The elusive $1k quality E-bike... Coming this year?

KLamond

New Member
Radcitys were on Blowout this December for 999, my guess is Rad Power will be the one to do it first.

And Rad Power did just recently announce their just under 1k bike that is coming out in the fall.

A good quality non-electric road or city bike is going to cost $400 to $600 dollars. The cost of a motor and battery added to that will bring the cost above $1000.

I agree with others who suggest checking out the used market. I've seen a few nice e-bikes for sale locally for under 1k, that were likely around 2k when new.
 

CdnShaun

Active Member
Guess I do. I have a family, am on a budget, and need to buy two ebikes so my spouse can enjoy as well. They will never replace my car as I live in too rural of a location and long distances are the norm so I have no cause to compare the two.

For the average middle-aged person interested in returning to recreational cycling via ebike I think you are way out of touch. I don't personally know a single person in my family or circle of friends that wouldn't seriously balk at a bicycle costing $3k, much less 2 or 3Xs that.

With so many amazing acoustic bike choices (manufacturers and models) available in the $600-$1200 (CDN)/$500-$1000 (USD) price range - and I'm speaking brand new - your thoughts on an amazing bicycle choice for under $1K is already here and has been for the last 4-5 years.

This in turn is where your friends/family who balk at a $3K bicycle cost (and yourself) are 100% correct in their thinking - of a bicycle.

The challenge of your $1K ebike budget, even assuming USD - is you are looking for both a quality bicycle and quality ebike conversion (or OEM components) for the elusive $1K total budget per ebike combination.

Will it happen in the next 5 years? I think so actually, ebike culture is growing every year and the events of 2020 are only accelerating this growth and interest within.


Last week I helped a friend out build an amazing ebike for $975 cdn spent plus a future steak dinner. Was it new? Nope. What we did, well he did, was search the used market in our area after I taught him what to look for. First he found what was likely a $1,500 new acoustic bike (3-4 years old in great shape) for $400 2-3 weeks ago that was his size and type of bike he wanted. He bought it, I tuned it up for him (didn't need much) and he started riding it right away to get a feel for it and loved the short rides he was having.

He then caught an ad for a 'barely used' ladies bike with a Bionx P350 kit installed and the larger 11.6ah battery for $400 (final price negotiated). He bought the bike, we pulled the kit off the bike and donated the remaining almost complete bike to a local charity operation.

$175 for my goto wheel builder (build and spokes included) and he dropped everything off at my place. Same night I had it built and ready for him to ride (I have all the zip ties and velcro covers to make an install quick) and we went for our first ebike ride together the next day.

The joy on his face was easy to see from even a distance. Being couped up mostly at home and out of work has worn on him, hence I suggested he get a bike in the first place. It took only one joy ride on one of my ebikes to have him wanting one as well and so happy he now has his own.

Like you he's on a budget. My greatest help to him was knowledge - knowing how to pick a good frame size and type of bike for him (step 1) and then what conversion kit would be a great value to him (step 2). Sure it's all used gear - but in the end he ended up with $3-4K (new) worth of equipment for under $1K spent.


I share all of this as I believe over the next 1-3 years we are going to see the used market of ebikes and ebike conversion kits expand quite a bit with people Replace-Upgrading their ebikes and others simply choosing to sell theirs off for any reason. Therefore a $1K budget may find the best value in the used market versus a new market - much like in automobiles - think of what you can buy for $15K used versus $15K new for example.

Just some food for thought. Cheers everyone.
 

BigNerd

Well-Known Member
This reminds me of the days when you had the skill, it was cheaper/easier to build a PC than to buy a new one... I'm talking general purpose, not gaming.

Now, after years of building PCs, for me, it's better to just buy a new computer than spend my time shopping for the parts and then going through building it (including installing the OS/etc).

I understand for many of you who have the skills/time to add on a motor kit to a nice used (or new) bike will probably end up with a better product... but what about those of us who don't have the skill? Or a friend who does have the skills that we can buy a steak dinner for? :)

So while I don't think $1k is quite there... I do see some that are $1200-1500 that could work. And if a 20" folder was what I was shopping for, the $899 Lectric XP is intriguing as I see several of those on the paths I bike on.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
Other than used, I don't see it happening. If bike shops sell out of $1000 mechanical bikes every year, what incentive do manufacturers have to try to bring sub $1000 bikes to market? The super cheap ebikes remind me of the "beige box" IBM PC clones from the 90s, made from parts imported from Asia, assembled in the back room of a computer store, and sold at too low prices to stay in business. You don't see many of those around today.
 

BigNerd

Well-Known Member
It's the Direct To Consumer companies that will play in that $1k range.

It's hard for a no-namer to compete in the $1k mechanical bike range... but if it has a motor... they have a better chance. I'm just not sure how much margin can be made on a $1k ebike, especially if you have QC issues where you have to spend time/money on support.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
In Japan, you can buy a decent bike for $1,000

A lot of bike shops sell ebikes for 10% to 20% below MSRP, so realistically, you can find a bike for $800 or sometimes less.
If it's a last year's model, it's not uncommon to find an ebike for low $700 to high $600.
They're made by well known brands with decades of history.

If you talk to people who have been to Japan, 95% of ebikes are sold by Japanese companies (Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Bridgestone, Panasonic, etc). The other 5% would be Giant, Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, and all the other hobby-oriented ebike brands.

Nobody would pay $1,000 for a Chinese bike. (Although, I believe in China, you can buy Chinese ebikes for whole a lot cheaper than in the US)

Although Japanese ebikes are a lot more affordable, reliable, and comes with good warranty, it is worth noting that it may not come with some of the US customers demand.

For example, Japan has strict 15mph speed limit for ebikes (not that it matters in a crowded country like Japan).
In addition, they do not come with hydraulic disc brakes, suspension front fork, etc.

It is also interesting to note that cadence sensored ebikes are illegal in Japan.
Only torque sensored ebikes are allowed.

Yamaha Natura M
MSRP: 102,000 yen ($954)


Panasonic Vivi SX
MSRP: 85,800 yen ($802)


Bridgestone Assista U LT
MSRP: 112,800 yen ($1,055)
 

BigNerd

Well-Known Member
@Timpo:

I've seen your posts about these sub $1k Japanese ebikes several times.

Why can't these make it to the US? Is it because of the speed limit and lack of "fancy" specs? These look like mid-drives so maybe no throttle?
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
@Timpo:

I've seen your posts about these sub $1k Japanese ebikes several times.

Why can't these make it to the US? Is it because of the speed limit and lack of "fancy" specs? These look like mid-drives so maybe no throttle?
That is a very good question and I have always been wondering.
I can only speculate, but I am guessing that Yamaha for example, think that there is no market for sub $1,000 mamachari in the US.

Some people have speculated that by the time they pay for shipping and all that, the price will double.
That is simply not true.

Yamaha still sells CrossConnect, YDX Torc, Urban Rush, etc. in Japan.
I compared the prices, and they maintained the price about the same. Maybe about 5% increase in price compare to Japan domestic market.
(Although the US version has higher spec with higher top speed)

Same thing as motorcycles and cars. They can generally keep the prices very similar to Japan domestic market, maybe around 5% increase.
People have mentioned that, if you are importing bikes in batches, the price of shipping container isn't that expensive. Which explains why they can keep the price increase to minimum.

Ebikes are recreation toys and hobbies in the US. Again, I am speculating, but I am guessing that Yamaha does not see utility based ebikes as opportunity.
Which is too bad because if you look at Tern or RadWagon, they're not toys. Just like Japanese ebikes, RadWagon was meant for everyday transportation.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
Japan is an interesting market... with very innovative and cost-effective bikes available only within the country.

You may be interested in the history of Yamaha EBikes... they are credited with inventing the world’s first electric-assist bike in 1993. ;)


Yamaha invented the world’s first electrically power assisted bicycle (PAS) in 1993.
Since then we have been constantly innovating to deliver the most easy-to-use power assist systems. Just one ride and you’ll understand.

  • Over 4 Million Drive Units used worldwide
  • Over 2 Million Yamaha e-bikes sold in Japan
1989 Yamaha created first prototype in 1989.
1594522802052.png

1993 Sales of the world-first PAS bicycle began in 1993 in Japan. The concept of an electrically power assisted bicycle would later spread worldwide.
1594522818565.png

1995 A detachable nickel-cadmium battery was adopted along with a new charger with a refresh-charge function.

1594522894746.png

1999 Intelligent Flexible Energy System (IFES) was developed. This enabled data exchange between the battery, charger and controller.
1594522905070.png

2003 Lightweight, compact center-mounted drive unit with efficient direct-to-chain assist was developed. Non-contact torque sensor was developed to lighten pedaling when the battery is empty.
1594522919062.png

2008 Along with the introduction of our Brace model, we reached our 1 million bicycles sold. Creation of our Brace model was a response to consumers asking for sportier recreation bicycle with Yamaha PAS technology.
1594522933125.png

2013 The Triple Sensor System was introduced to the all-new PWseries, providing a smoother and more enjoyable ride. The increased precision of the assist control results in the most “natural and organic” pedaling feel available in ebike technology today.
1594522946905.png

2015 New Concept YPJ-R light weight road bike was introduced in Japan.
1594522962242.png

2016 Along with the introduction of our YPJ-C model in Japan, we reached our 2 million bicycles sold.
1594522976789.png
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Japan is an interesting market... with very innovative and cost-effective bikes available only within the country.

You may be interested in the history of Yamaha EBikes... they are credited with inventing the world’s first electric-assist bike in 1993. ;)


Yamaha invented the world’s first electrically power assisted bicycle (PAS) in 1993.
Since then we have been constantly innovating to deliver the most easy-to-use power assist systems. Just one ride and you’ll understand.

  • Over 4 Million Drive Units used worldwide
  • Over 2 Million Yamaha e-bikes sold in Japan
1989 Yamaha created first prototype in 1989.
View attachment 58647
1993 Sales of the world-first PAS bicycle began in 1993 in Japan. The concept of an electrically power assisted bicycle would later spread worldwide.
View attachment 58648
1995 A detachable nickel-cadmium battery was adopted along with a new charger with a refresh-charge function.

View attachment 58649
1999 Intelligent Flexible Energy System (IFES) was developed. This enabled data exchange between the battery, charger and controller.
View attachment 58650
2003 Lightweight, compact center-mounted drive unit with efficient direct-to-chain assist was developed. Non-contact torque sensor was developed to lighten pedaling when the battery is empty.
View attachment 58651
2008 Along with the introduction of our Brace model, we reached our 1 million bicycles sold. Creation of our Brace model was a response to consumers asking for sportier recreation bicycle with Yamaha PAS technology.
View attachment 58652
2013 The Triple Sensor System was introduced to the all-new PWseries, providing a smoother and more enjoyable ride. The increased precision of the assist control results in the most “natural and organic” pedaling feel available in ebike technology today.
View attachment 58653
2015 New Concept YPJ-R light weight road bike was introduced in Japan.
View attachment 58654
2016 Along with the introduction of our YPJ-C model in Japan, we reached our 2 million bicycles sold.
View attachment 58655
1993 was when Yamaha first got into ebike business. They definitely did not invent ebikes.
The production model of ebikes existed way back in the day, 1970 Sanyo NiCd Cycle, 1979 Panasonic EC2, to name a few.

I have no idea why Yamaha claim themselves to be the first ebike manufacture.

 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
1993 was when Yamaha first got into ebike business. They definitely did not invent ebikes.
The production model of ebikes existed way back in the day, 1970 Sanyo NiCd Cycle, 1979 Panasonic EC2, to name a few.
I have no idea why Yamaha claim themselves to be the first ebike manufacture.

Good point. I think you have to parse their claim carefully... PAS is the key. ;)

Yamaha invented the world’s first electrically power-assisted bicycle (PAS) in 1993.
 

BigNerd

Well-Known Member
So if $1k is still too elusive, what is reasonable? $1200, $1500, $2000?

Lectric XPs seems to have a lot of owners here but it looks like many of them upgrade so that $900 becomes more like $1200.

There are posts from satisfied owners in the $1100-$1500 range.

The problem is... the posts I read are fairly new... as are most of these bikes... so not sure what a 2-5 year ownership looks like.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Japan is an interesting market... with very innovative and cost-effective bikes available only within the country.


Japan is a very different market compared to the US.

The country is much smaller than the US and the average weight of a Japanese male is 137 lbs and average weight here in the US is closer to 195 lbs.

Average commute distances are also much higher in the US (~16 miles). Many metro cities in Japan have high-speed rail systems that are used extensively and people don't use cars like the way we do in the US.

Most importantly, I believe the cycling infrastructure in Japan is much better than the USA. So, bikes built for the Japanese market simply won't sell in the US market.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Japan is a very different market compared to the US.

The country is much smaller than the US and the average weight of a Japanese male is 137 lbs and average weight here in the US is closer to 195 lbs.

Average commute distances are also much higher in the US (~16 miles). Many metro cities in Japan have high-speed rail systems that are used extensively and people don't use cars like the way we do in the US.

Most importantly, I believe the cycling infrastructure in Japan is much better than the USA. So, bikes built for the Japanese market simply won't sell in the US market.
I still think the biggest factor is that, people in US are looking at ebikes as toys or recreational items.
From what I heard, 95% of ebikes in Japan are mamachari style ebike manufactures by Japanese companies.
You won't see Chinese bikes like RadRover or VoltBike in Japan, ever. (unless somebody decides to import them, of course)

People do import mamachari to US, however the price usually doubles because it is super expensive to import them privately.

Considering the price, mamachari is not bad. But I think people in America would rather drive a big V8 Ford SUV than ride an ebike for daily commute.


The mamachari is here! | Family Ride
 
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GypsyTreker

Well-Known Member
So if $1k is still too elusive, what is reasonable? $1200, $1500, $2000?

Lectric XPs seems to have a lot of owners here but it looks like many of them upgrade so that $900 becomes more like $1200.

There are posts from satisfied owners in the $1100-$1500 range.

The problem is... the posts I read are fairly new... as are most of these bikes... so not sure what a 2-5 year ownership looks like.

I am not sure folks like myself look at the $1k eBike as a 2-5 year proposition. It's a reasonable price to pay to see if you can rekindle the enjoyment cycling provided before knees blew out or age took over, or both. As far as upgrades, some of that is strictly because its fun to personalise a bike and the same expense can apply to the higher end (seat, bars, pedals etc).

What I have come to appreciate about my sub 1k eBike is that a hub, controller, sensor and display can be had for around $350-400. That would allow for a rebuild of sorts @ say 2.5 year mark and presumably give me my 5 years of service for under $1500 or a smidge over.

So I think trying to connect quality to a price point depends on how much quality you need, for the intended use.

Since many eBikes are import "build" orders by marketing firms, I hate that someone would feel "priced" out because they are convinced that a $1k bike is crap if that's all they have or want to allocate.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
Japan is a very different market compared to the US.
...
Most importantly, I believe the cycling infrastructure in Japan is much better than the USA. So, bikes built for the Japanese market simply won't sell in the US market.
Seems like there are lots of separate small markets worldwide.

I don't know about Japan, but there are lots of cheap ebikes in China. A decade ago they even had some kind of government program where people lined their mopeds up by apartment blocks and day of the week to exchange for ebikes. But noone would be likely to export those ebikes: they were low price, spec, and quality. And the infrastructure there was even worse than the bikes.

OTOH there are lots of expensive ebikes in Europe. And some very expensive infrastructure and regulations there. But even the top Euro spec bike won't replace a car for a long commute with our existing infrastructure, and high spec bikes aren't suited to casual rider's budgets and needs for (usually) very low speeds on trails in the USA.

Ravi, I'm glad I don't have to design a single ebike for the whole world.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Seems like there are lots of separate small markets worldwide.

I don't know about Japan, but there are lots of cheap ebikes in China. A decade ago they even had some kind of government program where people lined their mopeds up by apartment blocks and day of the week to exchange for ebikes. But noone would be likely to export those ebikes: they were low price, spec, and quality. And the infrastructure there was even worse than the bikes.

OTOH there are lots of expensive ebikes in Europe. And some very expensive infrastructure and regulations there. But even the top Euro spec bike won't replace a car for a long commute with our existing infrastructure, and high spec bikes aren't suited to casual rider's budgets and needs for (usually) very low speeds on trails in the USA.

Ravi, I'm glad I don't have to design a single ebike for the whole world.
Ebikes in China, as in Rad Power, Pedego, Volt, Juiced, etc... are super rare in China.

People who have been to China would tell you that, most Chinese people (like 99% of them) are riding moped-style ebikes.
China 200W~450W Electric Bike/Scooter, Electric Moped, Electric ...
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
Ebikes in China, as in Rad Power, Pedego, Volt, Juiced, etc... are super rare in China.

People who have been to China would tell you that, most Chinese people (like 99% of them) are riding moped-style ebikes.
China 200W~450W Electric Bike/Scooter, Electric Moped, Electric ...
Yep. That's what they looked like, sorta. No rack or basket that I remember. Usually a box or something strapped on back though.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
I still think the biggest factor is that, people in US are looking at ebikes as toys or recreational items.
From what I heard, 95% of ebikes in Japan are mamachari style ebike manufactures by Japanese companies.
You won't see Chinese bikes like RadRover or VoltBike in Japan, ever. (unless somebody decide to import them, of course)

People do import mamachari to US, however the price usually doubles because it is super expensive to import them privately.

Considering the price, mamachari is not bad. But I think people in America would rather drive a big V8 Ford SUV than ride an ebike for daily commute.


The mamachari is here! | Family Ride

Interesting... had to look that up to understand the meaning.

Mamachari is a mash-up of two Japanese words meaning “mother” and a slang term for “bicycle”.