Why Quality E-Bikes cannot be built or sold below $1000

The quest for 'affordable' e-bikes, or at least what part of the potential population of e-bike buyers considers 'affordable' is fraught with a lot of risks when seeking to find something that is around $1000 or less.

The reality is a QUALITY e-bike (or at least one you would want to ride, be safe on, and last more than a couple of seasons without recurring maintenance headaches) simply cannot be built or sold at that price.

Here are some of the reasons, but there are many more that would be too hard for people not involved in manufacturing, or familiar with the supply chain to understand:

1. A quality brand name battery (i.e. Samsung, Panasonic, Sanyo, or LG), retails for at least $400 if you want a Grade A battery cell, and to be able to travel at least 40 miles under pedal assist.

2. A quality hub motor , controller, and other electronics retail at around $ 500.

3. The above then leaves you with $100 for the rest of the bike, including the frame, the rims, the tires, the saddle, the stem, the headset, the brakes (have to be mechanical at this price point), the chain, the derailleur, the handlebars, the grips, the innertubes, the cassette, the front fork, the crank arms, the bottom bracket, the pedals, the shifter, the charger, and other accessories.

4. Then there is the labor to build it all, (assume China wages, since 87% of all bikes and ebikes come from China), the shipping by sea, the shipping from ports to the warehouse, and then the shipping from the US warehouse to your door.

5) Then there is 'profit' for the Original Equipment Manufacturer, and profit for the on-line seller, or a dealer that is local, that needs to be added on. Assume at least 20% for each of those entities in the sales chain.

6) Tariffs - All bikes, e-bikes, and bike components coming from China, are subject to a 25% tariff. So if you think you are getting a "$1000 e-bike" it really had to be built for 25% less, or $750, which leaves you with even more subpar build and quality. Try an experiment for yourself, and price up all of the components on-line that I have listed above. Then add in labor estimates, shipping, margins and so on. Maybe your 'math' is better than mine, but then you might want to contemplate the meaning of the old adage 'liars figure, and figurers lie."

So, unless you want a Walmart or Amazon 'quality' bike, that would be powered by rather inferior components, or with so many corners cut in the build that the bike would not likely be safe, or are willing to get counterfeit batteries that 'say' Samsung, but are more than likely Grade C cells that will fail prematurely (thats why they are Grade C), or worse potentially risk a fire due to low quality battery, then your best and safest purchase of a quality ebike is going to cost at least around $1100 and be of much better quality once you get into the $1400 to $2000 price.

Considering that there are many e-bike models from the big mainstream bike manufacturers that start at $3000 and can go up to $15,000, a price range of $1300 to $2000 is relatively affordable.

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