Electric Bikes - The Age of the Spiritual Machine
The rabbi says to the priest I got myself an electric bike. It’s cheap, reliable, and runs itself on the Sabbath.
The priest says, I got one too, the darn thing is too enjoyable to ride, I’m absolutely ridden with guilt.
Wouldn’t it be great if buying an electric bike was as easy and fun as a cheap joke. Perhaps that task is not as daunting as it once was. The first 2 years in the industry was rather shocking. Let’s just say that manufacturers in China use the term “Quality” far too loosely. I often thought that something got lost in translation, as they seemed very genuine, so they couldn’t have set out to deceive me…could they?
Be all that as it may, these days many suppliers have a reasonable idea about quality, and they do genuinely try to give you what you pay for. The models you see on the market are far more polished that they used to be. However, suppliers of substandard products, and those are a majority, are also alert to the fact that buyers are more aware of quality issues. They do a good job masking quality issues, so a customers get the impression that they are getting a polished product at a bargain price.
While it is still imperative that you do some research when you are buying an e-bike, at the end of the day, logic prevails (to a large degree). The cheap e-bikes you find online, with no bricks and mortar based service & support will invariably be nasty. Of course those cheap and nasty e-bikes still constitute the majority of sales in the market. A similar trend has always existed in the regular bike market. Someone wants to buy a pushbike to experiment for a while to see if they will like cycling. They don’t want to pay much for the experiment, so they decide to buy a Kmart bike. Most will realise that while they love cycling because it feels like being a kid again, but they hate the cheap bike.
Buying a cheap ebike online is very much the same, you’ll love the idea of the ebike, but you’ll hate the cheap ebike, because it will let you down too often, and it will not feel fun to ride, most likely it will be both. Of course even cheap ebikes obtained online are still $1000+, so in my opinion every cheap ebike purchased online is an expensive lesson.
Our guideline: if the electric bicycle or the ebike kit you are after can’t be bought from an actual shop in your city, then it is not worth buying. Save for a little longer, do some research, and then buy an electric bike that is fully supported.