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FAQ: How Much Should I Pay For a "Good" E-Bike?

What makes an E-bike "good" and how much should you plan to spend on one? We explain the three basic budget ranges E-bike riders should look at.

Written by: Bruce Lin

Published on:

Posted in:FAQs

E-bikes are the fastest-growing segment in cycling and they’re helping more people discover the joy of riding. With the boost of an electric motor, they are the perfect tool for daily commutes, errands, weekend cruises, and even improving your fitness and health.  

If you’re new to the world of E-bikes the amount of options can feel overwhelming and the sticker shock for “brand name” e-bikes can be surprising. So how do you know if an E-bike is any good and how much should you expect to pay for a “good” E-bike? We’ll break down the basics so you have a good starting point for shopping and researching. 

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The Basics of Electric Bikes

An E-bike is a bicycle that adds an electric motor for propulsion. A huge range of bicycles fit that description, but "pedal-assist" E-bikes are the most common and they are what most traditional bike shops will carry and recommend.

The are 3 main E-bike classes:

  • Class 1: Pedal-assist only. The motor provides assistance only when you pedal, and stops helping at 20mph.
  • Class 2: Has a pedal-assist mode that assists up to 20 mph and also a purely throttle-powered mode.
  • Class 3: Pedal-assist only (like Class 1), but the motor provides assistance until you hit 28mph.

Most major bike brands make and sell Class 1 and Class 3 E-bikes because these bikes are generally legal to ride on most multi-use bike paths and trails that don’t allow other motorized vehicles (be sure to check your local laws!). This post is only focused on Class 1 and Class 3 E-bikes. 

The electric motor in a pedal-assist E-bikes only provides power when you turn the pedals. This allows you to accelerate easily, cruise up hills, and use less energy. You control your speed with your feet. The harder you pedal, the more the motor assists you. If you know how to ride a bike, a pedal-assist E-bike will feel very natural.

To learn more about different types of E-bikes, how to use them, and their legality, be sure to check out our complete E-bike buyer’s guide which includes more detailed information: 

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What Makes an E-bike “Good”

Of course, “good” is relative. But when recommending E-bikes (or any bike) to prospective riders, there are a few key things we value:

  • Reliability
  • Serviceability
  • Safety
  • Resale value

When looking at E-bikes on the market, some of the cheaper (<$1,000) E-bikes available online can be incredibly tempting, but the quality of these bikes can vary wildly. 

The biggest problem with most extremely cheap E-bikes it that they tend to use extremely cheap components, motors, and batteries. These can be more prone to failure and harder to repair or service when needed. A lot of these cheap E-bikes end up becoming trashed in a short amount of time.

We service and repair more used bikes than anyone in the US, and we simply can’t fix many cheap E-bikes that have issues with their motors or batteries. Not only could you end up wasting your money, you could also adding waste to landfills, or even risking your safety if the bike isn’t built properly. 

If you intend to ride you E-Bike a lot and want to keep it for several years, we recommend sticking to E-bikes made by established and proven brands that are built using high-quality components, motors, and batteries. We suggest paying particular attention to the motors. The E-bike motor brands we recommend are:

  • Bosch
  • Brose
  • Giant
  • MAHLE ebikemotion
  • Shimano
  • Specialized
  • Yamaha

These are the motor/battery brands that we find the most reliable and easiest to update, service, and replace if needed. They’re also commonly used by the major bike brands that we trust the most. TPC actually won't buy or accept trade-in E-bikes equipped with other motors due to issues with reliability and serviceability. 

As an added bonus, E-bikes using these motors also tend to have the best resale value. If you decide that riding an E-bike isn’t right for you, a name-brand bike will be easier to sell and help you to recoup more of the costs. 


How Much Should You Spend on an E-Bike?

Can you find a “good” E-bike for less than the prices recommended here? Definitely! But in our experience, sticking to the price ranges listed below provide the most reliably good options for riders who intend to ride a lot and keep their E-bike for a long time. 

Enthusiastic new riders on a budget: $1,000-2,000

As you’ve probably gathered, if you want an E-bike that will be reliable, easy to service and repair, and safe for many miles and years of riding, you should be prepared to spend at least $1,000 to get a bike made by a reputable manufacturer using name-brand motors and batteries. 

You can get a great E-bike in this price range by hunting for deals or shopping used. You should be able to find commuter E-bikes and basic road and mountain E-bikes made by top brands like Giant, Specialized, Trek, and other major bike manufacturers. 

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Dedicated riders who know what they want: $2,000-$4,000

More experienced cyclists will likely have a better understanding of what they need from an E-bike. For example, experienced commuters might have specific requirements for racks, cargo capacity, or overall bike weight and size. Experienced mountain bikers likely want more robust and capable E-mountain bikes to handle tougher and more technical singletrack trails. Experienced road riders likely have more specific wants regarding range, power, and weight. 

To find E-bikes with more specific features and qualities catering to experienced riders generally means spending a bit more. The good news is that E-bikes in this price range also tend to be much higher quality.

For the vast majority of E-bike riders, this is the value sweet spot for high-quality E-bikes the ride and perform nearly as well as top-of-the-line options without extreme costs. You should have no problem keeping a bike like this for a decade or selling it if your tastes change. 

[button]E-Bikes Under $4,000[/button]

"Serious" riders who prioritize performance: $4,000+ 

What if you’re a discerning rider who enjoys using high-quality equipment? With E-bikes, the sky is the limit (some retail for over $10,000!). When you start looking at options in the $4,000+ range, then you start seeing E-bikes that place a much bigger focus on performance. If this is your budget, then you have many more options and can also choose E-bikes based on brand and aesthetic preferences.

Generally, E-bikes (or any bike) this expensive are better for “serious” riders. They may feature higher-end drivetrains, carbon fiber frames or wheels, high-end suspension, or other features that add significant cost but are valuable to riders who are fairly knowledgeable and immersed in the world of cycling. While not always the case, riders spending this much on an E-bike tend to own “regular” bikes of similar or greater value and have a very good idea of what they want. 

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