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Cheap Electric Bikes Can Cause Big Problems

Choosing a Bike
February 12, 2019
Cheap Electric Bikes Can Cause Big Problems

Cheap Electric Bikes: You Get What You Pay For

Cheap electric bikes and expensive electric bikes show stark differences. While this is important for all bike sectors, it's more important with electric bikes. I say this because there are more opportunities for things to go wrong, and these occurrences will be more expensive to fix on an electric bike versus other bikes.

The biggest differences between the two bikes are the battery, motor, and manufacturer. With the motor and battery, you will want to pay special attention to the size and power offered. And the manufacturer of these items plays a huge role in quality and performance.

First I'll start with the size of the battery and power of the motor. A cheap electric bike, generally speaking, would have smaller alternatives for both options. That isn't always the case. You will find some smaller motors and batteries that might be more expensive. Causing you to ask the question, "why?" Well, that comes back to the brand and manufacturer. Similar to a watch or pair of shoes you pay more for quality.

There are certain elements that contribute to the quality of these products. These elements depend on management and factors of production. Also, the quality assurance and things of that nature. Certain brands have invested more money in quality controlling their products. This process accomplishes two things:

  1. Ensures that the product will last.
  2. Makes sure that the bike doesn't break down.

The Disadvantages of Cheap Electric Bikes

That's a big distinguisher between a cheap bike and an expensive electric bike. Cheaper electric bikes are not going to be as focused on the quality of the battery and the motor. Hence, it's something to pay attention to, especially if you're going to be riding your electric bike often. I recommend staying away from buying a cheap electric bike. The battery may not last for many charges, and the motor may give out after fewer miles. An expensive electric bike, in theory, should be better quality controlled. As a result, they will last you longer.

Another factor is that cheap electric bikes have cheap lithium-ion batteries. That means that the battery has a fixed number of charge cycles that it can go through. Going back to the brands, it's no different from a phone. Samsung actually makes cells for some electric bike batteries. And they are hands down some of the best batteries on the market. However, we use a different company that is very similar to Samsung in terms of the components. But they are more affordable. Quite honestly, not everybody can pay for the nicest brand names, but you still want the same quality. So at sixthreezero, we've had to distinguish between necessary upgrades and the not so necessary. Our goal is to ensure great quality for all our electric bikes.

Questions to Keep in Mind

When choosing a manufacturer, it's wise to keep some questions in the back of your mind. Such as:

  • What kind of teams do they have on the assembly line?
  • How careful are they paying attention to development?
  • What kinds of cells do they use inside the battery?
  • Are they proven to work or not proven?
  • What kind of factory made the entire bike?
  • Did they quality control it?
  • Did they check for errors before the bike was shipped?

The difference between these two bikes is the quality control of the factory. An expensive electric bike will run through a whole gamut of tests to make sure it works.

The Best Alternatives

A cheap electric bike might leave straight from the factory and come to the United States. There, it will be placed straight into the hands of the consumer. This happens without having to pass the proper quality assurance checks. And so, that may leave you, the consumer, sitting with a product that doesn't work. Now, if you've bought it from a company with a good return policy such as Amazon, you should be able to return it and get your money back. As a consumer, you want to protect yourself. The best way to do this is to buy from a company that you trust.

My recommendation is to try not to buy the cheapest product of anything if you can. If you don't think you're gonna use it much, then you and your wallet can go the opposite direction. But in the electric bike arena, cheap versions won't perform as well as their counterparts. How much more money you need to spend is up to you, depending on what you're looking for.

Some great alternatives to some cheap electric bikes exist, while still being money conscious. The first is of course sixthreezero. Our brand identity is being a great value product. We're not trying to be the cheapest electric bike nor the most expensive option. We're trying to be a great value while providing a quality product. In addition, I would recommend companies that follow the direct-to-consumer orientation. This way retailer up charges aren't factored in the cost, and you can save some extra money.

The Price Ceiling of Electric Bikes

When you look at the electric bike landscape, there is a high price ceiling. I've seen them go as low as $500. And I've also seen them as high as $13,000. In the middle, there are alternatives that will provide good value. Make sure whichever electric bike you decide to buy, that it's because it fulfills your needs. Not because it's cheaper than the rest of the bikes you come across.

I personally haven't owned any cheap electric bikes. I'll be honest and say we've done some competitive research. We've bought different electric bikes to test them and see how they've measured up to ours. I've also been to many factories and ridden, all sorts of electric bikes. From the most expensive to the least expensive. And what I can say is on the first ride, you can't always tell the difference between the two. If motors are the same across both they both may perform about the same.

For that matter, it's possible for a $1,000 bike to perform the same as $2,000, or a $3,000 bike. What I can say is, over time, you'll see the lifetime value of the expensive product. If you're going to be riding the bike a lot, spending a little more money up front doesn't mean you're paying more. Over the lifetime of ownership, you will save the money it would cost to replace that bike.

Things To Consider For Your Next Bike Purchase

And on the cheaper bikes, too, what I've seen actually myself, from a factory, they sent me an electric bike sample. And what happened was after two charges, the battery would not charge anymore. That's a big issue to be aware of if you're looking at a cheap electric bike. One battery issue could mean the potential for more. It's happened to me. And after I realized that's one big reason why we can't put the cheapest batteries in our electric bikes.

These are all things to consider depending on what you're buying the bike for. And can you buy components and parts that can be replaced on these cheap bikes? Be careful, too, with cheap electric bike manufacturers. Do they keep replacements parts in the U.S.? Do they have experienced technicians in the U.S. that you can be referred to? So in case an issue or a problem arises, you can turn to them?

There are some of my suggestions and I hope they help you.

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