An educated buyer is a confident buyer. Learning about all the different designs, features, and materials of an item you want to purchase is one of the best things you can do to ensure you get the best product for your money. This applies to electric bikes, too. As you may know, not all e-bikes are made equal. Many different levels of quality exist in the world of electric bike manufacturing.
Today we will discuss e-bike frame design and the different bike frame materials that exist on the market today. You’ll learn about four different frame types and the pros and cons of each. There are many more frame materials (over a dozen in total), but we will cover the five most common and the characteristics inherent to them. With this new knowledge, you will be able to better understand the differences between various e-bikes.
Aluminum Electric Bike Frame
We will start with the most common e-bike frame material: aluminum. Aluminum electric bike frames comprise 80% to 90% of all e-bike frames being manufactured today, including Himiway Bikes. There are many reasons that aluminum e-bike frames are so popular. Aluminum is strong, affordable, lightweight, and easy to use in the manufacturing process.
The one downside to such a functional material is that it has a fast corrosion rate compared to some other frame types. This is only a problem if the bike and frame are not well maintained. But by having a proper storage location, cleaning routine, and maintenance habits, this downside can be eliminated. To avoid rust on your aluminum bike frame, store your bike in a dry location. Wipe mud and snow off your bike after use. And be sure to check the bike for damage or unusual signs of wear. You may be able to seal any chips or cracks before they rust.
Aluminum comes in two main categories: 6061 aluminum alloy and 7005 aluminum alloy. Himiway Bikes are made with 6061 due to its various beneficial qualities and affordability. By using this industry-standard material, Himiway is then able to pass on the savings to customers in the form of competitive pricing. By contrast, 7005 aluminum alloy is a more robust material but will result in a higher-cost bike. 7005 is more expensive, heavier, more resistant to corrosion, and stronger in general. Not everyone wants a heavier or more expensive bike, but the tradeoff may be worth it for some riders.
Carbon Fiber Electric Bike Frame
Carbon Fiber bike frames are one of the most expensive options when it comes to e-bikes. Carbon fiber is not metal, but rather it is a polymer made up of many carbon sheets combined with molded resin. This means, unlike metal, it won’t rust. It is stronger than aluminum, very lightweight, and has high durability. Carbon fiber can be shaped into many different molds and designs. This allows bike manufacturers to make their bikes as unique or aerodynamic as possible.
Due to its many unique properties, bikes made from carbon fiber will almost always be the highest price. Not all riders need or want a carbon fiber bike, and very few will want to spend the money on it! A good alternative option to carbon fiber for money-conscious spenders would be an aluminum-based bike such as the Himiway Cruiser.
Steel Electric Bike Frame
Very few electric bike frames are made of steel these days. Some traditional bikes still use it or a variation called Chromoly Steel. Steel frames are the heaviest option when it comes to bikes. Many bikes were made from steel in the past, but recent manufacturing technologies have made steel bikes less prevalent. Especially considering e-bikes are already heavier than traditional bikes due to the batteries and motors, you would likely not want to add more to the weight by using steel in the design. One advantage of steel frames is the shock absorption offered by the material. For this reason, some cross-country bikes still use the product.
That said, steel is the easiest frame material to repair, and is usually the cheapest option. So few bikes use this material that you may find it difficult to find one. If you do, just remember the pros and cons of a steel bike. If you are loading or unloading it from a bike rack or hoping to carry it up and down stairs into your apartment or basement, you may want to think twice.
Titanium Electric Bike Frame
Titanium is an interesting and useful material, but not according to many e-bike manufacturers! Titanium is not widely used in the bike community. Similar to steel in terms of performance, it has high natural corrosion resistance and is the strongest material among the four common e-bike frame materials. It is very hard, very durable, and easy to repair if needed.
Even with those advantages, it has not caught on as a popular e-bike material. One reason is that it is difficult to do wire integration with steel materials and therefore many e-bike manufacturers prefer to use aluminum or carbon fiber. However, traditional bikes and cross-country mountain bikes use this material because the metal itself acts as a shock absorber.
Now that you know the four most common e-bike frame materials, you can begin to compare different designs and models. Look for a lightweight bike, clean welds, and consider the price tag of the bike and how long you will keep it. A super expensive carbon fiber bike frame may sound nice, but an affordable aluminum frame might be just fine and will save you a ton of money!
If your goal is to save money on your commute or replace your vehicle when running errands, it doesn’t make much sense to purchase a top-of-the-line bike material. However, if you are purchasing your bike to use for racing or speed runs, it may be worth it to you. All of these frame types will support most riders and can be equipped with racks and accessories like these to make your ride convenient.
For more comparison shopping, check out our recent article explaining the main differences between electric bikes and electric trikes. Happy shopping!