Buying an Electric Bike Made in the USA: A Guide for Baby Boomers
American Made Ebikes are bicycles with an electric motor and a battery that assist the rider with pedaling. E-bikes can provide many benefits for baby boomers, such as improving their health, saving money, reducing their environmental impact, and enhancing their mobility and independence. However, not all e-bikes are created equal, and choosing the right one can be challenging. One of the factors that baby boomers may want to consider is where the e-bike is made and how that affects its quality, supportability, and sustainability. In this essay, we will explore the options of buying an e-bike that is made in the USA, either fully or partially, and explain why this may be important for baby boomers who care about their safety, comfort, and contribution to society.
Why Buy an E-Bike Made in the USA?
According to a report by NPD Group, a market research firm, e-bike sales in the US increased by 145% in 2020 compared to 2019, reaching $490 million in revenue. This shows that e-bikes are becoming more popular and mainstream among Americans of all ages and backgrounds. However, most of these e-bikes are imported from China or other countries where labor and material costs are lower. While this may make them more affordable for consumers, it also raises some concerns about their quality, durability, reliability, safety, and environmental impact.
Buying an e-bike that is made in the USA can offer some advantages over buying an imported one. Here are some of them:
- Quality: E-bikes that are made in the USA are subject to higher standards of quality control and testing than those made overseas. They also use higher-quality components and materials that are more durable and resistant to wear and tear. For example, Electric Bike Company, one of the few e-bike companies that produce their bikes entirely in the USA, uses stainless steel spokes, aluminum frames, Samsung batteries, hydraulic disc brakes, and puncture-resistant tires on their models. These features ensure that their e-bikes can withstand harsh weather conditions and rough terrain without compromising performance or safety.
- Supportability: E-bikes that are made in the USA are easier to service and maintain than those made overseas. They have better availability of spare parts and accessories, as well as more accessible customer service and warranty policies. For example, Outrider USA, another e-bike company that makes their bikes in the USA, offers a lifetime warranty on their frames and a 3-year warranty on their batteries and electronics. They also provide free technical support and troubleshooting for their customers via phone or email. Additionally, buying an e-bike that is made in the USA supports the local economy and creates jobs for American workers.
- Sustainability: E-bikes that are made in the USA have a lower environmental impact than those made overseas. They have a shorter supply chain and transportation distance, which reduces their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. They also use more eco-friendly materials and processes that minimize waste and pollution. For example, Hi-Power Cycles, another e-bike company that makes their bikes in the USA, uses recycled aluminum for their frames and recycles their batteries at the end of their life cycle. They also use solar panels to power their factory and office.
How to Choose an E-Bike Made in the USA?
While there are many benefits of buying an e-bike that is made in the USA, there are also some challenges and limitations. One of them is the limited number of options available compared to imported ones. According to Boston Bikes.org , there are only four electric bike companies with e-bikes made entirely in the USA: Hi-Power Cycles , Outrider USA , Electric Bike Company , and Boogie Bikes . Some other electric bike manufacturers in the USA that may have some models made in the USA or use some parts from the USA are Pedego Electric Bikes , Trek Bicycles , Vintage Electric Bikes , Rambo Bikes , Lectric eBikes , Montague Bikes , Aventon , Rad Power Bikes , Charge Bikes , Soul Beach Cruisers , Ride1Up , Schwinn , Specialized , Mod Bikes , E-spin , and Juiced Bikes . However, you may want to check with the specific model and brand you are interested in to confirm their origin and quality.
Another challenge is the higher price of e-bikes that are made in the USA compared to imported ones. This is due to the higher labor and material costs, as well as the lower economies of scale and mass production. For example, the average price of an e-bike made by Electric Bike Company is $2,000, while the average price of an e-bike made by Lectric eBikes is $1,000. However, this does not mean that e-bikes that are made in the USA are not worth the investment. As we have seen, they offer better quality, supportability, and sustainability than imported ones, which can save you money and hassle in the long run.
Therefore, when choosing an e-bike that is made in the USA, you should consider your budget, preferences, and needs. Here are some factors to keep in mind:
- Style: E-bikes come in different styles, such as road, mountain, hybrid, cruiser, cargo, folding, and fat tire. You should choose a style that suits your riding purpose, terrain, and comfort level. For example, if you want to ride on paved roads and bike lanes for commuting or leisure, you may prefer a road or hybrid e-bike. If you want to ride on dirt trails and hills for adventure or exercise, you may prefer a mountain or fat tire e-bike. If you want to carry passengers or cargo for errands or fun, you may prefer a cruiser or cargo e-bike. If you have limited space or need to transport your e-bike by car or public transit, you may prefer a folding e-bike.
- Power: E-bikes have different power levels, measured in watts (W) or horsepower (hp). The power level determines how fast and how far the e-bike can assist you with pedaling. The higher the power level, the faster and farther the e-bike can go. However, higher power levels also consume more battery and may require a license or registration in some states. In the US, there are three classes of e-bikes based on their power level and speed limit: Class 1 (up to 750W and 20 mph), Class 2 (up to 750W and 20 mph with throttle), and Class 3 (up to 750W and 28 mph). You should choose a power level that matches your desired speed, distance, and legal requirements.
- Battery: E-bikes have different battery capacities, measured in watt-hours (Wh) or amp-hours (Ah). The battery capacity determines how long the e-bike can assist you with pedaling before it needs to be recharged. The higher the battery capacity, the longer the e-bike can last. However, higher battery capacities also add more weight and cost to the e-bike. The battery life of an e-bike depends on many factors, such as the power level, speed, terrain, rider weight, weather conditions, and maintenance. You should choose a battery capacity that meets your expected riding duration and frequency. Make sure to buy a UL 2849-certified battery to reduce fire risk.
- Features: E-bikes have different features that enhance their functionality and convenience. Some of these features are essential for safety and performance, while others are optional for comfort and customization. Some of the features that you may want to look for in an e-bike are:
- Display: A display shows you important information about your e-bike, such as speed, distance, battery level, assist mode, and error codes. A display can be analog or digital , LCD or LED , color or monochrome , integrated or removable . You should choose a display that is clear , easy to read , and user-friendly .
- Brakes: Brakes allow you to stop or slow down your e-bike safely and smoothly. Brakes can be mechanical or hydraulic , rim or disc , linear-pull or dual-pivot . You should choose brakes that are responsive , powerful , and reliable .
- Gears: Gears allow you to adjust the pedaling difficulty and speed of your e-bike according to the terrain and your preference. Gears can be single-speed or multi-speed , internal or external , derailleur or hub . You should choose gears that are compatible , efficient , and durable .
- Suspension: Suspension absorbs shocks and vibrations from uneven surfaces and improves your riding comfort and control. Suspension can be front , rear , full , or none . You should choose suspension that is suitable , adjustable , and comfortable .
- Lights: Lights increase your visibility and safety when riding in low-light conditions. Lights can be front , rear , side , integrated or separate . You should choose lights that are bright , long-lasting , and compliant .
- Tires: Tires affect your riding traction , stability , and comfort on different surfaces. Tires can be narrow or wide , smooth or knobby , tubeless or tubed . You should choose tires that are appropriate , puncture-resistant , and high-quality
How to Buy an E-Bike Made in the USA?
If you have decided to buy an e-bike that is made in the USA, either fully or partially, you may wonder where and how to find one. Here are some tips to help you with your purchase:
- Research: Before buying an e-bike, you should do some research on the different brands, models, features, and prices available in the market. You can use online sources, such as websites, blogs, reviews, forums, and social media, to learn more about the e-bikes that interest you. You can also visit local bike shops or e-bike dealers to see and test the e-bikes in person. You should compare the pros and cons of each option and choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.
- Test: Before buying an e-bike, you should test it thoroughly to make sure it works well and feels comfortable for you. You should check the battery level, the display, the brakes, the gears, the suspension, the lights, and the tires. You should also ride the e-bike on different terrains and speeds to see how it handles and performs. You should pay attention to the noise level, the vibration level, the stability level, and the assistance level of the e-bike. You should also ask about the warranty policy, the return policy, and the service policy of the seller.
- Buy: After testing an e-bike and deciding to buy it, you should complete the transaction with the seller. You should ask for a receipt, a manual, a charger, and any accessories that come with the e-bike. You should also register your e-bike with the manufacturer or the seller to activate your warranty and get updates on your e-bike. You should also follow the instructions on how to charge, maintain, and store your e-bike properly.
In conclusion, buying an e-bike that is made in the USA can be a smart choice for baby boomers who want to enjoy riding a bike without compromising their safety, comfort, or contribution to society. E-bikes that are made in the USA offer better quality, supportability, and sustainability than imported ones. They also support the local economy and create jobs for American workers. However, buying an e-bike that is made in the USA also has some challenges and limitations. There are fewer options available compared to imported ones. They also cost more than imported ones. Therefore, baby boomers who want to buy an e-bike that is made in the USA should consider their budget, preferences, and needs carefully. They should also research, test, and buy their e-bike from reputable sources.
Source: Conversation with Bing, 6/3/2023
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(2) 18 Best E-Bike Companies: Brands Made in the USA?.
(3) Best Electric Bike Brands Made in the USA – Electric Ride Lab.
(4) Are There Any Electric Bikes Made in the USA? (The Surprising Truth).
(5) Electric bike company builds all their e-bikes in the US – here’s how!