Are $500 eBikes Too Good to Be True?

March 13, 2015

4:30 pm

The Storm eBike first thundered into the public consciousness when Sondors launched their indiegogo campaign on February 1st. Initially priced at just $500USD per unit (pre-build), the eBike in the making was claimed by over 3,000 lucky buyers and smashed its goal of $750,000 in a matter of hours.

Now, with less than a month of their campaign remaining, and the Storm eBike priced at $649 for a limited time, the ‘most affordable eBike EVER’ has raised $3,864,966.

Having far exceeded the expectations of its creators, questions are being asked about whether an electric bike at such a low price can still be a quality product.

Is it possible?

“What they are claiming is highly suspect”

The electric bike company, Prodeco Technologies struck a blow for the Storm eBike when they ordered a cease and desist letter. Having been selling their own electric bike, the original Storm eBike for over $1,300 since 2010, they were quick to shoot down this non-associated competition.

As a result the Storm eBike is now the Sondors Electric Bike.

 

CEO of Prodeco Robert Provost commented that “what they are claiming is highly suspect…We’re afraid a lot of people who think they got a great deal will be disappointed with the bike and it will reflect poorly on us.”

This could just be dismissed as a rivalry in the making, but with Sondors hitting the market running, generating huge sales while simultaneously increasing the price of the bike, it could also suggest that corners are being cut.

UK-based Exhibition Bikes founder Myles Hardy commented that “the problems with the cheaper bikes on the market, especially those under the £500 mark, is the overall build quality”.

He went on to suggest that the suspiciously low pricing could suggest the use of poor quality parts. For example, Expedition Bikes’ eBikes feature a significant number of parts from the trusted, quality brand Shimano. Cheap bike manufacturers often make savings in areas such as levers, derailleurs and gears by going with cheaper and less reliable makes.

If the Storm eBike proves successful, it could take over the market

The proof of the product will be in the testing.

Testimonials on the Indiegogo site claim that all terrain tyres seem to live up to the adaptability of on and off road use, while the internal LED tech that links to the battery usage is sleek and sound.

Furthermore, Sondors have received hardly gushing, but nonetheless favourable comments from trusted sources such as TechCrunch’s Kyle Russell and Slash Gear’s Chris Davies. With the listing of formidable specs including a 20mph speed, a lithium ion battery with a 90min charge and 350W power and the Sondors Electric Bike might be worth looking into.

So are $500 eBikes too good to be true?

Well, if you’re one of the early buyers into the Storm/Sonders eBike then it’s likely you’ll be getting at least $500 worth of decent eBike. Everyone else will have to balance the real reviews that come out with the more established competition on the electric bike market.

 

Trail Image Credit: Flickr/Eli Christman

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Simon Davies is a London based freelance writer with an interest in startup culture, issues and solutions.

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