Buying an electric bike can be a daunting experience. There's a lot to consider and plenty of options at a variety of price points not to mention.
E-bikes aren't cheap and if you're going to spend your hard-earned money on one, you better make sure you get what you need.
This article I'm going to help you narrow down your options by going over different kinds of e-bikes and the type of rider they suit best.
You have to answer some important questions for yourself let's start with an obvious one.
How and where will you be riding?
When i bought my first e-bike i thought, i was going to be zipping around town on it all the time to run errands or go grab a bite to eat. But that wasn't the reality of my lifestyle and soon after i bought it i realized it was not going to replace my car. Take some time and think about the reasons you're buying an e-bike and the area you'll be riding in.
Are you going to be using it to commute for fun or both? What types of surfaces will you be riding on? Will you be riding alone or with others?
Be honest with yourself you might even realize that an e-bike isn't actually what you're looking for. In that case, you're welcome for saving you some money.
Electric bike range and power
Let's talk about some more specific features you'll want to think about like range and power.
These two options can make a huge difference in how much money you spend on an e-bike.
Electric bike range
If you only want an electric bike to cruise around your neighborhood, perhaps you can save some money here by choosing a bike that can only travel 15 to 20 miles, as opposed to 30 to 40 you can save yourself hundreds of dollars.
I'll warn you though owning an e-bike may alter your idea of what you considered to be far because of how easy and fun they are to ride 15 miles used to seem like a journey to me but now that's just a quick leisurely ride after work.
Most e-bike brands will give you some type of estimate of how many miles the bike can travel on a single charge, but it's usually a super high number that you'd only get under the most perfect riding conditions.
This is where some of those questions you answered earlier come in handy. If you live in a hilly area and are planning on using a lot of pedal assist or throttle you might only get half of the range of e-bike claims it has. You should also consider the climate you'll be riding in, colder weather can impact a battery's performance and range at the very least.
Electric bike power
You should look at the battery's voltage and amp hours to make sure it's powerful enough for you. Usually manufacturers will list a power rating for the motor like 750 watts. It's often broad to account for a variety of factors like nominal and peak power.
Here's a fun little trick you can get a better idea of the bike's actual power by multiplying the battery's voltage by its amp hours which gives you its density in watt hours. You can then divide that by 20 watt hours or the typical cost of riding a mile, which will give you an estimated range.
But again your specific riding conditions will affect that, so i suggest overcompensating by 5 to 10 miles when you're shopping around.
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Electric bike motor types
There are two types of electric bike motor: hub drive and mid-drive.
Hub drive motors are usually located in the center of the rear tire, though there are some e-bikes that have front hub drive motors.
They're most commonly used because they get better range on flatter surfaces and are cheaper than mid-drive motors.
Mid-drive motors are more powerful and efficient, making them great for mountain biking or off-road riding. They're usually much more expensive.
In addition to pedal assist many e-bikes, also have gears which give you more control over the resistance you feel when pedaling, just like a traditional bicycle.
They also help with tackling hills, the way i look at the difference between your pedal assist and gears is the pedal assist will limit your maximum speed while gears help you dial in how hard you want a pedal to get up to that speed.
If you're looking for an e-bike you could also use for exercise then definitely ,consider a bike with gears.
Electric bike sensor
One of the most overlooked features on an e-bike spec sheet is the type of sensors, the motors use to determine how much power to distribute.
This has a huge impact on the way the bike feels when you ride. Many manufacturers don't even list it. The two sensor types are torque and cadence sensors.
Cadence sensors simply determine whether you're pedaling or not and torque sensors measure the actual force you get by pedaling and outputs power.
Accordingly, many e-bikes have both which give a smoother experience when the motor kicks in.
But some bikes, especially cheaper ones only have cadence sensors which can make it feel a bit jerky when starting the pedal,.
I highly recommend you test ride a few different bikes before making a final purchase to get a feel for how they ride both while pedaling constantly and in short bursts.
Electric bike comfortable
You can get a powerful e-bike with great range at a pretty affordable price but comfort is where it's worth some extra investment, especially if you plan on racking up a lot of miles.
Electric bike seat
If the e-bike you're buying has a standard bike seat, you should just go ahead and plan on replacing that . You'll notice very quickly how uncomfortable stock bike seats get after about 15 to 20 minutes of riding.
If you can swap the saddle without replacing the seat post you can get a pretty comfortable one for less than 50 dollars, otherwise you may need to replace the post.
Electric bike suspension
Next you should see if the bike has a rear suspension system, there's many affordable models with front suspension which will ease some of the stress on your hands and arms while you ride but you can expect to spend more if you want a bike with a decent rear suspension.
If you'll be riding on bumpy roads or you get back pains easily a rear suspension system will make a huge difference.
However if that gets the price out of your budget you could upgrade to a suspension seat post which will add a little extra comfort.
Lastly ergonomics the rider's height and weight will play a big factor.
Here are you able to get proper leg extension when you pedal? Do you have to hunch over too much to hold on to the handlebars? Some e-bikes are designed more for style than comfort and some manufacturers offer a variety of sizes for each model.
Electric bike weight
It it's fun to get lost thinking of the time you're going to spend riding your electric bike. It's easy to overlook the time you won't be riding it.
However some e-bikes are pretty bulky and heavy ranging from 26 to over 100 pounds, which can present some challenges to those of us that live in apartments.
Consider where you're going to keep your bike overnight and how you're going to charge it because e-bikes have electrical systems.
It's often recommended that you store it inside protected from the elements if you have a garage with space to keep it charged up and ready to go then you're living the dream, otherwise you may need to look for an option that's more compact or lighter.
Electric bike company customer support
It's not just about the bike you also want to make sure you're buying from a good company with great customer service.
Now that buying a bike online is as common as ordering a tv. You should feel confident in knowing that if there are any problems like it's damaged in shipping or it's missing parts, the company will stand by their product and resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
I mean it sucks paying that much money for something getting really excited for it to ride and then not getting to use it for weeks.
Because of some issue with so many e-bike brands popping up these days, it's also not a bad idea to buy from one you believe will continue to be around for a while or at least until the end of your warranty.
But if you find the company you bought from isn't as reliable as you'd like, it's nice to buy from a brand that has a strong community of writers. Facebook groups and message boards can be a great resource for getting help finding out about cool accessories and mods or even meeting up for some group rides alright.
Electric bike speed limites
Before shopping consideration, we have to be responsible and talk about the law in the U.S.
There are three classes of electric bikes: class one is pedal assist with no throttle and a speed limit of 20 miles per hour; class 2 also has the same speed limit but you can have a throttle and class 3 brings that speed limit up to 28 miles per hour with pedal assist.
Related: Everything about electric bike classes
Every state and even local municipalities have their own e-bike laws, so you should look up the ones that apply to you. For example in California, anyone 16 years or older can ride a class 2 e-bike on designated bike paths and up to class 3 on the roads, but other states may only allow class 1 e-bikes or may even require a driver's license to ride one.
In terms of how it can affect which type of e-bike you buy, well that depends on the model, some e-bikes are class 2 out of the box and unless you modify it they won't go any faster than that. However if you get a bike with class 3 capabilities you'll probably want a speedometer, so you don't overdo it where you're not supposed to.
Electric bike types
To let you have a better understanding about the various features of an e-bike and what to consider when owning one, let's go through the different types.
I've come up with 10 of them that I've placed in three general categories recreation transportation and niche bikes meant for specific activities or accessibility options.
Each type of e-bike has distinct features that make some better than others for certain riding styles but there are definitely hybrids that allow for more options.
Fat tire ebikes
Fat tire bikes have thicker tires to better handle impacts like bumps or potholes those tires usually are about four to five inches wide which helps give more traction and comfort.
They're great as an entry level e-bike for casual riders because they can usually handle a variety of surfaces like bike paths streets or even some light off-road riding. They're typically on the affordable side too with some starting at less than a thousand dollars.
However this is an extremely broad category as many other types of e-bikes can also have fat tires in fact the fat tire bikes.
Cruiser bikes are defined by their curved upright frames and swept back handlebars which provide a more relaxed riding posture typically cruisers will also have a larger more comfortable saddle.
If you're interested in casually riding e-bikes around your neighborhood or a park on a sunny day then you can't go wrong with a cruiser.
If storage space is an issue, you might want to consider a folding e-bike.
Folding e-bikes are exactly what they sound like they're bikes that fold to be more compact.
Most fold right down the middle of the frame making them easier to keep out of the way transport in a car or carry on public transportation.
Because of the compact design many are not as powerful as their non-folding counterparts and in my experience.
Gyroor C2 folding electric bike is a mini bike with 14" wheels, the max speed is 18.6 mph, long range 20 miles, 36V 10 Ah battery, 450w hub motor. It is a ture ebike without pedal.
If you're looking for a car replacement it could seem like a value when you consider the additional cost of gas and maintenance.
The most practical electric commuter bike are known for having a long range fenders to keep from getting wet or dirty when riding through puddles or in the rain. A rack or hangers to hold your belongings.
A good commuter bike should also be comfortable so i recommend looking for one with a suspension system or fat tires.
Gyroor C3 is a good ebike for commuting, 500W hub motor, 36V 10Ah battery, 14 inch tire, max speed 18.6 mph, long range 28-38 miles, rear suspension system, front and rear dual disc brakes.
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City bikes are very similar to commuter bikes, but share more in common with cruisers with their upright frame.
This makes them a bit more versatile for both commuting and casual riding but also slightly more expensive if that sounds like the bike for you.
Cargo bikes could be considered the minivan of the bike world they make great car replacements for running errands.
The larger frame allows for more storage options for carrying things like groceries or even a child passenger, they usually have a larger battery and a more powerful motor to allow for more weight.
Electric motor bike
Probably the trendiest of electric bikes is the electric motor bike.
These look like motorcycles with their thick frames and low seats but they function more like mopeds.
While they have pedals to help with accelerating and climbing hills, they're often small and awkward to use. Instead you'll be riding the throttle much more to cruise around electric motor bikes.
Usually perform well are comfortable and look really cool but can be the least practical for many people because they're heavy they take up a lot of space and they can be difficult to lock up.
Mountain bikes with very powerful motors and solid suspension systems for dirty rocky hills.
Just like regular mountain bikes, these get really expensive.
Road bikes are what serious cyclists wearing tight clothes ride long distances at high speeds.
They need to be light aerodynamic and comfortable.
If you're not a weekend warrior and just looking for more stability and additional storage well, then a trike might just be for you.
There's two different types delta with two wheels in back and one in front, probably similar to something you rode when you were a child.
Then there's tadpole with two front wheels these are usually more stable and can corner at high speeds.
Thanks for reading this article, don’t forget to wear a helmet when riding.
Article source from CNET YouTube
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