9 Tips for Choosing Your First E-Bike
Searching for the right electric bike can seem a bit challenging. There are plenty of specifications, options, and performance claims you need to consider. Perhaps the best advice we can offer is to try as many electric bikes as you can. The truth is that test rides are a lot more helpful than reading about potentially puzzling specifications and an excellent way to understand your preferences. However, in this article, we will look at the nine important elements of e-bikes and what you should look for.
Tips to Choose Your First Electric Bike
The electric bike scene currently has an overwhelming array of options. If you’re searching for tips for purchasing your first e-bike, you might find yourself lost and overwhelmed. Our goal is to offer you some basic information before you purchase your first electric bike.
1. Think about How You Will Use the Bike
The first thing you should do to narrow down your search is to think about how you want to use your electric bike. Do you want it for exercise and recreation? Are you going to use it for utilitarian purposes like grocery shopping, commuting, or as an alternative to car trips?
If your main goal is fitness and recreation, an electric mountain bike could be your best pick, particularly if you wish to do rough off-road riding. Nevertheless, the additional cost of advanced components and complex suspension systems might be unneeded if you only plan to ride crushed gravel paths or easy dirt roads. On the other hand, if you’re a biker who likes to go up steep hills, you might want to opt for an electric road bike.
Moreover, if you wish to stay on the pavement, maybe with a rare stretch of easy dirt road, you should opt for hybrid-style electric bikes with upright seating positions and wide tires. This style of e-bike goes by several names: pavement, hybrid, cruiser, urban, and trekking. It is perfect if you want a more comfortable ride and wish to travel faster, farther, and with more ease.
2. Spend the Right Amount of Money
Even though it’s possible to purchase an electric bike for less than $1,000, you should expect to spend around $2,500 and likely twice that amount for a model with serviceable high-performance components.
As with all high-involvement consumer products, you get what you pay for. If you reside in flat areas or if you only want an electric bike for cruising on bike paths, you can save money by choosing a three-speed or single-speed model. However, if you live in a hilly area, you should spend more on gearing. On steep hills, it’s necessary to have a wide gear range to get to the top.
3. Pay Attention to the Weight and Size
Electric bikes are quite heavy, generally weighing 50 pounds or more. Even though lightweight models are available, they tend to have lesser power and smaller ranges because of the simple fact that motors and batteries are heavy, and consequently, frames need to be built stronger to carry the additional weight.
If you are going to keep your electric bike in a garage or in a place where you won’t have to carry and lift it, the weight will be less of a consideration.
4. Hub or Mid-Drive Motor?
The motor will have a huge impact on your electric bike’s range, performance, and weight. Therefore, choosing the right kind of motor is perhaps the most important decision you will make. There are essentially two kinds of motors, mid-drive or hub. Mid-drive motors are built into the bike’s frame between the pedals; their power is added to boost the power of your pedal stroke. On the other hand, hub motors are located in the wheel, rear, front, or both, and they take you forward by speeding up the wheel.
Even though hub motors are usually cheaper and work for most bike riders, mid-drive motors offer higher performance. Generally, mid-drive motors will have higher power and range than hub motors with similar-sized batteries. Moreover, mid-drive motor systems also work more efficiently on hills as compared to hub motors.
5. Check the Battery
An electric bike is powered by a battery that you can easily charge at most power outlets. It is important to ensure that your e-bike model has a premium-quality battery that won’t drain quickly. If you want to use your e-bike for long commutes, ensure you consistently charge the battery so that you don’t get stranded.
E-bikes come with three kinds of batteries. These include:
- Nickel-Cadmium Batteries are quite lightweight but have problems when it comes to memory.
- Lead-Based Batteries are the most affordable and are incredibly heavy. They even react strongly to various weather conditions, which means you might need to invest more in their maintenance.
- Lithium Batteries are extremely consistent when providing power. However, they are costlier. Thus, you should only choose them if they fall under your budget.
6. Factor in the Number of Gears
Like with conventional bikes, you can buy an electric bike with a few gears or plenty more. Certain models go up to 40 gears. Before you buy your e-bike, think of how fine-tuned you want your ride. The fewer gears in your electric bike, the fewer speeds you will have to pick from.
Every brand of electric bike is going to have a different shifter but provide similar results. When you downshift, you experience lower levels of resistance. If you want higher resistance, shift up.
Electric bikes even have electric-assist levels, which differentiates them from a conventional cycle. Most electric bikes have a + or – button. This button is going to help you determine what level of an assist you would like while riding your electric bike. The truth is, you can ride an electric bike and never pedal physically if you prefer riding that way.
7. Consider the Range
The range is perhaps the most popular question people have about electric bikes. How much distance can it travel on a single battery charge? Well, there’s no fixed answer to this. There are plenty of factors that impact the range of a particular bike, including the slope, the number of times you start and stop, your weight, temperature, wind, tire pressure, and the way you pedal.
The essential specifications pertaining to the range include motor size, motor type, and battery capacity. Here are some rough estimates of the riding distances you can expect under regular riding conditions, such as a gentle slope, a moderate level of stopping and starting, along with reasonable rider input for pedaling:
- 5Ah 36V battery: 26 to 51 kilometers
- 5Ah 36V battery: 41 to 85 kilometers
- 4Ah 48V battery: 35 to 70 kilometers
- 14Ah 48V battery: 45 to 90 kilometers
- 5Ah 52V battery: 40 to 75 kilometers
- 5Ah 52V battery: 60 to 120 kilometers
Keep in mind that the distances mentioned above can vary considerably depending on the conditions.
8. Don’t Forget the Warranties and Support
An electric bike is a huge investment, and it’s highly recommended you purchase it from a local bike store or dealership. This way, you will have access to any advice, support, or after-sales services you might need.
Similarly, it’s a good idea to purchase a well-reputed and established brand as they can provide replacement parts years down the line.
In addition, make sure you ask what the warranty is like for the electric bike you are interested in. Be careful as the warranty can differ for various parts of the bike. The duration of the warranty is generally an excellent indicator of the quality of the bike and the brand behind it.
9. Think About Maintenance and Service
All electric components ultimately fail and require repairs. This means you need to choose a motor that can be serviced some years later. Keep in mind that mechanics are sometimes not able to repair lesser-known brands as they lack the required diagnostic tools or parts.
Unfortunately, some of those electric bikes end up in landfills. Thus, you should opt for bikes that use motors from renowned brands such as Berkshire and Hewes, Mercury, Yamaha, etc.
Last Few Words
Electric bikes are the future, and they give so many people an excellent alternate means of transport. That said, you can skip traffic and reach your destination on time. All the more reason for you to choose the right model that suits your lifestyle.
In addition, they are a sustainable mode of transport that cuts down your carbon footprint, which benefits the environment significantly. If you are looking to purchase an electric bike, make sure to check out Westshore Marine. We have a range of electric bikes from some of the most well-reputed brands in North America. Our team can even help you pick the best product suited to your requirements. Feel free to get in touch with us to get more information about the products we offer.
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