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What Are The Disadvantages of Electric Bikes?

So, you want to get an e-bike. These powered peddlers make for great daily riders or weekend cruisers. However, they aren’t perfect. If you want to learn about some of the common downsides to e-bikes we’ve got you covered.

E-bikes aren’t cheap, and can cost from $500 to $5000. They’re also heavier than standard bikes, can lose value on resale, and require maintenance/replacements of parts like batteries, motors, and tires due to their motorized driving power. You’ll need to keep their batteries charged too!

Always do your own research on particular brands and models, and then read reviews to make sure you’re getting a good bike for the price. Below, you’ll find some of the common downsides to owning and purchasing an electric bike. Read on to learn more about e-bikes and figure out whether these motorized bikes are the right fit for you.

Downsides of Electric Bikes

Young man with ebike

If you’re thinking about buying an e-bike, you’ve probably got quite a few questions. While they may look good on paper, you’ll need to look at the motorized movers with an objective lens to get an accurate picture of what ownership might look like.

We’re here to help you on that front. Below, you’ll find some commonly mentioned disadvantages of buying an e-bike.

Hopefully, by the end of this piece, you’ll have a better idea of whether an e-bike is the right choice for you.

Environmental Impact

When you think about biking, you usually consider the hobby an environmentally friendly alternative to other modes of transportation. But when you add an electric motor to the mix, how does that affect the overall carbon footprint of your purchase? Moreover, how much of an impact does riding your e-bike have?

Generally speaking, e-bikes have a fairly minimal carbon footprint compared to cars. But that doesn’t mean they are free from blame.

In fact, the manufacturing of the battery alone is fraught with environmental concerns. If you are looking for a truly carbon free mode of transportation, your best bet is to just walk.

Honestly, it’s really the cost of manufacturing anything. Even traditional bikes face some steep environmental costs. Think about the materials that needed to be mined from the earth, the energy it took to move it from mine to manufacturers, and all the shipping freighters and trucks that helped get your bike to the store.

If you add it all up, it paints a grim picture. If these concerts are weighing on you, consider buying second hand.

Resale Value

E-bikes are great. They truly add a level of convenience to traditional biking that is very alluring. For some of us, buying a bike is a commitment.

You want to make sure you’re getting the best value as you expect to ride that bike till you need a new one. For others, understanding the resale value of a purchase is just as important as other factors like size, color, and type.

When it comes to e-bikes, don’t expect to get close to what you paid for originally. The unfortunate truth is that these bikes depreciate in value pretty quickly. This is mainly due to how quickly components like batteries are advancing and getting cheaper.

Even a bike just a few years old can only fetch a fraction of the original price. So, if you think you might get back a good bit of what you initially invested, maybe an e-bike is not the right choice for you.

Motor Life

When dealing with an e-bike, you’ve got extra components to worry about. We’re not talking about extra mirrors or a horn.

We’re talking about the motor and all the related components. So, what can you expect in terms of lifespan from these components? Generally, an e-bike motor will last up to 10,000 miles. At this mark, you can expect to replace your motor soon.

Depending on how often you ride your bike, this can come a lot quicker than you might expect. If you’re trying to get the most out of your motor, you’ll want to keep a regular maintenance schedule.

Since e-bikes are different from regular bikes, this might mean finding a small motor mechanic to do some of the work.

Battery Life

Much like the motor, your e-bike’s battery is another important component that often causes some issues down the road. The battery is one of the more important parts of any e-bike.

They offer the juice that is needed to power the motor and can often be the reason why your bike goes too slow or can’t ride far enough. So what should you expect in terms of the lifespan of your bike’s battery?

With e-bike batteries, you can expect a general lifespan of two to four years. Battery manufacturer and usage will all play a role how long it will last. Keep in mind that the main indicator for battery life is cycles.

What is a cycle? Well, it’s essentially one full charge. If you plug your battery in when it’s at 20% and charge it to 80%, that is only 80% of a cycle. It follows that you can estimate how long your battery will last by considering the number of times you’ve charged the device.

Higher quality batteries usually sport a higher cycle count. Additionally, newer batteries will be made of higher quality and more advanced materials — adding to the overall lifespan, as well.

Extra Wear on Bike Components

A man rides an electric bike with thick wheels

Many people forget that underneath all the bells and whistles of an e-bike are all the same components of a regular bike. As you can imagine, these parts will wear and need replacing often. But how often? Well, that will depend on a few factors.

Most e-bike manufacturers will use rugged parts to match the wear from the aggressive motorized riding. This is true for most, but not all, brands. If you choose to go for a budget e-bike, it might mean you’ll need to replace parts more often.

Some common parts that wear down include:

  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Chains

All the usual culprits. To keep up with everything, we recommend that you regularly check out these parts, as well as the motor and related components. If you can catch small issues before they become big problems, you can save yourself quite a bit in repair costs.


E-bikes aren’t built for lightweight riding. While some brands do their best to make the ride as comfortable as possible, adding all those extra components will always add weight.

Things like the motor and the battery weigh several pounds — which on a bike can be quite a lot. So, how much does your average e-bike weigh, and how does that compare to traditional bikes?

A typical e-bike will weigh anywhere from about 38 to 70 pounds. This will depend highly on the type of e-bike you decide to purchase and the brand. Traditional bikes, on the other hand, can weigh anywhere from 20 to 28 lbs. Again, things like bike type will be the most important factor.

While this might not seem like a big issue to you, the reason why it might be a problem is that sometimes the battery will die. When this happens, you’ll be left pedaling a behemoth of a bike.

If you live in a place where you may need to carry your bike upstairs, you’ll definitely notice those extra pounds.

Running Range

Like we just touched on, e-bike batteries won’t last forever. Range is a big consideration when thinking about purchasing an e-bike. If you’re only using it for the occasional outing around town, this might not be a huge concern.

If you intend to use your new e-bike as a commuter, this will be an issue you run into. So, what can you expect in terms of e-bike range?

Generally speaking, a typical e-bike has a range of 40 to 100 miles. Factors like rider weight, riding style, and battery quality will all play a factor in how long you’ll be able to bike.

The battery will be the most important factor, so keep that in mind when shopping around. Another factor to consider is e-bike type. Not many people know this, but there are a few different e-bike riding styles. The first of which is throttle control.

This would be like a motor scooter or motorcycle. You turn the throttle, and the bike scoots along. The other main style is pedal-assist. Here, you need to provide some pedal power to get the motor going.

It follows that the full-throttle style e-bikes will drain the battery faster. If you opt to use a pedal-assist, you could be doubling the range of your bike. Some bikes offer both, so keep a watchful eye out for this dual feature.

Repairs and Replacement Parts

If you’ve owned a car, you know how costly small repairs can be. With a traditional bike, you’ll need to worry about repairs too, but often parts are cheaper, and some work can even be done at home by you. What should you expect when it comes to repairs if you decide to purchase an e-bike?

Since the motorized drivetrain wears parts faster, expect to take your bike to the shop more often than you would with a regular bike. Additionally, parts like the motor and battery will wear down over time and need full replacements.

For the most part, if you keep a regular maintenance schedule, you can expect years of reliable service from your e-bike. For some parts, like the battery, there is no mitigating the need for a replacement.

Since the battery is the most expensive part of the e-bike, you’ll need to fork over a few hundred dollars to get your bike back working again. An e-bike battery, like this Joyisi 52v Battery (on Amazon), runs for around $500.


When a lot of people first hear about e-bikes, they think they are getting a motorcycle. This just isn’t the truth. While you can certainly get some speed with an e-bike, most areas will have some type of laws or regulations dictating how fast you can go.

In most cases, you can expect to travel around the same speed you would if you were on a regular bike, just without all the sweat and exertion.

E-bike speeds will depend on the type of e-bike and the class.

  • Class 1: 20 mph
  • Class 2: 20 mph
  • Class 3: 28 mph

If you go any higher, you might be breaking the law. Usually, vehicles that exceed these speed limits need the proper licensing and registration to be on the road. For comparison, your average regular bike rider can move at around 15 mph on average.

Some pros can hit that higher mark at around 26 mph. Keep in mind that since you’re going to provide the power, your endurance is going to play a huge role in how long you can keep up those speeds.

Different Brands, Different Bikes

Much like regular bikes, there is a wide variety of types, styles, and brands on the market. While you can expect some similarities between brands, things like build quality and parts are going to depend on each manufacturer.

You’ll need to do your own research to discover which brand is right for you. While it’s easy to find a cheap e-bike online, you often get what you paid for.

Even between different models from the same brand, you can find huge disparities in the quality of the product. Make sure to read reviews and focus on things like motor quality and battery.

Local Laws and Regulations

Here’s the thing about e-bike usage: it’s only really taken off in the last decade or so. That means laws are kind of all over the place. In some areas, you can pretty much get away with anything — even super fast bikes.

For others, regulations are pretty strict. Most places have laws and regulations dictating how fast an e-bike can go and the types of drive style they have.

Usually, this means full-throttle or pedal-assist. Make sure to look up your local laws before deciding on an e-bike. The last thing you want is an e-bike sitting in your garage because it’s illegal to ride in your neighborhood.

In the U.S., most states will use the class system we touched on earlier. Some exceptions include Washington state, which has its own set of laws regarding e-bike use.

To add on to the speed limits for the class system, there is also regulation on drive type and the accessories needed like a speedometer.


Last, but certainly not least, is the price. If you’re thinking of getting an e-bike, this is the main question on your mind. While you can still spend a pretty penny on a traditional bike, especially those fancy road models, what should you expect in terms of price with an e-bike?

E-bikes tend to be more expensive than traditional bikes. This is due to the extra components like the battery and the motor. Generally speaking, expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $5000.

That huge disparity represents the many different brands and types of e-bikes. A city e-bike will certainly be cheaper than a mountain bike-style model that needs extra components like shocks.

Wrapping Up

If you’re thinking of jumping on the e-bike train, we hope you now have a clearer picture of what ownership might look like. Of course, there are some downsides, but there are downsides to almost anything.

With e-bikes, you want a clear picture of things like upfront costs and need to pay attention to important factors like battery size and quality. Overall, e-bikes are a great way to add some extra convenience to your daily rides.