Buyers Guide 2022
Table of Contents
Electric Bike Introduction
In recent times, E-bikes are rapidly becoming the fastest-growing specie of bicycle in the industry.
Whether it’s your first time getting an e-bike or you want to switch from the regular to an electric bike, this electric bike guide contains everything you need to know before you buy an e-bike.
There have been many questions about what e-bikes are and how they work. Well, electric bikes are simply an upgrade to regular bikes.
They are special bikes powered by an electric motor and a battery. Unlike regular bikes, where the rider generates all the speed and energy while paddling, the motor and batteries in an electric bike combine to supply riders with an extra boost.
Here are some guides for buyers to select their first electric bike.
How does Electric Bike work?
As the name implies, Electric bikes, also known as pedelecs, are bicycles powered by a motor and battery that supplement the energy used by the rider is pedaling. The battery stores the power energy used to drive the motor.
E-bikes have a similar structure to regular pedal-powered bicycles. The only difference is that they are designed to assist the rider while simultaneously reducing efforts and increasing speed.
An e-bike is built so that, once the pedals are engaged, the motor instantly gains power from the battery, increasing the speed and torque of the bicycle.
One significant feature of an e-bike is that they have an in-built torque sensor and a speed sensor. The role of the speed sensor is to automatically send signals to the motor the moment you start moving, while the torque sensors provide assistance that compliments your power. As you match the pedal, the torque sensor detects your pedaling power, then supplies a boost. The harder you pedal, the higher the boost.
E-bikes also have multiple modes that enable the bike to switch from one level to another. You can easily choose how much help you want and how fast you want the bike to run.
Why Choose an Electric Bike?
E-bikes are a fantastic way to reach your destinations faster and more smoothly.
Since the emergence of electric bikes, they have positively impacted the environment. Unlike cars, e-bikes are more environmentally friendly.
- Commuting is made more accessible.
Most times, commuting with a non-electric bike can get you all sweaty. You don’t have to worry about that anymore. With e-bikes, you commute hassle-free, thanks to the powerful motors and energy-filled batteries that allow commuting to various destinations without breaking a sweat. Sometimes, when you commute with e-bikes, you meet new e-bike lovers.
- Make big savings
e-bikes are far more economical than most methods of commuting. Most people are currently adopting them as an alternative to expensive cars. E-bikes are also cheaper than some electric cars.
- Take the strain out of riding:
We know how strenuous it is to get to the top of the hills or the mountains at times. E-bikes give you that extra boost you need to reach your peak.
- Still get a workout:
Not only do e-bikes help improve your general health, but they also contribute to your physical fitness and mental well-being.
- Long Range
E-bikes are generally known for being strong and fast. With your electric bike, you can travel long distances in less time.
Who are Electric Bikes for?
Generally speaking, e-bikes are for everyone, as long the rider can bring the bike’s speed under control. Today, e-bikes are becoming the number choice for bicycle lovers. Below is a category of people who would love and should get e-bikes:
- People who want to drive less and spend less on gasoline
- People who love climbing mountains and hills or are already mountain bikers.
- Road cyclists who want to ride faster and farther
- Riders who are tired of the regular bikes
- People who want to keep fit and exercise more.
There is an e-bike for everyone. What determine your choice of an e-bike is your interest, budget, and need. In the next session, we will guide you through how to choose the right e-bike.
Choosing the right Electric Bike – The Ultimate Guide 2022 for Buyers!
Before you select the electric bike that is best for you, you must know the classes of e-bikes you will find in your bicycle shop.
Three Classes of Electric Bikes
There are three major classes of e-bikes in existence in the cycling industry. They include:
- Class 1: The motor kicks in only when you pedal and stops helping at 20 mph.
This class of electric bikes works while you are still pedaling. It is usually known as a pedelec – a bike with an electric motor that assists only during pedaling. These bikes are allowed on typical bike lanes and bike paths.
- Class 2: Also has a pedal-assist mode up to 20 mph plus a purely throttle-powered mode.
Although these classes of e-bikes are also limited to 20mph, they also come with throttles to keep the bike moving even when you aren’t pedaling. They offer assistance from electric powers and throttles.
- Class 3: Is solely pedal-assist (like class 1), but assistance continues until you hit 28 mph.
These classes of bikes are a bit complex. They can go up to 28 mph but may not have a throttle. Most cities do not allow this class of electric bikes to have throttles, while in others, throttles are allowed.
Electric Bikes Type
E-bikes are generally known for three main characteristics: speed, assistance, and fun. Just as you have a variety of regular bikes, today there are different types of electric bikes can find different types of e-bikes in different cities; they include:
- Electric folding bike:
Popular brands like Brompton pioneered these species of electric bikes. Folding e-bikes provide uniquely designed motor systems that fit perfectly in tiny frames. The downside to these types of bikes is that they are sometimes less powerful. However, they offer a significant advantage over others as they are handy and can be carried along on public transport or stored neatly.
- Electric hybrid bikes:
As the name implies, hybrid bikes serve various purposes regarding the surface. Electric hybrid bikes are suitable for people who prefer bikes with flat handlebars. Some hybrid bikes are best for road trips, while others are suited for off-road trips.
- Electric mountain bikes:
Mountain and hill bikers, this is for you. As you already know, mountains are characterized by steeps slopes, and it is a powerful electric mountain bike to comfortably scale through the highs and the lows areas of the mountain.
These bikes have a similar design to the standard mountain bike with a much weightier tube. Some models of these bikes come with detachable batteries.
- Electric road bikes:
The electric road bikes are specie of e-bikes that look just like standard bikes. The difference is that they have drop handlebars that allow you to ride comfortably in a more streamlined position. They are also lighter in weight.
Ultimately, these bikes are designed to make you feel like there are no hills. They are a perfect choice for both the young and the elderly riders, and it provides them with the extra ability to ride faster than their strength could have carried.
- Electric cargo bikes:
These are specials e-bikes with unique features different from the others. They are designed to help carry heavy items. They are made for either commercial goods or small seats to carry more minor children in most cases.
Aside from the ones mentioned above, there are also some other species of e-bikes popularly called e-road or MTB. Some fall under a different category, such as e-gravel bikes. Ultimately, the best bike for you will be dependent on what you intends to use it for.
Other Facts To Consider When Choosing An E-Bike
Like when you drive a car, the range in e-bikes depends primarily on how you ride it. The more powerful you ride, the faster your battery drains. E-bank range varies depending on the road condition, the weight of the bicycle, the rider, the tire pressure, the weight, the pedal-assist temperature, and power.
Also, if you ride it in a powerful mode on a hilly surface, you will have less work to do because it will cause the motor to provide more assistance.
Some e-bikes come with companion apps that can help you get the most range. Ultimately, your potential range equals the motor’s output, your battery’s capacity, and how you ride your bicycle.
The brake is an integral part of every bike, and it determines your riding safety factor. The e-bike market is full of different varieties of brakes. The following are brakes that work well on electric bikes.
- V-brakes: v-brakes fall under the category of rim brakes. These brakes squeeze the tire’s rim to stop the bike. The difference between the disc brake and the v-brake is how and where they are applied. The V-brake works by applying the force of the brake caliper to the rim of a bicycle. The friction between the pads and the brakes slows down, which causes the bike to stop. One reason most persons like the v-brakes is because they are less weighty and are easy to maintain
- Cantilevers brakes: these brakes are excellent brakes for e-bikes with fat tires on mountain bikes. They connect each brake arm to a separate pivot session on each side of the fork. Their primary function is to allow for more suspension between pads and mounts. They are mounted the same way as the V-brakes.
- Caliper Brakes: The caliper brakesare the most popular e-bike cycling industry. They are overly stylish, durable, rigid, and easy to use. The downside of caliper brakes is that they have a low braking potential when used with larger tires.
- Disc Brakes: Disk brakes bring the bike to a halt using the rotor. They are either hydraulic or mechanical, and they are grouped according to the brake’s brand and the size of the disk rotor. Practically, hydraulic brakes with larger rotors have proven to be more effective. The downside to these hydraulic brakes is that they can be challenging to repair compared to a mechanical brake.
The use of batteries in bicycles is becoming more predominant. In recent years, many manufacturers have found a way to reduce the size of the batteries so that they are correctly fitted into the frame or clipped into a cavity within the frame.
- Battery charging time: indeed, e-bike batteries may not last forever; charging time should be a significant concern for people who travel long journeys. If you are going on a more extended trip, relying on pedal assistance alone wouldn’t do much. It would be best to have a fast-charging battery that you can remove easily. A modern e-bike battery takes about three to four to be fully charged. The unit of measurement for battery capacity is generally amps/hours.
- Number of Batteries: the size or number of batteries in an e-bike can significantly determine how far your bike can go on a single charge.
- Battery mounting setup: you may also want to consider a removable battery. This can make charging easy and more convenient.
Most e-bike motor systems are built to allow you to select the power setting. You can either set the mode to low, medium, high or max (in rare cases. This setting varies between bikes; while some have only two settings, others have up to five or more.
The number of modes shouldn’t be all that important; what should excite you is that you can switch from one mode to another using a simple control interface. You can also decide what you need and when you need it.
An average e-bike should come fitted with a handlebar or a frame-mounted control panel. At the same time, other bikes are programmed with Smartphone apps that can tell you metrics, your mileage, run system diagnosis, tell your mileage, run system updates, and offer helpful tips related to getting the best range.
One of the significant downsides of electric bikes is the extra weight incurred by the motor and the battery. The batteries and e-bikes can make an e-bike weigh up to 10kg for a high-end road electric bike, while the large hybrid electric bikes can weigh around 25kg. The hybrid bikes’ weight makes it difficult for them to be carried around.
Moreover, bikes with additional weights do not easily navigate potholes and rough surfaces. The only e-bikes that have weight and can navigate properly are the Foldable e-bikes. They are naturally designed to be handy and of low weight. The only downside is that they are made with smaller wheels, and these smaller wheels make it difficult to have a completely comfortable journey.
There are various brake systems for electric bikes. They include
- Front hub motors: the front hub motors can be found at the front wheel of bicycles. They are mainly fitted to entry-level electric bikes. The front hub motor helps to pull the rider along.
- Central-drive motors: They are readily seen at the bottom bracket of your bicycle, just where the pedals are fitted to the frame. All the power generated in riding is channeled to the entire chain set, thereby making cycling more pleasurable.
- Rear hub motors:These drive systems are attached to the rear wheel of the bicycle. Their principal function is to provide more friction to the bike than the front hub motors. They also provide stability on the road while cycling. You can find these motors the high-end and mid-range e-bikes.
Find the right size
Have you ever ridden on a bike that wasn’t your size? I guess it wasn’t fun? Bike sizing is another essential part of buying an e-bike, although it can be tricky. Buying an electric bike is a considerable investment. An improperly sized bike can lead to wrist pain, constant back pains, fatigue, and discomfort. To avoid all these inconveniences, you need to consider the following factors:
- Rider height: If you are unsure about your height, you can stand against any wall with your feet flattened on the ground or get a friend or someone else to help you measure your height with a tape.
- Stand over height: This is the distance from the ground to the top tube of the frame of your e-bike. Knowing your stand-over height is necessary for finding the perfectly sized electric bike. Your legs should be long enough to mount the bike frame with your feet comfortably. Sometimes you may need to stop and unmount from the bike quickly, and you need to do that easily without getting hurt.
- Frame size: The frame size is one of the most sensitive aspects of getting an electric that suits you. It is the distance between the pedal axis’s center and the seat tube’s end. Knowing the frame size is crucial because it can rarely be undone once set.
You also need to pay for the accessories of your electric bikes because they can affect your bike’s functionality. You can achieve numerous things with your e-bike when you have various accessories to kit up your electric bike. We recommend you go for electric bikes with heavy-duty, durable accessories. Examples are helmet, left side mirror, baskets, lights, grips, fenders, pop-off pedals, suspension Seatpost, bike toolbox, a bell, battery charger.
- Lighting: If you often commute during late hours, you will need to select an e-bike with a sound lighting system. Ninety percent of E-bikes come with lights mounted at the front of the bicycle. Your electric bike needs light that ensures that motorists and other road users can see your bike at night. That is why we recommend you go for lights that are made of LED. They are necessary for e-bikes because they must maintain visibility and maximize safety while riding.Most e-bike lights are designed to fit into onboard batteries and motor systems. Some other e-bikes have multiple options to suit any e-bike design. However, it is good you note that the lights used in the regular bicycles are not compatible with electric bikes and vice versa. Some e-bike rear lights have a brake light function.
- Racks:As electric bikes continue to gain popularity in the biking community, there is a growing need for bike rack options. The standard rack design of e-bike racks is hitch-mounted platform racks. There are various racks available for your electric bike.
- RockyMounts Backstage: these types of bike racks are easiest for cargo access. They are suitable for bikes with small wheel diameters. These have a unique swing feature that allows unhindered access to your car’s backend. The only disadvantage of this rack is that they are usually heavily for one person.
- Saris SuperClmap Ex: these are lightweight, heavy-duty performance racks. They have a unique tilting back feature that allows access to your car’s trunk or cargo area. One thing you should note is that these racks have a limited lifetime.
- Hollywood Racks Sport Rider: The Hollywood rack sport rider is made for heavy-duty cars and trailers. They can hold up to 80 lbs in a single tray. It can be folded when not used, making it an excellent option for cargo bikes.
- Handlebar-mounted LCDs: The handlebar-mounted LCD’s purpose is to turn ON/OFF the power, monitor power quickly, and keep up with battery status. Other details on your LCD are your battery’s status, speedometer, Trip time, etc.One primary importance of LCD on e-bikes is because of the need to keep track of your bicycle’s so that you can make safe decisions: some features of handlebar-mounted LCDs are:
- USB Charging
- Pedal cast
- Battery capacity
- Smartphone Integration: Smartphone integration is a new technological solution that provides electric bike lovers with real-time opportunities to communicate and interact while cycling. These Smartphone integrations are becoming electric bikes’ brains and dashboards more interestingly. They also promote real-time support and maintenance.
- Built-in Security: Before you purchase an electric bike, you need to ensure that it has a built-in anti-theft tracking system. Most e-bikes have their parts secured with anti-theft nuts and screws to prevent people from stealing wheels, seats, handlebars, and other electric bike parts. You can also find an e-bike with a built-in cable lock controlled via Bluetooth or smart phones. The only downside of this feature is that it makes electric bikes very expensive.
- Component Quality: Quality components in an electric bike cannot be overemphasized. A poor-quality component can lead to frequent breakdown of your electric bike, the break will not last, and it can affect your bike’s overall performance. Therefore, you need to ensure that the electric bike you want to buy is built with the best quality components.
- Frames:When choosing an e-bike to buy, you must lookout for a frame made from the finest materials. Most electric bike frames are made from various materials such as steel, aluminum, and titanium. Titanium is a good recommendation; it is strong, at the same time, light-weighted.
- e-bike legality:This is one of the most crucial aspects of acquiring an e-bike. E-bikes legality is also known as “electrical assisted pedals cycles” or “EAPCs” under the EU law EN15194
E-bikes are rapidly dominating the cycling world. From this article, we have seen that there are different variations to every single species of e-bike that suit different usage; however, you can know which one is best for you by figuring out what you need the bike for, the type of surface, the frequency of usage, and then balancing it with your budget. Which type do you prefer, and how do you intend to use it?