Are you wondering why you should get an electric bike? Do you consider the point of a bicycle to get exercise? Have you ever tried to ride a standard bike up a steep hill hauling a child trailer behind you? If yes, you already understand the benefits to a power boost for your bicycle.
Do you want to exercise or enjoy the outdoors with your spouse, but your fitness levels are highly unequal? An electric bike can reduce that discrepancy, and it can help the less fit partner feel better about themselves, which helps maintain the energy and interest in outdoor or exercise activities.
For commuting purposes, the ride on an Electric Bike is faster. If you cannot take a shower when you get to work, a less strenuous ride may be attractive. If you still want to get your exercise in, do that at the end of the day.
Make the morning commute a gentle heavily power assisted ride into work. After work, change into exercise gear, turn the motor down, and your commute home will double as a strenuous workout. Quite the time saver there. Electric Bikes can be safer in high traffic situations because stopping is faster. Getting up to speed from a stop is also faster, and safer.
What is an Electric Bike?
An Electric Bike is a traditional bicycle customized for the purpose of adding an electric motor and battery. They have as many of the variations of design and purpose as traditional bicycles, plus a few extra options.
There are several advantages to Electric Bikes than just cost savings and being environmentally friendly. These bikes can make many activities or tasks easier and more pleasant.
- Less athletic riders can keep up with their counterparts
- Health factors such as knee pain or asthma are diminished
- Climbing hills is more feasible
- Longer distances can be traveled
- Wind resistance will be lessened.
The intended use also must be considered before deciding on a specific bike. Bicycles in general can be highly customized based on the intended purpose. Here is a breakdown of the basic categories.
- Relaxing and cruising
- Trail riding
- Downhill mountain biking
- Child transportation
- Road biking
- Sand and snow travel
- The following topics will be covered in this guide.
- What to do before you start shopping
- 3 motor types
- Drive types and torque
- Gearing systems
What to do before you start shopping
Before you start shopping for the E-Bike of your dreams, there is research to be done. Follow this link to discover the E-Bike regulations in your state. The key is to ensure that the type you choose is suitable for the laws and ordinances of your region as well as your needs and geography.
The first lesson here is regarding the different classes of E-Bike.
- The Class I pedal assist E-Bike accelerates up to 20 mph, has no age requirements and can be taken on any surface a regular bicycle can is allowed.
- The Class II throttle assist will not go over 20 mph but is more like a motorcycle than a bicycle and is not legal in some regions.
- The Class III is pedal assisted but can have a motor up to 750 watts and may be considered a motor vehicle, depending on the region.
The next task is to determine your needs for the bike. If comfort is a priority, then look for a step-through frame and consider a cruiser style that allows you to sit up. If the riding will require more of a racers’ aggressive stance, then choose a sport frame. Test ride a few versions before settling on a favorite as comfort and smooth pedaling will be key to long term comfort with this transportation method.
Carefully choose your retailer since you want to buy from a shop dedicated to the Electric Bike lifestyle. It will be important in the years to come when you need maintenance and other assistance. Pick a high-quality brand and beware of the cheap option. A cheap Electric Bike will not be study enough and durable long enough to be worth the investment.
Consider the riding terrain. Primarily riding on bike paths versus riding in the middle of stop and go traffic have different challenges. Hill climbing, soft surface riding and downhill mountain biking each have their own challenges as well. Finally, the folding bike option would allow for other conveniences, such as tucking it away at the office or keeping it in the car.
3 motor types
- Hub motor assist mounted in the wheel hub.
- Crank motor assist is mounted at the crank in the pedal area.
- Hub motors can be in the front hub or the rear hub.
The front hub design is the simplest, but the rear hub motor can house the throttle and the pedal. However, this can create an uneven weight distribution that can make the bike harder to handle.
Drive types and torque
The drive plate electric system monitors the peddling and adds motor resistance.
The electric-only throttle drive is located on the handlebar. This can be useful if you prefer not to pedal.
Hills and heavy loads are both situations that require factoring in the torque. Torque is measured in newton meters with a range of 40-280 nm and it will vary depending on pedal and gearing settings.
A good battery lasts 600-800 cycles. If it is used carefully, that could go up to 2,000 charge cycles. When referring to a batteries range, that means the distance it can go on one charge. While lithium ion batteries are more popular, a quality brand, such as Sony, Samsung or Panasonic, is still the best determination for longevity of the battery.
Gearing systems and Brakes
- The Derailleur gearing system on the external Hub is typical technology for conventional bikes, but they require the pedal of the moving to change gears and this increases the likelihood of catching clothing in the gear system. They also require more frequent maintenance, which makes it less attractive for commuter bikers.
- The internal hub is more attractive and streamlined as its the gears are internal. It can be shifted while stationary which makes for a smoother ride and is more effective for stop-and-start traffic. This system is in a sealed unit which protects the gears from the elements and makes them more durable and keeps them shifting more reliably and smoothly.
- Hydraulic disc brakes use a fluid to transfer the force from the lever to the caliper that breaks the bike. These brakes are also used on cars and high-end motorbikes. They work by locking the wheel moving the piston that is inside master cylinder. This forces brake fluid toward the caliper. These perform better, are higher end and more expensive. The also do not require as frequent adjustments as the mechanical breaks and require very slight pressure to engage and disengage.
In planning your budget, include extra features or components. Test ride how different the pedal assist options feel. You can also get lighting, cargo racks, and LCD displays. These can show you speed, miles, monitor your battery life and more.
You can upgrade to a system that talks to your smartphone. This will allow you to use GPS, maintain service records and even allow you to lock your brakes. Other built-in security options include having the rear wheel attached to the frame or locks on the battery. Last, you can also pick the frame style to fit your body.
Realities about the range
A common E-Bike buying mistake is assuming the range estimates given by the manufacturer are accurate. There is no standard that all night electric bikes are tested to and with so many variations of components, any range is mostly guesswork.
Range is determined by:
- The battery capacity
- Your weight
- Cargo weight
- The commute geography
- The assistance level you choose
- The percentage of your own pedaling power.
Also, be aware that while these bikes can support up to 300 pounds, that much weight could damage the spokes. It will also wear done your bike faster than expected
How to Choose an Electric Bike
Choosing an electric bike requires accurate information about your locality, your purpose and your needs. You find a retailer and brand with a reputation for quality and support. Then you pick your frame, motor, drive, brakes, gearing, battery and extras. Consider this a long-term investment because that is what it is. This bike should last 8-10 years if properly maintained.
Comfort is key for receiving the best value out of your electric bike. Realistically, you will not stick to your usage goals if the bike is painful to use. While strength training will make your muscles hurt, your butt, lower back, shoulders and arms should not hurt. Spend as much time as you need ensuring that the E-Bike you buy is properly suited to your body and usage needs.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Some European Union nations prohibit any electric bike that assists the rider without needing the pedal to be engaged. For these regions, only a Class I is legal in those regions.
- Crank motor assist motors are noisy but popular for steep hill climbing.
- Bosch Yamaha. Shimano and 8 fun motors are brands with a good reputation.
- There are also high-performance e-bikes that can go up to 45 kilometers per hour, but the users need special approvals, and they are not legal in all countries.
- When the time come to replace your battery, the retailer should be able to rebuild or recycle it.
- It usually takes 3-6 hours for the battery to charge.
- The cost to charge a battery is $0.10 or less.
- Some E-bikes can recharge will pedaling, but given how heavy the E-bike is, that will be quite the work out.
- E-Bikes usually weigh 45-60 pounds.
- There are more economical conversion kits to make a regular bike an E-Bike, although those are usually considered the gateway bike to the Electric Bike lifestyle.
- Electric Bikes are most popular in Europe and dense urban areas.
Things to Consider Before Buying…
Before buying an electric bike, consider the importance of low price and low maintenance. Pick one or the other, but you cannot have both. Given the number of hours you will be sitting on this bike, this decision is one that should be taken with a high level of gravity. Use the information in this guide, take your time and trust your instincts, and you will make a decision that meets your best expectations.
If you have been hesitating to join the E-Bike revolution, you now have the information you need to make an informed decision. Whether you are considering this purchase for reduced transportation, maintenance and parking costs, looking to be more fit, spend more time outdoors or with family, now is a good time to take the plunge.
Be more ecofriendly, more active and healthier and spend less money doing it. There are few eco-friendly lifestyle choices that lead to less expense in the long run. Join the revolution and be a model for others as well.
Shop our collection of Electric Bikes today. Get 5% off (discount expires tonight at 11:59 PM) *see product page for details. Call us at 1-562-262-5118 or email us at email@example.com