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Why Exactly Are Electric Bikes So Expensive To Buy?

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Electric mountain bikes combine the thrill and adventure of off-road riding with a little extra power from an electric motor. This cool added technology makes electric mountain bikes a lot more expensive to buy than regular mountain bikes. There are lots of reasons why you’ll have to pay much more money upfront for an e-mountain bike.

Advanced Components and Technology

The heart of every electric mountain bike is the motor system that gives you pedal assistance. High-quality motors and batteries are very pricey. The best e-MTB models use powerful mid-drive motors that can sense how hard you’re pedaling. These smart motors then deliver smooth, natural power that feels just right. Building motors that help bikers in such a seamless way requires very complex engineering and uses rare earth metals, which makes them cost more money.

E-bike batteries are another part that costs a lot. Top-of-the-line e-MTBs use high-capacity lithium ion battery cells that store tons of energy in a small, lightweight package. These advanced batteries need super durable casings and fancy battery management systems to operate safely. This specially designed housing and circuitry ramps up expenses too.

Fitting these electric components into a bike along with normal parts like wheels, drivetrains, and brakes is tricky as well. Electric mountain bikes must have stronger frames that can handle extra weight and torque without breaking. Their suspension forks, gears, and disc brakes get beefed up to stand up to much rougher and tougher use on trails over many years. In addition, all the wiring, digital displays, and controls that operate the e-bike systems add more pricey complexity. Developing and building these technologically advanced electric bikes demands skilled engineering, precision manufacturing, and rigorous safety testing before they can hit the market. So when you add everything up, you end up with an exceptionally complex bike that takes loads of expertise to design, making the retail prices skyrocket.

Low Bike Production Numbers

Another huge reason electric mountain bikes sell for top dollar prices is that specialty e-bike makers cannot churn them out on a mass scale like regular bikes. Building top quality electric motors and batteries requires rare technical know-how and resources. Most companies making awesome e-mountain bikes are much smaller outfits than giant regular bike brands. These little companies often don’t have giant factories or widespread dealer networks that can ship out millions of bikes. Without massive production power, they miss out on huge savings and lower costs that come with making ginormous quantities of products.

This puts little e-bike companies in a tricky spot – they must charge higher prices on the smaller number of electric mountain bikes they can squeeze out just to recover their very large research & development costs. They simply cannot afford to sell inexpensive e-bikes and stay afloat, since they lack an enormous customer base to spread expenses across. So their limited bike numbers directly feed premium prices.

Fast Improvements and Updates

Here’s one more reason why cutting edge electric mountain bikes break the bank – e-bikes represent an entirely new bike category that’s improving at lightning speed! Electric motors, batteries, and accessories are still a quickly changing technology, with exciting innovation happening constantly. Each new model year brings major advancements, with e-bikes getting lighter weight, more control, better trail performance, and extended electric range.

Well, all this awesome progress depends heavily on early adopters – people who rushed out to buy those first-generation e-MTBs when electric bikes were brand new. These eager first buyers essentially helped electric bike makers earn enough money to keep pushing innovation forward with their purchase. Without fans hungry to try the very latest tech, funding would dry up to make e-bikes better year after year.

The blazing fast pace of e-bike innovation also means older electric models can become outdated quickly when something better comes out. That forces companies to charge enough money to be profitable on cutting edge e-MTBs before the next big thing comes along. Customers end up willingly paying premium prices to ride this year’s high-performance electric models packed with wow-factor tech. Who knows – in a few years that shiny new bike could seem dated once new innovations hit the scene! But cutting edge comes with a literal cost.

In summary, sophisticated electric drive technology paired with low production volume plus constant innovation adds up to staggering price tags for e-bikes. But many e-MTB fans say the eye-popping cost is worth it for the awesome performance, extra power on climbs, and expanded trail riding possibilities these game-changing bikes provide. E-bikes let average riders climb like pros and go farther than ever, opening up new horizons in the sport – and for lots of riders, that makes even a pricey e-bike a worthy investment.

About the Author

Tony K

Senior Technical Writer,

Tony K is a technical editor at He has a focus on downhill bike riding but still loves xc bikes too.

With more than ten years of mountain biking experience and more than 5 years testing mountain bikes, Tony has ridden and tested hundreds of different bikes and products, everything from XC to enduro bikes. Tony regularly competes in mountain bike races while seeing how long those compontents can hold up which gives me a lot of insight.

When he isn't shredding down a mountain or camping out, he is writing reviews for Mountain Bike Experience.

Rides: Surly Lowside, Canyon Exceed