Yes, I know cheap electric bikes is probably not the best title but it is a term that is commonly used to describe economical, inexpensive, or low cost electric bikes.
I have had a lot of requests to cover economical e-bikes because not everyone can afford $1,500-$4,000+ electric bikes.
Not only are there inexpensive e-bikes but there are also e-bike kits and e-trailers (pushes your bike) that could be a low cost option. In addition, I have some tips for finding used electric bikes, kits, and trailers.
With this guide I hope to give you some ideas on ways to get into e-bikes without breaking the bank.
Please note that most of the lowest priced e-bikes, kits, and trailers come with lead acid batteries (lower cost) that are heavier and have a shorter lifespan when compared to lithium ion batteries. Lead acid batteries are not bad, they just don’t have the same performance features of a lithium ion battery pack.
Some e-bikes and kits offer the ability to upgrade to a lithium ion pack. You could start out with a lead acid battery pack and later upgrade to a lithium ion pack if you find that you would like a lighter battery with a longer life span.
Another option is to buy one of these entry level bikes, kits, or trailers to see if you like e-biking. If you do enjoy it and want to upgrade, you could always sell your used e-bike and upgrade to a higher quality e-bike.
If you already have an e-bike, then please share this with someone you know who is interested in getting an economical e-bike.
Okay, let’s get into it!
Economical Electric Bikes
Less expensive bikes can work for you but you should be aware of some of their limitations.
Some of the least expensive bikes have lower quality electrical and bike components. That is not necessarily a bad thing if you plan on only using the bike now and then. These bikes can be a way to test the e-bike waters. Just note that they probably won’t stand up to a lot of tough riding.
Also, lower quality components generally don’t perform as well as higher quality components. The shifting is not as smooth, the brakes don’t work as well, etc.
I recommend going with a well known brand and a bike that gets good user reviews. A lot of the links below go to Amazon and there are a number of user reviews available there.
Currie Technologies is one of the oldest electric bike companies in the US and they provide some economical e-bikes as well as a lot of high end e-bikes.
They also make a step through version.
The eZip Skyline comes with a lithium ion battery pack and has good reviews on Amazon.
Also available in a step through version.
~$999: Currie Technologies IZIP E3 Vibe.
The IZIP Vibe is equipped with a 250 watt geared rear hub motor and lead acid battery (with an option to upgrade to lithium). The bike components on the Vibe are of better quality when compared to the eZip Skyline and Trailz.
Also available in a step through version.
Prodeco Tech is a company located near Miami Florida and they assemble their bikes at their headquarters. Here is a report from my visit to Prodeco Tech. Prodeco Tech offers a few low cost e-bikes as well as a wide range of mid to high end e-bikes.
The Prodeco Tech Mariner comes with a 250 watt geared front hub motor and a LiFePO4 battery. It is a folding bike that can be collapsed into a compact size for transport or storage.
The Prodeco Tech Mariner Sport is very similar to the Mariner but it has a larger LiFePO4 battery for more range.
The Prodeco Tech G Plus Stride has a 250 watt geared front hub motor with LiFePO4 battery and offers the ability to fold this full sized bike for transport or storage.
Economical Electric Bike Kits
IMPORTANT: Make sure your current bike (or the bike that you buy) will work properly with the kit that you select. If you buy a front hub motor kit, make sure that the fork of your bike will work with the kit. Each e-bike kit company will have information on what to look for when installing their kit on your bike.
The Currie Electro Drive Kit is a 26″ size rear wheel kit that includes a lead acid battery. It is probably one of the most economical kits around.
The Clean Republic Hill Topper is a simple geared front hub motor kit that has the lower cost lead acid battery option as well as a lithium ion battery options (more $$). Here is my review of the most economical Clean Republic Hill Topper kit.
This kit comes with a 250 watt geared front hub motor and a lead acid battery.
~$670+ E-Bike Kit
E-Bike Kit offers both front and rear geared or direct drive motor options as well as lead acid or lithium ion batteries. These kits also offer twist grip or thumb throttles and brake lever switches that stop the electric assist. Here is my review of the most economical E-Bike Kit with a 350 watt geared front hub motor and a lead acid battery.
There are many other electric bike kits on the market. These are just a few that I believe will provide you a good kit for an economical price.
For more ideas on kits, here is a guide to electric bike kits.
Economical Electric Trailers
~$699+ Ridekick offers a trailer that can easily and quickly add electric assist to your current bike. The trailer is also quickly removable when you don’t want or need the assist.
Used Electric Bikes, Kits, or Trailers
Buying a used electric bike/kit/trailer can be a great way to get a higher quality bike for a lower price.
Please keep in mind that it is important to determine how many miles or charge/discharge cycles have been put on the battery pack. If the bike is well used it may need a battery replacement soon and that can be costly.
Also, check with your local bike shop to see if they have any customers looking to sell their bike. Your local bike shop may also have rental e-bikes that they are looking to sell for a discount.
That’s it for now but I will be adding more economical e-bikes, kits, and trailers as I come across them.
I hope this guide was helpful. If you already have an e-bike then maybe you know someone who would like to get an economical e-bike. Please share this guide with them.
P.S. Don’t forget to join the Electric Bike Report community for updates from the electric bike world, plus ebike riding and maintenance tips!