Arguably, outside of much lightweight mid-drive activity, 2022 has seen the emphasis on keeping prices down as much as possible, with inflation fuelled by such events as a war in Ukraine, China continuing to struggle with Covid and the situation further exacerbated by continuing supply chain difficulties.
Supply chain difficulties dominated the start of the year, as pioneering brand Pedego explained the UK’s Financial Times:
‘Like many other companies struggling to weather the supply chain crisis, Pedego has had to try to keep its bikes rolling as it contends with a tight market for lithium-ion battery cells, suppliers in Malaysia closing factories due to Covid-19, the skyrocketing cost of shipping, containers trapped in log-jammed ports and a semiconductor shortage.
In total Pedego ordered 37,000 bikes for 2022 but when it tried to increase that number by 10,000, it was unable to do so because the parts were unavailable.’
According to Bosch’s Claudia Wasko, ’The average sales price in Europe’s core markets (Germany, Switzerland, Austria) is $2,700 compared to $1,800 in the United States.’
The premium priced, high quality US brands of e-bikes like Specialized and Cannondale were usually nearer the European average however, but 2022 may have seen a sea change, with price pressures and parts availability perhaps being the reason for major premium priced brands looking to introduce more budget priced, hub motored models.
Specialized teased what was apparently a hub motor model with their cacti-concealed Globe back in May, later revealed sans cacti, whilst Trek were actually first to truly break cover with their cheapest e-bikes yet, the Dual Sport + 2 and FX+2 ranges.
Finally in October Kona followed down the hub motor route. The Dew HD and Coco HD are priced at $1999 / €1,999 and the Rove HD at $2199 / €2,099. The fact that Kona itself was bought out early in 2022 by Kent Outdoors sports good manufacturers may have also helped push Kona down the hub motor route.
It’s been a turbulent year for one of the US’s biggest e-bike manufacturers, Rad Power Bikes, historically among the fastest growing e-bike brands in the U.S. 2022 saw Rad Power Bikes’ shed 163 employees in two rounds of layoffs, a new CEO and news of price rises to come in early 2023 (though on what models and by how much hasn’t been specified yet).
Talking of e-bike prices, it emerged in 2022 that UK consumers may be paying more for some models than in other countries, as described in this ebiketips article, noting ‘French sports goods giant Decathlon has said that its significantly higher UK prices for e-bikes are largely down to Brexit’ (the UK’s exit from the European Union in early 2020 is known as Brexit).
But it was still possible to get an e-bike with a ton of features for a low price (though we can’t vouch for the quality) in the form of Walmart’s full sus e-mtb with mid-drive, the Hyper-E, currently retailing at just $1498.