How Much Does An Electric Bike Cost?

David Lavery explores the average costs of electric bikes, and what you're likely to get for your money.

Photo of author
Written by
reviewed by Ben Gibbons

The explosion in electric bikes hitting the cycling market has seen some shifts towards more affordable machines, but the fact remains that decent electric bikes are not cheap.

So, just how much does an electric bike cost?

An electric bike can cost anywhere from $600 to $10,000, depending on the quality of the bike and other factors, with most within the bracket of $1500 to $4000.

However, there’s a lot more worth understanding than that – so in this article, I’ll be walking you through the different factors that affect the cost of electric bikes, and what features and build quality you can expect from electric bikes in different price brackets, based on extensive market research and my own experiences with electric bikes.

Just like mechanical bikes, although the upfront costs can seem high at first glance, it comes down to value over the longer term.

A cyclist removing the battery of her electric bike.

How Much Does An Electric Bike Cost?

Just like their more mechanical cousins, the answer to this question varies widely.

The cost of an electric bike will generally be more than its mechanical equivalent, since the lithium-ion battery technology alone on most electric bikes costs between $500 and $1000.

At the lower end of the market, dominated by utilitarian commuter-style electric bikes, $600 will buy you something that will be ideal for short journeys around town and recreational cycling. Anything below $1000 will get you an entry-level electric bike.

If money is no object, then for $10,000, you will be getting an electric road bike that looks and feels like a mechanical, premium road bike but with a magical 350 watts of assistance cleverly hidden in the frame.

So, how much does an eBike cost? Anywhere from $600 to $10,000! That being said, most are likely to fall in the mid-range at about $1500 to $4000, with an average of a little under $3000.

Let’s take a look at what you get for your money.
A black electric bike with a pink background.

Low-Cost Electric Bikes

Anything retailing below $1000 can be considered a low-cost electric bike.

Electric bikes at the lower end of the budget will not be able to compete with premium electric bikes in style and functionality, but you can still get a reliable machine suited for commuting and everyday riding.

Cheaper electric bikes do not spend much energy trying to hide the battery and motor so that what you get is unmistakably an electric bike. This will be fine for a great many riders who just want something utilitarian.

E-bike models range from commuter bikes, cargo bikes, and folding bikes, up to off-road mountain bikes.

Hub motors, instead of mid-drive motors, also help to reduce the price tag. They are robust and dependable, but the extra weight around the wheel tends to make the bike feel less agile and less maneuverable.

Just like normal bikes at the lower end of the cost scale, manufacturers will often use cheaper components on electric bikes. Everything will still work, but reliability and performance may suffer.

The battery range on these cheaper machines will also be more limited.

Full suspension electric mountain bike ina grassy forest clearing.

Premium Electric Bikes

As the price increases, so too does the quality of components and materials, along with the design philosophies. What we consider “premium” differs from rider to rider, but I’d argue that any electric bike over $3000 or so should be expected to be a serious bit of kit.

Much of the early development around electric bikes focused on producing robust, commuter and hybrid-style bikes that, for lack of a better word, were not exactly seen as cool amongst “serious” cyclists.

That has changed dramatically. Well-known and well-respected bike manufacturers soon started to add electric bikes to their inventories using their sleek mechanical bikes as a template.

So, if you have deep enough pockets, you can now buy an electric mountain bike or road bike that is more or less indiscernible from a normal contraption.

Even if one of your mates on the café ride made the classic move of lifting your new electric steed to check the weight, they might still be fooled, with many premium electric road bikes tipping the scales at just shy of 12 kg!

Aside from the aesthetics, important though as they are to most riders, premium electric road bikes come with top-of-the-range components with electronic groupsets, such as the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, being the obvious choice to make full use of the battery.

The motors on high-end electric bikes are also much more sophisticated. This clever pedal assistance management on high-end electric bikes also helps to control the load on the battery, ultimately increasing the range of the bike.

Bring all of this together; what you have at the higher end of the budget is essentially a great-looking machine with the same feel and handling as a top-of-the-range non-assisted bike but with an extra 350 Watts or so of extra power discretely tucked away in the frame.

The Rubbee X electric bike converter kit.
Credit: Rubbee X

Do Electric Bike Conversion Kits Provide Value For Money?        

If you are reeling from the price of electric bikes, then converting an existing bike to an electric bike is likely to be cheaper than buying a brand-new electric bike.

That said, you will likely forego any warranty, which, when dealing with electrics, often comes in handy. Going down this route is only really going to make sense if you have a candidate bike that is in relatively good repair.

If not, then the cost of buying a new bike and then converting is not going to be worth it, especially as you will be left with an inferior electric bike compared to buying one straight off the shelf.

The price of electric bike conversion kits varies depending on the technology, but generally speaking, kits such as power wheels can cost as little as $300, with better quality integrated kits setting you back up to $900.

Adding power to your existing bike can be done in a number of ways:

1. eBike Power Wheels

The most practical and popular method is to replace your standard wheel with a powered eBike wheel.

These wheels have an integrated hub motor powered by a removable battery pack. They are simple and cheap (around $180), but the extra weight on the wheel can make bikes feel heavy and slow, especially when accelerating.

2. Friction Drive

Friction drive systems are mounted on the bike frame and power the rear wheel through friction. The technology has been around since people first thought about giving their bikes some extra juice. It is simple, effective, and almost universally available to any bike.

The drawback of using such a simple power transfer method is that tire wear can be an issue, increasing the risk of a flat tire.

Popular friction-drive eBike converter models such as the Rubbee X retail for around $600.

3. Concealed Electric Motors

This is the exact sort of mechanical doping that Belgian cyclocross rider Femke Van den Driessche used to win races. She was slapped with a six-year racing ban, and the company that developed the discreet technology, Vivax Assis, closed down.

The technology worried the organizers of the Tour de France so much that they regularly x-ray bikes in the peloton to check for any concealed motors. Even a mere few drops of extra Watt hours at this level can be the difference between the maillot jaune and obscurity.

However, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to use a concealed eBike motor to convert a bike, and they’re normally stored in the seat tube and can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

Bear in mind that the motor exerts a rotational force that requires a very strong seat tube, and often needs an internal seat tube diameter of at least 31.6 mm.

Frames designed specifically to accommodate such a motor tend to have reinforced seat tubes. A standard carbon road bike frame may not be compatible with it.

4. Bottom Bracket Drive

Another popular conversion method is to attach a motor around the bottom bracket, also known as a mid-drive conversion kit.

The position near the pedals helps keep the weight close to the ground, making the bike more stable compared to using the powered wheel solution.

Bafang is a well-known brand manufacturing mid-drive conversion kits that are easy to install, starting at around $450.

Graphic showing an electric bike on a blue background.

Are eBikes Worth The Price?

At first glance, the price of decent quality electric bikes can seem excessive and out of reach for a lot of riders.

This is a developing segment of the cycling market where there is an arms race between bike manufacturers. Electric bikes are not only getting better looking, but the e-bike battery technology is constantly evolving to provide more range in smaller packets.

Much like the electric car industry, riders can likely look forward to a steady decrease in electric bike prices as the industry grows and competition between manufacturers heats up.

So, how much does an electric bike cost? Hopefully, less next year.

So, if you are thinking about bikes for the first time, head to your local bike shop or local retailer, or even check on Amazon. You don’t have to get one of the best e-bikes out there.

The hurdle to make electric bikes cool amongst serious cyclists has already been overcome. The next step is to bring the technology to the masses and allow more people to get out and enjoy riding and exploring.

Photo of author
David rediscovered his love of two wheels and Lycra on an epic yet rainy multi-day cycle across Scotland's Western Isles. The experience led him to write a book about the adventure, "The Pull of the Bike", and David hasn't looked back since. Something of an expert in balancing cycling and running with family life, David can usually be found battling the North Sea winds and rolling hills of Aberdeenshire, but sometimes gets to experience cycling without leg warmers in the mountains of Europe. David mistakenly thought that his background in aero-mechanical engineering would give him access to marginal gains. Instead it gave him an inflated and dangerous sense of being able to fix things on the bike.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.