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The Reasons What Make Electric Bikes So Expensive

Electric bikes, much like any type of bike, have price tags that range from jaw-droppingly cheap to dizzyingly expensive. Why is this so? What exactly is the difference between the two? If you’ve been in e-biking for a while now, there’s no doubt that these questions entered your mind at some point.

Well, it all really boils down to the individual components that a particular electric bike uses. You have to be willing to take a closer look at each one and compare the ones used by a cheap electric to a pricier one. Only then will the seemingly subtle line that divides the two be highlighted. More often than not, this is hard to detect by the average rider.


How is it powered?

Most electric bikes have some combination of manual pedaling, pedal assist (pedelec), and electric only (throttle) modes. Make sure you get the right one. If you have bad knees or just don’t want to pedal, then make sure your electric bike can propel itself forward with just the throttle. Every Murf comes with pedal assist and a throttle so you can decide if you’d like to pedal or use full electric mode.


Who makes the battery?

Make sure your battery comes from a reputable manufacturer. Brand name batteries tend to have much longer lives (charge cycles) due to more stringent testing.


What’s the voltage and capacity of the battery?

A 36 volt battery is fine for flat areas and lighter riders but a 48 volt battery will provide enough power to help climb hills and push heavier riders more easily. The next point to consider is the batteries capacity; this is typically measured in amp hours and most electric bike batteries range from 10-20 amp hours. A higher capacity battery will give you more range. Every Murf comes with a 48 volt 15.6 amp hour battery.


How much weight can the e-bike support?

Electric bikes are built in a similar fashion to their non-electric counterparts. As such, their weight limits are roughly the same as well. Most e-bikes can support someone who is 300 lbs. Just because they can though, doesn’t mean they should. Manufacturers typically post max weight limits 50 lbs. lower than their actual max to ensure reliability. A heavier rider would wear down the e-bike much faster and could potentially damage the spokes on the wheels.


So what is the difference between cheap and expensive e-bikes?

The difference between cheap and expensive e-bikes mainly depends on the quality of the materials used in every component. From the battery and motor to the brakes and wheels, there is a vast difference in the prices of these parts based on factors like weight, durability, etc.

Taking the time to learn about the prices of each one is technically the only way for you to gain a solid grasp of e-bike prices. You must have a specific reason why you want to learn about the difference between inexpensive and costly e-bikes.

Regardless of what it may be, we will help you pinpoint that difference by diving deeper into the costs of each part. We will go all the way into the specifics, in short.

In turn, we will complement these facts by comparing cheap, mid-range, and expensive models as well. With this well-rounded approach, we are confident that you will get all the information you need.

If it is your intent to make the most out of your money or simply want to buy the e-bike that will suit your specific needs and purposes, then knowing the exact difference between these e-bikes and their respective parts will prove to be worth it.


E-bike classification by price:

  • below $1000 – low-end electric bikes. Will work OK for occasional and not very demanding rides.
  • $1000 – $3000 – mid-range electric bikes. A good choice for frequent usages, such as commuting or longer trips.
  • above $3000 – high-end electric bikes. Make good sense for specialized use, such as mountain e-biking, long trips or other specialized needs, such as cargo delivery, for example.


The price breakdown of each primary e-bike component

Now that you have a clear picture of the costs of completed electric bikes, you’re now ready to dive into the prices of each specific element. Be prepared to see just how complex this beautiful beast is, at least, as far as what it is composed of is concerned. By knowing this, you’ll immediately be able to pinpoint what e-bikes readily scream “high quality” and what, well, doesn’t.

Take note that the prices mentioned here are mainly factory costs, so you can expect each one to have higher prices once they hit the shelves (or online stores).


How much does a battery contribute to e-bike cost?

The battery is a no-brainer element because without it, along with the motor, your e-bike simply wouldn’t run (as an electric bike, at least). Expect this to be one of the more expensive parts of your electric bike for this sole reason.

When considering the price of e-bike batteries, the capacity is often gauged as well as the brand that manufactured it. Cheap models usually incorporate generic batteries with a price range of $15-18.

Even if a more high-end electric bike uses a battery with the same capacity as a cheap one, its brand might balloon its cost to thrice that amount. If it is made by a brand like, let’s say, Samsung, LG, or Bosche, then you can expect it to be valued from around $40 to $200 and above.


How much does a motor contribute to e-bike cost?


Another very pricey part of an e-bike is the motor. Power and overall performance usually dictate how much the motor costs. Of course, a powerful motor immediately exhibits quality, so it has a higher worth overall.

Whether you are using a mid-drive motor or a hub motor, the price is often dictated by power because it immediately determines the riding experience. The brand also plays a role.

For instance, you might encounter off-brand motors that go for as low as $15-20, which can still manage to perform decently. Solid Chinese brands like Bafang normally have an average price of $100. A well-established brand like Panasonic, Bosche, or Shimano, as a comparison, usually has motor production costs hovering in the $150-200 range.


How much does electronics contribute to e-bike cost?

Overall e-bike cost also depends a lot on the electronic parts an electric bike incorporates. This varies in every model. Circuit breakers, LCD displays, and wires and connectors form the bulk of the electronic parts of an electric bike.  

Cheap wiring (made of unshielded copper aluminum) can go for as low as 30-40 cents. However, if it is shielded copper wires, expect them to cost around $5-6. As for circuit breakers, people can usually get them for $21-25, but there are budget ones priced at $10-11.

LCD display prices are more inconsistent because of the other features they might have. Some cheap ones can be bought for $13-24, while there are more expensive components with prices ranging between $45-65. Please note that the circuit breaker and LCD display prices mentioned here are also based on standard retail prices.


How much does a frame contribute to e-bike cost?

The frame occupies a large part of the expense pie of an e-bike. And for good reason. It is technically what holds all the primary and secondary elements of your bike together.

When it comes to e-bikes, the heavier the frame, the lesser it’s quality. Most heavy frames can be very fragile, after all, so you can expect cheap electric bikes to use them. This is in direct contrast to lighter frames that commonly come in metal alloys made to last.

You might find frames offered for as cheap as $100-200, made commonly of iron or aluminum alloys. The more resilient frames normally command prices that can reach up to $500-900. You’ll find that these are often composed of high-quality titanium or carbon.  Please keep in mind that these frame prices are already average retail prices and not factory costs.


How much do wheels contribute to e-bike cost?

Electric Bikes

Materials, performance, and origin of manufacture determine the cost of an e-bike wheel. What materials were used in the body and tire parts? What is its top speed? Parts made in the US commonly cost more.

Not-so-stellar wheel for electric bikes might cost around $4. While a mid-grade one could be triple that price ($12, to be exact). For companies that settle for quality and nothing else, they usually shell out $40 for the production of a single top-grade wheel.


Finally Word

How long do intend to use your electric bike? Are you looking for something that would last for years? If so, then you may want to steer clear of cheap and even some mid-range e-bikes. Always look at the warranty if you want a guarantee of durability.

So what really is the difference between cheap and expensive e-bikes? With these things considered, a lot. But once you familiarize yourself with them, you should not have a hard time making a decision.

If you are looking for a new way of commuting or want a healthier lifestyle, we are here to help you. Visit our website to learn more about electric bikes and electric scooter or please leave information to us.

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