Should I buy a cheaper e-bike?

Fiido gravel e-bike

The price of e-bikes is plummeting, but are cheaper models any good?

It’s now possible to buy a well-equipped e-bike for £500 – £1,000. One of the reasons is companies like Hong Kong-based Fiido cut out the middle men by shipping their bikes direct to the customer.

Of course it means there’s no bricks and mortar dealership to turn to in the event of problems, but a large owners’ Facebook group exchanges info, and the company appears to respond in good time via its website.

Most importantly for those on a budget, their line-up is far cheaper than comparable e-bikes sold on the high street.

Fiido C11 e-bike

The Fiido C11 is a good looking and well-equipped e-bike, but it’s 500W motor means it’s not currently legal to use as a bicycle on UK roads

Insurance for imported e-bikes

There’s no reason you can’t get e-bike insurance for an imported cycle. However, a word of warning. Make certain the e-bike conforms to the UK legal definition of an EAPC (electrically assisted pedal cycle). For example, the £817 Fiido C11 is a great-looking and well-equipped e-bike, but its 500W motor falls foul of current regulations.

It’s a bit confusing as the bike is limited to 15.5mph, which is one of the defining features of a legally compliant e-bike, but the 500w motor size is twice as big as is permitted. A footnote to this is that the UK government is currently considering a change to the law that would allow 500w motors, but in the meantime an e-bike like the C11 cannot be insured as an electric bicycle.

Should I be worried about e-bike battery fires?

With an estimated two million e-bikes in the UK, and sales on the up, battery fires are on the increase. Buying an e-bike that’s cheaper than the competition can seem like a red flag, but context is important.

E-bike fires occur at a rate of less than one per day. To put that in perspective, 100,000 cars go up in flames every year resulting in the death of around 100 people. That’s nearly 300 vehicles fires every day. In other words, a car is twice as likely to catch fire as an e-bike.

However, given electric bicycles are most often charged inside the home, it’s a risk worth guarding against – especially when the safeguards are so easy to follow.

E-bike fire risk advice

The greatest risk of e-bike fires stems from poor quality electric bicycles, chargers and e-bike conversion kits that have not been installed by a professional. Mismatching batteries and chargers also increase any risk.

e-bike fire safety

The UK government recommends these 5 steps when buying and charging your e-bike:

  • Only buy an e-bike, e-scooter, charger or battery from a known seller and check any product reviews
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and using e-bikes or e-scooters
  • Not all e-bike or e-scooter batteries and chargers are compatible or safe when used together. Check and only use the manufacturer’s recommended battery or charger
  • Always charge in a safe place without blocking exits and always unplug your charger when you have finished charging
  • Never attempt to modify or tamper with your battery

Read more about the risk of e-bike battery fires and advice about how to safely charge batteries.

E-bike insurance

The ETA covers all road-legal electric bicycles. And we include battery theft and Cycle Rescue at no additional cost. If your e-bike develops a mechanical fault, you can call on our breakdown team 24/7.

Read a full list of everything we include as standard.

ebike battery

ebike batteries can cost over £500 to replace – we cover them against theft as standard

The ethical choice

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.

The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.




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