Things you need to know before buying an electric bike
Electric bikes have many advantages over traditional bikes. The most significant benefits are that you can ride longer before getting tired, race up hills, and arrive at your destination looking fresh. These fantastic bikes make cycling accessible to more people while promoting an active lifestyle. However, there are some things you need to know before buying an electric bike, so you don't fall into any traps.
If you start looking for your new electric bike with some background information, you will make a more informed decision. This will save you money and ensure that you get the most out of your new purchase. Therefore, in this post, we will tell you what you need to know before you buy an electric bike.
Think About What You Want From Your Electric Bike
The first thing to do is to know what you want to use your new electric bike for. There are many different electric bikes on the market, all designed for various purposes. Therefore, you need to think about what you are going to use it for.
Do you want to commute on an electric bike? If so, how far is your journey, and is it all on paved roads, or are there some off-road or rough surfaces involved?
You may want an electric bike for fitness or leisure time. But do you want to tackle mountain bike trails, go for chilled-out rides, or even multi-day bike tours?
What you want from your electric bike will determine which one you should buy. Therefore, it is worth researching all the types of electric bikes available to you.
Know The Electric Bike Classes
It is very important that you learn the different classes of electric bikes before you buy one. The reason for this is so that you stay on the right side of the law in your area. Electric bikes come in three different classes, and you need to know which ones your local laws permit.
When people talk about electric bikes, you may hear the term "pedelec" used. These are class 1 electric bikes that only give you motor assistance up to 20mph while pedaling.
Class 1 electric bikes fit into most local laws and are the most affordable. They are very convenient, as you are often permitted to ride them on both cycle paths and roads.
If you want to ride on mountain bike trails, you need to check if class 1 electric bikes are allowed. You will be fine most of the time, but it is worth checking before you leave so you don't get into trouble.
Class 2 electric bikes work in the same way as those in class 1. However, they also have a throttle. The throttle gives you the option to ride using the motor without pedaling, like a moped or scooter. They still have a limited top speed of 20mph, so you should be able to ride a class 2 bike in the same places as a class 1 bike.
Class 3 electric bikes work the same class 1 bikes. However, their motors help you all the way up to a limited top speed of 28mph.
If you want to commute on an electric bike or carry stuff, a class 3 electric bike is a good choice. These electric bikes are more powerful, making riding uphill and carrying weight much more manageable.
It is worth noting that not everywhere permits class 3 electric bikes on cycle paths or mountain bike trails.
Where The Motor Is Mounted
Electric bikes either have their motor mounted in the rear wheel hub (hub-mounted) or between the cranks (mid-mounted).
A bike with a hub-mounted motor is much cheaper to buy than one with a mid-mounted motor. Electric bikes with hub-mounted motors are very quiet and fine for most people riding on roads, in urban environments, and light off-road routes. However, they are not very efficient when pedaling uphill compared to a bike with a mid-mounted motor.
Electric bikes with mid-mounted motors are also well balanced with a low center of gravity. The result of this is better handling and off-road capability. Therefore, most electric mountain bikes have mid-mounted motors.
Hub-mounted motors use a cadence sensor, while mid-mounted motors use a torque sensor. A cadence sensor measures how fast you pedal to determine how much assistance to call from its motor. This system makes pedaling very easy, but a torque sensor has a more natural feel. This is because a torque sensor measures how much effort you put into the pedals, making it feel like a regular bike but with more power.
If you don't plan on taking on technical mountain bike trails, an electric bike with a hub-mounted mounted motor will be fine. However, if you want to hit the trails, explore the wilderness, or ride in hilly areas, buy one with a mid-mounted motor.
Work Out What Range You Need From Your Electric Bike
If you plan on using your new electric bike for commuting, you need to make sure it has enough range to complete your journey. Don't forget that you need to ride home at the end of the day too. Therefore, the range of your electric bike is one of its most important characteristics.
You can ride an electric bike without any power, but you will notice that it is much heavier than a traditional bike. Riding a dead electric bike uphill is arduous work, so you need to make sure you have enough battery power.
Electric bike manufacturers will give you an estimated maximum range. You need to use this as an indication of range, but a few factors will affect how far you can ride assisted. Your weight, profile of your ride, how you ride, and the ambient temperature will all affect your electric bike will go on a single charge.
The range figure stated by electric bike manufacturers will be based on a lightweight rider riding the bike on a flat surface on a warm day. If you are heavier, and your route consists of hills, and ride in cold weather, your range will be much lower.
One of the other factors that determine an electric bike's range is its battery capacity. Larger capacity batteries give you a more extended range, as long as it is suitably sized for the motor.
If you only need to ride 10 or 20km per day, you don't need a bike with a huge range. But as batteries age, their capacity diminishes, reducing your electric bike's range. Therefore, you may want to choose a higher capacity battery to give you sufficient range in the future.
Understand Electric Bike Batteries
Most electric bikes come with lithium-ion batteries these days. You will find that more expensive electric bikes have more sophisticated batteries. These are much lighter, have a longer lifespan, and charge faster than less expensive ones.
One of the best ways to see if an electric bike has a good battery is to look at its manufacturer. Look for big-name brands, such as Bosch, Yamaha, Panasonic, Samsung, or Sony. Batteries from these manufacturers tend to last much longer than ones from smaller brands.
Most lithium-ion batteries can take around 1,000 charges, as long as you look after them. Therefore, your battery will last you a few years, depending on how often you ride.
You can fully charge a battery between 2 and 6 hours. But this depends on its capacity, what type of charger you use, and the manufacturer.
You Get What You Pay For
High-quality electric bikes are not cheap, but the manufacturer will give them good frames, fit them with excellent components, and provide a good warranty.
However, you may not need or want the very best electric bike on the market. If you choose a less expensive one, you need to be realistic about its capabilities and build quality. A very cheap bike is OK for occasional use, but don't expect it to be flawless or last long.
With this in mind, you need to consider what components your potential electric bike comes with and make sure they suit your needs. Look at the brakes, frame, and suspension to see if they are made by reputable brands. This is also the case when it comes to the motor, battery, and drivetrain.
A more expensive electric bike with quality components will last much longer.
Now you have a good list of things you need to know before buying an electric bike. Armed with this information, you will be able to make a more educated decision of what to look for in an electric bike.