What factors determine the cost of an eBike?
Factors that determine the overall cost of an eBike include the type of eBike, motor and battery, frame and components, accessories, as well as shipping and service. Taking these variables into account can help you break down the price of the eBike you’re considering and, ultimately, help you make an informed decision and planned out decision.
Motor type: $200 – $1,500
There are two types of eBike motors, hub motors and mid-drive motors. Mid-drive motors are generally found on higher quality bikes and tend to command a higher price tag for several reasons, including how they’re designed into the frame. Hub motors, which are built into the wheel(s) of the bike tend to be less efficient, are mass produced, and are generally a lot less expensive.
Batteries: $800 – $1,400
Most eBikes today are powered by 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, which come in a variety of voltages, wattages and various amp-hour ranges. This generally equates to differences in power output, as well as the overall range or distance provided between charges. Generally the cost between a single battery model will be between $800 to $1,400 depending on brand and size of the battery. A good rule of thumb is the larger the battery the more expensive the bike. We’re also seeing more bikes designed with the ability to hold multiple batteries, which can drive up the cost. Keep in mind battery safety is not to be skipped, all bikes sold at Propel are built to the safest available UL. We recommend not considering an eBike if it’s not UL.
Drivetrain: $250 – $2,000
You’re probably familiar with the traditional chain and external derailleur combination, which will typically be your least costly option upfront, around $__. However, it will require the most amount of service, maintenance and part replacements, costing more time and money in the long run. Say you ride about 3,000 miles a year, you may end up spending about $200 annually on maintenance costs, if not more.
If you’re looking for a longer lasting alternative, you may want to go with a belt drive and internal hub. While this set up generally costs anywhere from $400 to $2,000 more depending on hub type, you’re likely to save on maintenance costs over the long term.
Frame material: $100 – $5,000
Steel is the heaviest frame material, and usually the least expensive. Aluminum is the most common material used, being a bit lighter, but more expensive compared to steel. The least common, lightest, and most expensive frame material is carbon fiber.
Components: $15 – $200
Unfortunately, eBikes with low quality components are far too easy to find. While the low price may seem attractive, this type of build usually makes for a poor product. Making sure the brakes, shifter, handlebars, stem, crank arms, etc., are of higher quality will ensure a longer-lasting eBike. You don’t need to be an expert to make these observations. We usually recommend a middle-of-the-road product from a quality company, such as Shimano or Race Face, but of course this will depend on your preferred riding style.
A little research on popular, quality bikes and/or components is all you need to be able to find something sufficient. A quick example would be the price range of brakes; Shimano is a great company to use, as their products range from beginner to advanced. Shimano SLX is the bottom range, costing less than $150. Then we have the XT at the mid-range for around $160-$250. And finally the top tier, the XTR can cost anywhere from $250-$350.
Accessories, additional purchases: $5 – $500
Unless you already have everything ready for riding, generally you will be purchasing a helmet, lock, pump, tubes, tools, bell, panniers, racks, lights and other small and essential items.
These accessories can range from a couple dollars to a couple hundred depending on what products you’re considering. We recommend setting a small budget aside for the essentials, as having a brand new eBike that you cannot ride because you don’t have a pump is never fun!
Service and part replacements: $10 – $1,400 annually
All eBikes, and traditional bikes for that matter, come with consumable parts, meaning the serviceability and parts availability is always a variable to consider. Some parts will need to be replaced every couple thousand miles, whereas others parts are made to last much longer. One example is the debate between equipping your bike with a chain or a belt drive. As mentioned earlier, the cost upfront may be higher if you go with a belt drive, but your maintenance costs will likely be much lower over time.
It’s always a good idea to set some of your budget aside for future maintenance costs. Whether you’re bringing your bike in for a flat fix and tune-up or you need a full-on battery replacement, you can expect to spend some funds on keeping your eBike in good condition.
Pro tip: Know your warranties!
Electric bike brands:
Arguably what matters most is the company that makes your eBike. Higher quality eBike brands tend to manufacture products that last at least 7 to 10 years and cost at least $3,000, with some models costing as much as a car. These types of companies are usually a lot more established and tend to offer more to their customers and the retailers they work with. At Propel, we work with established brands who go above and beyond when it comes to creating a safe and tested product, as well as brands who offer substantial support for the life of the bike.
Finding the right eBike
While there’s no clear-cut answer to how much all eBikes cost and why, we’re hopeful this post was helpful in breaking down some of the pricing, so you can budget accordingly.
If you already know an eBike in the range of $3,000 or less will meet your needs, it’s unlikely you’ll find it through Propel. The eBikes we sell range from $3,000 to $12,000, not including accessories, customizations or service. We pride ourselves on our decade-plus of experience testing and comparing hundreds of brands and models, and we stand behind our selection of high-quality, Bosch powered eBikes from reputable manufacturers all over the world.
If you’re interested in working with us, our dedicated Matchmaking team can help you find the perfect eBike for all your needs. Just reach out.