For riders who are navigating having an e-Bike in their life, it may be a difficult decision to decide which option – renting, leasing, or buying – makes the most sense.
Considerations like planning for the short or long term, convenience, and finances tend to be the main concerns that come to mind. In this article, we will outline the advantages and disadvantages of all three options in order to make it easier for you to decide!
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Ideal for short-term or occasional riding
Optimal for travels (explore a locale)
Try before you buy, e.g. test out e-Bike before investing
Can be as cheap as $10 USD per hour
|Less selection of models to choose from |
Can’t make modifications to e-Bike
Expensive if you take long or frequent rides
Not financially sustainable for the long-term
|Leasing||Flexible to your schedule |
Optimal if you only ride your e-Bike seasonally
Can make modifications to e-Bike
Affordable (ex. $220 USD/month)
|Less selection of models to choose from |
After 1-2 years cumulatively, it may not be worth it to lease, as it can get more expensive than buying
|Buying||Long-term investment (e-Bike lifespan approx. 3-5 years) |
You can find e-Bikes at the lower price point ($1000 – $2000)
Can make endless modifications / adjustments
An infinite selection of models to choose from
|Expensive (some models can be up to $8000 and more) |
May not be worth it if you only ride seasonally (eg. if your e-Bike sits in storage for 6+ months of a year)
Renting an electric bike
One of the common mottos behind renting any type of vehicle is the ability to “try before you buy”. The concept of trying before buying is precisely to test out an e-Bike before making the big decision to invest in one.
This option is excellent for people who may not be comfortable with e-Bikes or who have never used one yet and are trying them for the first time. Renting can often be a cheaper option, especially if you are going for short e-Bike rides. Renting is also an excellent option for those who are traveling and want to explore a new city on an e-Bike for a few hours.
This is also a great option for people who would love to ride an e-Bike but cannot realistically see themselves riding more than once a week/every few weeks or only occasionally. Renting as opposed to buying or leasing will save you a lot of money: for example, though rental prices vary between countries and cities, renting can be as cheap as $10 USD per hour in the United States.
Keeping this approximate dollar amount in mind, you can determine and calculate how cost-effective this option would be based on the amount of time you would spend riding an e-Bike and how frequently.
For example, this is optimal if you go for short rides (1-2 hours), and only go once a week or every few weeks. However, if you are planning to go for hours-long rides even a few days a week, the bills may start racking up quickly and may not be worth it as a sustainable long-term option.
All in all, renting is a good short-term option or ideal for people who only ride occasionally and is also an excellent choice for those who are unsure of whether they want to buy an e-Bike or not.
Another disadvantage of renting, however, is that you cannot customize a rented e-Bike in the way you may need or want for your optimal comfort/positioning.
Leasing an electric bike
Leasing an e-Bike, which means that you own a vehicle for a fixed amount of time before returning it, can be a great option for people who are looking to ride their e-Bike more regularly.
One of the great advantages of leasing is that it is flexible, and is especially ideal for those who take long trips to other locales and those who live in climates where you only ride your e-Bike seasonally (eg. in the summer but not the winter).
If you are worried about long-term storage or want to avoid keeping your e-Bike stored for months on end, leasing is also a great option, as you don’t have to worry about storage if you only lease while you are actively using your e-Bike frequently.
Another advantage is that, if you tend to move locations frequently, leasing rather than owning an e-Bike ensures that you do not have to worry about transporting your e-Bike whenever you move.
Yet one more benefit of leasing is that you can add customizations and modifications to your e-Bike while you own it, whereas you cannot do this with renting. Financially, it also might make sense for you to lease, particularly if you are using your e-Bike for a few months at a time or on a more sporadic short-term basis (ie. if you only lease for a few months in a year, and continue to do so year by year).
Since buying an e-Bike can range anywhere from $500 to $8000, you should consider whether leasing is saving money or not.
Read also: How much does a good e-bike cost? – in this comprehensive e-bike pricing guide (46 examples included). And, How to buy the right e-bike for your needs? – in this detailed e-bike selection article.
Leasing also allows you more flexibility to try it out than renting by the hour, as you are not limited by time constraints. The main advantages to leasing are primarily targeted at people who only ride seasonally or who travel or split their time between locales frequently since the flexibility of leasing is a good middle ground for people who are not planning to ride the whole year-round.
To get an idea of monthly payments for leasing, a company in Vancouver charges approximately $220 USD for a month of leasing an e-Bike, which is relatively inexpensive (and gets cheaper if you lease for more months at a time).
However, if you are leasing long-term, such as consecutively for a year or two, it may not be worth it financially. Depending on the e-Bike model you are interested in, it might be more worth it to invest that money into buying rather than leasing.
Another downside to leasing is that you may not have a large selection of models to choose from. The roster of e-Bikes to choose from, depending on your locale and the company which is giving them out to lease, may be limited and may not offer the model that best suits your needs.
Buying an electric bike
Buying is the option that allows for an infinite amount of customizability and adjustments, as you own it forever. You can also get many years out of your e-Bike, with the average lifespan ranging between 3-5 years, but can be more depending on how often you use it and the condition you keep it in.
While upkeep and storage may be something that deters you from buying, it is also the option that allows for a higher frequency of riding and thus may be more beneficial for your overall physical and mental health, since you have easy access to your e-Bike at any time.
So although it may be a big one-time investment to buy your e-Bike, consider the years and rides you will get out of it, and calculate whether that expense is worth it to you.
For example, if you think you will be able to ride your e-Bike for most of the months in a year or that you will ride very frequently, it is likely that buying will be an ideal option for you. Not only that, but you also have a huge array of e-Bike options to choose from, which means there is a higher chance of finding an e-Bike that is perfect for you and your lifestyle.
Though the main disadvantage in buying an e-Bike is the expense (more expensive e-Bikes can be up to $8000), you should also consider that there are many financially cheaper but still high-quality e-Bikes you can buy that are less than $1000.
Ultimately, buying an e-Bike is an excellent option if you are an avid cyclist or if you know that you will use your e-Bike frequently in the long term or all year round. It allows for the most customizability, and you will be able to ride without any restraints.
You can ride your e-Bike to commute, run errands, visit friends and family, and as a main source of exercise, giving you endless options and no limitations.
Read also: How to select the best – mountain e-bike, commuter e-bike, cruiser e-bike, junior e-bike, city e-bike, electric trike, folding e-bike, hybrid e-bike, cargo e-bike, road e-bike, gravel e-bike, kids’ e-bike – in our comprehensive e-bike selection guides.
A few words in conclusion
As we have seen above, there are various advantages and disadvantages to all three options. The one you choose is entirely dependent on your lifestyle, financial capabilities, and frequency of which you plan to ride your e-Bike.
If you look at it in terms of finances, renting is ideal for short-term or occasional use, leasing is ideal for mid-term use, and buying is ideal for long-term use.
Renting is ideal for people who are new to the e-Biking world, or who know that they will only ride occasionally. And of course, if you end up loving the e-Bike, you can look into more sustainable long-term options like leasing or buying.
Leasing is ideal for those who ride seasonally, for example, those who live in climates with harsh winters and do not feel comfortable riding in those conditions. It is also great for those who may travel often or who split their time between countries/cities or spend extended periods of time in another locale, and need an easy way to get around without paying hourly or daily rates.
Buying is probably the best for those who are looking to keep an e-Bike without any restrictions and limitations and who know they will make good long-term use of it.
Here is a quick video going into more details into e-bike financing options via a specific e-bike retailer: