The latest trend that’s helping reduce e-bike prices - Single-speed electric bikes

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
A good option if you need an around-town cruiser for basic shopping and flatland commuting under $999. ;)


I’ve spent more than a decade working in the e-bike industry, and so I’ve seen my fair share of the latest electric bicycle trends.
One I didn’t expect to see this year though was the rise of single-speed electric bicycles. But ready or not, here they come. And they’re bringing lower prices with them!

A big reason for the lower price of many single-speed electric bicycles is simply the reduction in parts. Shifters, derailleurs, and transmission cables all add cost and complexity that can be removed on single-speed e-bikes. They even simplify issues like packaging and shipping, since there is no need to protect fragile transmission parts. And one of the most common places for damage on an e-bike in shipping is a banged-up derailleur — so avoiding that helps cut costs associated with returns and replacements. And when you consider the markup that goes into an electric bike, removing just $30-$50 in shifters, cables, derailleurs, derailleur hangers, guards, cassettes, and other related parts can mean shaving off several times that much on the bike’s MSRP.


This summer the company released their latest even lower priced e-bike, the RadMission. That e-bike, as you might have guessed by now, is also a single-speed e-bike. It debuted at a promotional $999 before leveling off at $1,099. Both the RadRunner and RadMission also saved a few dollars here and there with other measures, such as rigid forks and simplified displays. But their single-speed designs weren’t outliers in the industry. Other companies quickly followed suit.

Ride1Up recently unveiled its own single-speed Roadster V2 e-bike priced at an impressive $995. The price is even more impressive when you consider that the bike also includes a belt drive instead of a chain drive! We’ve also seen other popular sub-$1k single-speed e-bikes come along such as the Propella single-speed e-bike and the Analog Motion AM1.

Both of those bikes also demonstrate another advantage of single-speed e-bikes: a chance to reduce weight. Both bikes weigh under 35 lb (15.8 kg), which makes them veritable featherweights in the world of e-bikes.


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FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
I personally think some SS riders may welcome this and some may poopoo on the idea.
SS (and/or fixed-gear)bike riders have a totally different mindset and psyche than all other cycling disciplines.
For the most part SS riders are the purest of cycling disciplines or most of them may think so.

I participate in a Sat morn group ride with approx 15-18 roadies. We have come across a few SS riders on some moderate hills and it's a little funny watching them grinding the pedals on their single 15 or 16 tooth cog, just trying their hardest to mash up that hill.
So some may welcome the motor for quicker starts from full-stop and some hill assistance as many that I have spoken to avoid routes with hilly roads.
I agree that a SS has a limited use case and can be a polarizing subject.
For me, the simplicity and ease of use makes the SS an attractive option for a quick town run.
I have a SE Lager analog bike that I have enjoyed riding both SS and fixie over the last decade... just flip the rear cog. ;)

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FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
I changed to a smaller front chainring for better climbing to keep things interesting. ;)
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Sondors started off with a single speed fat bike for $499. I had two and thought it was a blast, put 1,700 miles on one of them. Then I rode an eBike with gears. Felt like a F1 race car compared to an Army deuce and a half.
 

drewberz

Active Member
Singlespeed gets at the right pricepoint, plain and simple.

I think designing the firmware such that assist is smooth and increasing on a hill is critical, so as to maintain an optimal cadence.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
Singlespeed gets at the right pricepoint, plain and simple.

I think designing the firmware such that assist is smooth and increasing on a hill is critical, so as to maintain an optimal cadence.
The Babymaker social media campaign was based on this principle. ;)

 

drewberz

Active Member
Ok but exactly how much saving is there?
Instead of a cassette, you have a cog, instead of a rear and front derailleurs or just rear derailleur you have neither, instead of a asymmetrically laced wheelset it is a stronger symmetrically laced wheelset, the tweaks to the system in assist come from firmware which scales nearly at $0, no shifters, newbies don't need to learn shifting, less maintenance, and some weight savings (couple lbs?).
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I rarely shift. Why shift?
To reduce the wear on your joints (especially the knees) and of your bike's drivetrain. To easily start at a junction. To climb easily without abusing the bike's motor. To reach higher speeds without spinning at very high cadence.
I cannot fail to notice how many American e-bikers cannot live without the throttle: It is because they don't know why, when and how to shift.
 

troehrkasse

EBR Webmaster
Staff member
Region
USA
City
Fort Collins
I rarely shift. Why shift?
I'm the same way, I had my road bike converted to a single speed because I never shifted when riding around town, would just stand up pedal if needed. Some of this was from my bike having old paddle shifters on the stem so I couldn't shift while applying brakes, so downshifting while slowing down was annoying as I'd have to move my hand back and forth. Even with trigger shifters I just don't like the feel of cycling the cranks slowly to downshift while braking. Minor complaint I know 🤣 I'm also fortunate to live somewhere that doesn't have any extreme hills...

When I ride anything with an internally geared hub I find myself shifting a lot more, much better experience in my opinion. Even so, for my "get around town bike" I definitely prefer single speed.
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
My last persoanal build is a step through 10t MAC GD rear, and a single speed. Finding the adapter for a single speed freewheel proved an adventure. Found and bought two. One for the parts stash too.
 

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Luto

Active Member
Singlespeed gets at the right pricepoint, plain and simple.

I think designing the firmware such that assist is smooth and increasing on a hill is critical, so as to maintain an optimal cadence.
I think this is KEY. There is a lot that can be done to make the effort adjust. The Bosch really kick in regardless of mode in certain situations. Using a timer one would know when someone is stopped and restarting for instance. I can imagine it turns into more of an automatic shifting feel.