If we are talking about Asian e-bike brands, it’s only right to focus on the East Asian region. Global e-bike market outlooks continuously point to China as the largest market in the continent, after all. And surrounding countries like Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea have the same. More importantly, these are the countries with local brands that already have a global reach, having made their way into the US and European markets.
Bicycling in China and the rest of the region was mostly influenced by European countries like France and the Netherlands. It experienced slow growth in the initial phases but the noticeable bicycle boom in the late 1970s and beyond showed that Asian countries are not. The same trend could be seen in the e-bike industry in the region, as the Asia-Pacific region is expected to become a dominant presence in the global market.
We also can’t deny the fact that China has been a consistent manufacturer of e-bike parts for a lot of established brands even up to the present. That’s not to say that it and other countries like Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea do not have local brands that they can proudly call their own. The list below is proof enough of this.
|Brand Name||E-Bike Types||Models|
|Panasonic||Drive Systems||GX Ultimate|
Ninja Road Racing
You probably know Xiaomi more as a budget tech and gadgets brand than one engaged in manufacturing vehicles. That’s a clear testament of how far the Xiaomi Global Community has expanded because they have since introduced their e-scooters and e-bikes both locally and internationally. The connection isn’t too far off, though, since these electronically-run personal transports are still directly tied to technology and innovation.
And those are the aspects that Xiaomi tech has been espousing since its founding in Beijing, China in 2010. The company has fostered a unique culture of encouraging its thousands of “Mi fans”, people who ardently believe in the company’s dedication to “testing new ideas” and “pushing boundaries”. Without a doubt, this is but one of its secrets to success.
Xiaomi e-bike models
Xiaomi has built a collection of most casual e-bikes that will fulfill most of your commuting and leisure riding needs. They have several foldable options for kids and adults alike and most have various for-women versions as well.
The YunBike units figure prominently in the catalog and serve to represent the conventional commuter e-bikes offered by Xiaomi. The QiCycle models, on the other hand, make up Xiaomi’s offroad offerings. Overall, there’s a lot to choose from because up to 34 units are available in the brand’s online store.
Xiaomi quality and features
Even though Xiaomi smartphones have gained a reputation for being low-cost, the same can’t be said for some of Xiaomi’s most notable models. The QiCycle, for one, is actually just as expensive as most European and US-made eMTBs. This model, as well as a lot of other units in the brand’s catalog, is high-quality, to say the least.
The foldable options manage to fulfill the needs of commuters daily with their decent range. They do not have to go overboard with the specs to achieve this, too.
Here is the link to visit the Xiaomi e-bikes website.
Giant towers above a multitude of e-bike brands at present and its global reputation can’t be denied. It’s also Taiwan’s premier bicycle manufacturer with headquarters in Taichung, Taiwan. Giant was founded in 1972 and has ties with the Schwinn brand, whose bike parts it supplied through the mid-1980s.
It’s also during the ’80s that Giant started becoming an independent bike manufacturing company due to high demand. It’s for this reason why it did not take long for Giant to penetrate the US market. Giant only started offering e-bikes in 2016 when it debuted its Road-E+ model. While this is fairly recent, the brand’s experience throughout the decades allowed it to become a recognizable brand in the e-bike sphere before long.
Giant e-bike models
Giant offers a plethora of off-road models that do not take power and performance lightly. Currently, it has 3 road e-bikes, 2 trekking (or hybrid) models, and 5 eMTBs. The Road-E continues to be updated and improved every year, much like the rest of the products in its catalog.
Read also: How to select the best road e-bike? – in this article. And, How much does a good road e-bike cost? – in this article. And, What is a hybrid e-bike? How to select a good one? – in this article.
Giant quality and features
Giant can go toe-to-toe with even the best international brands out there that mainly offer high-performance e-bikes. The brand opts to harness its substantial bike manufacturing experience by making most of its e-bikes feel much like how a standard bike riding experience is like.
Power is on top of the list as the main uniting factor in most of Giant’s offerings. It knows how to deliver it, and it immediately shows in the reliable motor assists of the models and the almost ubiquitous 28-mph top speed they can achieve. Truly, a brand that any offroad junkie can’t ignore.
Here is the link to visit the Giant e-bikes website.
3. Yamaha Bicycles
Yamaha Bicycles serves as Japan’s best representative on the global stage of e-bike manufacturing, but it’s not alone. There’s practically no room to question the place of Yamaha among the world’s most recognizable motor brands. It’s one of the oldest companies in Asia and the world at present, having been founded in 1887. It was begun in Shizuoka, Japan, and it continues to operate from there up to the present.
As far as e-bike history is concerned, the motorcycle manufacturer claims that it is the first to invent power-assisted bikes in 1993. It remains a pioneer in e-bike innovation, and this is only proven by the marked superiority of its models in terms of technology used. Indeed, Yamaha Bicycles deserves to be put in the spotlight as far as Japan’s passionate relationship with technology goes.
Yamaha Bicycles e-bike models
The brand offers mostly high-performance units, which fall under the road, mountain, and gravel categories. In total, up to 6 distinct models are available, giving riders plenty of options to choose from when fulfilling any kind of all-terrain rides that they want.
Yamaha Bicycles quality and features
Almost anything Japan-made has a ready connotation of quality and Yamaha Bicycles’s units more than deserve to be labeled as quintessentially Japanese. Expect most of their models to be as expensive as they are superior in terms of tech incorporated, battery life, comfort (via handlebars), and smooth motor assistance.
For their price, though, they might be quick to be overshadowed by other brands with models that deliver more shock absorption (an area where most of their models are weak at, unfortunately).
Here is the link to visit the Yamaha e-bikes website.
Being the biggest bicycle manufacturer in China merits Fuji-Ta a spot in this list. It should not be confused with the Fuji brand, though, which has more presence in the US market. Fuji-Ta has deep roots in mainland China where it was founded in 1992. A true testament to its size is the fact that it now has as much as five bicycle factories currently operating. This makes it one of the largest bike manufacturing brands in the world.
Fuji-Ta also has its dedicated e-bike laboratory, where plenty of its models undergo numerous testing procedures before being rolled out in the market. At best, Fuji-Ta serves as a go-to option for riders who want budget-friendly and cost-effective e-bikes. Incidentally, it makes most of its models by request.
Fuji-Ta e-bike models
The company assembles various models that fall in equally differing categories. From standard city and commuter e-bikes to fat varieties, road, and eMTBs, Fuji-Ta’s e-bike collection is proliferative, to say the least. And it’s bound to continue growing with the way the already gargantuan bike company is still growing and slowly entering the global market.
Fuji-Ta quality and features
Fuji-Ta makes it a point to adhere to e-bike standards of the international market. One perk that they have is that they give buyers the freedom to dictate how they want their models to function and build them according to the rider’s requirements. Most of their models incorporate high-quality parts from recognized brands like Panasonic and Bafang, so there’s quality attached to the brand as a whole.
Here is the link to visit the Fuji-Ta e-bikes website.
We all know Panasonic as an electronics company from Japan, but it’s already testing the e-bike waters in major hubs like the US and Europe. Like plenty of other Asian brands, though, it opts to primarily supply e-bike components than creating its own models.
That said, expect the Panasonic brand to figure mostly in the models of other e-bike manufacturers. In fact, as recently as 2019, Panasonic partnered with Univega USA and Van Dessel to tap into the US e-bike market. Panasonic was started in 1918 in Osaka, Japan.
It initially manufactured lightbulb sockets but it didn’t take long for it to start offering its own electronics to the worldwide market. While it does not have models of its own, the brand’s entrance into the e-bike industry can be traced all the way back in 1996 when it started manufacturing e-bike systems.
Panasonic e-bike models
There’s no shortage of e-bike models that have a Panasonic motor that has gotten rave reviews. The brand is one of the top suppliers of mid-drive motors in the world, which happens to be the most popular and efficient e-bike drive system. It’s vital to look at most Panasonic e-bike systems like GXUltimate, GXPowerPlus, among others to see the brand’s formidable presence in the industry.
Panasonic quality and features
When we talk about Panasonic motors, riders in e-bike circles often have high regard for them. You’ll find plenty of the latest eMTBs using their e-bike systems because they can fulfill the sweet combination of lightweight and powerful (based on torque supplied).
Here is the link to visit the Panasonic e-bikes website.
Shimano is another brand that is known more for its motors than its units. Their e-bike systems are pretty much lauded worldwide. As proof of this, you only need to look at reviews comparing it to other top motor brands like Bosch and Brose. The brand made history when it developed the first dual control lever for bicycles in 1996.
Shimano has been manufacturing bicycle parts and fishing and rowing equipment since 1921. Similar to Panasonic, it was also started in Osaka, Japan. Its headquarters are now in Sakai, Japan, though.
Shimano e-bike models
Shimano’s drive systems are all included in the Shimano STEPS lineup. At present, it mainly manufactures for city, road, gravel, and mountain electric bikes. A lot of e-bike brands that are pretty much household names in the industry, like Focus, Orbea, BH, BMC Switzerland, and Husqvarna, to cite a few, are known for their consistent integration of Shimano motors in their units.
Shimano quality and features
Shimano drive systems might be a bit on the weak side when matched up against other top dogs like Bosch and Brose, but it more than makes up for this with its superb battery capacity, ease in control (especially when switching modes), and overall reliability.
One other pull of the brand is that it’s significantly cheaper than most Bosch and Brose systems. A good brand representative is the STEPS E8000 incorporated in eMTBs. It was one of the most widely-used motors in the said category for years, and it still manages to compete with the newer releases.
Here is the link to visit the Shimano e-bikes website.
Fuji Bikes’s origins can be traced back to 1899 in Japan but even from the early years of its operation, it already had quite an international reputation as an importer of bikes to Europe and America. It also quickly became associated with the best that Japanese technology has to offer in the cycling industry. Banking on that much historical mileage and not to mention the reputation it has acquired over the years, Fuji’s transition to the e-bike industry was nothing short of smooth and almost automatic.
That said, the brand is known more for its bike models than its electric bike units. Even so, it’s definitely starting to make waves in plenty of e-bike spheres. Its road and hybrid offerings are obviously greatly influenced by the brand’s focus on non-road trails and cross-country riding.
Fuji e-bike models
Even though the brand’s e-bike options are obviously limited, its models should by no means be overlooked. Its 3 MTB offerings, the Ambien Evo, Blackhill Evo, and E-Nevada are all solid all-terrain units with varying price tags suitable for practically everyone’s budget limitations. Up to 2 road units complete the entire Fuji catalog, one of which has already acquired generally positive reviews.
Fuji quality and features
There’s a lot to love about the quality of Fuji’s road models. In particular, the E-Traverse is a good example of what you should look for in a road e-bike. It comes equipped with a 1st-gen Bosch active line motor that is as powerful as it is quiet. But more importantly, it is able to adapt to any kind of terrain, and if there’s one thing a lot of e-bike riders love, it’s a unit’s versatility.
Here is the link to visit the Fuji e-bikes website.
Merida is one of the more singular e-bike brands out there because its operation spans numerous countries. Make no mistake, Merida is a Taiwanese bike company, but most of its factories are actually located in China. However, the engineering and design of its models are largely German-influenced. Its main headquarters is in Changhua, Taiwan and it has been manufacturing bikes since 1972.
The international span of the brand certainly allowed it to expand to the global stage easier than most Asian brands. And who can possibly not trust German engineering? Plenty of Merida’s e-bikes meet the global standards due to the combination of these factors. Surely, they also form the bulk of the company’s recipe for success.
Merida e-bike models
Merida offers both offroad and on-road selections via its eMTBs and city/commuter e-bikes. Its catalog, especially for the former, is already quite expansive and the variability in options guarantees there will always be a model that will satisfy everyone’s preferences. Over 100 units are available in total and the brand does not appear to be showing signs of stopping its manufacturing soon.
Merida quality and features
Admittedly, the Merida models do not get the limelight as much as other e-bike brands, at least, in the past. Many e-bike enthusiasts can vouch for the models’ quality, and you only need to read the latest reviews of their models to see this.
Merida e-bikes offer plenty of fun in any kind of trail riding you put them on and their components come from reputable brands like Shimano. They also don’t go overboard with accessories, making them perfect for riders who only want a solid e-biking experience.
Here is the link to visit the Merida e-bikes website.
Bafang shares a category with brands like Shimano and Panasonic as it is known more as a supplier of drive systems. It prefers to partner with specific e-bike brands to showcase the features of its e-bike motors.
Bafang has been around since 2003, so this really shouldn’t be a surprise anymore. It has also been consistently manufacturing vital parts and components for electric vehicles from the beginning. The headquarters is located in Shanghai, China.
Being no stranger in the e-bike field, Bafang was easily welcomed in the West. Most of its service centers are located in electric-bike-loving countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and the USA.
Bafang e-bike models
If you want to see models that exemplify the best that Bafang has to offer, you need not look further than RadRunner, EVELO, and De Rosa e-bikes. Most of these brands use what Bafang motors have to offer to the fullest. Their motors have versatile applications, as evidenced by their support for eMTBs, roads, cities, and gravel e-bikes.
Bafang quality and features
Bafang takes extra measures to ensure the quality of their motors without compromising on other important aspects like longevity and quiet operation. Its M-Series motors set the bar high for mid-drive motors and have been praised for their stellar power and torque and easy installation.
Here is the link to visit the Bafang e-bikes website.
Much like the other Japanese brands included here, Kawasaki is virtually ubiquitous in the world’s top heavy industries. It’s an aerospace and motorcycle manufacturing company that has literally catered to generations, having been established in 1896. It makes its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, where most of its rich history is imprinted. Of course, there’s also a lot to see in the global imprint it has already left and continues to impart.
It’s only recently that the brand has started to make its mark in the e-bike industry. Even so, it already has a dedicated arm taking care of all the business related to electric bike manufacturing via Kawasaki E-Bikes. Interestingly, Kawasaki was already showing interest in e-bike manufacturing since 2014, but it is only in 2019 that it officially entered the industry with its first catalog.
Kawasaki e-bike modes
Kawasaki offers road e-bikes, kids, junior, folding e-bikes, fat e-bikes, and electric mountain bikes. They are divided into entry-level and high-level categories, respectively, with most of the commuting and leisure models falling in the former.
Kawasaki quality and features
One criticism of Kawasaki is that they don’t really design their own engines in the same way Yamaha does. Most of their designs are influenced by Shimano and Fazua, which is a bit of a disappointment coming from a company with as much clout as Kawasaki.
However, that’s pretty much where all the downsides lie as Kawasaki’s road e-bikes have been receiving generally favorable feedback when they were released in 2019. Overall, though, there’s not much to praise, especially if we are going to look at the specs of the e-bikes, which are essentially just average.
Here is the link to visit the Kawasaki e-bikes website.
Even though Airwheel is arguably more of an international brand, its ties to China are too apparent to be denied. It was founded in Jiangsu, China, after all, and has been in the smart technology and e-bike manufacturing business since 2004. It has since achieved its target of becoming a globally recognized brand with factories in Belgium, China, and the US.
It’s more of a tech company than one that centers on e-bikes, though. It’s also quite obvious that plenty of its e-bikes are on the low-cost side, with models selling for whopping low prices of $300 or even less. Even the brand’s eMTBs are cheap yet fairly reliable.
Airwheel e-bike models
You have to look at Airwheel’s R-Series to see the e-bikes in the brand’s lineup. 3 of them are foldable e-bikes obviously designed for regular commuting without shelling too much money. The Airwheel R5 is interesting in particular since it has a collapsible frame. 1 mountain e-bike is available in the form of the Airwheel R8, which costs no more than $1,000 now.
Airwheel quality and features
It’s easy to side-eye Airwheel’s models because of their price but user feedback has been remarkably satisfactory. Airwheel models do well to represent the uniqueness of Asian (or at least, Chinese) e-bike designs.
They don’t have to charge extra bucks for high-tech features like smartphone connectivity, smart battery management, and USB charging ports, which are all found in its R8 mountain e-bike. All this plus a decent 50km range and 20kph top speed make Airwheel’s eMTB. The same can be said for the foldable for the solid commuting experience they can provide. There is, however, room to question their durability.
Here is the link to visit the Airwheel e-bikes website.
12. F-wheel DYU
F-wheel DYU makes its claim to fame by being the largest new e-bike manufacturer in China. It has also been a consistent presence in international markets, which speaks volumes about how far this fairly new company has already gone. It was launched in 2012 with strong ties to China’s tech industry.
It’s not until 2015 that the company started to focus on researching and producing smart vehicles like electric scooters, e-bikes, and even robots. During that short period of time, it has also received a lot of rewards both from local and international institutions and continues its expansion spearheaded by a young millennial-led team.
F-wheel DYU e-bike models
Most of the e-bikes of the company fall under the DYU Smart E-Bike series. All of them fall under the foldable and commuter categories and are ideal for short commutes between home and school or office or transport in the campus or school and office grounds. Up to 14 are available at present.
F-wheel DYU quality and features
The models have noticeably miniature designs, with frames that call to mind smaller than average foldable e-bikes. They can be considered more like a small moped, which is the more popular vehicle of choice in the region.
One issue of the units is that most of them are a bit on the small side for larger or taller riders, to the point that kid’s e-bikes offered by other brands could very well compete with them. Overall though, their performance is exceptional, especially fulfilling their purpose.
Here is the link to visit the F-wheel DYU e-bikes website.
A few words in conclusion
Asian e-bike brands may not be as prolific or well-known among e-bike circles as their US and European counterparts, but they are not without appeal to consumers, especially for casual and leisure riders. Most of the models also don’t break the bank, especially if we’re going to consider the expensive costs of high-end eMTBs.
While Japanese brands often used to take precedence over Chinese ones in terms of quality, which is no longer the case as proven by solid brands like Giant and Xiaomi.
Read also: How to select the best e-bike for your needs? Making your educated e-bike selection choice – in this article. And, how much does a good e-bike cost? Comprehensive e-bike pricing guide (with 46 examples) – in this article.