Electric bikes have been exploding in popularity across the country recently, with millions of people discovering the numerous benefits they provide like a better way to exercise and a much more convenient mode of transportation than a car. However, before taking the plunge and purchasing an electric bike, it’s important to consider all your options, such as renting vs. owning. Like all big purchases, there are positives and downsides to both options, so in this article, we’ll take a look at both options, consider the pros and cons for each, and help you decide how to make the right choice.
Benefits of Renting an Electric Bike
Renting an ebike is an excellent way to casually get a feel for the experience without dropping major amounts of cash. It’s a good idea for anyone seriously considering buying an ebike to get out at least once and give them a spin. This will help you understand what it entails and get a feel for the different brands, styles, and sizes available.
Most serious ebikers consider the benefits of renting outweighed by the pros of owning your own. However, some of these benefits could apply if you won’t be riding the ebike very often. If you only plan on using it every once in a while, then renting could be a better option.
Another benefit is for those who travel often – ebikes can be quite difficult to transport by car or airplane, so if you are frequently traveling around the world to different areas, renting could be a better option.
Lastly, there is one more tangible benefit to renting. The same as when you rent a car or anything else, you won’t be liable for repairs and don’t have to worry about normal mechanical breakage, replacing the battery eventually, or normal bike repairs like changing flat tires and making sure the chain is in good order. This can be a large benefit to some, especially if you don’t know much about mechanical repairs or don’t have access to a reliable ebike repair shop.
Benefits of Owning an Electric Bike
However, while there are certainly some upsides to renting, you’ll find that there are many more downsides and plenty of good reasons to consider owning your own. Let’s take a look at some of these reasons.
Unlimited use saves money in the end
If you’re planning on using the bike a lot, you will quickly end up spending far more by renting than you will by just outright buying one. On average, it costs about $20 an hour to rent an ebike, while buying a reliable model will usually cost somewhere around $1,000.
What this means is that if you rent an ebike for just 25 hours, you’re already halfway towards owning one yourself, and can even find models for around that price if you look on the cheaper end. Of course, if that’s all you want, just to ride an ebike for a few hours and forget about it, renting is smarter. However, if you plan on using it frequently for several months or more, renting costs will add up quickly and you’ll be left with nothing to show for the money spent when you could own your own bike.
Also, of course, when you own the bike there are no restrictions on how frequently you can use it, while renting forces you to only use the ebike during a short time period. Many rentals use RFID tags to “geofence” you into a certain area you will not be able to take the bike out of and may use speed governors to make sure you don’t speed on the bike.
Better condition and stronger batteries
Used equipment always suffers from the “tragedy of the commons”, where people treat things shared by everybody worse than things that they own privately. When the rider isn’t liable for repairs or normal wear and tear, there isn’t much of a reason not to push the bike to its limits and not treat it as well as something you own.
While this is fine for the casual biker, if you are thinking about getting serious with the hobby, then you’ll want to buy, not own. Rented ebikes are going to have more friction, weaker batteries, and not be able to go as far or fast as new ebikes.
While renting might work for some lifestyles, if you know what you want, don’t plan on traveling with it a lot, and are invested in the hobby, it’s definitely smarter to buy rather than own, as you will get more enjoyment out of it and have something you own with value after spending the money, not simply the memories of riding.
Ebikes are growing in popularity for a reason, and the technology only gets better and better every year. Take the next steps today and immerse yourself in this wild, exciting, environmentally friendly, and invigorating hobby today!