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Are Cheap E-Bikes Any Good Enough?

E-bikes are great! They provide the extra power you need to ride farther and faster. While the technology that is behind e-bikes is always improving, cheaper electric bikes still flood the market. These bikes may be lower in cost, but they are often lower in quality as well. So are cheap e-bikes worth it?

Cheap e-bikes can perform, but they lack some features like flashy screens, higher than average speeds, and long ranges. Cheaper bikes use cheaper parts, which leads to a shorter lifespan, but if you don’t use it for long daily commuting that may be OK. Prices are falling, and a sub-$1k E-Bike will get the job done in most cases.

The first thing you should do to get a grasp of which type of bike you need is to look at how you intend to use the bike. Trying to commute to work daily or just looking for a bike to take out to the park on the weekends? A cheap bike can do a lot, but if you want something more reliable you’ll need to keep shopping around. So what are e-bikes good for? Read on to find out.

What Do We Mean by a Cheap E-Bike?

Man Riding E Bike Bicycle In City

When it comes to e-bikes, there is quite a disparity in prices. While you can get away with only spending a few hundred dollars, some bikes can run you several thousand. So how can you know what a good price is and what a cheap bike looks like? Much like other brands, you often get what you paid for. In the case of e-bikes, a cheap bike is easy to spot by the price tag.

A cheap e-bike would fall into the $300-$1000 range. Anything above $1000 would be in the mid-range category of electric bikes. At this price, expect some downsides in performance, features, and longevity.

Looking at e-bikes, you can get a skewed idea of what quality looks like. This is especially the case if bikes are not something you know a lot about. Looking at new bikes, it’s easy to get swayed by the shiny finishes and sparkly parts, but, over time, the flaws will start to show. Whether it’s the added weight from the steel frame, or the low-quality battery, cheap bikes are exactly that — cheap.

While you can certainly buy a cheaper e-bike and find some years of use out of it, there is no comparing a cheap bike to a decent bike. If you’re truly interested in finding a quality electric bike, you’ll need to prepare to spend at least a grand.

Other options, like electric bike conversion, can help lighten the load on your wallet but still come with downsides. So how much should you expect to shell out for a decent e-bike?

How Much Does a Decent Electric Bike Cost?

Okay, so we know what a cheap bike price looks like, but what about a decent e-bike? If you are looking to use your bike daily and for commuting, you’ll need something reliable. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a bad battery or a bent rim. So what should you expect to pay for a good mid-range bike that will last?

In most cases, a decent mid-range e-bike will cost you anywhere from $1000-$3000. Bikes at this price will be a great choice for frequent use trips like commuting. If you intend to make the most out of your money, this is the best choice to balance both price and quality.

Are E-Bikes Getting Cheaper Over Time?

Absolutely! Since e-bikes rely on mechanical technology and battery power, prices lower as the tech behind the bikes improves. This is especially the case for batteries. The cheap e-bikes of today would have cost threefold just ten years ago.

Prices may fluctuate depending on the price of materials like metal, but overall, prices have been lower when trying to find a decent e-bike that will last. While bikes are slightly old-tech, the technology behind e-bikes is constantly advancing.

Manufacturers are always on the lookout for better ways to build, higher quality parts and ways to increase performance. Keep in mind that while you can get a decent e-bike for cheaper than, say, ten years ago, there are still plenty of bikes that can break the bank.

Much like other forms of technology, the higher-end of the price range will always be looking for the best parts and materials. This means that they will likely always be expensive.

What Features do Cheaper E-Bikes Not Include?

When it comes to differences between cheap and expensive bikes, there is quite a lot to look at. First, we’ll examine battery power. At the end of the day, this is where the bulk of costs are for the higher-end e-bikes. The motor would be a close second.

The battery is at the heart of any e-bike. It provides power and can also be an indicator of how long the bike can ride. The biggest difference between a cheap e-bike and a decent one will be the battery.

Cheaper e-bikes lack the quality battery needed to keep things running for longer than a few hours. This defining feature really puts a mark on the cheaper e-bikes and makes them more of a novelty than a true commuter replacement.

In addition to the battery, cheaper e-bikes will lack certain functions and features you’d normally get with a more expensive model. This includes:

  • Variable speed
  • Higher quality brakes
  • Electronics (LCD screen, GPS)
  • Speed sensor

Higher-end bikes come packed with all these features. If that is something you are looking for, you’re just not going to get the same kind of experience with a cheaper bike.

What Are They “Good Enough” For? 

Woman in city with Electric E-Bike

So what are cheap e-bikes good for? While you can get some use out of them, they might not hit the mark for certain riders. If price is an issue, and you’re dead set on an electric bike, what should you expect from your new cheaper e-bike?

In most cases, a cheap e-bike will do fine for short trips. Most have a range of around 20 miles or 2 hours of charge. This can vary depending on the manufacturers and battery quality. For most of us, this is enough to have a nice ride to the store or around the park.

For others, it can fall short. If you’re commuting or using your bike daily for extended rides, you’ll want to price up and go for a mid-range bike option. Cheaper bikes have their place, but for a daily commuter, you’ll want something more reliable.

If you are doing even more intense riding, like mountain biking or long-distance trips, you want to find a bike in the higher price range. A good bike that will perform in these types of situations can easily set you back several thousand dollars. But you get a lot for the price. This includes additional features and parts that will stand up against constant riding and abuse.

What Are Some Good Cheap E-Bikes?

When it comes to which cheap e-bikes are the best, there are a few choices to consider. Keep in mind that performance will vary. The best strategy for getting a quality bike that will last is to shoot for the higher end of the cheap bike spectrum. While you can get away with only spending $300 on an e-bike, chances are, it won’t last too long.

For a good entry-level bike that will work well for commuters and casual riders alike, check out the Aventon Pace 350. This bike does great in all kinds of conditions and is just slightly over $1000. While this is certainly no price to balk at, you do get an extended battery life and an all-around frame that works for all kinds of riders.

For an option that sits just below the Aventon in price, check out the ANCHEER Electric Mountain Bike (on Amazon). This option has a powerful battery that can get the bike up to 20 mph and comes with three working modes for better traction on different terrains. While it might not have the kind of range as the Aventon, it certainly does well considering the lower price.

Wrapping Up

Electric bikes are a great way to add some extra juice to your ride and put some power behind your pedals. While a huge disparity exists in price between quality bikes and lower-end models, you can usually find a decent bike for around $1000. Cheap e-bikes can get lower in price, but you get what you pay for in most cases.

If you’re on the lookout for a reliable and dependable bike, you need to source a higher-quality option. Things like battery type and motor style will have a lasting impact on longevity and performance, so choose wisely.