Why You Should Avoid Budget E-Bikes
Why You Should Avoid Budget E-Bikes.
The disparity in quality between low-range e-bikes and high-range e-bikes is, quite frankly, enormous.
All too often, we see consumers being misled by budget price tags. They are promised things that can’t realistically be delivered. Made with cheaper parts, budget e-bikes are sorely lacking in durability and performance, usually resulting in a long-term headache for the rider, who then has no choice but to spend more money on repairs or replacements.
But what, exactly, is the difference between a WΛU e-bike and a budget e-bike? Why not buy a cheap one from Halfords? We understand that those price tags are tempting, but we’d like to shed some more light on why you should be wary of them.
Smaller Battery Cells
Let’s start with the most essential component of any e-bike: the battery. Without this, your e-bike would just be, well, a bike.
The quality of the battery, therefore, can really be the making or the breaking of your e-bike. It has a considerable influence on the price tag - so, naturally, budget manufacturers keep their prices down by sacrificing battery quality.
Cheaper battery models consist of smaller cells. Not only do these drain far too quickly, but they also have a shorter lifespan due to the need to constantly recharge them. We have seen incredible lies told about 300Wh batteries being capable of lasting 150+ miles, when in reality, they struggle to go further than 25 miles. And this could be far less, depending on the quality of the motor, the energy management system, and the extent to which you employ electrical assistance.
WΛU bikes feature a high-grade 900Wh/25Ah Samsung lithium-ion battery, capable of 100 miles of pedal assistance on a single charge, powering the superb Bafang Hub Motor. This battery is a response to the thousands of riders who, before WΛU, were crying out for longer range. But best of all, it’s been designed specifically with durability in mind, saving you money in the long run.
As more and more people embrace the new technology of e-bikes, rider safety has been rightfully called into question. The notion that e-bikes are more dangerous than regular bikes is both true and false at the same time - probably a discussion for another time. But rider safety is, and always will be, our number one concern, so we have of course addressed it.
It’s important to remember that, in terms of speed and functionality, an e-bike is not dissimilar to a low-performing motorcycle. They can easily match the speed of regular motor traffic in busy cities and towns, meaning the rider must take extra care when navigating traffic hot-spots, particularly during commuting hours.
Budget e-bikes are ill-equipped to handle this. Since they are pretty much bare-bone by design, they don’t feature lights, or speedometers, or any other kind of safety feature that you would expect to see on a motorised vehicle.
WΛU bikes, on the other hand, are pioneers in this regard. They come fully equipped with our tailor-made, high-efficiency, high output LED lights, complete with automatic colour-changing innovation. You’ve got highly visible brake lights, sidelights, and a front light, as well as amber indicators, giving you a large amount of presence on the road, day and night.
In addition, every WΛU bike comes with a black and white (colour display is an optional upgrade), smart back-lit screen on your handlebars, enabling you to easily keep track of your speed (as well as your battery life, distance travelled, and more). This, along with the lights, is essential for safe city navigation.
Like safety, security is something that is on the minds of all of us in the e-bike community. Even the cheapest e-bikes attract attention - specifically, the attention of thieves. In fact, according to the ADS, e-bikes are three times more likely to be stolen than normal bikes in the Netherlands, with estimates showing that e-bike thefts have doubled in the last three years.
A particularly easy target for thieves is the batteries of budget e-bikes. Oftentimes, these will be strapped onto the frame much like a water bottle. There is nothing in place to prevent a thief from taking it.
If it’s the whole bike they’re after, and they succeed in breaking your bike lock, then you’re pretty much scuppered. With no alarm or GPS tracking feature, there is little to no chance of recovery.
That’s why we equip every WΛU bike with a comprehensive security set-up. This consists of:
- 24/7 live GPS tracking which allows you to locate your bike in real-time via your smartphone.
- Geo-fence technology which allows you to set an alarmed geographical boundary.
- An anti-tamper alarm system which can be set-up to alert you at the first sign of your bike being compromised.
Not forgetting your battery, which will be safe and secure behind our tailor-made dual lock system. And if you want even more peace of mind, you can remove your battery and keep it with you whenever you stop for long periods of time.
Cheap Parts Failing Quickly
Batteries, motors, and gadgets aside, the heart and soul of your e-bike lie in its basic components, including the tires, frame, brakes, seat, and chain. The quality of each of these directly affects the performance, comfort, and durability of the bike.
The compromised quality of budget parts is usually noticeable right from the outset. The tires are puncture-prone, the frames are heavy, the seats are hard, the brakes are lazy, the chains are clanky. What’s worse is that they are infamously short-lasting. The tires rub smooth and pop at the first sign of trouble. The brakes wear themselves to the bone. The frames collapse under their own weight. The chains rust to the point where they are ruined beyond repair.
Even if you take great care of them, the nature of these budget parts is such that they will not last. You might save a lot of money at the outset, but in the end, these parts will cost you far more than ought to be necessary.
We’ve made no such compromises. We use premium Schwalbe puncture-resistant tires, which are widely considered to be the best in the industry. The frame is Aluminium 6061, which is as lightweight as it is robust. The hydraulic brakes provide efficient, powerful, and durable stopping power - in all conditions. The KMC chain is highly functional, easy to handle, and remarkably resilient.
The WΛU bike is the sum of its parts - parts we’ve hand-selected because they’re the best.
Quality of Life Limitations
In our eyes, e-bikes represent the perfect marriage between tradition and technology. They are an embodiment of innovation. So simple, when you think about it: just a bicycle with a battery. So simple, and yet so full of possibility.
It’s a shame, then, that so many e-bikes refuse to realise their full potential. We’ve literally got the power of electricity right at our fingertips. So let’s make the most of it!
With the upgraded colour LED display on a WΛU bike, you get a USB port, allowing you to charge up your phone on the go. Perfect for those who are constantly on the move, whether you’re commuting, working, or sightseeing.
It may seem insignificant, but it’s the small quality of life considerations such as this that separate the WΛU bike from the rest of the pack.
Budget e-bikes are a false economy. The quality of the product has been heavily compromised in order to get the price tag down - and in the end, you’ll probably have to pay an excessive amount of money to keep your bike on its own two wheels.
More importantly, budget e-bikes cannot provide you with an assurance of safety or security. With no lights, no speedometer, no GPS tracking, and no alarm system, you’ll be running a lot of risks. Risks that can be hugely mitigated with just a bit of extra initial investment.
With a superior battery and motor, a full deck of safety features, integrated security measures, industry-leading parts, and quality of life bonuses, the British-engineered WΛU bike is about as cost-efficient as they come.