Are you new to cycling? Or do you currently have a regular bike and are planning to make the switch?
Electric bikes have started becoming more and more popular with people switching to them as their new mode of transportation. Many people are drawn to e-bikes because they’re such environmentally friendly vehicles that are easier to ride than your regular bike.
An e-bike is a huge investment, so before you start looking for bikes online, here are the things you need to know before buying an e-bike.
What is an E-Bike?
First things first, let’s get a better picture of what an e-bike is. Electric bikes look very much like your regular bike. The only difference is that they’re equipped with a battery and a motor to help give you an easier time pedaling.
The motors on your e-bike power on when you’re pedaling and give you a boost, allowing you to pedal much faster and much farther. Depending on the model of your bike, you’re going to have several levels of assistance.
This can be adjusted based on your preference and how much help you actually need. The majority of e-bikes only provide extra assistance while pedaling, while there are some that assist you even when you aren’t.
Types of E-Bikes
The e-bike industry and half of the U.S. have divided e-bikes into three different classes. This is to determine where you can ride and when depending on which e-bike class you have. There are still some unclear interpretations of these classes and laws, so it’s important to check your local state laws for proper e-bike compliance.
Class 1 e-bikes can run up to 20 miles per hour. In addition, the motor or assistance is only powered when you’re pedaling the bike. This type of bike is called a pedelec. Class 1 e-bikes are allowed on bike lanes shared with your regular bikes.
Class 2 e-bikes are also limited to 20 miles per hour. The difference is that they contain throttles that work when you’re not pedaling. Most class 2 e-bikes have both a motor and a throttle. Same with Class 1 bikes, you can also ride them in the same place you would a regular bike.
Class 3 bikes can go up to 28 miles per hour and must have a speedometer. They may or may not have a throttle, depending on state laws. Most states allow you into bike-only lanes and road lanes.
What To Look For When Buying An Electric Bike
When choosing an electric bike, you need to consider a couple of factors to ensure that you’re getting the right one for you.
When it comes to what to look for in an electric bike, the first thing you want to consider is what you’ll be using it for. This will quickly narrow your search. Are you going to be using it for your daily errands? Commuting? Exercising? Or are you using it as your new mode of transportation?
If you want something that you can use for harder trails, you might want to go for an electric mountain bike. If you simply want something to use to bike around, you might want to go for a city bike, better known as a commuter or recreational e-bike. This type of bike is ideal for those who want to travel farther with more ease.
Battery Quality and Range
An e-bike comes with a battery that you can charge in most power outlets. It’s important for you to choose a high-quality battery for your bike to ensure that it doesn’t drain quickly. This is especially important if you plan on using your e-bike for longer rides.
There are three types of batteries:
- Lead-based batteries: These are usually the most affordable option but are quite heavy. They’re more sensitive to different weather conditions needing more maintenance work.
- Nickel-cadmium batteries: These batteries are more expensive. They’re also harder to recycle and get rid of safely.
- Lithium batteries: These batteries are lightweight, safe, and quite powerful. However, these are more expensive.
Keeping in mind how far you want to go allows you to better determine how to choose an electric bike. If you’re the type of person who plans on going on farther rides or just wants to charge your battery less, you’d want a bike with a battery that has more miles per charge.
An e-bike can weigh between 20 to 30 kg. When buying an electric bike, you’d want it to fit your purpose. If you plan on using your e-bike for commuting or for lighter rides, get something lighter. Make sure that your e-bike can also support your weight.
A light bike we’d recommend is the Engwe C20. It’s an ultra-light bike that only weighs 24 kg but can carry up to 150kg. It’s got a lithium battery that can get to 80km on just a single charge.
In the event that your bike dies, you can easily fold its aluminum frame and carry it around or put it in a car without difficulty. The Engwe C20 is perfect for those buying an e-bike that’s affordable but has good performance.
Pedal Assist or Throttle?
As we’ve mentioned above, there are three classes of e-bike. Now, it’s time to determine whether you simply need a pedal-assist or a throttle. If you’re happy with the assistance you get from pedaling, then you don’t need a throttle. If you want a boost of power without pedaling, go for a bike with a throttle.
Security and Storage
Where will you be storing your e-bike? When you use your e-bike, do you see yourself in situations where you’ll simply be leaving your bike around? If so, go for an electric bike that has rear wheel locks that prevent them from being stolen.
If you’re in an unfamiliar area, you’d want to keep your battery with you. Another option is to choose a foldable bike that you can just bring around with you wherever you go. This is where the size and weight of your bike become even more important.
Service and Maintenance
As this type of vehicle is electronic, there can come a time when you need some repairs and maintenance done. Consider choosing an e-bike that provides good assistance when it comes to repairing your bike. You can also choose a bike that’s easily serviced, meaning that you can easily get the parts that you need to replace or fix your e-bike.
Type of Motor
When you’re thinking of what to look for in an e-bike, you’ll have to consider your motor system of choice. This can affect your ride quality, so it’s good to know the difference between each type.
A hub drive is the most common type of motor and is mostly seen on cheaper types of e-bikes. You can find a hub drive motor either on the front or rear wheel. There are also a few e-bikes that have motors on both wheels. This type of motor is independent of the rest of your e-bike’s gears as the torque is directly applied to the wheels.
A mid-drive motor, on the other hand, can be found in the middle of the bike at the bottom bracket area. It applies force directly to the mechanical drivetrain. Hub-drive motors can be found in more expensive e-bikes. They’re known to offer higher performance, giving more range and power. They’re also recommended for those who like to journey more difficult trails.
If you’re looking for the same pedaling feel as a regular bike, then you should opt for mid-drive motors. Hub motors are a good choice for those who don’t necessarily need high levels of performance. These are good for city cyclists are e-bikes with hub motors are usually lighter because of the smaller battery.
One of the biggest factors to consider is the price, especially if you have a specific budget in mind. You can buy cheaper bikes out there, but make sure to consider the factors we’ve already listed below. At the same time, there may be more expensive bikes out there that don’t deliver as much in performance.
Think about which aspects of your bike you’re willing to invest in. If you want something for daily errands, you can save money by getting a bike with less speed settings and a lower range. If you’re planning on more heavy-duty rides, you might want to invest in a bike with better assistance and more range. Again, when you think about how to buy an e-bike, you’re going to want to think about your priorities.
What Bike Should I Buy?
If you want a more heavy-duty bike that you can use for sports or for rough roads, we’d recommend the Engwe Engine PRO. What’s great about this bike is that it’s got soft leather seats and fat tires that give you a really comfortable riding experience.
If you find yourself driving at night, it’s also got tail lights that ensure your safety. It can go up to 35 to 40 km/hr. It’s also got an 8-speed system and adjustable seat and hand bars. This is perfect for those who really want to customize their bikes for the best riding experience.
For a city bike, we’d recommend the same bike we mentioned earlier, the Engwe C20. It’s more on the affordable side without sacrificing performance. It’s perfect for a city stroll as it can take you up to 80km with just one full charge. It’s also got 7-speed options and a foldable frame that can easily be carried around.
You no longer have to wonder about how to buy an electric bike now that you know all the factors you should consider prior to your purchase. Keep in mind, each person has a different use for their e-bikes so there’s no one-size-fits-all. Make sure to invest in the different aspects of your bike that matter to you. Once you pick a bike that fits your needs, you won’t regret making the switch.