When you’ve made the exciting decision to buy your first eBike, there can be a lot of questions that will crop up. In our experience, there are important things first-timers should know before they get started. If you keep this list in mind when you start shopping, it will help make sure you find the perfect electric bike for you. When you’re ready to start your search, check us out at The eBike Store. Not only do we offer brand new eBikes, we also have rentals and sightseeing tours available to give you a taste of what an electric bike can do for you.
-Where will you be riding?
With a wide variety of electric bikes on the market, and more being developed every day, there is a lot to choose from. The design of different eBikes are suited to different landscapes and activities, so it’s important to consider where you’ll be riding and what activity you’ll be using it for. While some electric bikes are suited perfectly for hauling cargo or kids, others are designed specifically for biking through sand, mud, and snow in the mountains. Knowing the primary use of your new eBike will help narrow the search and ensure you’re getting a model that fits you perfectly.
-What kind of drive do you want?
When it comes to how an eBike operates, there are two main variations to choose from, “pedelec” and “twist-n-go”. A pedelec system monitors the rider’s pedaling and automatically adjusts the amount of motor assistance it provides, depending on the rate, force, and speed of the pedaling. In these bikes, the output is typically limited to about 250 watts and a max speed of 16 mph. Once it hits its max speed, the motor will automatically turn off to preserve power. There are some specialized high-speed eBikes that reach speeds of 28 mph, but those require a special driver’s license and insurance in most areas.
In contrast, a twist-n-go system places motor control in the rider’s hands through the use of a switch. Depending on your comfort level, desire for control, and how you use the eBike, a twist-n-go system might fit you just right. Much of this comes down to personal preference, so test riding one of each system will give you a stronger idea of which you prefer. Just like a car’s automatic and manual transmission, there are positives and negatives to both. Your personal preference reigns supreme when it comes to drive styles.
-What type of motor do you want?
There are two types of motors typically found with electric bikes; either hub motor assisted, with the motor being mounted in one of the wheels, or crank motor assist, where the motor is located at the bottom of the bike frame. If you’re looking for an electric bike that does great on steep hills and you don’t mind a little noise, a crank assisted motor would suit your needs just fine. However, if you’re looking for something quiet and suited for city navigation, a hub motor will be a better fit. Keep in mind if you’re in a hill filled city like San Francisco, a hub motor will struggle to conquer the landscape compared to a crank assisted one, so your location is a factor as well.
-What type of battery will you use?
Although you’ll usually find an electric bike powered by a lithium-ion battery, there can be larger differences to consider. Top of the line eBikes use incredibly high-tech batteries that are lighter, weigh less, and take less time to charge. Because batteries degrade over time and struggle to retain their charge, it’s important to consider the cost of a replacement down the line. Make sure you’re looking at a reputable battery manufacturer to ensure it works properly for as long as possible. A typical lithium-ion battery will last for about 800 full charge cycles, which is around three years of daily commuting. However, you can extend a battery’s life cycle with careful use and maintenance. Though the estimate conservatively states it’ll last a few years, it’s much more common to extend that many years longer. Depending on the manufacturer, capacity, and chemistry within the battery, it can take anywhere from two to six hours for a full charge.
-How far are you planning to ride?
The range of an electric bike is determined by the distance that can be covered on one battery charge, making it probably the most important thing to consider. Take into account where you’re going to be riding it, how far you’ll ride, and other usage factors (amount of pedaling vs motor use, for example). You definitely don’t want to set out for a big ride in the mountains, only to run out of juice halfway up a giant hill. If you’re not traveling far, a bike with a shorter range will be a better fit and can save you from spending money on a large battery you’re barely going to use. However, it is a good idea to get a bike with a longer range than your typical usage, as the range will be reduced over time as the battery ages and loses capacity.
-How much are you planning to spend?
Electric bikes are not cheap. Well, really good ones aren’t. It’s important to consider if you will truly be happy with the most basic model in the long run, or if you’ll be looking to upgrade in a short amount of time. Though it may not seem to be the case, paying a bit more initially will end up saving you money in the long run. While a better bike may cost more, it will also last you longer, reducing the amount you would spend on repairs and replacing parts on a cheaper model. A quality motor will give you better performance than one that wasn’t properly designed. A long-lasting, reliable battery will hold onto a charge longer and give better power than a cheaply made one. You truly do get what you pay for.
The number one way to learn what eBike fits right for you is to give it a test ride. That’s the only way you’ll get the hard answers about if it meets your needs. Does it feel good to ride? Does it handle that big hill by your house the way you’d like it to? There’s only one way to find out. Call us at The eBike Store today to schedule a test ride. Our experts will be able to give you more advice and guidance to help you find the perfect model for you. We hope to see you soon!