Do you fancy a more leisurely, healthy commute to work?
Do you want to boost your electric bike riding skills?
Perhaps you want something to take down on the road for leisure?
If you’re considering buying an electric bike, there's much to know before choosing a particular model. We've compiled this article to help you get the best out of your pockets.
Do you like what you hear?
Here are the seven most significant things you need to know before placing that order.
1) What does my typical trip look like?
Depending on what you’ll be using your bike for, these are the most common types of electric bikes:
Electric Mountain Bikes
These bikes are designed for off-road riding, taking you farther and faster with less effort. They are perfect for all-terrain adventures, including climbing steeper hills and descending downhill more effortlessly.
Electric Folding Bikes
You can fold these bikes into a compact size and collapse them in seconds, making them flexible to fit into tight storage spaces and other modes of transport. They are perfect for commuting and urban riding.
Road bikes are designed for paved surfaces. They feature a lightweight frame, narrow tires, and drop-down handlebars, making them suitable for recreational rides on the streets and commuting.
Hybrid / Commuter Bikes
They combine the advantages of road and mountain bikes, making them perfect for challenging commutes, rugged rides, or just getting around town.
Comfort / Cruiser Bikes
These bikes share most attributes with commuter ebikes. However, they are specifically built for a casual recreational rider that wants comfort and control. They are perfect for leisurely cruises around town or running quick errands.
Cargo bikes are regular electric bikes but with stretched frames for utility. They are a great alternative to cars for urban delivery, ferrying children, and more!
2) What Class of Electric Bikes is best for me?
Class 1 (pedal-assist)
In these bikes, you must pedal to use the motor. The motor senses the rider's pedalling torque and power to provide pedal assistance up to 20mph.
Pedal-assist electric bikes are a good option if you want something with the feel of a traditional bike but can offer motorized assistance when needed.
Class 2 (throttle only)
Like pedal-assist electric bikes, throttle-only ebikes are also limited to a top speed of 20mph. However, you can still benefit from the motor without pedalling. The motor in these bikes is controlled by a throttle, which you can crank and go.
Class 2 ebikes are an excellent option for anyone looking for more control over the bike’s motor rather than being tied to pedalling.
Class 3 ebikes (pedal-assist with/without throttle)
These electrics are similar to class 2 electric bikes, except that they are equipped with a speedometer and offer up to 28mph of motorized assistance. You can use their motor for pedal assistance or self-propulsion; hence, they are perfect for long-distance commutes.
3) Is the Electric Bike Legal?
In some states, you can legally ride an electric bike on the roads only if it fits into the EAPCs (Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles) category, for instance,
- The bikes must be powered with pedalling (i.e., pedal-assist) and not just a battery and motor.
- The motor is limited to pedal-assist up to a maximum speed of 20mph
- The power output should not exceed 250W
If you want a bike that can ride on throttle only, provide assistance above 20mph, and has a 250W+ motor, you'll need to register it as a motor vehicle, tax it, and insure it. You'll also need a driving license and full cycling gear to ride the bike on busy roads.
These laws are more common in the UK. The US has not yet put such restrictions in place. California, on the other hand, does not permit class 3 ebikes to have the throttle mode. Nevertheless, it’s still important to check with rules in your state/country.
4) Salient Features of the Electric Bike
To enjoy the comfort, safety, and convenience of an electric bike, please look out for these features:
Hydraulic Disk Brakes
They have high stopping power than conventional mechanical brakes. They are also low-maintenance, durable, and work well in wet and dry conditions.
They not only protect you and your clothes from the grime thrown up by tires. They also keep you dry and warm and protect your bike's frame and components.
So, please check for the bike's clearance, i.e., the distance between the frame and wheels. Also, check if the frame contains eyelets, which enable the fitting of full-length mudguards (depending on clearance).
For many experienced riders, a kickstand is just pointless. And some electric bikes, like Mountain bikes, don't have kickstands. However, for casual riders, i.e., those who ride commuter bikes, a kickstand will help keep their bikes upright as they stop to run errands.
Kickstands also make parking and loading the electric bike a child's play. This feature may be significant to cargo bikes.
If you find a kickstand necessary in your ebike, please look for the one mounted near the rear hub and not centrally.
Different electric bikes accommodate different tire sizes. You can still make minor adjustments depending on the wheel size. Nonetheless, large-volume tires with good tread and a puncture-resistant lining will be the best option for comfort, safety, and versatility.
No one size of the saddle can fit every rider's needs. More upright ebikes may have broader, softer saddles because they are more comfortable for long, leisure rides. Conversely, narrower, more rigid saddles may be the best for professional riders who cycle in aggressive and low positions, i.e., in racing bikes.
5) Power, Battery, and Range
The power of an electric bike is relative to the rider's weight and the terrain the bike will be conquering.
If you are relatively small or ride on paved surfaces, 250W will be enough to propel you. Heavyweight riders might use a 500W ebike. However, for rugged terrain and steep hills, a more powerful bike, i.e. with above 750W, will be appropriate.
A bike's range can vary from 20 to over 100 miles depending on the rider's weight, the pedal-assist level, and the terrain they'll be riding on. Please choose an ebike with enough battery watt-hour capacity to power your bike for the distance you intend to travel.
6) What Kind of Drive System should I get?
The most commonly used gear systems used in electric bikes are:
Rear Hub Drive Motors
Geared hub motors work well for all applications but are best for steep hills and heavy loads. Direct drive hub motors are excellent for high-speed flat commutes.
Mid/Center Drive Motors
They are lighter, and their weight is directly proportional to the rider's centre of gravity, implying much better bike handling characteristics. Even though they are expensive, they give the most extended range and are flexible for all applications.
7) What Size of the Electric Bike Will Suit Me?
The correct size of an electric bike accounts for the saddle height, handlebar height, frame size, and pedal position. Getting a fitting bike will help you ride safely and comfortably.
Here at HOVSCO, we provide a size guide for all our bikes. Be sure to get accurate body measurements to be directed to a right-sized electric bike.
How to Buy an Electric Bike
Please follow these steps before buying an electric bike:
- Take your time to select a correctly-fitting electric bike that will suit all your long-term needs, comply with your local regulations, and lies within your budget.
- Choose a reputed brand for your ebike, i.e., HOVSCO, which has a practical customer support system and will not close down anytime soon (for easy repairs).
- Choose a dealer for your electric bike. Purchasing an electric bike from a direct-to-consumer manufacturer is the best way to get expert service, lower prices, better deals on warranties, and customization to suit your needs.
- Don't forget to test-ride the bike to get a sense of how it feels, brakes, and shifts before settling on a style that works best for you.