Are ebikes worth the price tag?

Do you think that ebikes and pedelecs are particularly overpriced?

  • Yes. Most of them are.

  • No. They're all well priced.

  • Some are reasonably priced. (Please state which ones you feel are good value for the price tag).

  • Some are grossly overpriced. (Please state which ones you feel are overpriced and why).


Results are only viewable after voting.

anotherkiwi

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 26, 2015
7,845
5,785
The European Union
What kind of battery do you expect to be on a bike retailing for £500? Cheap no-name 18650s are useless on hills (sag) and have short lifespans. The user experience will be sub par.

Electric motors are a dime a dozen even though they have an expensive metal at their heart. Kalkhoff have shown that German engineering may not be all that it is cut out to be with the gears and bearings of their motors. The Chinese have no problems using beefy bearings and the only people stripping or melting gears in Chinese motors are hot-roders.

I think that the bottom line for reasonable quality is closer to £850 (post referendum pounds...).
 
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timidtom

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 19, 2009
757
175
Cheshire
GambiaGOES.blogspot.com
We've had experience of 5 eBikes:
1) A PowerByke, built like a tank, weighed almost as much as one, would climb the wall of a house. Sold it for 50% of initial cost after 2 years. It's weight weighed against it but it was good for 20 mile trips.
2 & 3) We bought matching JuicyBike Classics about 6 years ago. Stately, elegant bikes, very nicely put together. Reliable, comfortable. Certainly good for 25 mile trips. We've bought each a new battery and mine will probably need another later this year. J's bike will shortly be up for sale because she has balance problems which led to the purchase of
4) An eTrike, also from JB but not one of their manufacture. Also proved reliable after 2 years.
5) A Woosh Gallego.

We're both long retired and used to be bikers. There are brand new scooters and motor-bikes available for the price of a Juicy Classic. Some of these, generally of Chinese manufacture, appear to be quite well put together and economical. Reports about their durability are of mixed content - our sub-£1k ebikes are still in good running order but I haven't noticed many 6 year old sub £1k motor bikes still on the road.

How else might you spend your £1k? A beautifully made Canadian canoe? A lifetime of happy boating lies ahead (and you could add a small electric outboard and battery for about £250!

Most of the cars I've owned have been £1k bangers - and very serviceable
many of them have been, for instance the 1990 Skoda estate which took us camping all over the UK and Europe ..
 

Tomtomato

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 28, 2015
388
196
What kind of battery do you expect to be on a bike retailing for £500?

I think that the bottom line for reasonable quality is closer to £850 (post referendum pounds...).
My sentence was: "I think electric bike prices will have to get to around £500/£700 before they become mainstream."

It's the usual virtual circle of more bikes sold, cheaper to produce/economies of scale/cheaper to buy.

Or cheaper components/batteries, cheaper bike, more volumes etc.

I do hope that in 4-5 years' time, reasonable electric bikes will be found at that price (and gap between push bikes and electric bikes in term of weight and additional cost will be much narrower).

We are just early adopters, still buying at very premium prices.
 
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RobF

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 22, 2012
4,732
2,312
Is the price of a bosch 500w battery justified?
Only by the monopoly Bosch has on their production.

Having said that, Bosch batteries do seem to last well, mine are showing no discernible loss of capacity after close to four years.

If a cheaper battery conked out after two or three years as some seem to do, the overall cost of the Bosch battery is about the same.
 
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halfer

Esteemed Pedelecer
Very interesting post, thanks OP. It shows that the perception of value is highly variable, and depends on budget, utility, whether one needs to also run a car, whether it is additionally a pastime, etc.

I do enjoy being asked about prices, and the view from outsiders is that e-bikes are expensive. So I tell them:
  • I am lucky enough not to need to also run a car
  • When I did run a car, the LPG was over £100 per month, which would be roughly £200 per month, and of course that's without the cost of insurance, maintenance and duty
  • Since I get nearly as much utility as a car owner, I am minded to spend a bit more - I guess the mean car price in the UK is a few grand at least?
  • Quality pays for itself - in my experience a £2K bike costs less to run per month than a £1K bike, as long as it lasts twice as long (for me, they do)
  • It's worth getting that two year guarantee
  • If you have to spend more to get something that can be serviced in many shops, and not just one, do it
  • Decent e-bikes are bloody good fun off-road, and no-one minds spending on hobbies
With that in mind, my KTM has been, flat-out, no doubts, absolutely splendid value. I bought it ex-demo/second-hand, but I'd have no qualms about spending the list price of £2,100 on it.

For exactly the same reasons, my next bike is likely to be in the £2-2.8K region, and I'll consider it money well spent all over again. Probably KTM again, or Scott for a change. After the £3K mark, I think one would need to be a downhill/technical enthusiast to justify it, but having tried some top tier bikes, I can see the attraction...
 

Tomtomato

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 28, 2015
388
196
  • I am lucky enough not to need to also run a car
If you compare the price of having an electric bike compared to the price of running a car, then yes, the return of investment will be very quick, even if the bike is expensive.

Running a car is indeed very expensive (between depreciation, insurance, fuel, tax, maintenance, MOT, parking, cleaning etc).

However, you are the exception: the vast majority of people will have an electric bike in addition to a car, in which case the comparison of price is more against a push bike, and an electric bike becomes more of a luxury item.

For people commuting to work (e.g. living in London), using an electric bike could be a great alternative, as public transports are expensive.
However, you then need a very reliable bike (given the high mileage likely to be made), good insurance (including theft and third-party), regular servicing (from a shop willing to accept electric bikes), and also using the bike everyday (summer and winter, rain etc.). In the ideal scenario, return on investment on an expensive bike would take many months of trouble-free cycling, probably exceeding the warranty period...

For people who have reduced mobility or are out of shape, and wouldn't cycle otherwise, an electric bike is a great way to get some mild exercise and fresh air. However, in that case, mileage is likely to be limited and a cheap bike could be sufficient.

Quality pays for itself - in my experience a £2K bike costs less to run per month than a £1K bike, as long as it lasts twice as long (for me, they do)
I am not convinced that's the case, but people spending more on an electric bike want to convince themselves that they are getting better quality. Same applies to cars, smart phones, clothing etc.

Electric bikes costing £1K will have standard components, in term of batteries, motors and controllers, easy to replace if broken, or easy to upgrade if better components are available.

It's possible to get a good quality push bike (with good quality mechanical components) for less than £400, and then upgrade it to an electric bike.
 
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halfer

Esteemed Pedelecer
I am not convinced that's the case [that a £2K bike will be cheaper to own in the long run, compared to a £1K bike]
With the bikes I've owned, I am well on track for it actually being the case. My statement can be backed up with figures, with a saving realisation kicking in after around two years. That said, I accept this is about statistics: is my poor luck with a cheaper bike representative of this category? I am quite happy to hear that people have had £500 e-bikes with a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

I believe it has been said here that the quality in the sub-£1K market has increased over the past few years, so if someone was intent on buying from this segment I certainly would not advise them against it.

people spending more on an electric bike want to convince themselves that they are getting better quality.
I pay more as an insurance against failure, and yes, I do think quality improves, up to a point - perhaps below £2K? We have had stories here of people spending enormous sums on a well-regarded MTB manufacturer only to spend significant time off the road (and TCO can be bumped up by poor after-sales experience or warranty disputes, even in luxury price ranges).

and an electric bike becomes more of a luxury item
Yes, I accept the value dynamics change a great deal in this scenario. More people should try to give up their cars - it has become such a life staple, I am convinced there are people who could give them up, but don't.
 

mike killay

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 17, 2011
3,012
1,629
One thing that has only been touched upon is, exactly what do you want to do with your bike?
If like me you only ride on smooth tarmac albeit with some steep Welsh hills, then you simply do not need a high end bike. High end components are wasted on you because of the good quality found at the cheaper end of the market compared to years ago.
If on the other hand you enjoy rough, off road tracks, jumps, and generally getting your bike all covered in mud, you will need a high end bike with high end components.
This means that there will be large range of prices.
 
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Highside43

Pedelecer
Jul 26, 2016
108
163
51
Aberdovey
www.cubeengineering.co.uk
Value is only perceived by the individual. I spent a lot on my ebike but think I got value. I also own motorcycles and they all are toys that give different aspects of pleasure / enjoyment.
 
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Yamdude

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 20, 2013
842
639
Somerset
Of course they're overpriced...... about £1K to £4K !!...... for a push bike with a leccy motor a bit more powerful than my cordless drill !!
How long is this early adopting gonna go on for ?
 

trex

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 15, 2011
7,703
2,671
the motor itself does does not cost much more than a quality drill (£100 for a motor), then you have to add the gearbox, battery, controls, sensors etc.
If you take a typical £800 woosh Karoo, the mechanical bike costs about £300, battery £300, £100 for motor, £100 for controller, LCD display unit, sensors, throttle and cabling.
some may be overpriced but the vast majority of e-bikes are not.
 
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Yamdude

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 20, 2013
842
639
Somerset
the motor itself does does not cost much more than a quality drill (£100 for a motor), then you have to add the gearbox, battery, controls, sensors etc.
If you take a typical £800 woosh Karoo, the mechanical bike costs about £300, battery £300, £100 for motor, £100 for controller, LCD display unit, sensors, throttle and cabling.
some may be overpriced but the vast majority of e-bikes are not.
Without the Ekit, the Karoo is a no name Chinese made hybrid...... and i certainly wouldn't pay £300 for it.