Spring 2020 Ebike Reliability Survey Results

Here are the results of the first ever Ebike Test Lab Reliability Survey, which we plan to do every Spring and Fall moving forward.


The rankings are based solely on the survey responses. An algorithm was developed to take into account the total number of miles, number of failures, severity of failure, rating of reliability, and rating of the manufacturer. The end result is the EBTL Miles per Failure rating, so the higher the number the better. I only included brands with at least 10 surveys (except for one, which I marked with an asterisk). More data would have been better so I’m hoping to get more responses when we do this in the Fall! Here are the results, with more details below:

RankBrandEBTL Miles per Failure
1Riese & Müller6,342
2Pedego5,730
3WattWagons*4,400
4Haibike4,308
5Juiced3,285
6Giant2,847
7BH Easymotion2,603
8Trek2,409
9Rad Power2,029
10Aventon1,822
11Specialized1,261





#1 Riese & Müller – 6,342 miles/failure

Riese & Müller came in at the top, which as a premium brand shouldn’t be too surprising. There was one report of a battery connection issue inside the frame and a Rohloff E-14 failing from faulty connections. All of the other respondents reported high mileage with zero issues, moving R&M to the top of the list.

#2 Pedego – 5,730 miles/failure

Pedego surprised me with their reliability. Only two respondents had any failures of note (a motor with one and a controller with the other), but they all had fairly high mileage. The manufacturer received high marks across the board, which helped their score, even the respondent with the controller failure gave Pedego a top mark of 5 in both the reliability rating and manufacturer rating.

#3 Wattwagons – 4,400 miles/failure

Wattwagons only had 4 respondents but I included them here as, out of the four, the only failure was a brake light switch and all four had fairly high miles for such a new bike brand. None of the other brands with less than ten responses would have broken into the top 5. In addition, the ratings given by the survey respondents were all 4’s or 5’s for reliability and manufacturer. I expect them to climb up the rankings in the next survey this fall.

#4 Haibike – 4,308 miles/failure

Haibike did well with several high mileage ebikes without failures. One especially high mileage respondent, with 12,700 miles, did have a motor and battery failure but both were replaced for free by Bosch.

#5 Juiced – 3,285 miles/failure

Juiced had the most respondents in the survey and several had zero failures but the mileages weren’t as high as some of the other brands above. There were five respondents who had issues with the battery connection, which also brought down their ranking. However, none of the respondents indicated a major failure (motor, battery, controller) but several did state incorrect parts arrived on the bike when new (which is more of an initial quality issue vs. reliability).

#6 Giant – 2,847 miles/failure

Much like Juiced, none of the surveys respondents with Giant ebikes reported any major failures, however several had broken spokes and their was even a report of wheel bearings failing at 4,600 miles. Most of the respondents didn’t have a lot of mileage and nearly all had some sort of issue, which brought down their ranking.

#7 BH Easymotion – 2,603 miles/failure

Several of the respondents with BH Easymotion ebikes had zero failures, but also had low mileage. One had a major failure with the hub motor failing at 2,860 miles. One respondent had over 12,000 miles with only the spokes failing and a finicky battery mount causing concern. The manufacturer did receive high ratings.

#8 Trek – 2,409 miles/failure

Much like BH Easymotion, Trek’s ranking was mostly hurt by the low mileage of most of the respondents. In addition, several had minor failures but they did receive 4’s or 5’s for reliablity and for manufacturer.

#9 Rad Power – 2,029 miles/failure

Rad Power had the second most respondents in the survey and their ranking was severely hampered by low mileage and numerous failures including major failures (battery, motor). Several minor failures like a rear light falling apart also hampered the number of miles per failure. There were several respondents without issues and the manufacturer rating averaged 4.2 and several respondents indicated great customer service.

#10 Aventon – 1,822 miles/failure

Owners of Aventon ebikes reported several motor failures. In addition, several respondents had minor failures such as a display not working, broken spokes, and a kick stand breaking. As a value brand, their position in the ranking isn’t too surprising and several respondents stated they had zero issues.

#11 Specialized- 1,261 miles/failure

Specialized had the third most respondents and several had major failures, with numerous battery failures, battery mounts, controllers, etc. There were also several minor failures such as a rear rack cracking. In addition, most ranked Specialized low in the ratings, which also hurt their ranking. There were only two respondents without some sort of failure and they were both under 1,000 miles.

Edit: Usage data from survey:

Commuting: 50%
Recreational Riding (road/path) 41%
Trail Riding: 8%
Work (delivery, etc.): 1%

Item that failed along with percent of responses with that failure:

ItemPercent
Battery13.3%
Spoke12.2%
Motor8.9%
Motor Controller8.5%
Battery Mount7.4%
Display3.7%
Brake Switch2.6%
Kickstand2.2%
Crank Arm2.0%
Shifter1.8%
Wheel Bearings1.7%
Seat Post1.5%
Rear Light1.5%
Cadence Sensor1.1%
Rear Rack1.1%
Crank Arm0.9%
Throttle0.7%
Misc.1.7%

Edit: Additional info: There were 542 responses in total. Most brands on the list had 20 to 30 respondents.

Edit 6/7/20: Table of Survey Respondents per Brand:

Brand# of respondents
Riese & Müller22
Pedego20
WattWagon4
Haibike25
Juiced34
Giant21
BH Easymotion20
Trek32
Rad Power29
Aventon14
Specialized23
 
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So should we use this table to make our purchases?

How many total ebikes were sold by each manufacturer represented?

With the somewhat limited number of responses, the results could change significantly with more data. However, the ranking scam certainly be used as a guideline. For example, I wouldn’t purchase a Specialized when lower cost makes are doing much better with reliability.

I’m not aware of any ebike manufacturers who post sales figures but if anyone knows where to find that data, please let me know!
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
So should we use this table to make our purchases?
Hard to tell.

The number of sold bikes and total mileage per bike are important for full picture.
Besides, some failures are less serious or less costly or less time-consuming than others.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Thanks for sharing the data... will the survey continue to be open?
Extremely interesting . So giant, trek, specialized ...the only brands available to me locally ... are all in the bottom half as far as it goes. Sounds like I may need to stay on good terms with my lbs.
 
Hard to tell.

The number of sold bikes and total mileage per bike are important for full picture.
Besides, some failures are less serious or less costly or less time-consuming than others.

Good points. I'm not aware of any information regarding how many of each ebike are sold but if anyone does know, that would help to normalize the data. I did rate the failure as minor, intermediate, or severe. A minor failure would be a brake light switch, an intermediate would be a spoke failure, and a severe would be something that makes the ebike inoperable like a battery or motor failure. These ratings were used to calculate the final ratings of miles per failure.
 
Extremely interesting . So giant, trek, specialized ...the only brands available to me locally ... are all in the bottom half as far as it goes. Sounds like I may need to stay on good terms with my lbs.
I was very surprised with Specialized and most of the survey respondents were commuters, which shouldn't be that severe of a usage profile (more so than a recreational path rider but less so than a trail rider).
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
So giant, trek, specialized ...the only brands available to me locally ... are all in the bottom half as far as it goes. Sounds like I may need to stay on good terms with my lbs.
Have no fear. Giant in this survey had no major failures and BH had one major failure - motor. More extensive statistics is needed to make comparisons. Preferably - from manufacturers.

Edit-PS:
One more thing. People are usually interested in rating within particular categories: ex, rating within commuter models only, or trail bikes, or cruisers.
 
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Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Have no fear. Giant in this survey had no major failures and BH had one major failure - motor. More extensive statistics is needed to make comparisons. Preferably - from manufacturers.

Edit-PS:
One more thing. People are usually interested in rating within particular categories: ex, rating within commuter models only, or trail bikes, or cruisers.
I agree that most people probably care more about specific categoriesor even models, but I,m not. This survey by brand not type is better for me as a general indication of what to expect. Just always need more data...or think I do.
 

Marcela

Well-Known Member
What about dates of failure? Some of these companies been making ebikes longer than the others have been in business. There is bound to be some teething problems. I’ve seen people pack around a grudge in a trunk a whip it out every chance they get. May that effect your poll?
 

GypsyTreker

Well-Known Member
Price apparently does not ensure a hassle free purchase. I am glad Hai bike does well, the f/s fattie is my last bike prospect once I run through my Ecotric or simply decide to have it available for a friend who wants to go for a ride. I would have to believe that the expectations on a $3k+ bike is much higher than on a sub $1500 bike. I simply assume at some point I will have to replace my hub motor/controller/sensor units since I only have $800 invested. I see so many similarity's with the guitar industry.
 
What about dates of failure? Some of these companies been making ebikes longer than the others have been in business. There is bound to be some teething problems. I’ve seen people pack around a grudge in a trunk a whip it out every chance they get. May that effect your poll?

I had thought of this too. I did not track dates of failures. And I agree. Any new bike, like the first model year of a car, might be less reliable. And this is even more true for a new company altogether. It would take a lot more survey questions to sort that out and even more responses would be needed. In an effort to keep down the number of questions, I decided not to pursue date of purchase vs how old the company or model was. Frankly, most ebike companies are pretty young and longevity has net helped Specialized any!
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Price apparently does not ensure a hassle free purchase. I am glad Hai bike does well, the f/s fattie is my last bike prospect once I run through my Ecotric or simply decide to have it available for a friend who wants to go for a ride. I would have to believe that the expectations on a $3k+ bike is much higher than on a sub $1500 bike. I simply assume at some point I will have to replace my hub motor/controller/sensor units since I only have $800 invested. I see so many similarity's with the guitar industry.
It often happens that the people who spend more have more complaints, just because they have higher expectations. That happens to me more often than I wish...