What is the difference between cheap and expensive electric bikes
As with any type of bike, e-bike price tags can range from eye-popping cheap to eye-wateringly expensive. Why is this happening? What exactly is the difference between the two? If you’ve been on e-bikes for a while, no doubt these questions entered your mind at some point.
Well, it all boils down to the individual components used by a particular e-bike. You have to be willing to look at each one carefully and compare the EVs used by cheap EVs with more expensive EVs. Only then will the seemingly subtle line separating the two be highlighted. Usually, this is hard to spot by the average rider.
So what’s the difference between cheap and expensive electric bikes? The difference between cheap and expensive e-bikes is largely determined by the quality of the materials used in each component. From batteries and motors to brakes and wheels, the prices of these parts vary widely based on factors such as weight, durability, and more.
Technically speaking, taking the time to understand the price of each e-bike is the only way you can get a firm grasp on the price of an e-bike. You have to have a specific reason to know the difference between cheap and expensive electric bikes.
Whatever it is, we’ll help you pinpoint that difference by digging into the cost of each part. In short, we’ll keep going into the details.
In turn, we’ll complement these facts by comparing cheap, mid-range and expensive models. With this comprehensive approach, we are confident that you will have all the information you need.
If you’re planning to make the most of your money, or just want to buy an e-bike that suits your specific needs and purposes, it will prove worthwhile to know the exact difference between these e-bikes and their respective components.
The big difference between cheap and expensive electric bikes
In this case, the word “huge” cannot be emphasized any more. That’s because the price range of ready-to-use e-bikes alone is enough to illustrate the difference.
Brand new low-end e-bikes can often be purchased for as little as $500, but prices can soar to twice as high. It is still considered “affordable”.
Part of the reason behind this is that mid-range e-bikes can cost as much as $3,000. Any e-bike over the $1,000 limit is already considered a mid-range bike.
On the other hand, when it comes to “high-end electric bikes,” the sky is pretty much the limit. Any bike over $3,000 is already considered expensive by the standards of most e-bike enthusiasts.
Electric bikes by price:
Under $1000 – Low-end electric bikes. Works fine for occasional and less demanding rides.
$1000 – $3000 – Mid-range electric bikes. A good option for frequent use, such as commuting or long-distance travel.
$3000+ – High-end electric bikes. Makes good sense for professional use, such as mountain e-bikes, long-distance travel or other special needs such as cargo.
Price breakdown for each major e-bike component
Now that you have a clear picture of the cost of a finished electric bike, you can now drill down to the price of each specific element. Get ready to see how complex this beautiful beast is, at least as far as its composition goes. By knowing this, you’ll immediately be able to pinpoint which e-bikes tend to scream “high quality” and which ones aren’t.
Note that the prices mentioned here are mostly factory costs, so you can expect a higher price per item once it hits the shelves (or online store).
How much does a battery affect the cost of an e-bike?
The battery is a no-brainer element, because without it and the motor, your e-bike simply cannot run (at least as an e-bike). For this sole reason, expect this to be one of the more expensive parts of your e-bike.
When considering the price of an e-bike battery, capacity is often measured along with the brand that makes it. Inexpensive models usually include generic batteries that cost between $15-18.
Even if a higher-end e-bike uses a battery of the same capacity as a cheap battery, the cost of its brand could balloon to three times that amount. If it’s made by a brand like Samsung, LG, or Bosch, you can expect it to be worth anywhere from $40 to $200 and up.
How much does the electric motor contribute to the cost of an e-bike?
Another very expensive part of an e-bike is the motor. Power and overall performance often determine the cost of a motor. Of course, a powerful motor immediately shows quality, so it’s worth more overall.
Whether you have a mid-drive motor or a hub motor, price usually depends on power, as it immediately determines the riding experience. Brands also play a role.
For example, you might
t 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 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 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 do brakes contribute to e-bike cost?
While being one of the less costly parts of an e-bike, brakes are no less important for obvious reasons. Like frames, you should pay attention to the materials used in the brakes.
Cheap electric bikes won’t hesitate to use low-quality plastic levers, thin rotors, and less than desirable pads. These commonly cost 80 cents each.
Settling for mid-quality brakes can cost around $9. The high-quality ones, and usually what you will normally see in online stores, have an average price of $25 for each brake. Most use a hall-effect sensor complemented by a magnet for better performance.
How much do wheels contribute to e-bike cost?
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.
Now, let’s compare cheap, mid-range, and expensive models of e-bikes
To get a more complete view of the price difference between e-bike models, you should also look at how each one fares when compared to the other. In this portion, we will carefully inspect the aspects and features of low-cost, medium- priced, and downright exorbitant e-bike models.
Besides cost, we will also expound more on essential factors like weight and durability. Does a certain model, for instance, come with a warranty? How does riding range influence price – if at all? Stick around, and you’ll surely know the answer to these questions in no time. What’s certain is this will give you the most precise answer to the main question presented above.
We are aware that certain electric bikes perform best in certain terrains and environments (i.e. commutes, city rides, outdoor rides, etc.) While the models we have chosen to shine in one or more of these specific aspects, we did not use it as a factor when gauging their quality. We will focus more on more fundamental elements that constitute an e-bike.
That said, we have outlined each one for your easier reference. Take a look at the three models below and see how they differ with these essential factors considered.
700c / 36 Volt Hyper E-ride Electric Commuter Black Bike (low-end)
Weight and frame
The weight of this electric bike is not specifically listed on its product information page. However, many of its reviews say that its heavier weight makes it harder to maneuver. This is the case even if the product purports to be using a “lightweight” aluminum frame.
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.