Dangers of Buying an Ebike Online & Crowdfunding vs. In Shop

Dangers of Buying an Ebike Online & Crowdfunding vs. In Shop

It’s tempting to order direct online when purchasing an electric bike, because they tend to cost less. However, there are some considerations that we wanted to share so that people can make the best decision for their lifestyle and go in with the right expectations. Are you fit enough to receive, unpack, and assemble a heavy electric bicycle? Sometimes these ebikes can arrive with some damage to the packaging and parts… or even have missing parts or hardware. I’ve experienced this myself, and it means extra time waiting for the company to provide support or another product. You almost always spend more time when ordering direct and in some cases, the companies are smaller and less professional.

I’ve had great experiences, okay experiences, and sometimes bad experiences ordering electric bikes online and using crowdfunding. I hope that this video serves as a reference point and a place to share your own experiences with this, to help each other.

Pros of direct order ebikes:
– You’ll probably save money, may save 20% or more
– It may be your only option if there are no shops around

Cons of direct order
– It may take a lot of physical strength to receive, unpack, and build
– It can take a lot of time and effort to assemble some ebikes
– Parts can be missing
– Sometimes the bike that arrives isn’t exactly like the bike you receive… components are different or downspecced
– Sometimes the bikes aren’t purpose built and the parts aren’t as fine-tuned to fit properly, this can make assembly difficult and functionality and ride not perfect
– Language and communication barriers and breakdown
– It can be difficult to reach companies, challenging to express your questions or concerns, and then long waits on replies… we get preferential treatment and sometimes it is still really difficult
– Sometimes crowdfunding campaigns fail or never get delivered, and the final product may also be different than what was advertised
– While you do save money usually, buying online, there’s something to be said for the wait time that is involved with shipping and the tools you may need to setup an e-bike EBR was paid to perform this review #Sponsored We try to be honest, thorough, and fun! Comparison tools, shop directory, and forums at: ElectricBikeReview.com

Readers Comments (50)

  1. There are reason people choose one over the other; big box vs brick and mortar. I recently got into the ebike craze and have been watching ebike videos on youtube for all but of two years. After looking at many bikes from companies like Giant, Trek, Hiabike, Specialized and even Reise and Muller had my heart set on a Reise and Muller Delight HS Touring for its rohloff and range. After realizing that I’d never be able to afford it, I became hooked on Raliegh Lore DS ie. One thing that always lingered in the back of my mind however, was the fact that none of these Brands offered a throttle! And there motor output was limited to 350 Watts nominal! After digging around and looking at more videos I determined that going the bafang route was the way to go for me considering that I could get a powerful mid Drive motor with a throttle for the moments I just didn’t feel like pedaling and as of lately they’ve even added not just at Aiden sensing but torque-sensing as well narrowing the gap between themselves and the German Motor Company that is Bosch. One thing that is not being pointed out in this review and in the comments section is that you have different types of ebike buyers. Those that don’t like restrictions and want all their cake and eat it too! And those that just want the name and to be seen at the local trail head when they pull their shiny new made in Taiwan frame Trek or Raleigh bike off their kuat bike carrier. If you think for a minute these big box stores don’t Source their frames from China or Taiwan you are mistaken. As far as pit falls of using online companies, the vast majority of them utilize some form of bafang motors in their build and the online community for repair, tinkering, get a fix is there is you simple do the research.

  2. Everything here is pretty much on the money with an added caveat. Direct order bikes can be MUCH harder to have serviced. If you are ordering online it means there may be no local shop willing or even capable of fixing issues with your bike and many of these shops will provide no support at all once their warranties are over. I am currently totally unable to get my VOLTBIKE fixed because of the shop pretty much vanishing from existence. I’m just trying to source some replacement parts and am fully willing to pay, but they have spent months essentially lying to me or dodging calls and email messages.

  3. This guy does an excellent job,  reviewing bikes.

  4. My 2 cents , I bought the v1 flash thru crowdfunding. The price was phenomenal, I think it was $1000. It goes an average 25 mph with me pedaling. Last a good 30 miles. I’ve also own the elby bike. Also a fantastic bike but the top speed is 20 mph and was more then double the price, I think closer to $3000. I’m happy with both. But I did have to pay about $100 to put the flash together.

  5. One problem I noticed is that no shops around here in RI will work on bikes they don’t sell. I did finaly find one shop, but they know nothing about ebikes, so I am now doing my own work.

  6. im trying to find some online stores that ship to canada, most of the stores here are way to expensive and not enough variety models. Most gear best and online stores ive found doesnt even ship to canada but does ship everywhere else

  7. somebody know Ouka ebike?

  8. I have a dillenger kit ive put 2k miles within a few months love it.

  9. It means fuckall

  10. If there’s no dealer you really don’t have a choice but to buy online if you really want the merchandise badly. But there’s one thing I won’t buy is an electric car online.

  11. What city are you located in?

  12. Juiced bike are faster

  13. Maya, Rochelle and Family February 17, 2021 @ 9:30 pm

    Agreed!! I thought I bought my 1st e-bike from cyclesuk but 1 week later they calling me to inform me that the bike that I ordered had a technical fault and they don’t have the relevant parts to fix it. Also, that was the last bike In stock (bull crap). After, they gave me 2 options – either cancel the order and get a refund or look for an alternative bike BUT I would have to pay the difference on the new bike. Their responsibility and mistake (might be a scam to get additional money from you after you’ve already paid the original price on the bike) but they still wanted me to pay extra/the difference on another bike that I didn’t even want! Luckily, I recorded all the call conversations as evidence. CyclesUK let me down big time, the only reason I bought this folding bike was to commute to London City for work. (Congestion charges, traffic etc. makes it difficult to drive in the city). I haven’t received my refund yet so I’ll wait a few days before I contact them again. I’m happy that Fullycharged e-bike company gave me good customer service and offered me the bike that I want and I’ll collect it today. I’M GOING TO SHARE MY STORY ON YOUTUBE – A COMPARISON VIDEO ON BOTH COMPANIES AND REVIEW MY BIKE ASWELL.

  14. Bought my bike at Rad Power bikes Austin after testing driving them.

  15. Crowdfunding > if you like to get scamed
    Shop > if you want to pay 500% markup for mediocre performance and capacity.
    Just build it yourself bro…

  16. Im waiting on my ariel rider D Class

  17. Joined EBR forum – had not posted a single message and was banned a week later, stating I was spamming them. And being banned from EBR means you can’t even browse their forums and read other posts. Sent message to admins asking to unban if thast’s the word. 3 weeks passed by – not a word back from EBR. Great way to deal with your clients guys!

  18. Hey Guys, great and interesting videos. Do you have any experience of Swytch bikes you could share? Thanks. I am waiting for mine to arrive.

  19. Guys, I know that your site derives its revenue by providing both advertising and these reviews, so it is tough, to tell the truth, so I applaud your efforts. In this latest video, you touched on a number of points that are important but the real heavy duty issues were skipped. To start with, regardless of whether you buy from a shop or online, make sure the seller has actually purchased product liability insurance to protect them (and you) against any manufacturing issues. Because no U.S. insurance underwriter will accept global coverage from some insurance company in China (they don’t intend to fight a claim in a Chinese court), they automatically consider the importer to be the manufacturer of record. Big expense! Without this coverage, the customer is stuck if a claim arises. Secondly, check to see if the Lithium Battery pack comes with the necessary transport safety certifications known as the UNDOT 38.3 certificate. Without this certified test certificate for both the individual cells and the complete battery pack, they are not able to legally ship these anywhere in the country. The Chinese don’t have a need for this because they don’t have the same regulations to transport Class 9 Hazardous materials around the mainland, so it’s up to the importer to go through this process, and it is very expensive. Finally, make sure whoever you buy from, that they are an actual business with parts inventory, service, support staff, and a real location that is more than a mailbox. It is too easy to get into the business with a 40ft ocean container and a website.

  20. Hi EBR I order a joulvert playa desert ebike have not received as yet I was wondering if you have reviews about this bike ?

  21. I bought my bike directly online from Rad Power Bikes and I am very happy with it.

  22. What about no test drive?

  23. Thanks for that feedback. Really love your reviews. Wondering if you have an opinion between Super 73 S2, Ariel rider D class and Juiced Camp Scrambler? Thx a bunch for any feedback

  24. does anyone have an opinion about this bike? i am ready to pull a trigger on a bike, and it’s either the spinciti and the juiced. any opinions?


  25. Thanks for posting this honest assessment of dealer vs online. My first ebike was an online fat tire hub motor bike from an online dealer located in China. The build quality is terrible, tolerances poor, many of the parts (like fenders, lights, etc) frustratingly do not fit the bike, and the bike is very heavy and unstable. The build quality is so poor that I actually feel uncomfortable riding the bike in anything but ideal conditions and gave up using it on trails. The only appeal of this bike was the price and is now the bike I ride around town and don’t care (too much) if it gets stolen. Follow on bike was purchased from a local dealer, who is diligent in ensuring the bike is assembled correctly and is available to help me with occasional maintenance. The bike is 2-3X more expensive than the online bike, but experience is 10X better, with real suspension, dropper, and lighter weight. It performs similar to my Yeti MTB, although heavier, and trails are tons of fun. I would definitely buy from a local dealer when possible, and when not possible buy a known quality bike from a reputable online dealer.

  26. net it out!

  27. Ist time visit, good vid…I’m now one of ur peeps. Just started ebike researching. Recommending checking local regs [e.g., watt, speed] so you’re not classed as motorbike.

  28. 3lemental Studios February 17, 2021 @ 9:52 pm

    Not sure if this was mentioned, but with buying online you can’t try out the bike till it gets there. So you run the risk of buy a bike that is too uncomfortable to ride.

  29. I weigh around 250 lb and have some heels in the town I live in how many watts do I need Honda motor less peddling more cruising and can I pull a trailer with a child in it

  30. Is he the same person from Electrified Reviews, Brent McCluskey?

  31. No mention of buying frm shop waffle on and waffle on …no stars

  32. Nice input. I suggest that my customers consider the following before purchasing any e-bike: 1) Can they ride it ahead of purchase for any reasonable test (all bikes need this test, because fit to rider cannot be assured any other way) 2) What kind of batteries are in the bike (cheap vs name brand)? It is the most expensive and important part of the bike. Cheap bikes mean cheap batteries. 3) where are going to take it when it needs attention or warranty work? it’s an electric bike…enough said. 4) will the company be around and accessible to you when something breaks? many of these smaller businesses will be crushed by the big names for that very reason. 5)Can you get replacement parts after 3-4 years of use? If you cannot, then you just bought a cheap throw away e-bike…no savings there.

  33. Thanks for the video guys. My experience with a direct to consumer has been great. I bought 2 M2S All terrain Fat Tire bikes. Both came with all parts exactly as advertised and were simple to put together. Do your research read others reviews and direct to consumer should work out well for you. Shout out to my local Bike shop Competitive Edge in Rancho Cucamonga. They have been really great whenever service, accessory parts, or an issue arises.

  34. I was contemplating buying the Rad mini, but the last china bike I bought came all broken up from shipping it. And it turned out to be a POS. I was thinking of calling Velocity; we have one in the SLC area. Would you recommend Velocity?: For repair or are they just for the bicycle purists. I only wish we had electric bike shops in SLC. But if we do they are definitely the same as the china scooter people; here today gone tomorrow.

  35. Thanks for the heads up .. I was about to put a deposit on a bike due to ship in about a month’s time and then found out it was a crowdfunding site and the alarm bells started ringing. They are obviously using the deposits to build the product but what if they don’t get enough orders? Without orders there’s no bikes, even for those that have paid a deposit. I’m buying from a dealer, I’m not taking the risk of forking out money and then having to wait for months worrying if I’m ever going to receive the bike. You might have just saved me a shed load of money .. thanks guys keep trucking.

  36. You didn’t mention about spotting phishing sites that copy genuine bike websites and just steal your money and never deliver the product. You can spot them by the ridiculously cheap prices that no manufacturer could even make the bike for ! They pop up on facebook in the marketplace sponsored ads. Report to facebook when they do.

  37. Is the Sondors a good company to deal with? I am wondering, I am interested in buying one.
    I live in Canada, I hope there are no Cons in my Pros.
    I got my answer, but if you like to add that would be awesome.

  38. I’ve ordered two from Rad power, couldn’t be happier. Great customer service!

  39. Very good job telling the story. To expound on the crowdfunding risks, recently many people were stung by the Taga 2.0 family trike (which had an e-assist version), when the company folded. The Taga 2.0 bike had been sold on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, and backers found out they do not have the same legal protections for credit card purchases when they back a crowdfunded product that they receive when they outright purchase a product. Most of the Taga 2.0 backers were left holding the bag and many lost thousands of dollars. A lesson on crowdfunding and that you should be sure you do not spend more than you are willing to lose if the product goes south.

  40. Thanks for this chaps, it’s a very important subject. Here’s my experience, in the hope it helps others…

    Along with many others I bought Urbanext wheels from Indigogo only to discover later, when only 1 damaged one turned up, that what was billed as a brand new invention was, in fact, a rebranded ‘imortor’ available direct from China at the same or less cost. The people behind the scam disappeared of course & Indigogo turned out to be completely uninterested despite their own rules being broken. I believe these scammers are now operating under the name ‘pedalease’ but I may be wrong. Certainly pedalease are offering the same product on ebay. I was taken in because Urbanext had reached their funding goal & it didn’t occur to me that they could simply pocket the cash & disappear. That is a real risk with crowdfunding, once the funds have been released from the platform, the platform has no responsibility or legal obligation to protect you. If Urbanext had genuinely failed to bring their product to market & had explained the reasons to their backers that would have been ok by me, even though I lost my money. But they used the trust inherent in the crowdfunding model to steal.

  41. So which bike do you suggest is the best substitute for an Arrow 7 …that I can use for food delivery that is also legal in NYC 2019 PLUS it is also fast enough and has a large enough battery and is under $2000 ?….pls help lol

  42. Good points. I own a 2018 juiced Ripcurrent S. I love the bike. I have put in over 1000 miles on the bike, riding in snow, dirt and paved roads. Has a huge 52 volt battery with hydraulic disc brakes. Tough to beat or find something similar at the LBS for the price i paid and its a very good looking bike. I have had a few minor issues with the bike but i think Juiced CS is getting better and they were able to help me out. The bike came with the broken rear fender. They sent me a new one. I needed to do some touch up paint and they send me small bottle of paint. I try to learn from other youtubers to do most of works/maint myself. I recently up graded my tires to maxxis, and changed the disc brakes with no problem. i really appreciated when people put these "how to do" videos online. You could learn a lot. Anyway…Thanks for the video.

  43. I had damage on my RadRover I bought last year, both brake rotors were bent and had some paint wear on the frame, but indeed that is the risk of buying online. I cant really fault Rad since it’s ultimately the carrier’s responsibility for proper package handling. Joined the crownfunding campaign for the Juiced Hyperscrambler and really excited for it to arrive. They’ve got 30 out already so I’m confident it’ll show up at my door, it just sucks having to wait and with a "late fall" ETA it’ll practically be winter by the time it’s here.

  44. Thank you for all the work you guys put into doing the research for us consumers. To be direct and to the point, you two have hit the nail on top of the head with the worries and the questions I’ve been having when it comes to this topic. Keep up the good work!!

  45. Rene Renato Rivera February 17, 2021 @ 10:10 pm

    I’ve asked this question for some time now, but nobody seems to want o help me with an answer: I own a Citizen Miami folding bike which I’d like to convert to e- bike. I really like this bike but would like pedal assist as i’m getting on in years. If you’re familiar with these bikes, is there a kit or company that you could recommend? I’m a partially disabled senior living on Soc.Sec. benefits, so price ( the lower, the better) is of importance. Thanks.

  46. That is an excellent assessment of how it works especially the crowd funding aspect. I would go further with the last part and say that you can’t even be sure when the crowd funding ends and direct marketing has begun. I have had a very bad experience of this with a bike that has received a lot of interest with a lot of videos on U-tube so that I thought all the crowdfunding purchases had received the bikes. This turned out not to be true and in fact the bikes coming through now bear very little relationship to what was promised with very inferior parts. I don’t wish to say more at this stage. I will comment again when this is finally resolved either way.

  47. Mikey's Kitchen #FOODPORN February 17, 2021 @ 10:11 pm

    And I will understand if some of you flame me for this. But since I’m a noob with electric bikes.
    How bad are those $99 bikes you see from a company called "E bike" advertised on the Facebook advertisements?

  48. Can I drive Ebikes on the rain ?

  49. Yes, I purchased mate x at indiegogo in April, it was supposed to come in June. I am still waiting.
    Who is responsible my mental anguishment for these months???

  50. Parental Control App Reviewer February 17, 2021 @ 10:14 pm

    Over the internet risk is world-wide. I suggest parents apply iKeyMonitor to keep track of kids at any time.

    ikeymonitor. com

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