Electric Bicycle Price Differences Explained
Generally speaking, eBike prices start around $500, but machines that cost less than $1000 are only suitable for light use. Cheap models are made with cheap materials which need replacing over time and new batteries can often cost as much as a new bike. A higher price point can be repaid through reduced service costs and extended battery life.
Bicycle Components: Essentially, you pay for what you get. Cheaper models use cheap materials which can be easily susceptible to breakage. Inexpensive parts can also be rattly when they are loosely fitted and, because of the amount of movement that these elements experience they can break or become damaged a little easier due to increased wear and tear.
Electrical Components: Like bicycle hardware, there is also a quality variance in electrical parts. For instance, many customers do not know that batteries can vary in quality as much as other parts and the quality is not simply indicated by the manufacturer’s stated capacity. Ultimately it all comes down to the cells within the battery that determine the quality. Brands like Samsung, Bosch and Panasonic have been leading the way in terms of producing high quality Lithium-Ion batteries in recent years and are common on high end electric bikes. We advise that you avoid lead-acid and nickel batteries if at all possible. While they may be cheaper initially, they do not have the same length of life span as the more modern lithium-ion batteries on the market. Once the time comes to dispose of your old / dead battery, lead-acid and nickel batteries can be difficult to recycle.
Brand: Large bike brand often charge premiums on their products because they have an existing reputation from the traditional bike space of producing quality, providing good customer support or free extended warranties. Many people deem these factors worthy of paying the price. Some brands like Tower however, offer e-bikes direct to consumer, meaning we do not sell through traditional retail channels where several mark ups are included in the final price a customer pays. This allows us to offer our products to customers at lower prices than much of the competition while still offering high quality.
Retail: Physical vendors often have the highest priced products, because they are the last part of the distribution network before it reaches the customer. The price that they pay will include distributor and wholesaler mark-ups which increase the price significantly. Until recent years, electric bikes were quite a niche product and many bike shops wouldn’t have had either the resources or demand to put in a bulk order large enough to avail of trade discounts.
When looking at buying an e-bike, be sure to do some research on the parts that are used and the type of company the brand is because price is not always all-telling in terms of quality.