The words, cheap, and electric bike don't usually find themselves in the same sentence, but given some time and some savvy internet skills a cheap electric bike can be found.
But before we jump ahead of ourselves, let's take a look at what you need to be looking for in an electric bike. Only getting what you need, and having a bit of know how will give you the best chance of getting some great value for money from your electric bike purchase.
Electric Bikes Uses Electric bikes are a wide ranging type of bike, so it's best to know what you're looking to do on it. There are so many models, so first you should figure out where you’re going to be riding your e-bike most frequently. E-bikes are geared toward different kinds of activities, such as cargo hauling, relaxed cruising, trail riding, mountain biking, downhill, child transportation, road biking, sand and snow (fat tire) riding, traveling and urban commuting. The question you need to ask yourself before entering the store is what you're looking to be using the electric bike for.
Electric Bikes Motor When it comes to the motor of your electric bike, there are 2 main types that are in use. The most common is what has come to be known as a “pedelec”. This type of system monitors the rider’s pedaling and automatically adds a certain amount of motor assistance depending upon rate of pedalling, force and speed. These are usually limited and when you reach a certain speed the motor automatically shuts off. Then there’s the other type called a ‘twist-n-go’. This is where a switch is used by the rider to trigger the assistance from the motor. These types can be turned on and off at anytime and any speed.
Electric Bike Battery This is possibly the most important part of the electric bike, without this you've just got a heavier than normal bike that needs some serious pedaling. More expensive electric bikes have higher quality batteries that are lighter, charge quicker, and last longer. Since batteries deteriorate over time, they don't hold a charge for as long over time. The quality of the battery makes a difference, so look for a reputably named battery manufacturer such as Sony, Samsung or Panasonic, and make sure the warranty covers the battery for at least two years. Lithium-ion batteries are typically said to last 800 full charge cycles. That’s about three years of weekday commuting. They survive longer with good battery care, so you should get at least 2,000 half-charge cycles. Those are at the low end of estimates though, in practice, a battery life of several years is quite easy to get. A full charge typically takes between two and a half to six hours, depending on the manufacturer, battery capacity, and battery chemistry.
Range of Electric Bike This is the distance the bike will go on a full charge, so it's worth knowing as you won't want to be getting stuck out on the road with an empty battery. If your commute involves a big hill, for example, you don’t want to run out of power halfway up. The range depends of the battery capacity, the speed, your weight, train and gradient of the commuting tour, the assistance level you choose and percentage of given pedaling power. If you’re only going to do ten kilometres of daily commuting, you don’t need a 70 km range. Nevertheless, you should buy a bike with a higher range than you necessarily need because the range will drop as the battery ages and loses capacity, and it gives you more options when it comes to a big weekend ride.
Motor Location Manufactors have stuck to 2 places when it comes to where they want to place the motor of an electric bike. It's either mounted in one of the wheels (hub motor assist) or it’s mounted at the crank and pedal area (crank motor assist), at the bottom of the frame. That means the electronic controls can include a sensor that detects how hard you’re pedaling and can measure out the assistance accordingly. Typically, crank assisted bikes have a reputation for doing well on steep hills, but can be a little on the noisy side depending upon the brand and type. Hub motors tend to be very quiet, but often don’t handle hills as well as crank assist systems. Generally, you should look for a brand with a good reputation, such as Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano or 8fun.
Costs Good quality electric bikes are not cheap, even compared to good unassisted bikes. You can pick up a very basic model, but how long are you going to be happy with it? An average bike with a quality frame, functional brakes, suspension and other components is expensive. When buying an e-bike you have to spend considerably more money for the motor. So don’t be surprised by the higher price, a better bike lasts much longer. Personally we wouldn't really consider any electric bike under £1000. That's if you can find them that cheap. It really does pay in the long run not to go to low of a price on an electric bike as the mid range and higher end models will far outlast and give you better value for money.
Try, Before you Buy If you've never ridden an electric bike before some people find they can not get used to them and don't really like the way they ride. So before you spend all that money on one, you should defiantly take it for a test spin. Trying an electric bike allows you to decide for yourself if you want to buy one, or if it's too much of an expense. It's also a great way to make sure the bike is a good fit, the pedals and brakes and gears are all good, and you're fully happy with it.
By sticking to these tips we feel you're best placed to get some real value for money on a cheap electric bike. There's loads of places to pick up your electric bike but it's best to narrow your search. This way you can really examine the ones you want and focus in on getting great value for money.
Evans Cycles and Halfords are two great places to pick up a cheap electric bike. They have some great deals and usually a good sale or two knocking around. All the prices of all the electric bikes they sell are listed on this page. That also includes any sales prices that they have running too. So thanks for checking out this guide out, and go get yourself a great deal on an electric bike.