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Buying a chinese bike on the english market – is this a good idea?

2 May 2024
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The market is flooded with electric bikes. Dozens of brands, hundreds of models. On top of that, perhaps most importantly, very attractive pricing. It’s hard to resist such an offer.

One might ask: is buying such a bike a good idea?

Chinese electric bikes often come with a very appealing regular price. They are frequently available in special offers, allowing you to get an electric bike for even a few hundred pounds. The seller describes the product on the website, providing motor specifications, battery, and other components. Frequently, the motor is just labeled “motor,” with no manufacturer mentioned, or it might be a hard-to-identify brand. The specifications are given to attract your attention with high motor wattage or torque. The battery description often lacks the cell manufacturer’s name. And even if it does, are you going to dismantle the battery to see what’s inside? The battery has a seal, and breaking it voids the warranty. So the bike’s manufacturer can write anything. Names like Samsung, LG, or Sanyo might ring a bell but you can’t verify the given information.

What about the quality of the gears, cassette, or chain? Are these from reputable bike manufacturers? The bike has disc brakes—can you find out anything more about them? What about the quality of the tires? Do you realize that an electric bike needs tires that can withstand the demands of a heavy bike?

Maybe you’re just looking for a “bike.” Let me ask you: how long do you plan to use it? Is it a short-term purchase, or do you plan to use it for many years? Recreational riding or daily commuting to work? A bike is a simple yet complex machine that can break down. Before buying, check at least a few things:

  1. What does the seller offer when you need to repair the purchased bike? Do they provide spare parts like engines, batteries, cables, or displays?
  2. What do they offer when the warranty period is over?
  3. Can you contact the seller in UK or is the headquarter somewhere in Europe or even in Asia?
  4. Is the seller and the warehouse even in the UK, or do they ship from China or Hong Kong?

 

 Many people don’t ask these questions before buying. Unfortunately, after purchasing, they have to face a reality that isn’t as positive. Chinese bikes available on the UK market are mostly built with low-quality electrical system components and regular bike parts. Spare parts for the electric system are very difficult or impossible to find, even with the seller. Since they are hard to identify, repairing these bikes after the warranty period or on your own is often impossible. If you want to repair such a bike at a local service bicycle shop, the chance they will accept it is near zero, even if you just want to fix the drivetrain or adjust the brakes. Shops have no access to parts dedicated to these bikes, and by taking on repairs, they accept responsibility for the equipment they receive—that’s why the answer is usually “NO.”

We sell a specific brand, and people who visit our website see what we offer. Despite this, we often get phone calls asking if we have a charger, cable, or battery for a certain bike. These people don’t ask for components for large companies’ assistance systems—they ask for those they can’t find elsewhere. And they probably asked the same question in other shops, getting a negative answer. An electric bike is expensive. Buying it cheaply and from a random source exposes you to the risk of high maintenance or repair costs, or, unfortunately, sometimes a one-time-use item.

Buy once, buy right.

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