e-Bike? What is the cost of an Electric Bicycle?

More than This... Less than That...


e-Bike... Budget, Mid-Range or Premium?

You may be curious about the costs of purchasing, using, and maintaining an electric bike now that you know what they are, how they operate, and why they are such a special and efficient form of transportation for so many people around the world. This blog will provide you an overview of what is the cost of an e-bike and will try to address the questions that most people have while considering purchasing their own electric bike. 

The motor’s efficiency and performance capabilities have a significant impact on the total cost of an electric bike; in general, the better the motor, the more expensive the bike. As well as the motor’s capacity, the battery used to fuel an electric bike’s motor is an important factor in the price of the bike. A typical electric bike configuration includes a derailleur and mechanical gears, much like a conventional bicycle. Switching to a mid-drive system allows for a more advanced transmission, such as an internally geared hub, to be installed in the rear wheel. Since an electric bike is essentially a bicycle, the combination of non-electric, non-motorized bicycle parts used on an electric bike does have a significant impact on the total cost of the bike. The actual material used to build the frame is the fourth and final element that influences how much an electric bike costs. Following the initial cost of buying an electric bike, there are certain continuing costs associated with using and maintaining an electric bike on a daily basis. 

How Much Does It Cost To Buy A New e-Bike?

You may be curious about the costs of purchasing, using, and maintaining an e-Bike now that you know a little bit more about them. The next step is to educate yourself on what e-Bikes are, how they operate, and why they are such a special and efficient form of transportation. The following sections of this blog will provide you an explanation of these costs and will try to address the questions that most people have while considering purchasing their first e-Bike. 

Electric Bike Motors

The Motor

Hub motors and mid-drive motors are the two primary types of motors.
Although both have their own set of benefits and drawbacks, when it comes to determining a motor’s price, power is the most important factor. e-Bike motors start at a power rating of 250 watts and can go over 1000 watts.  750 watts is the legal limit. Higher-rated motors produce more power than lower-rated motors, resulting in a more snappy, sensitive, and flexible motorized riding experience. The type of riding you’re planning to do and the terrain on which you’ll be riding will determine whether or not you need a more powerful motor. The power output isn’t the only factor to think about.

While both a rear hub and a mid-drive motor can produce 500 watts, their effects on your riding experience can be vastly different. A mid-drive motor has a mechanical advantage over a hub motor in that it produces more torque, which is important for climbing hills. Additionally, mid-drive only assists the rider when you are pedaling. On mostly level surfaces, hub motors have the advantage of contestant assistance even if the rider is not pedaling. In summary: Motor = Watts = Torque = Power

The Battery

The e-Bikes designed today use lightweight, reliable, rechargeable lithium batteries. For years NiCad (Nickel Cadmium) batteries reigned supreme. Recently, though, they’ve been displaced by newer Lithium Ion battery technology. The number of miles a battery can provide before it needs to be recharged is the primary difference between them. The number of miles a rider gets out of a fully charged battery is determined by a number of factors. The most significant include the bike’s weight, the rider’s weight, the presence or absence of a headwind or tailwind, the number and gradient of the hills the bike is ascending, and the percentage of human/motor generated assistance.

If a cyclist, for example, pedals for the majority of the ride by using a low amount of motor support, he can get more miles out of the battery charge than if he uses the motor as his sole source of propulsion. As compared to the rider who travels to work completely on flat land, they can get more miles out of their battery than a rider who must go up two steep hills to get to work. The manufacturers and retailers of e-Bikes typically define batteries in terms of mileage ranges to account for a variety of riding styles and conditions. A battery of good quality can provide on average between 20 and 50 miles of riding per charge. 

Electric Bike Motors

The Drivetrain

Geared hub transmissions are factory-sealed, need less maintenance, and have less exposed parts that can be subject to being accidentally damaged. This advantage come at a cost, and can add hundreds of dollars to the price of an e-Bike. The technology for electric bikes has progressed to the point that a fully automatic transmission is now possible. Automatic shifting controllers can be added to internally geared hubs, eliminating the need for the rider to manually change gears. These advanced features come at a higher cost than a typical derailleur or internally geared hub motor. Check out my post “Electric Bike Motors” for an in depth article.

The Components

Many of the components of an e-Bike can be upgraded. When this choice is made,  you’re usually paying for components that are lighter, stronger, and more durable. Additionally, you will be getting parts that work more reliably and efficiently than cheaper, lower-quality parts. Premium derailleurs change faster and more efficiently than budget derailleurs and are usually lighter and more durable. Suspension forks that are more expensive are usually stronger, more rugged, and adapt to changes in terrain more smoothly than those that are less expensive. Hydraulic front and rear disk brakes will drastically reduce your stopping distance.The parts you’ll need for your electric bike are largely determined by the type of riding you want to do.

If you plan on riding your e-Bike solely on paved city streets to run errands and commute to work, you won’t need the same bulky, rugged parts that a rider would need if he plans on riding off-road or on trails instead of smooth bike paths. It’s critical to invest in a e-Bike with good quality components (name brand) that are appropriate for the type of riding you want to do. This will increase the probability that your e-Bike will be more dependable, more functional, and more enjoyable.  Additionally, down time for repairs should be minimal.

The Materials

Budget e-Bike frames that are made of heavy metal or less durable materials are typically less expensive than e-Bikes that fall in the Premium category.  Frames that are built using quality materials are usually lighter in weight, stronger and more durable aluminum metal alloys. The frame is more or less the backbone of the entire bike and arguably the most important single part in classifying low or high end. It’s important to put more money in a high-quality frame. Aluminum and Carbon are now very popular materials used to make sturdy, dependable, and lightweight frames. Simply put, more money equals better bike and a better bike equals a better ride. How an e-Bike handles or how easy it is to ride is a direct result from how well it is constructed. Fortunately, their are many budget e-Bikes that are good for the price you pay. Additionally, a budget e-Bike is perfect for the casual or part time rider.

The Expenses of Riding an e-Bike and Keeping It

Although riding an electric bike entails an initial investment, the cost- and fuel-efficiency of doing so pays off handsomely in the long run. When the low cost of owning and maintaining an e-Bike is paired with the comfort, enjoyment, and ease of using an electric bike, for errands and commuting, or as part of a workout routine, the result is a win-win situation.

Green Energy

The cost of charging the battery is the most common recurring cost of riding an e-Bike. Surprisingly, this is also the point at which e-Bikes begin to stand out as a particularly cheap and effective mode of transportation. In reality, the most cost-effective motorized vehicle currently available, according to several reports is an e-Bike. Charging an electric bike battery costs about 10 cents on average.

Most batteries get between 18 and 45 miles per charge. That brakes down to a range of 250 to 500 miles on a single charge for just $2.5 worth of electricity. The cost of routine maintenance, which will occur as parts wear out or break from time to time. Surprisingly, it seems that a majority of e-Bikes components are normal bicycle parts. Almost all repairs can be done for a reasonable price at a local bike shop. 

Electric bikes have been shown to be the most cost-effective motorized vehicle currently available. When the low cost of riding and maintaining an e-Bike is combined with the comfort, enjoyment, and ease of use of an electric bike, it’s easy to see why the worldwide popularity of e-Bikes is rapidly increasing. More and more people have switched to using electric bikes for their daily commuting, recreation and or social needs.

Green Energy is electricity and natural gas that comes from renewable sources, such as hydro, wind, biomass and solar, instead of traditional fuels like coal and natural gas.

Budget electric bikes ($500-$1,000)

You should expect to spend from $500 to $1,000 on an e-Bike. A bike in this price range will get you where you need to go and perform as well as expected for as long as they are expected to last. The frames of e-Bikes in this price range usually don’t offer the rider a ton of confidence because the bike components are on the lower end of the scale, but they’re not bad for the price you are paying for the e-Bike.

The riding experience you want and the quality of that experience will depend heavily on  the price you pay for the e-Bike. Occasional use for now and then trips to the corner store or to a friends house is not the same as daily 5 mile commutes to work. Continued use will require more money for better quality. Do you plan on going trail riding? Then in addition to better components, you will want an e-Bike with a stronger frame, front and rear suspension, on/off road or fatter tires and more power from a higher wattage motor.

Off Road fun
There are many companies, US and foreign, that develop and manufacture eBikes.  These companies determine the price of their product based on a number of factors. As you continue to educate yourself, you will begin to get an idea of what you can expect to pay for the eBike that will meet your requirements or style of riding. Don’t expect these e-Bikes to last for years of continued use or abuse. But if you take care of them and use them within their limits, budget e-Bikes can be a solid way to get your feet wet in the world of e-Bikes. Nakto is the leading budget e-Bike manufacturer in China and offer a wide range of affordable styles.
Fashion Design & Good Quality $798.99

Mid-Range electric bikes ($1,000-$2,500)

Mid-range is the most common price range for the e-Bike community. This is where more advanced hardware components and electronic components are used to drastically improve the performance, quality, longevity and overall rider experience. Budget-e-Bikes are good for those that are new to the e-Bike world or are just trying to see what all the hype is about. For those that want to experiment with the concept of e-bikes. The mid-range category is for those that know the purpose, performance expectations and are committed to making an investment without breaking the bank.

Professional Quality and Service for only $1,850

When e-Bikes enter this price category, the brakes and shifters start transitioning into better models by companies like Shimano and Tektro. The tires start coming with familiar names like Kenda, and frames start feeling strong enough to ride down a set of concrete stairs and remain intact. On the higher end of this price range you’ll even start to see Mid-Drive motors and hydraulic disc brakes instead of cable disk brakes.

YouTube courtesy of HAIBIKE

Yamaha Mid-Drive wide rang of use $2,500

These bikes can actually last 3-5 years with good bike maintenance. The lithium battery that provides the power is most likely to reach it’s “end of life” before anything else needs to be replaced.

Premium electric bikes ($2,500-$5,000)

This price range will separate you from all other e-Bike riders. Everything from the rubber on the road to the seat under your bottom comprises of quality components. The tires, rims shifters, brakes, frames, motors, suspension, electronics and controls are brand name components. It’s like going from the minor league to the major league. Brands names like Bosch, Shimano, Yamaha, and Panasonic become household conversation.

In this category, Mid-Drive motors become more popular than Hub motors that are popular on most mid-range and budget e-Bikes. Mid-Drive offers the rider a much better riding experience in performance by using the torque from the motor to “assist” the rider while pedaling as if they were on a traditional bicycle.

When a rider steps into the premium arena of e-Bikes, you will be standing shoulder to shoulder with people that are devoted to and serious about the type of riding they want to experience.

At the End of The Day...

Although riding an electric bike entails an initial investment, the cost- and fuel-efficiency of doing so pays off handsomely in the long run. When the low cost of running and maintaining an electric bike is paired with the comfort, fun, and ease of use of an electric bike, it’s easy to see why people all over the world are increasingly relying on them. Whether as a mode of transportation for errands and commuting, as part of a fitness routine, as a convenient means of recreation and leisure, or anything entirely different, it’s easy to see why people all over the world are increasingly relying on electric bikes to fulfill their daily transportation needs.

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