Why are electric bikes so expensive?

electric bikee
(© Patrizia Tilly – stock.adobe.com)

Those interested in an e-bike may suffer a bit of sticker shock when they check the cost of a bike. However, an e-bike can reduce your need for a car or at least cut down on the miles you put on your vehicle. You can also enjoy the fresh air and a bit of exercise during your commute and errands.

Here are some of the most expensive components of an electric bike:

The battery

The battery on an e-bike has to be

  • able to withstand chatter
  • able to tolerate sunlight
  • waterproof
  • quick to recharge

If you’re returning to bicycling or reducing the amount of pedaling you have to do, knowing that your battery is going to kick in when you need it is key. For those using their bike as a way to work and to run errands, you will need to avoid getting too hot and sweaty before you get to the office. You can extend your battery’s charge by pedaling, but a battery you can rely on is critical.

Battery charger

You may find that a single battery charger won’t be enough. For example, if you have a long commute to work, having an extra charger at the office can make it much easier to get home. Investing in a second charger, or even a second battery, might make longer rides easier.

The motor

Your bike and motor will need weekly cleaning. You will also need a place where you can lubricate the regular mechanisms of a bicycle, including the chain. If you have never had to do routine maintenance checks on a car, getting in this habit may take a while.

Make sure that you follow the manual when reviewing the condition of the motor. The waterproof functioning of your battery and motor is critical to your safety and comfort. Study the paperwork and get in the habit of checking these items.

Frame

The frame of an e-bike has to be stronger than that of a traditional bike. You will be

  • moving faster
  • likely traveling on city streets
  • at greater risk in the event of a fall or a crash

Many folks starting out on an e-bike are not in optimum shape. You may have chosen an e-bike because you are heavier than is healthy or comfortable for you. The frame of your bike has to tolerate a lot of pressure and a lot of vibration.

Flexible designs

There are also many e-bikes that fold down to a carrying bag. This technology, including the folding mechanism and a stable, sturdy frame upon unrolling, takes time and money to design. Every spot on the frame that folds needs protection from corrosion, support to prevent bending or metal wear, and a sturdy locking fix when unfolded.

If you cannot afford a folding e-bike, you may have better luck finding a more affordable non-folding frame design e-bike. Look for a step-thru design, whether you are male or female if you plan to use the bike as a commuter. Having your groceries or your laptop strapped on the bike’s back or on your torso will make it very hard to swing your leg over the seat. The step-thru frame makes it much easier to keep your balance when you’re ready to ride.

Scaling: Costly manufacturing

The e-bike industry is in the early stages. One of the significant challenges of a new industry is that learning the manufacturing ropes is costly and includes a lot of risks. There’s also quite a lot of competition, and the technology is still expanding.

Many people shopping for an e-bike may be drawn to the latest and greatest features, while others are drawn to companies with more history and stability. However, those older companies are still working on cutting-edge technology and striving to improve their current offerings.

Your e-bike purchase will likely always be more costly than a traditional bike. The weight and durability of the frame on an e-bike will always be safer than that of a traditional bike. If you need a bike to serve as a commuting tool, you will always be safer on a sturdier e-bike; the investment is well worth it.

Story by Alek Asaduryan


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