electric bicycle you have, brake adjustments still cost US$20-40.
5. How much are you willing to spend on accessories?
Yes, you can buy cheap electric bicycles. But, will you end up spending more money on accessories that the bike does not have? Or would you want to upgrade your seat because it is not comfortable enough?
Therefore, before saving $300 on a bicycle, consider the trade-offs.
6. How often do you plan to ride an electric bike?
If you ride a bike occasionally, a cheap electric bike may be a good fit.
However, if you plan to ride every day or even every week, your bike will probably not be able to ride for as long as you want. When buying, you should add potential repair costs to the total price of the bicycle. Then decide whether the cheaper the better.
7. Are cheap electric bicycles safe?
Riding any type of bicycle is risky. In terms of the safety of cheaper electric bicycles and more expensive electric bicycles, there is really not much difference.
However, there is one major difference, which is a huge advantage for cheaper bicycles.
They are usually much lighter! This is something that needs serious consideration. Many electric bicycles are really heavy… up to 70 pounds. Cheap bicycles are usually lighter, mainly because their components are cheaper. Buying a $500 bike will keep your bike under 40-50 pounds.
This will make your cheap electric bike (and your back) safer when it is lifted. In addition, if you fall on the bike, the weight on you will be much less!
8. You might like the throttle
Cheap electric bicycles don’t have a throttle. As a casual rider, this may not be a big problem. However, if you are going to ride a lot of bikes on busy streets, the throttle is really good.
The throttle will help you move fast, just like a car or a motorcycle. So, for example, you don’t need to start slowly at an intersection, but pass quickly (and therefore safer).
9. Powerful electric bicycles are more expensive
This again boils down to your purpose of riding an electric bike. If you insist on flat terrian and city streets, or you just ride for fun, you can save some money by buying a bike with a cheaper motor.
This is most likely a “hub motor”. They are very common and are suitable for almost any bicycle frame, so you will find them on many bicycles.
However, if you plan to ride frequently, go uphill, or ride on rough terrain, then you will need a bicycle with a “mid-drive” motor… and this will cost more.
The big difference here is that the mid-drive motor is well concentrated on your bike, so it allows you to better balance and control your electric bike. However, the in-wheel motor can only be installed in the front or rear.
10. Can your electric bicycle be adjusted?
The fact is, the more adjustable your bike is, the more comfortable you will be. Cheap bicycles do not have adjustable handlebars, and the seatpost may not rise or fall. Basically, they are cheaper because they are not difficult to manufacture.
This will become very important if you are not a person of medium build and may not be able to fit on your bike. Otherwise, this may not be a big problem.
11. Luxurious features increase costs
Cheap bikes won’t have all the bells and whistles of more expensive bikes, or at least the parts may not be of high quality (and may not last long!).
For example, if you are going through dirt or mud, you need large front and rear fenders to protect you from flying debris. You don’t want to wear small “half” fenders just to look like they have fenders.
Moreover, if you are going to ride several miles at a time, you will need a large upholstered seat. Cheap electric bicycles will not have comfortable seats (or they will be seats that tear and fall apart quickly).
So if you buy a cheap electric bike, please think about what you might miss.
12. You can buy cheaper electric bikes than ever before!
With the popularity of electric bicycles, more and more manufacturers have begun to manufacture them. Therefore, there are many options, cheap and high-priced.
All bicycles have pros and cons. As competition among manufacturers intensifies, your chances of finding a cheap electric bike that suits you also increase.
Buy or not to buy cheap electric bikes
Now, you can easily buy an electric bicycle at almost any cost. And because it’s easy to buy online, it’s also easy to act impulsively. However, I strongly recommend that you read all online reviews of previous buyers before buying a cheap electric bike.
And make sure you have reviewed all the content you need to know before buying. Of course, electric bicycles are expensive, so cost is an important factor in any purchase. But don’t buy cheap ones just to save money. First determine if it is right for you.
How much is the cheapest electric bike?
The cheapest electric bike found on the Internet costs about $450 and comes from Hotebike. This bicycle is classified as a “commuter” bicycle, which is convenient for storage and travel.
Hotebike has at least 18 different models, most of which are under $1,000. There are many models sold at lower prices, so this may be a good place to start your search, as each model has many individual reviewers. Reading reviews of multiple bikes from the same manufacturer will give you a good understanding of the overall quality of the company’s electric bikes.
In addition, many other cheap electric bicycles cost less than US$1,000, and most are between US$500-800. These come from about 10 different manufacturers, some of which are newer than others.
Therefore, before buying any electric bikes, especially from low-priced manufacturers, please understand how long they have made electric bikes and whether they exist long enough to get reviews. Then read the reviews before buying cheap ones!
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