What is a realistic budget for E Bikes? It varies enormously. The good news here is that as with any fast growing technology, and with more and more people adopting an e-bike as their main form of transport, there is a bigger selection of bikes available offering better value.
The German-made electric bikes with mid-drive systems are a bit more money. However they are actually pretty good value when you look at what it would cost to buy a non-electric bike of that quality, and then add top-of-the-range motor technology and high quality, high capacity lithium ion batteries.
Our advice is that if you are looking to buy an ebike, stick with the modern ebikes made by recognised manufacturers with solid reputations and proven warranties. We take particular care in choosing our suppliers and their responsiveness to warranty and performance issues is a key factor.
Check for Independent E-Bike Reviews
Independent reviews and tests from reliable sources are a good starting point to help you narrow down your choices. As e-bikes are still relatively new to Australia, it is also worth searching further afield for international reviews and tests. The UK and Germany are great sources as they use the same EN15194 legal standard as Australia.
If you do end up on global review sites just bear in mind that many ebikes and riders could be commenting and reviewing ebikes that use a different industry standard. For example the USA allows the use of throttle only bikes and larger motors (750 watt) so it is not really comparable to what is available in Australia.
Electric Bike Price Guide
EBikes with hub drive motors tend to be cheaper. At the time of writing you can get an excellent range of quality e-bikes for under $3,000.
Our European-made ebikes, with high torque mid-drive motors and most of which are made in Germany, start at $3,199. We have a hub drive German-made mountain bike starting at $2,799.
If you want a mid-range mid-drive ebike then you are looking at up to about $4,000/$4,500. For something quite special you are looking upwards of $5,000.
Here are the key things that will influence the price of the ebike, so you know what you might be missing out on if you choose something that is cheaper. Like everything though it depends on what you need and what is value to you.
Key Influencers of Price in E Bikes
Here are the key things that influence different prices between ebikes.
- Battery size. The bigger the battery the more expensive it will be (note that range diminishes over time with lithium ion, though, so consider how far you need your ebike to travel each charge in eg. two years time). More sophisticated batteries are generally much smaller and lighter for the same or more capacity. Read more on what size e bike battery to get here >>
- Battery management system – cheaper bikes save money on safety mechanisms. The same goes for the battery charger.
- Battery charger – again, cheaper bikes save money on the safety mechanisms. The better brands also often offer different amp chargers – low amp chargers are cheaper eg. 2A vs 4A
- Motor technology – a cheaper motor will have just a speed and cadence sensor whereas the more sophisticated motors like the mid-drive systems have additional sensors such as torque sensor which makes them so smooth. They are also generally much smaller and lighter. Find out more on hub-drive vs mid-drive motors here >>
- Electric drive system integration – a more sophisticated system will ensure the electrical wiring is either integrated into the frame and handlebars or designed in such a way that it is safe, clean and easy to service.
- Integration of the motor and battery – cheaper systems will have the appearance of being bolted on. Higher quality systems will appear as though they were designed as part of the bike. With mid-drive motors check whether it is integrated into the bottom bracket or not. If not expect play to develop in your cranks over time and for it to feel unstable, particularly when under high torque.
- Frame quality – the quality of the frame of a bike makes a huge difference to your comfort. High quality is also far more durable and safer. You can check yourself by testing the flex in the frame, particularly when under high torque. Cheaper bikes use off-the-shelf frame tubing and frame designs for mass production whereas more expensive bikes will have frames that are custom designed and engineered for their purpose. Production will be more labour intensive too to ensure build quality. Have a look at the number and quality of welds and also the thickness and material that the frame is made from. If the production process produces a frame that is a couple of millimeters out somewhere it makes a huge difference to how well something else can be bolted to / screwed to / fit into etc. It may feel ok when you first start riding but it will become problematic as the bike gets used more and more.
- Wheels and hubs – a very common area for cost saving which is surprising given the importance this plays in function and comfort.
- Budget braking and gearing systems – often functional initially however become more difficult to service and return to the functionality / state they were in when you first bought them as they get older. A common trick is to claim a headline component eg. has SLX gearing, but alternate components have been used in other lesser visible parts of the system. For more, see Gearing Systems on E-Bikes Explained >>
Our rule of thumb is that if you have two bikes and it is hard to tell the difference ask yourself where the cheaper one has saved money.
Value is what is most important though – the initial price and what it will give you and cost you over the time you plan to own it. What is 'value' to one can be very different to someone else so and it's really up to you to determine whether a more expensive bike offers better value or not :)
Back to the E Bike Buyers Guide