(Last updated on February 9th, 2023)
A number of my friends have electric bikes that they just love for different reasons. For some, it helps them keep up with their faster friends. For others, it helps them get out even though their health isn’t as stable as it used to be. And still others love their e-bikes for their daily commute instead of their car. E-bikes come in a range of prices, and when I thought about getting one for myself, I wondered, how much are electric bikes? Let’s find out.
- Types of Electric Bikes
- Different Types of E-bikes
- How Much Are Electric Bikes?
- Electric Bike Accessories
- How Long Does Your Investment Last
- Final Thoughts on How Much Are Electric Bikes
- Frequently Asked Questions
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how much electric bikes actually cost. To do that, we’ll need to look at the different types of electric bikes, their classes, and how much accessories and peripherals cost as well.
E-bikes can easily cost between $400 and $4000 or more, just for the initial purchase. There are some additional costs, as well, such as a few hundred dollars per year of maintenance. You may also want to invest a few hundred dollars in bike gear such as helmets, shoes, gloves, and panniers or frame bags.
There are two ways to classify e-bikes. E-bikes come in three different classes based on their type of power, and they also come in different types.
Class 1 E-bikes
Class 1 e-bikes are pedal assist only. This means that the motor will only work when the rider is actually pedaling and will only give assistance up to 20mph. If the rider stops pedaling, then the motor shuts off. You can go over 20mph, for example, if you are coasting downhill, but the motor won’t be running. Some places will only permit class 1 E-bikes.
Class 2 E-bikes
If you are looking at class 2 e-bikes, this means they have pedal assist up to 20 mph, just like Class 1. But they also have a throttle, which means you can use the throttle to go up to 20mph without pedaling. These aren’t allowed everywhere, though.
Class 3 E-bikes
These bikes give you pedal assist up to 28mph and may or may not have a throttle. Unfortunately, these are illegal in some countries.
Of course, there are probably as many different types of e-bikes as there are bicycles. If I were going to purchase an e-bike today, I would consider either a standard bike or, more likely, a folding bike. Any of these bikes can technically be a class 1, 2, or 3.
If you love your current bike, you can purchase a conversion kit. Some kits are relatively inexpensive, while others cost much more.
Folding e-bikes are designed for people who don’t have a lot of space to store their bikes. Or for people who may commute to the train station and need to bring their bike on the train with them. These have smaller wheels which may affect the speed of the bike.
Cargo bikes are designed to carry a lot of gear. You might want one for bikepacking or bike-touring because they can carry a lot of weight. On the other hand, if you have a mobile bike business, such as food delivery, you might need a commercial cargo e-bike to manage the extra weight of what you are hauling. The more weight they can pull, the more expensive they will be.
The Sea Otter Classic Recently held a mountain e-bike race. These bikes add some speed and zip to make racing more exciting, but you can also use them for more leisurely mountain biking.
Fat bikes are designed for winter riding and off-road riding. Their large, fat tires make them much harder to pedal, so a fat e-bike might be a worthy investment if you plan on riding in snowy weather.
How Much Are Electric Bikes?
Now that we know what types of bikes there are, let’s look at the range of prices. There will be inexpensive and more expensive versions of each type of bike, depending on the quality of components, frame material, motor, and battery.
Typical e-bikes cost anywhere from $400 to $4000, depending on what you need. Your cheaper bikes can be found at big box stores such as Walmart or Target. They’re generally made of aluminum or steel, have bulkier components, and have less smooth shifting. Unfortunately, you won’t have any customer service assistance like you would find at a bike shop.
Your more expensive e-bikes can be bought at your local bike shop. They’ll have better components, aluminum or carbon frames, better batteries, and customer service that can help you choose the right bike as well as the right size. You’ll also be able to bring the bike back in for repairs.
|Big Box Bikes
|$300 – $1800
|Fun and Commuting
|$100 – $4000
|Leisure rides, road rides, and commuting,
|$1500 – $3500
|Portability and commuting
|$1500 – $8000
|Hauling gear pleasure or business
|$2000 – $5000
|Trails, snow, mountain biking
|$10,000 and up
|$100 – $1000
|Your current bike
The initial purchase of an e-bike is your largest expense, but it isn’t the only expense. There are a number of other things you need to consider.
Just like any other bicycle, you’ll need to pay for things like a helmet, gloves, and any bike-specific clothing or shoes you might want to wear. Helmets can cost anywhere from $30 to $300, while bike shoes can cost anywhere from $50 to $400. Gloves are around $20 to $40, and bike jerseys range from $50 to $250, depending on the type and brand name.
You will most likely have a battery that comes with your e-bike, but you might need to purchase another at some point. An e-bike battery will hopefully last you for about eight years, depending on how much you ride and charge it. When your battery stops giving you the same range of mileage as it used to, it’s probably time to replace it with a new one. You might want to have a spare battery for long rides, or you might want to upgrade to a bigger battery.
In any case, replacing batteries will likely cost anywhere from $500 to $1000.
You’ll need to charge your battery regularly, which of course, requires electricity which costs you money. You can guesstimate that it will cost a dollar or so every 300 to 400 miles. If it sounds expensive, imagine how much it would cost to fill up your gas tank for the same number of miles.
If I were purchasing an e-bike, I would also want a few cargo accessories. I would put a rack on it with panniers so I could use it for things like running errands. Panniers cost about $100, so this is a little bit of an expense you can plan for. You might also want a bike basket, around $40, or frame bags, which can cost a couple of hundred dollars, as well. A regular pull-behind cargo cart will run you about $250. You’ll also want a good bike lock, which is probably around $40.
|Rack and Panniers
|$20 – $40
|$20 – $200
|$100 – $250
|$10 – $40
If you purchase a new electric bicycle, it will probably come with some sort of a manufacturer’s warranty. If you are buying it from a bike shop, they may also include a free tune-up and their own warranty. You may be able to purchase additional warranty coverage when you buy the bike.
Do you want to insure your e-bike? Since this is a substantial investment, you might want to! Sometimes homeowner’s insurance will cover your bike, but not always. In that case, you might want to look into bicycle-specific insurance. Most policies start as low as $100 per year with a $500 deductible, but they can go much higher, depending on how much you are looking to cover and under what circumstances.
Ebikes require maintenance just like regular old pedal-powered bikes do. Some of the things you’ll need to take care of are:
- Brakes and brake pads
- Chain, lubrication, and drivetrain wear
- Tires and tubes
If you do your own basic bike maintenance, you could easily spend $150 a year just on general maintenance. However, if you have a bike shop do the work, it will probably cost double that amount. On the other hand, if you need more extensive repairs, such as from a crash or a broken derailleur, the repairs could be hundreds if not a thousand dollars depending on what needs to be fixed. However, a good warranty will help save you money on defects and major repairs.
A high-quality e-bike should last you up to 10 years, although the battery will most likely need to be replaced sooner than that. Of course, many things affect the lifespan of your bike, so you may not get ten years out of it. For example, an inexpensive bike from a big box store won’t last nearly as long as a high-end bike from a bike shop could. However, good maintenance and careful riding will help your investment last much longer.
If you spend $4000 on an e-bike, but it lasts you for ten years, that’s only $400 per year.
Electric bikes are certainly an investment. Running anywhere from $400 to $4000 and up, you can spend a lot of money on your bike. However, if you are using your bike to replace your daily commuter car, you’ll save money, and it is better for your health and the environment.
My next bike will be an e-bike, so I can enjoy running errands and getting groceries without driving my car. And while it may be an initial investment, the rewards of spending more time outside and traveling in a more environmentally-friendly way are definitely worth it.
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Frequently Asked Questions
If you want to save money on driving or you need a little bit of pedal assistance to keep up with your friends, then an e-bike is definitely worth the investment. There are e-bikes for just about any budget, although you do get what you pay for in terms of quality for the price.
All class 1 e-bikes must be pedaled for the motor to work. These are known as pedal-assist bikes, and they are a little slower than some of the other bikes. However, they may also be less expensive. Class 2 bikes generally have a throttle, which means you don’t have to pedal (up to 20pmh).
The average distance an e-bike can go on a single charge is 20 to 50 miles. There are a lot of factors that affect the distance, including the amount of power the bike can generate, the weight of the rider and cargo, the wind resistance and terrain, and the size of the battery. If you need your e-bike to go further, you may want to invest in a second battery or try a different type of e-bike.
Maybe! An e-bike is generally less expensive than a car and doesn’t require a license or insurance in the United States. So if you want an e-bike to save you money on commuting, yes, it might do that. But if you have driving that isn’t suitable for an e-bike (such as highways and toll roads), then you probably still need a car, as well.
State and local laws may vary, so you’ll always want to check with your local government. However, in most cases, a class 1 e-bike, which has pedal assist only up to 20mph, does not require a license to ride.
Amanda Whittington is an expert writer, impassioned cyclist, and musician. Coming from a diverse educational background, Amanda discovered a deep-rooted passion for encouraging others through her love of all things cycling, writing, and inspiring hope.
You’ll likely find Amanda pouring over bike specs, comparing the hottest cycling tech, and sporting the latest jerseys while juggling the demands of her editorial calendar, training schedule, tiny homestead, and 6 busy kids.
She spends her free time absorbed in her own gardening and fitness, cycling, and reading, all while encouraging adoption and foster care, championing the underdog, and of course, working with her chickens and goats.