Where E-bikes are Made, and Why it's Important

China is perfectly capable of manufacturing quality products. They manufacture iPhones, after all. If a US or other company uses a Chinese contract manufacturer, it is up to them (the customer) to impose quality requirements on the manufacturer and to audit them regularly. But supply chain management is no easy task, nor is manufacturing a quality product in China. It is not something a small company could likely do easily. Which is why the Apples of the world can afford to do this, but the smaller, startup companies, not so much.

Anyone old enough to have lived through the 50's - 70's will recall that the 'Made in Japan' label was a mark of shame. That has not been the case since the late 70's. Which car is most likely to last a quarter million miles with minimal repairs - a Japanese or US made car. Yes, I know many Japanese branded cars are assembled in the US. But the Japanese company controls the supply chain and is ultimately responsible for the overall quality.
Agree 100%
 
China is perfectly capable of manufacturing quality products. They manufacture iPhones, after all. If a US or other company uses a Chinese contract manufacturer, it is up to them (the customer) to impose quality requirements on the manufacturer and to audit them regularly. But supply chain management is no easy task, nor is manufacturing a quality product in China. It is not something a small company could likely do easily. Which is why the Apples of the world can afford to do this, but the smaller, startup companies, not so much.

Anyone old enough to have lived through the 50's - 70's will recall that the 'Made in Japan' label was a mark of shame. That has not been the case since the late 70's. Which car is most likely to last a quarter million miles with minimal repairs - a Japanese or US made car. Yes, I know many Japanese branded cars are assembled in the US. But the Japanese company controls the supply chain and is ultimately responsible for the overall quality.

History shaped the culture of Japan and even solidified it in their laws. Many people prefer a car completely assembled in Japan since it has the most stringent quality control.

Sadly, the opposite is true in China and most Chinese people even avoid Chinese-made cars. They know first hand that there is not much incentive in building quality products. Most Chinese manufacturers (not all) rather prefer the shot term high profit margin over the long term solid business relation with customers.
 
I have worked with Chinese manufacturers and know first hand what they are capable of. If they are held to high standards and are paid to do so, they can make a high quality product. They can also make cheap products. A co-worker purchased a $1000 Chinese ebike and rides it 40 miles round trip per day, 5 days a week. He is a big, strong man and the frame broke in less than a year. That's what you get for $1000. But if you pay the money and control the quality, my first hand experience is that they are capable of producing high quality products at lower prices.
 
History shaped the culture of Japan and even solidified it in their laws. Many people prefer a car completely assembled in Japan since it has the most stringent quality control.

Sadly, the opposite is true in China and most Chinese people even avoid Chinese-made cars. They know first hand that there is not much incentive in building quality products. Most Chinese manufacturers (not all) rather prefer the shot term high profit margin over the long term solid business relation with customers.
Even if 3/4 of Chinese people avoid Chinese made cars, they still sell a lot of cars.
 
Here is a glimpse of the car industry in China, Many of them are blatant knock offs of reputable brands, and altering the name a little bit but sounds a little bit similar to the real brand. This is not to destroy the image of China, it's just an observation by these 2 foreigners.


 
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Where the parts are made or the whole units are made, it matters if you run the risk of having fake components. There are countries that can hardly stop the manufacture of fake products.

There are countries that do not adhere to international patent and trademak laws. Critical parts like fake bearings can end up in sudden catastrophic failures.


 
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The question at hand is not 'Do certain countries make some poor quality products?' or 'Do they ever engage in any unethical business practices?'. It is 'Are they capable of manufacturing to a high standard of quality at a low price point?'. It is my belief, based on first hand experiences dealing with the Chinese, in China, at Chinese factories, that the answer is yes, they can most certainly do this.
 
Hi fellow E-bike riders. I just bought a new KBO breeze and it will arrive June 29th, I have a Ride 1up 500 series and I’m having a lot of grinding noise coming from the hub motor ( gear slipping) when the grinding happens ( intermittent) but it is happening more often. My question is Ride1up and KBO breeze look the same ( I don’t mind that) but will it have the same motor? My local bike shop won’t work on it, they say can’t get the parts. This will be my last E-bike, thanks for reading, be safe and pedal on.
 
Hi fellow E-bike riders. I just bought a new KBO breeze and it will arrive June 29th, I have a Ride 1up 500 series and I’m having a lot of grinding noise coming from the hub motor ( gear slipping) when the grinding happens ( intermittent) but it is happening more often. My question is Ride1up and KBO breeze look the same ( I don’t mind that) but will it have the same motor? My local bike shop won’t work on it, they say can’t get the parts. This will be my last E-bike, thanks for reading, be safe and pedal on.
Paul, you might want to put this post in the Ride 1 Up forum, or other forum better related to your issue. This thread has nothing to do with your question, so you're not likely to get much helpful feedback here...
 
Argh! I fell for another necro thread. I actually emphasize those struggling eBike owners not having forum experience until they’re in a panic and go Googling.

it was also a thread I’d missed and I liked the OP.
 
Tom I saw you posted elsewhere about switching emotors/preference. Haven't had a chance to check back yet, do you explain the why and wherefore anywhere?

(With kit builds in mind.)
 
Tom I saw you posted elsewhere about switching emotors/preference. Haven't had a chance to check back yet, do you explain the why and wherefore anywhere?

(With kit builds in mind.)
I really liked my BBSHD motors but they are a massive overkill for me riding habits. And I have no hills to climb. I still ride a BBS01B 250W. A safe and sane, for me, speed range limited to <20MPH. My 2014 BBS01A 350W 36V is still running well.

however I have 36v, 48v, and 52v batteries. I bought a couple of MAC motors and Grin controllers that work with all my batteries. Going forward any new battery will be EM3ev 36v.
 
I really liked my BBSHD motors but they are a massive overkill for me riding habits. And I have no hills to climb. I still ride a BBS01B 250W. A safe and sane, for me, speed range limited to <20MPH. My 2014 BBS01A 350W 36V is still running well.

however I have 36v, 48v, and 52v batteries. I bought a couple of MAC motors and Grin controllers that work with all my batteries. Going forward any new battery will be EM3ev 36v.
Ah, thanks. Great to understand.
 
The question at hand is not 'Do certain countries make some poor quality products?' or 'Do they ever engage in any unethical business practices?'. It is 'Are they capable of manufacturing to a high standard of quality at a low price point?'. It is my belief, based on first hand experiences dealing with the Chinese, in China, at Chinese factories, that the answer is yes, they can most certainly do this.
I'm old enough (unfortunately, or otherwise, the way things are going) to remember when Made in Japan
meant JUNK. Throw enough $$$ at China and they will make decent stuff soon. CN
 
Maybe your right. However have you ever heard the story of Deming as his influence pertains to Japan? And, I have also heard that when a Japanese company plans for the future it can be 350 years out. Not sure if these were just great stories to illustrate a point - I wasn't there in person.


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Maybe your right. However have you ever heard the story of Deming as his influence pertains to Japan? And, I have also heard that when a Japanese company plans for the future it can be 350 years out. Not sure if these were just great stories to illustrate a point - I wasn't there in person.


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I watched an advert a few weeks ago by a Japanese company. It had every single employee in it. All standing there while the CEO at the front spoke to camera and made an apology because they had to raise the price - the first time they did so in 16 years!

Feels like another world.... You just couldn't imagine Western companies ever doing that.... a completely different mindset on life.
 
Yes, thing after thing like that. Most of which mean far more than $ to humans as far as I can tell. It all coalesces and pretty soon you have something more far reaching than the sum of its parts.

Or, you dump melamine in the dog food as an extender and see how far that takes you in business life. :)
 
The Growing Market of E-Bikes

According to academic journal Taylor & Francis, electric bikes are “the largest and most rapid uptake of alternative fueled vehicles in the history of motorization.” By many accounts, it is estimated that by 2023, international sales of e-bikes will reach around 40 million units, worldwide. Currently, China is one of the most influential markets for electric bikes globally, as it is predicted they will sell 34 million units. The remaining units will be sold by Taiwan, Europe and a small but emerging market in the USA. Considering the rapid uptake and manufacturing of electric bikes, does it make a difference where they are made?

Where E-Bikes are Manufactured

Many electric bike companies don't actually manufacture their own product. Instead, they either design bikes to be built elsewhere or import and re-brand e-bikes that are manufactured by another company. There are many bike companies that design and create a bike with parts sourced from a global supply chain which are upheld by strict quality control. There are also many bike brands that simply buy wholesale from a manufacturer without strict quality control or deviation from the standard design.

With a few exceptions, almost all e-bike frames are manufactured in Asian factories- located either in China and Taiwan. What is the difference between these two markets? Most reputable companies in the U.S. use Taiwan-made frames, in fact, Taiwan is the biggest bike manufacturer in the world and they produce for some of the most well-known brands like Trek, Specialized, QBP, Tern- all of which have different models and frames that are recognizable for their quality. China mass produces cheaper bikes that are attractive to big buyers and generic brands.

One thing bike aficionados are aware of is the difference in labor and factory standards in China and Taiwan. Chinese factories manufacture lower quality frames that fall apart, may not ride as straight or precise and aren't as strict with quality control and waste management of production. If you're choosing an electric bike as an environmentally friendly alternative to a car; the irony would be buying one that pollutes its local factory environment.

European and U.S. Manufactured E-Bikes

The more expensive models are actually made in the US and Europe. However, as stated before, many bike brands don't manufacture the e-bikes. Riese and Muller are a popular German made brand that started out manufacturing in Taiwan but now produce their own frames. Raleigh is a UK based company but most likely get frames from Taiwan. Kalkhoff in Germany is designed and produced in Germany, adhering to certification standards and producing around 500,000 e-bikes every year. Brompton is another UK based company that manufacturers their frames.

View attachment 24033
Reise Müller Factory in Germany


The U.S. bike industry is experiencing a surge in production in the last few years. Assembly plants in South Carolina, Nevada, and other states are opening up. With Tesla's Gigafactory producing lithium-ion batteries, we can expect to see a widespread development of advanced electronic manufacturing in the U.S. Speculators think that with the increase in local battery production, battery prices could see a production in cost, which in turn would fuel more U.S. based e-bike companies.

E-bikes that are sold in the United States, Europe or Australia just to name a few are held to product safety regulations. Some regulations are specific to the entire assembly of electric bikes, such as European product safety standard EN 15194, while other regulations, for example, RoHS and the Low Voltage Directive, apply to batteries and other components.

Most mid to high end established brands make sure that their products are safe and compliant, and not just the frame. Important components like the gears, battery, motor, petals, handlebar, brakes, charger, tires, etc. are usually bought from outside suppliers, making the assembly of a high-quality bike the difference between putting together different scraps at a low price or ensuring that each component will work and has been tested.

Tawain Manufactured E-Bikes

The e-bike export market has historically been dominated by China, but Taiwan exports are catching up quickly, especially in the mid to high-end of the market while Chinese exports continue to stay at the low to mid range.

One of the biggest factories to export e-bikes to the US and UK is Giant, with 9 factories worldwide. A Taiwanese company started in 1972, Giant manufacturers their own bikes- including the carbon bikes, which is unique in the industry.

View attachment 24034
Giant Factory

Giant has a reputation for being the best manufacturer of carbon frame bikes. Interestingly, they buy their carbon in raw spools that look like carbon thread to make their own wide carbon sheets using their own resin formula. Additionally, they own their own aluminum mines and smelters! Research into the production process of each factory and the working conditions and quality expectations reveal precision and attention to detail. In addition to making their own bikes, Giant also makes or has made, bikes for many other brands such including Trek, Specialized [now part of Merida], Schwinn, and Bianchi.

China Made Bikes

China-made frames are used in generic brands and cheaper bikes. When you go into a reputable bike store that carefully sources their product, like Propel, New Wheel, they most likely sell high-quality bikes that are probably not from China.

The price of the electric bike is entirely based on the component composition, like which battery models and the type of motor, etc. Therefore, you cannot compare the prices between e-bikes, but rather compare sets of components against each other. What’s more, Chinese suppliers, including those in the e-bike industry, tend to lack strict internal quality guidelines. In practice, this means that most manufacturers basically use any components that are available unless otherwise specified by the buyer.

An interesting turn in events is the tariffs being enacted on e-bikes made in China. The E.U. has tariffs ranging from 80 to 170 percent, while the U.S. is considering a 25 percent tariff. What made Chinese e-bikes so attractive was the fact that they were lower-priced and mass produced, now that that advantage is drastically reduced, Taiwanese manufacturers are at the perfect crossroads to take over the market.

This Wikipedia list shows a list of popular and established e-bike companies and where they manufacture their product.

If you're in the market for an e-bike and wonder at the different costs for different brands, or if you are concerned that your super cheap bike will not last long, in this case, the old adage is true: you get what you pay for.

Sources

Fishman, Elliot. (2014). E-bikes in the Mainstream: Reviewing a Decade of Research, *Taylor and Francis Online, 36*
https://www.chinaimportal.com/blog/importing-e-bikes-china-complete-guide/
https://www.aaaspolicyfellowships.o...c-bikes-tell-us-about-future-us-manufacturing
https://aushiker.com/where-was-my-bicycle-made
(Link Removed - No Longer Exists) https://www.pinkbike.com/news/we-went-to-taiwan-and-started-a-bike-company.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_electric_bicycle_brands_and_manufacturers
https://www.bicycleretailer.com/sites/default/files/downloads/article/Industry Backgrounder 2018 - ENG_27.06.2018.pdf
http://www.bicyclingtrade.com.au/features/inside-giant-s-c-tech-carbon-fibre-factory
I am sorry guys, but I have to speak my mind I bought an ebike of my choice it was an ecell ebike, you know the one with two motors two batteries 🔋 and yes for a while I was happy with it, but at 92 lbs I found it was to heavy if you were somewhere and your battery 🔋 died and no you can not pedal a 92 lbs ebike without a motor back home because it’s to damn heavy second issue my controller went out so I was caught up in that supply chain issue from China 🇨🇳 for 8 or 9 months and finally when I got a new controller it was a seven wire Quick connect system instead of a seven wire quick connect + two wires embedded deep in the controller surrounded by electric plaster. The new controller installation is not for the rookie electronics person this system requires a meltdown of the low heat plastic’s inside the old and new controller to get to the wires connects. This low heat plastic is part of the water 💦 proofing of the controller system and once removed from old controller wires connected to new controller you have to remelt the plastic and poor it back into the controller for water 💦 proofing. Robber seals want do because of the six screws on the side of the controller holding the MOSFET. The company I purchased my bike from were not very helpful they would not return my calls I asked for a schematic diagram of the electric ⚡️ system that was like asking for their first born child personally I think 🧐 the Chinese who make the ebike want let them have it. So now you know the nightmare of buying a high priced Chinese ebike. I only got 300 + miles before the controller went out just so you know that.
 

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