Electric bikes can be more expensive than non-electric bikes. With the motor, battery, electronics and extra engineering that goes into an e-bike design, it’s understandable that they cost more to produce than your average bike, but how do you know if you’re paying the right price for your electric bike?
It’s one of the key questions that anyone considering an e-bike purchase has, so here we try to answer it.How much are electric bikes?
Electric bikes can cost anywhere from around £1,000 up to an eye-watering £10,000. This price tag largely depends on the technology being used to build it, including the motor, battery, frame design and components.
The most expensive e-bikes are normally reserved for enthusiasts and sporty riders, who demand the highest levels of motor power, potential range, low weight, stiffness and braking performance, which require the latest cutting-edge innovations to produce. You’ll find that specialist e-bikes, such as e-road and e-MTB bikes tend to cost more than urban e-bikes, which can reach up to the region of £4,000.
The most expensive frames are made of carbon or a carbon-alloy mix, while fully alloy frames tend to make up the majority of the market.
You can usually expect to pay more for more powerful motors and larger battery capacities from brands like Bosch and Yamaha, while costs also go up for premium level groupsets (the mechanical parts like the gears and brakes), finishing kits (wheels, saddle and handlebars) and any extra accessories (mudguards, pannier racks and lights).
Branded components and high-end equipment drives a higher asking price, but for many riders these parts can be unnecessary and drain on your pocket without improving your experience.How much is the best budget electric bike?
Budget electric bikes can cost as little as £1,000, although you may want to consider spending a little more than this. When you’re looking for a cheap electric bike, you are often forced into making sacrifices on the quality of some components like the frame, and finishing kit part such as the saddle, handlebar and even the tyres.
Our advice is to pay attention to the detail of the smaller components that make a difference to your ride experience every day, instead of focussing on a high power motor and unrealistic range claims.
If you want an e-bike for the urban environment, we recommend high quality puncture-resistant tyres, high quality brakes for all-weather safety and performance, plus a comfortable handlebar and saddle so that you’ll want to ride it again and again. Also consider if you need traditional gears, or if an oil-free belt drive would be better for your needs.
E-bikes for a specific discipline – such as road or mountain riding – have many interacting components that can drive costs up, such as full long-travel suspension and shocks or expensive carbon framesets, components and finishing kit.
To find the best value enthusiast e-bike for you, a good rule of thumb is to assess your experience level and the kind of riding you want to take on with your e-bike, and match it to your budget. Don’t worry, there are plenty of high-quality discipline-specific e-bikes that don’t cost much more than £2,000!How much is the best electric bike for commuting?
Consider a flat-bar style e-bike that is low-maintenance, easy to own, yet is also easy to hop on and hop off of when you arrive. You can expect to pay anywhere from £1,250, to over £3,000 for flat-bar models from Specialized, Scott and BMC.
We think that the best electric bike for commuting is the one that you’ll want to pick up and ride every day, come rain or shine. Some e-bikes are overly complicated, and often we can fall into the trap of thinking that we need the most powerful performance motors and biggest batteries to get us to and from work – which sees asking prices skyrocket.
But in fact, a simpler e-bike is probably the best and most efficient way of getting to and from work every day for most people. Brands like Raleigh, Scott, Cube and BMC all make urban e-bikes of varying frame styles that are designed to serve as commuters – but these can be heavier, harder to ride and unnecessarily complicated.
If you need to take your e-bike onto public transport, or store it away into a small space, then you may want to consider a folding electric bike, from the likes of Brompton, for which you can expect to pay from around £2,900. The upsides to these kinds of e-bikes are that they don’t need to be booked onto trains and buses to be taken on them, and for many are the perfect solution for their needs.
Also consider if you need the additional carrying capacity that a hybrid e-bike can offer, with pannier racks.How much is the best electric mountain bike?
The highest-level electric mountain bikes are designed for enthusiasts and racers, and can cost upwards of £5,000. However, you can grab a good quality hardtail e-MTB for around £2,000, while full-suspension e-MTBs usually cost upwards of £3,000.
The best e-MTB for you will be dependent on the kind of mountain biking you want to do. If you’re interested in riding some off-road trails in a leisurely way, then it’s often unnecessary to pay a premium for high-performance suspension forks and shocks, or invest in the lightest or most expensive components.
Top tip: The vast majority of riders are best off with entry-level or mid-range components that are longer lasting and, in some cases, more reliable. Top-of-the-range components are usually designed to provide a mix of the lightest weight, highest stiffness and fastest performance, and are developed for high-performance riders who don’t need to worry as much about wear.
If you’re just starting out, consider a lower-cost e-bike with some lower-cost components from reputable brands that you’ll be able to upgrade later as you improve.How do I get the best value electric bike for me?
We think that the best way to work out which e-bike is good value to you is to first think about the kind of riding that you want to do and how often, plus consider how much maintenance you’re willing to carry out at home (or take to a Pure Electric service centre or local bike shop).
This will give you a fair idea of what kind of e-bike and features you need, after which you can view your options based on price. This can still leave a wide range of price options open to you, so we recommend keeping in mind exactly what you’re going to need your e-bike for.
How much does it cost to run an e-bike?
Compared to a car, there can be no argument that an e-bike is substantially cheaper to buy, to own and to run.
Aside from the obvious lower cost from new, e-bikes don’t need to be insured (although you can opt to take out some dedicated e-bike insurance with our partners, Bikmo – you even get two weeks free when you buy an e-bike from us!), taxed or MOT’d.
Assuming that a full tank of petrol in a small car can cost up to £50, an e-bike can be fully charged for just 5-10p on a typical energy tariff. Of course, to achieve a 400mi range that a small car might deliver under normal use, an e-bike must be charged much more often.
But if we take an e-bike which can deliver up to 40km (25mi) on a full battery, you could achieve 400mi on 16 charges, equating to £1.60 cost assuming 10p per charge.
Maintenance costs are vastly reduced too. At Pure Electric, we offer full e-bike servicing packages from £40, while it costs from around £100 to have a simple service carried out on a car. Plus, replacement parts for e-bikes are much cheaper too – car tyres, for example, can cost up to £150 each, whereas an e-bike tyre may set you back around £30-40.