Everything You Need to Know About Buying Your First Electric Bike
Electric bikes popularly known as power-assisted bikes and E-Bikes have been around for more than 120 years. Because of their fast and ecological nature, E-Bikes have become one of the fastest-growing segments of the bicycle industry.
The latest technologies such as powerful Lithium-Ion batteries, smart sensors, and highly-efficient crank drive motors help bikers customize the asset-level settings and enjoy faster and smoother traveling than ever before. While E-Bikes may still be a rare sight in the US, it’s pretty evident that the e-revolution in the biking sector is coming.
With their user-friendly approach and stirring yet safe performance, E-Bikes are gaining the attention of riders.
If you’re a passionate rider and have been thinking of buying your own E-Bike but not sure where to start, then this comprehensive E-Bike guide is just for you.
Choosing an Electric Bike
There is a wide variety of power-assisted bikes available to the riders and it can be overwhelming to decide what specific product will suit your requirements. First things first, it’s important to understand that the type of electric bike you’ll require must depend on your use and how frequently and where you’ll be riding it. For instance, if you just want to move around the town, then a road or an urban bike could possibly be the best option. Similarly, if your plan is to ride your bike to the mountain biking trails, you may want to invest in electric mountain bikes.
Broadly, there are two main considerations when it comes to buying an E-Bike – style, and budget. Both of these aspects will help you make the right decision and find the perfect E-Bike fit for your needs.
E-Bikes – Style
Electric Mountain Bikes are a perfect option for riding trails and tackling country lanes. As Electric Mountain Bikes come with a reasonable price sticker, they’re a good choice for those looking for commuter E-Bikes. E-Mountain bikes don’t generally include rear suspension and they usually come with a front suspension fork only. While the suspension capacity of such bikes might not be a perfect fit for extensive trail riding, it still offers ample functionality for smooth on-road riding.
While E- Mountain bikes are good for everyday commuting and tackling canal towpaths, you must look for a downhill electric mountain bike if you want to do some serious downhill mountain biking. Downhill electric mountain bikes are built using much higher standards and they generally come with a hefty price tag.
Electric Mountain Bikes are available in two types – Hardtail and full suspension.
include only front suspension and they’re best suited to light trails only. These bikes can easy move on bumpy grounds and they’re available in a wide range of front fork and wheel sizes. Hardtails are generally preferred by riders who’re looking to enjoy quality riding without breaking their bank.
electric mountain bikes are more versatile and enable riders to tackle rough and bumpy surfaces with ease. Similar to traditional mountain bikes, full suspension E-Bikes also come with a variety of geometrics, styles, and fork and wheel specifications.
Cruisers, as its name implies, are designed for cruising. Some bikes like overly-geared bikes designed particularly for sports can’t make your trips fun and exciting. But that’s obviously not the case with the E-cruiser bikes. They generally include wide plush seats along with adjustable handlebars for simple pedaling. Some cruiser bikes even come with gender-specific seating options, giving riders flexibility and an option to choose whatever they feel is more comfortable and relaxing for them.
E-cruisers ensure you get the best cycling experience without being overwhelmed with extra design features. Because of their simplicity and ease of use, these bikes are a perfect option for beginners.
Since, these bikes are made keeping the minimalistic design and functionality approach in mind, they’re relatively easier to control. For beginners, going fast can be scary, so a bike with user-friendly control options is crucial.
Unlike other options, e-cruisers are simpler to maintain and you don’t have to perform untimely and unneeded repairs during your rides.
If you’re a true E-Bike enthusiast, you must have your own set of priorities when it comes to buying an E-Bike. Electric Cruiser bikes offer a myriad of amazing customization options that allow you to enjoy your desired riding experience. There’s a vast range of colors, dimensions, and style options. Also, you can select a smaller frame size to accommodate your little ones. Apart from that, decals, handlebars, fenders, and brake colors can be customized as well.
The only disadvantage is that they are large and bulky especially if you compare them with any other available types of E-Bikes.
When it comes to cruiser bikes price tags vary by design and make. Get ready to pay more if you want a specialized cruiser bike with full of user-friendly features.
Cost-effective and eye-catching, e-road bikes are a classic looking bike fueled by rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery. They’re perfect for improving and protracting your riding time and comes in a vast range of options including hybrid, leisure, and gravel bikes. Most of these options share common characteristics such as narrower saddles, light-weight design, leaning geometry, and narrow tires.
E-road bikes are designed to commute and they’re also called commuting bikes or hybrid bikes. Make sure you pay attention to the below-listed factors before you invest in an e-road bike for your riding endeavors.
Battery is said to be the heart and soul of your e-road bike. Best e-road bikes are fueled by dependable batteries that offer amazing range and a potent drive unit. Electric road bikes or push bikes are subject to the Electric Bicycle Laws that restrict power and speed to 250 watts and 25km/hr respectively. Noticeably, this limit is still a lot of power to help you commute. All in all, most of the available drive units will feature a similar amount of power, but they tend to offer different battery range subject to the amount you’ve invested in to purchase your product.
There are many options available when it comes to the placement of E-Bike components. Hub motors fix the motor in the center of the wheel, whereas mid-drive motors are placed adjacent to the middle and transfer power using the chain. Mid-drive units has gained popularity in recent times as they’re generally compact, light-weight, and enable users to climb using lower gears without overworking the drive unit. Today, most drive units are fixed into the frame that ensures optimum balance and great look. But, as these units can do a lot more work, they can put more pressure on your chain which augments the risk of chain snapping. Mid-drive units are generally available in high-end e-road bikes and they’re relatively harder to fix and repair.
Hub drive units, on the other hand, are reliable, cost-effective, and simpler to maintain. Since, all of the parts are fixed within the hub, they’re less likely to need maintenance and untimely repair. Also, there will no strain on your chain. The only disadvantage is that they only allow sing gear ratio, meaning they won’t perfectly work on hilly terrain. All in all, both hub drive and mid drive options are great and comes with their own pros and cons. If you have an uninterrupted and short-distance commute, hub drive is certainly the best option, while mid-drive offers more versatility and can deliver smooth riding experience even on hilly terrain.
If you’re not a professional cyclist and you need an E-Bike just to ride on the streets, an e-road bike is certainly the best choice. They can generally be ridden without any re-assist option, making them an excellent choice for the riders that only want assistance on the hills.
Although, they do try to reduce the extra weight on the bikes, there’s still some additional weight if you compare them with your conventional bikes and for this particular reason most e-road bikes feature disc brakes. The type of brakes however differ from model to model. For example, the lower-end versions come with mechanical disc brakes, while the higher end models come with hydraulic disc brakes. The suitable braking options help you take control of the braking system so that you can ride with more power and confidence. Taking into account the urban environments that are full of obstacles, disc brakes are definitely the best option for the riders.
Frame & Fork
The best e-road bikes generally feature an alloy frame and fork. This reduces weight while still delivering utmost durability, and range. In order to ride over gutters or lips, you’ll need suspension forks that are handy and light-weight. A rigid fork is generally found on electric cruiser bikes and folding bikes for added functionality, reduced cost, and better style.
While E-cargo bikes aren’t as sexy and attractive as other sporty E-Bike options, they surely are functional and useful. These bikes are built to yield as much stuff as possible. Once you’ve decided to buy a cargo bike, it can be quite overwhelming to figure out how to go about it.
In order to retain a size closer to traditional bikes, some e-cargo bikes make use of frames that is expanded in rear to offer a roomy cargo platform on either side of the back wheels. Apart from that, they also offer a vast range of different accessories like child carriers and racks for comfortable riding. Make sure you benefit from the test ride opportunity to see how well you’re able to handle the ride. Keep in mind, not all cargo bikes are created alike and depending upon your body shape and weight, you might need a product with unique features to provide you with the best possible sense of coordination.
There’s no denying the fact that the electric cargo bikes are highly functional and offer something really special to the owners – great family time. Make sure you ask the below-listed questions to yourself before investing in a cargo bike for you and your family.
- Are you going to use your e-cargo bike daily?
- What are the height and strength of all riders who’re going to use an e-cargo bike?
- How many children will you be riding with?
- What are the age/height of your children?
- Do you need to install a baby chair on your e-cargo bike?
- How do you intend to use your bike?
- What’s your budget?
There’s no denying the fact that cargo bikes are relatively bulkier than conventional bikes. But, it’s also a fact that they’ve been designed in a way that they equally distribute weight and make cycling easy for you.
You can either purchase a two-wheelers or three-wheelers depending upon your individual requirements. As a general rule of thumb, two-wheelers will be easier to control especially if you have to cycle over a long distance. Also, two-wheelers are narrower, making them easier to sneak in the heavy traffic. Cargo trikes, on the other hand, offer more space for bags and belongings. Both options come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you pay attention to your riding style before choosing the right e-cargo bike for your personal use.
If you’re planning to invest in an electrically-assisted cargo bike, you must take into account advanced specs and features.
As far as price is concerned, the typical cost of the motor kit is 50%-100% of the total bike cost. A replacement battery will cost around $200-$1000 subject to the capacity and make of your chosen product. A battery generally last 3-4 years, but the lifespan depends on a number of other relevant factors as well.
Because of their practicality and ease of use, electric folding bikes are one of the most popular and functional bike options available till date. Most e-folders come with a folding point situated in the middle of the bike. If you want to take your bike along in a car trunk, bus, or a train, then an electric folding bike can be your safest bid.
The only disadvantage of using e-folders is that they’re generally heavier than standard-sized E-Bikes and sometimes include substandard parts and components. Building a foldable electric bike means you have to take measures to avoid the price from increasing too much. As a result, you have to compromise on the quality of parts and components.
Luckily, there are some amazing high-quality e-folding bike options available that comes with an astounding battery and powerful motor combo along with other effective and high-power components including hydraulic brakes, etc.
If you want to take the plunge and invest in the e-folder for your riding needs, you’ve come to the right place.
Benefits of Buying an Electric Folder BikeConvenient Daily Commute
There’s nothing better than having a bike fitted with a powerful battery and motor. These features enable you to commute without thinking about arriving at your destination hot and distressed.It’s Foldable
It’s obviously much easier to hop on a train or a bus with an electric folder bike than other alternatives. Whether you’re commuting via train or Uber, a full-size foldable electric bike can fit in without any difficulty.Prevent Bike Theft
Sadly, bike theft has become one of the biggest concerns around the globe. An electric foldable bike with all its tools and high-end price sticker is a tempting option for thieves and burglars. Unlike other electric bike options, electric foldable bikes are compact and far easier to take with you wherever you go.Compact
Due to their compact nature and folding capacity, electric foldable bikes are easier to store. In addition to that, they’re perfect for workspaces too.
Things to Consider Before Buying an Electric Folder BikeFold Levels
Fold is certainly one of the most crucial aspects of an electric folder bike. Make sure you keep track of how compact your preferred model folds and how exactly it correlates to the space you’re planning to keep it in.Battery Power
Motor and battery are two of the most expensive parts of an electric folding bike. While powerful batteries boast a better riding range, they add to the overall bike weight. We would recommend evaluating the distance of your regular ride and examine whether your selected range complements that. Ideally, you should not choose a 30 mile range when you have to ride more than 30 miles per day.Weight
If you can’t easily lift your electric folder bike onto a train or bus, then folder bike might not be the good option for you. There are models out there that make use of wheels to help the rider move and lift the bike without any difficulty. So, make sure you keep an eye on all the possible options before choosing an E-bike for yourself.Wheel Size
Most electric folder bikes feature a 20” wheel that is light-weight and compact when folded. The only issue is that they won’t gather required momentum on roads when you try to increase the speed.Gearing Capacity
Although e-folders come with an inbuilt pedal assistance, it’s still important to pay attention to the gearing factor. Most electric folder bikes come with a 1×8 setup depicting one front chainring and eight sprockets at the rear. This capacity is ample enough to cater to most rider’s requirements.Accessories
If you’re looking to make an electric folder bike part of your daily routine, it’s obviously a good idea to invest in an all-inclusive package. Some electric folder bikes come with racks, kickstands, and lights, making them a perfectly-equipped model fit for your needs.
Great for off-road conditions, electric fat bikes are one of the most amazing categories of E-Bikes that can be ridden in loose soil, bumpy surfaces, and even snow. These bikes feature extra-thick tires, generally 4” or over, that enable riders ride on almost any surface with sheer perfection and precision.
There are many types of electric fat bikes available on the market including folding fat tire E-Bikes, fat tire e-mountain bikes, and many more.
The frames on the fat tire option are more or less same as traditional bikes. The only difference is that the front forks and seat stay portions fixed at the rear are generally stretched to accommodate the 4”+ tires.
Before you purchase an electric fat bike for your use, you’ll have to accurately figure out your body measurements as bike size mainly depends on the rider’s height and body frame and not necessarily on their weight. Make sure you remove your shoes before you take measurements.
In addition to that, battery capacity is another important factor that you must consider in your buying process. Poor quality batteries may result in shorter lifespans and short charge life.
Apart from these basic types, there are some specialty styles out there that offers additional benefits to the riders. For instance,
Looking to enjoy a ride with a friend or a partner? Electric Tandem bikes come with two seats and two sets of pedals. There’s another tandem type called Kivo that features two wheels for an adult and a child.
Electric Tricycles are yet another popular electric bike category that provides a practical riding solution to riders with disabilities. A conventional tricycle comes with two parallel wheels at the rear (can also be mounted at the front).
Electric recumbent bikes are 3 wheeled vehicles that boast some car-like attributes. They’re great for weather protection and cargo. Most recumbent bikes feature comfortable seats, great passenger capacity, and a number of other benefits.
E-Bikes – Budget Considerations
Once you have successfully figured out the type of bike fit for your needs the next consideration will be the price factor.
Similar to any other product, E-Bikes are also available in economical, ultra-budget, and premium price ranges. It’s important to understand that most E-Bikes feature more or less same electrical components.
Ultra-Budget Price Range
Ultra-budget electric bikes can start as low as $300-$400 price range. Let’s take an example of Xiaomi here that has recently entered the world of E-Bikes and introduced two affordable models with $261 and $375 price range.
Amazon also has some economical E-Bike options ranging from $399. While these E-Bikes are preferred by many riders because of their affordable price sticker and good looks, these definitely are not worthy options. They generally come with substandard battery cells and cheap components. If you’re able to stretch out your budget a bit, it would be great if you choose something from a budget E-Bikes range.
Just increase your E-Bike budget a bit and you will see a significant increase in component quality and range. While most of budget E-Bikes come with a decent power and reasonable range, they only have one pedaling gear. Therefore, riders who often need to shift should look for other better alternatives so you can conveniently ride on bumpy surfaces and hilly areas. Although, you cannot expect budget bikes to last for many years, if you maintain them properly and follow instructions, these bikes are still one of the ways you can get your feet wet in the dynamic E-Bike world.
Mid-range E-Bikes category can be a perfect choice for those that are dedicated riders and want to experience the improved functionality of the E-Bikes. Once your price range go beyond $1000, E-Bike components such as brakes, battery, and motor start transitioning into more advanced and functional models. Also, you would be able to enjoy up-to-the-minute components and advanced features like hydraulic disc brakes and other more progressive features. In addition to that, these bikes can last 3-5 years with proper maintenance and care.
As its name suggests, the premium category involves a number of high-end features and components. Once you’re able to reach $2500 and above price range, you’re more likely to get everything branded be it shifters, brakes, or frames.
Also, you’ll start to notice high-end motors and batteries from big brand like Panasonic, Bosch, etc. It’s important to understand that just because an E-Bike is exorbitantly priced, doesn’t mean it is of premium quality. There are many companies whose prices simply don’t reflect the quality of their bikes.
Okay, so the premium E-Bike category is for the users willing to spend over $5000 for a decent ride. As mentioned above, you won’t be seeing any difference in the electrical components of the bike. Once you enter the ultra-premium sphere, you’ll come across options built for professional riders and true biking enthusiasts.
Tips to Consider Before Buying an E-Bike
- Set a budget
- Consider Your Usage
- Electrical assistance
- Choose a right model
- Choose an easily rechargeable battery
- Pay attention to the type of motor
- Choose the type of assistance
- Shifting gears
Specialized E-Bike Services
- Easy financing
- On the road assistance
- Theft and liability insurance
There are many benefits associated with buying an E-Bike – quick and cheap traveling, durability, and ease of use are just to name a few. Invest in an easily rechargeable battery and it will cost you just a few cents to continue commuting between your home and workplace.
Make sure you determine your needs first before buying an E-Bike. Similar to any other hobbies and sport, E-Bikes are a perfect play to play activity. Take a clue from this post and have a wonderful time riding a perfect E-Bike.