Chinese Electric Bikes, no longer the subpar option?

Chinese Electric Bikes

Electric bicycles in China are usually divided into two classes: sidewalk-type electric bicycles (CEEB) and bike-type electric bicycles (BBEB). The main distinction between these two is their designs. For this article I am focusing on the rise of the BBEB Chinese brands of electric bikes. The bicycle industry in China has been an important part of the country’s manufacturing sector since at least the early 17th century. Today, China is the world’s largest national producer and consumer of bicycles. The industry is a major contributor to China’s economic development.

Early Days of Chinese Electric Bike Exports

A few years back in the early days of electric bikes with lithium-ion batteries I was a buyer in a major chain of cycle shops. I had been tasked with finding a couple of models we could trial to see if the electric bike market was something we wanted to enter. Before this time the type of electric bikes we had seen were unwieldy things with huge batteries. I reached out to some manufacturers and third-party sellers and soon I was test riding a couple of bikes a day. Some designs looked like they were trying too hard to be a futuristic bike, some still felt like you are riding a lump of lead. It was tough to find an electric bike that would ride well, did not feel odd to ride and didn’t cost the world. This was before I even took the bikes to our testing lab for our quality control team would take a look.

It was a tough time for anyone looking to sell a decent electric bike that would last for the customer and would not be a health and safety nightmare. This was the early days of Chinese electric bikes made for outside of China. For years the Chinese electric bike market was buzzing with all sorts of electric vehicles with low entry to market. Safety was far from the top priority for these domestic Chinese brands and in those early days safety and quality was not top of mind when they sent me those early models either.

Chinese Electric Bike Brands

Chinese Electric Bikes are now safer and more sensible

But fast forward nearly 15 years and a lot has changed in the budget electric bike market. Just as you can now buy a good budget Chinese mobile phone that will last, you can also buy some pretty decent Chinese branded electric bikes. The market for the low-quality rubbish has gone and has been replaced with a good set of options for those willing to pay out between $700 – $1500 for a decent commuter electric bike, that you can ride and be proud of. This market is not for the super fit, cycle market but for those who want to exercise and commute to work, but do not want to turn up to work dying of exhaustion.

The rise of Chinese Electric Bike Brands:

Today, you are blessed with safe, well-made brands coming out of China with support available if something goes wrong. In the past, Chinese electric bikes were seen as sub-par options, but that is no longer the case. These days, you can find a wide variety of high-quality and affordable electric bikes from China. Some of my favourite Chinese brands include the Hitway electric bike, the Swifty electric bikes and many more. Sales of these bikes sold on the whole by Amazon are eye watering. The reviews which people need to read with a pinch of salt are great. We do need to keep an eye on the market, and it will be interesting to see if major bike retailers latch on to some of the rising brands straight from China and see how they fair against the more established brands of electric bikes. So why buy a Chinese electric bike? First of all, they are much cheaper than their counterparts from other countries. Second, they come with a wide range of features and options to choose from. Third, most Chinese brands offer good customer support in case you have any problems with your bike. So what are you waiting for? If you’re looking for an affordable and high-quality electric bike, look no further than China!
Rise of Chinese Electric Bikes

The future of Chinese Electric Bike Brands:

With the uncertainty of exports from China, as well as the market issues we all face with logistics, the future of this market it up in the air. But some of the improvements seen in design, battery and motor safety of the Chinese brands has been a great thing to see. I hope we can benefit from premium brands for those that can afford them and safe, long-lasting options for those that can’t, for many years to come. Long live the electric bike!

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