Why are eScooters cheaper than eBikes?
Well, the simple answer is that regular scooters are much cheaper than regular bikes!
Mass market bicycles are much more complex and expensive to make than mass market non-electric scooters.
In fact, the average non-electric bicycle typically costs 10x more than the average non-electric scooter.
There are many components that are required to build a bicycle, that simply aren't required when building a scooter:
- Large, spoked wheels v.s. small solid wheels on a scooter.
- Complex gears and gear shifting mechanisms v.s. no gears on a scooter.
- A mechanical drive mechanism (crank, chain, bearings, pedal arms, pedals) v.s. zero mechanical drive on a scooter.
- Advanced braking mechanisms (disc or v brakes consisting of brake pads, action levers, cables and cable routing) v.s. essentially zero braking mechanism on a scooter (i.e. you press your foot down on the back wheel).
- Extremely complex load bearing design to allow you to sit on a frame and exert significant power onto another part of the bike to pedal, all while balancing (!) v.s. a scooter which just has a flat base for you to stand, and that’s it! Even the handlebar on a scooter is much more simple as it doesn’t have to be load bearing.
- More complex balancing - on a bike the engineering dynamics that determine the balance and handling are very complex, on a scooter they are very simple.
A good electric bike needs to consist first and foremost of a good bicycle, which is much more complex and expensive to engineer and manufacture v.s. a good non-electric scooter.
You really shouldn’t go cheap on an Electric Bike
Cheap electric bikes are a false economy, if you go cheap on one you're probably skimping on the basic bike components that are the most crucial part of the eBike. This is why Swytch is such a good option - instead of considering all of these sacrifices on the bicycle side, you can get exactly what you pay for in terms of the basic bicycle. This means that if you want to ride a cheap eBike, you can convert a cheap bicycle, and if you want an eBike that actually has a decent bike underneath it and longevity, then you buy a decent bike. It is completely adjustable to the users needs and ultimately the plans they have for the eBike as the electric system on top will cost the same and they are not paying extra or suffering hidden shortcuts when weighing up the price of a good eBike.
Further consideration is that eBikes naturally should comprise of a higher standard of underlying bike, because of the additional usage and speed - in summary, the only real limitation behind a truly mass market eBike is the availability of a truly mass market bicycle of good quality. Truly mass market eBikes do already exist, but with the compromise of bad quality bicycle parts which doesn't make for a suitable eBike experience.
Bike brands put electric bikes into the Premium end of their range
Most eBike manufacturers approach eBike designs focussed towards large batteries and long range, which leads to heavy and clunky bicycles. These bicycles also cost more to make than regular bikes. In addition, there is a fundamental pricing strategy by eBike distributors to have a big margin on high end premium products. EBikes currently fit into the high end of bicycles - so brands by design are only considering eBikes as premium, so they base it around premium bike design, at high overall target price. Probably the first truly mass-market eBike would be the perfect bicycle plus the Swytch kit added, which adds very minimal additional weight, and doesn't change the ride experience at all.
In terms of scooters, the industry is approaching this with a fresh start - there are no existing scooter market pricing structures for premium scooters and budget scooters that would be influencing the pricing/quality strategy of the industry.
Conclusion: don't compare apples to oranges!
And also... why not have both?
If you want a good electric bike, we recommend using a Swytch conversion kit to upgrade the bicycle you love!
Sadly, we haven't invented an electric scooter conversion kit yet!
Written by @oli on May 27, 2021