Are you looking to buy an e-bike but you don’t know how to go about it? This guide will walk you through what to look for when buying an electric bike.
What should you consider when buying an electric bike? Do electric bikes have any differences? Can’t you just purchase any bike as long as it’s an electric bike?
If you are in the market for an electric bike, you should consider six main factors. These are the bike’s purpose, the bike’s class, its range, battery configuration, price and warranty. And by considering these five key factors, you should be able to purchase the perfect e-bike for your needs.
Are you planning to purchase an electric bike? Are you wondering which one you should choose? If so, this article will guide you. We will walk you through the main factors to look for when buying an electric bike. And by the time you are through reading this guide, you should be able to identify the right bike to purchase.
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About Electric Bikes
Simply put, an e-bike or an electric bike is a bicycle that comes with some sort of battery-powered pedaling instance.
For many years, e-bikes were heavy, bulky, inconvenient and highly inefficient. Today, they are now lighter, highly effective and visually appealing. And this may explain why they have become so popular over the last couple of years.
They provide a cost-effective and great option for someone who wants to commute to school or work, without arriving dripping in sweat. Also, if you love cycling but you have an underlying health condition, you can still enjoy doing what you love, thanks to e-bikes.
Why Buy an Electric Bike
When it comes to buying a bike, you have the option of either buying a traditional bike or an e-bike. So, why go for an electric bike instead of the traditional one? Here are some reasons why you should consider buying an e-bike.
When you are using a traditional bike, there’s a high chance you will experience fatigue somewhere along the way, regardless of how long you’ve been riding one. And when that happens, you may be forced to take a break and rest, then continue with your journey later.
But with an electric bike, the fatigue will be lower, since it comes with assisted pedaling. So, before fatigue kicks in, you will have traveled a longer distance, compared to using the traditional bike.
Furthermore, an e-bike will allow you to travel faster than other cyclists using conventional bikes. And if there’s a traffic jam, you will also go faster even than cars.
A study conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory shows that conventional bikes are only approximately 25 times an entire year. Based on the same research, 30% of people who own e-bikes use that at least once daily while over 80% take them out of the shed at least once per week.
Therefore, you can see that people who own e-bikes are using their bikes more frequently, compared to those who own regular bikes. And the more you are using your e-bike, the more you will be pedaling, meaning you will be exercising more.
And as mentioned earlier, e-bikes will also be a great choice for people who love exercising via cycling, but their health condition or fitness level may be preventing them from doing so.
Most electric bikes go for around $400 to $2000. And, you can get a high-quality bike for around $700 or so. And the good news is, the upkeep costs of an e-bike are almost at par with those of a conventional one when it comes to consumable parts like chains, brake pads and tires.
At the same time, buying an e-bike is much cheaper than purchasing, maintaining and insuring a car, whether it’s diesel-powered or petrol-powered. And if you were to rely on public means of transport, the costs will still be higher, compared to owning an e-bike.
Therefore, if you are a daily commuter, buying an electric bike will save you a considerable amount of money, compared to using a car or public transportation means.
Convenient Means of Commuting
An e-bike also provides a convenient means of commuting to work or school. When it comes to public means of transport, you have to arrive at the station at a certain set time, to ensure you board the train or bus before it leaves.
Besides, public transportation means like buses are usually overcrowded. At the same time, there’s the issue of traffic jams, if you are using a car. But with an electric bike, you will never have to grapple with any of such issues.
And considering that you won’t be spending too much of your energy pedaling the bike, the sweating will be minimal. Hence, you will not arrive at work or school drenched in sweat.
Great for Hilly Areas
If you live in a hilly area or you frequently explore hilly areas, then you will love owning an electric bike. They are highly effective when it comes to tacking hilly areas. E-bikes are usually outfitted with various power modes, which will assist and enhance your pedaling.
So, if you happen to encounter a challenging hill and your legs have given up, you simply need to crank up your bike’s motor to its highest setting. And once you do that, it will tackle that hill effortlessly.
Considerations When Buying an Electric Bike
Without a doubt, purchasing an electric bike comes with numerous benefits. And, there’s never been a better time to purchase one. But, with hundreds of e-bikes on the market, how do you ensure you choose the right one? Well, here are the main considerations when purchasing an electric bike.
Needs and Purpose
E-bikes are built for different needs and purposes. So, before you rush to purchase one, you should first consider your needs. You also need to consider where you will be riding your bike mostly, the terrain you expect, whether you will be hauling cargo with it as well as whether you will be hauling your bike up and down a flight of stairs.
After figuring out these things, you can then hit the local bike shop and purchase an e-bike that suits your needs, terrain, purpose and application. Some of the different types of e-bikes that you will find on the market include electric cargo bikes, electric road bikes, folding electric bikes, electric mountain bikes and electric hybrid bikes.
Electric mountain bikes and electric road bikes are mainly built for long-distance riding. Hence, they may come with bigger battery packs. Also, they may not fit in bike racks found in cities. Therefore, if you are looking for an urban commuting bike, this may not be the best option. If you are into mountaineering, then electric mountain bikes are a perfect match for your needs.
Hybrid e-bikes are highly versatile. You can use them for city riding and casual riding. They also pack lots of commuting features. Also, they are among the most affordable e-bikes on the market. The main issue with these bikes is that they are a bit bulky. So, if you usually haul your bike up and down a flight of stairs regularly or onto public means of transport, you should stay away from these.
As for folding electric bikes, they provide the ideal option for short urban commutes. As their name suggests, you can easily fold them and store them in folding bike lockers. However, they also come with smaller battery packs, meaning their range is also smaller.
After settling on an e-bike that aligns with your needs, you will then need to choose a class. The class of an e-bike is more about its power and propulsion. Currently, there are three classes of e-bikes. They include Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3. Let’s take a closer look at each of these classes.
Class 1 Electric Bikes
E-bikes in this class are solely pedal-assisted. They don’t come with a physical throttle, which is usually the case with other e-bikes. The motor will continue assisting your pedaling until you a speed of 20mph. And from there, it will shut off. As much as you may continue pedaling, you won’t have the bike’s motor to assist you.
Class 1 e-bikes are treated like ordinary bikes. Therefore, they don’t come with any regulatory or licensing restrictions. Hence, you can ride this bike almost anywhere, as long as cycling is allowed.
Class 2 E-bikes
These e-bikes are similar to their Class 1 counterparts in several ways. However, they come with a physical throttle, which remains operational, whether you are peddling or not. This throttle will come in handy especially when you want to maneuver through traffic or when you are starting from a stop.
And just like Class 1 e-bikes, the electric motor on Class 2 electric bikes will shut off immediately you reach a speed of 20mph.
Class 3 Electric Bikes
An electric bike is considered a Class 3 if it can reach a maximum speed of 28 mph via pedal assist. Once it attains this speed, the bike’s pedal-assist system will immediately disengage. Class 3 e-bikes are currently the fastest on the market.
Class 3 e-bikes are a category below conventional motorbikes and mopeds. Therefore, they are subject to various traffic rules and regulations. For instance, some states require riders to be over the age of 16 and they must wear a helmet at all times. Also, Class 3 e-bikes may not be ridden on trails where motorized vehicles are prohibited.
Range refers to the distance your electric bike will go on a single charge of its battery before it needs to be recharged. It’s, without a doubt, one of the most important factors to look for when buying an electric bike.
The range will depend on the e-bike’s battery capacity, rider weight, the rider’s effort and riding speed. Also, the nature of the route and the weather conditions can determine the range.
There are several online, electric bike range calculators, which you can use to approximate how long your battery will last. And with this information, you can then choose a bike whose range aligns best with your situation.
You also need to take into consideration an e-bike’s battery configuration. For example, some bikes come with removable batteries while others are fixed.
And if a bike comes with a removable battery, you can charge it separately, meaning it will take a lesser room in your premises during the charging process. So, if in case you have space limitations in your house, you should go for e-bikes that come with removable batteries.
Like other consumer products, e-bikes are available at different price points. And as you may expect, the price will depend on the quality of the bike. As earlier mentioned, most e-bikes come in a price range of between $400 and $2000.
And if you were to purchase a high-quality and reliable e-bike, you can expect to spend around $1000. On the other hand, if you simply need an entry-level e-bike, you can go for one that costs around $500.
Ultimately, the money that you will spend on the bike will depend on your budget. But, you should always remember that you get what you pay for.
Electric bikes don’t come cheap. If you are to purchase a high-quality, e-bike, you are going to spend upwards of $1000. In short, purchasing one is a huge financial investment.
To this end, you need to make sure that the e-bike that you have purchased comes with a warranty. If it comes with a warranty, you can rest assured that the manufacturer will repair or replace it, if it develops issues or defects related to workmanship or the materials used.
Wrapping It Up
Buying an electric bike can sound like a complicated process, especially if it’s your first. But, by considering the key factors that we’ve discussed in this guide and the tips we’ve shared, you should be able to find an electric bike that aligns best with your needs and budget.
About THE AUTHOR
Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.Read More About Danny Lawson