One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make when buying an electric bike is to think only about the motor, battery and display.
Probably the most important part is the non-electric ‘bike part’ the electric components are attached to.
Here is what I mean…
If a cheap traditional (non-electric) bike which costs £100 is not the type of bike you would normally buy, then it is highly unlikely that the £1,800 mid-drive electric version will be a sensible choice.
Here is an example of pricing from a major UK car parts and cycle retailer;
A entry-level hybrid bike is selling for £100.
A very similar version with a front hub motor and 209Wh battery (21 miles), is selling for £600.
Another similar bike, this time with a rear hub motor, 417Wh battery (42 miles) is selling for £1,250
And lastly, an entry-level mid-drive bike with a 300Wh battery (30 miles) is priced at £1,800
To be fair, as the price increases the frame changes from steel to aluminium, the brakes are up-rated to entry-level hydraulic brakes and a basic front suspension fork is added. Other than this, the bike excluding the battery and motor is essentially the same.
So this goes to show that just because you are spending just short of £2000, it doesn’t mean you are getting a lot of bike for your money, though you are definitely improving the quality of the electric bike components.
I estimate the average price paid for a traditional bike in the UK today is around £600. So an entry-level version of this in each motor type would be;
Average bike with entry-level front hub motor
Starting at £900
Average bike with entry-level rear hub motor
Starting at £1,850
Average bike with entry-level mid-drive motor
Starting at £2,400
At the other end of the market to our previous example of a major car parts and cycle retailer, are brands like Riese & Müller.
Riese & Müller Electric Bikes
Riese & Müller offer premium bikes with a high level of componentry and accessories on their entry-level bikes including Bosch mid-drive motors, 500Wh batteries, pannier racks, mudguards, locks, suspension saddles and integrated lights with prices starting from £2,989 for a Swing3.
And with all the bikes in the range, you get to select the frame size, colour, drive chain (gears) and motor to suit. There are also plenty of options and accessories on the bikes to tailor the bike to exactly to your requirements. So when considering premium brands like Riese & Müller, a high-quality bike might not be that much more expensive than you would think.
And if you find the choice overwhelming or the price out of your budget, then there are a number of other brands all with Bosch mid-drive motors. But remember, the bike industry is very competitive, so a lower price bike is highly likely to be a lower spec bike.
How much does a good electric bike cost?
I think the most important thing to understand here is what we mean by 'good'.
So we're going to get my opinion on what is good, but hopefully it's got some grounding behind it.
Firstly, if I'm looking for a good electric bike, the most important thing for me is it's got to have a mid-drive motor in it, so that really discounts an awful lot of the low end cheap bikes that are out there.
So if anything is looking sort of sub £1000 it's highly likely you're going to have a hub motor, and this type of motor is either placed in the front wheel or in the rear wheel. These motors are great if you just want a cheap electric bike.
But we're looking for a good electric bike.
My main issue with hub motors is they're not going to really pull you up the hills. So you'll find that as the bike starts to slow, the power starts to drop. So when you need it, most of the power isn't there.
So for that reason I'm discounting generally anything with a hub motor.
So that really then moves on to anything with a crank motor.
Now there still are low priced bikes with crank motors in them, but I would really tend to move towards anything that's a mainstream brand that we already know.So that's going to be manufacturers like Brose, Shimano or my own personal favorite is the Bosch system that's out there.
Bosch currently own the majority of the market when it comes to e-bikes and they're an absolutely fantastic brand to work with. So for me a good bike then means the prices are probably starting around about maybe the £1,500 to £2,000 mark.
For that sort of price you're going to get a basic e-bike. So you need to take into account what's going to be important for you to make your bike good.
In my eyes, any bike that's going to be good, it's going to need mud-guards. It's probably going to need a carrier rack. Definitely going to want front and rear lights on it and a few other nice pieces like good quality gears, hydraulic disc brakes and generally a good geometry, comfortable saddle and decent handlebars and grips.
That starts to push the price up again, so then we're starting to look anything from around the £2,500 up to £3,000 mark.
From there on upwards the bikes just get better and better. My personal preference as to where I would start if I had a open-ended wallet and I could just go and buy any bike I want, I definitely want to be buying a bike that is at least £3,000 and probably sitting in between sort of £3,000 to £5,000 mark.
Once you start to go above the £5,000 mark, the bikes definitely get an awful lot better, but at the same time the price is starting to get quite significant as well.
Having said that, there are bikes out there like the Riese & Müller Superdelite's, Delite's that are out there, that once you get up above that £5,000 mark, you are then looking at the benefit of things like full suspension on your bike, Rohloff hubs with belt drives, electronic shifters, main beam lights, brake lights, all sorts of things that you wouldn't see on a lower end bike.
So in answer to the question as to how much does a good electric bike cost? I would say realistically, anything from £3,000 up to £5,000.
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