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Are Chinese Electric Bikes Any Good?

If you know exactly how to look, the answer is most probably yes!

When a guy named Bin Chun introduced bikes in China during the 1860s, the Chinese were not very accepting of these two-wheeled pipes right away. The only ones who made use of these bicycles were western foreigners that lived there. It was only after years of the fascination and dedication of these foreigners to cycling did biking become interesting to the Chinese. More than a century after, China is now known to be one of the most bike-friendly countries in the world. 

In China, electric bikes are normally categorized into two: as bicycle-style electric bikes (BSEB) or scooter-style electric bikes (SSEB). The main difference of the two lies in their physical appearance. It’s just simple to follow, BSEB resembles a regular bicycle having fully operable pedals while SSEB looks more like a typical scooter or a motor vehicle with tail signals and brake lights. Whatever the difference may be, both of these electric bikes have the same technology and system installed in them. A Chinese electric bike, just like any electric bicycle has three main components: the electric motor, battery, and the controller. Almost all Chinese electric bikes make use of a hub motor. Seeing an electric bike in China with a mid-drive motor is very rare. A study by Stanford University about the Emergence of Electric Bikes in China cited that approximately 95% of Chinese e-bikes are powered by lead acid batteries that are big and heavy. Even though China makes their own electric bikes, some people (like the early Chinese) are still engrossed by the products made by the west until now.

Are Chinese bikes necessarily inferior to Western bikes?

China has always been prompt to keep up with ever-changing technologies in industries – including the cycling industry. While for the most part, the West started to develop sophisticated models of bikes that give its riders multiple amazing benefits called electric bikes, China has also produced their very own. Their own mass-production of electric bikes is a way to provide electric-powered bicycles to its own citizens at a lower price. As they grew in their own territory, these e-bikes became more available to other countries with the price as the main selling point.

However, people still have the impression that things made from China are of low quality, fragile, and are sub-par. This is probably because they are relatively cheaper than the bikes produced in the West. But this is not necessarily true. Price does not necessarily correlate to quality. Cheap does not mean less; the same way that expensive does not immediately mean gold-standard. The key to finding a good e-bike from China is to be more informed of what to look for when buying online. (Because, where else would you buy if you do not live in China?) Keep reading to ensure a wise purchase when you are considering buying a Chinese e-bike.

How different are Chinese electric bikes?

To understand why Chinese e-bikes are so cheap, one must first understand how big of a deal cycling is in China. Bicycles are a staple ride there. For every one car, there are ten bicycles. In fact, there is at least one bicycle for every household; and a recent study sums it up to a half a billion bikes to this day. As for electric bikes, there are currently 200 million in the country with an average of 30 million increase in the Chinese roads every single year. Given this high demand, more manufacturers are going to spring out of this massive demand. As a rule of thumb, the more competitors, the lower the prices become. 

Apart from its affordability, Chinese e-bikes are also competent when it comes to quality. Since the Chinese normally use their e-bikes for industrial purposes and day-to-day transportation, these e-bikes are designed to specifically fit this purpose. Two notable features that a Chinese electric bike has are longer-lasting batteries and stronger hub motors. The problem usually encountered in e-bikes is that normal batteries tend to lose power after one to two hours of continuous use. For the everyday local Chinese, they will be needing more power that could last for several hours more that is why their bikes can go the extra mile, especially on busier days. The same thing can be applied to its motors. The motor of a Chinese electric bike tends to withstand longer rides than a normal e-bike. 

Now that you know that Chinese e-bikes are not bad at all, you must now know how to find the best deals in the market.

How to find the best Chinese Electric Bike for your money’s worth?

Buying cheap should not mean less. While you already know that a Chinese electric bike can be durable for extra-long miles, it is still important to find a seller that you can trust your hard-earned money with and without your intuition kicking you in the gut multiple times before you pay. It is still possible that you may encounter ones that are cheap but are also “cheap” in quality. You can never be too careful. But don’t worry, we got you covered! And with the help of the internet, everything you need to look for is just one Google search away! 

Here are 4 tips to make sure you are getting the best deals for a China-low price!

1. Provide a background check on the manufacturer – while an electric bike might seem like a good deal at first glance, it is important to do quick research on the manufacturer. Is it popular enough and has plenty of good reviews? Is it one of the trusted brands in China? If your answer to all these two questions is both rock-solid Yeses, then you might proceed to the next three items in this list. If your answer is no, and the manufacturer may seem a little “sketchy” and does not have enough reviews that may satisfy you, you might want to look into other more popular manufacturers just to be safe.

2. Look for safety nets – we understand that you are excited to get your hands on one of those famous Chinese electric bikes as soon as possible. However, it is important to make sure that your manufacturer provides a warranty or any form of safety net/guarantee in case of a factory defect or other difficulties encountered far from what you expected. The last thing you want to experience is a malfunctioning e-bike that cannot be returned to its manufacturer and your money going down the drain for good. 

3. Make sure they provide working emails/contact numbers – this is a non-negotiable factor especially for any online purchase. You need to make sure that they have a complete set of contact details such as e-mail address/es, mobile numbers/hotlines, or even social media accounts if possible. This will provide you a sense of security should you encounter problems once your e-bike arrives. 

4. Look for certifications – like the first item in this list, follow your background check by specifically looking for relevant certificates related to safety, quality, or any form of the legitimacy of some sort. Once you find certificates that may satisfy you, you are good to go!

In Conclusion,

Buying an e-bike is not as simple as buying toilet paper from your local grocery store. It is a more serious decision that requires enough risk assessment and proper education. We know it is not easy to trust random strangers on the internet that offer deals that may seem too good to be true. We also know that while you are conditioned that products from China are ill-functioning, you can now sit back and relax because Chinese e-bikes have disproved this popular misconception. But even though Chinese e-bikes are good, you must still be careful about really knowing where your electric bike is coming from before you spend your money on it. Because after all, your safety is what is most important and must not be risked at all costs. 

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