How To Choose An Electric Bike:

Thinking of getting into the world of electric biking and not sure where to start? E-bikes have boomed the cycling market, and they’re here to stay!

They also have some pretty incredible features that you can’t miss.

There are many different types of electric bikes on the market nowadays; there’s a type of electric bike for every kind of riding style now.

But that can be quite intimidating for a new rider or an intermediate rider new to electric bikes, so don’t worry, this is what I’m here for. I will guide you through all the confusing bits.

Wait, let me tell you something.

I have created a guide of everything you need to know when choosing electric bikes, whether that is electric fat bikes, electric mountain bikes, or regular commuters– I’m here to help.

So stay tuned; you won’t want to miss this.

electric bike photos

Different Types Of Electric Bikes:

As e-bikes are becoming more and more common, there are many different types of e-bikes n the market to choose from, and just like regular bikes, they have different purposes.

Commuter E-Bike:

Commuter e-bikes were the ones that started it all; e-bikes were created as an eco-friendly alternative to replace mo-peds on the road.

Driving to work can be very expensive, but using standard bikes will leave you all hot and flustered by the time you get to work.

E-bikes will not only get you to your destination much quicker than conventional bikes, but it also means you get to work with more energy and arrived feeling refreshed rather than hot, sticky, and uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

E-commuter bikes can also save you a lot of money in the long run, they may be an investment to begin with, but it can save you thousands of bucks over the years as to recharge the battery it costs as little as 12 cents which in comparison to $100 on gas, it is over 100% cheaper.

The powerful motors and batteries can propel you up to 20mph so you can cruise past traffic, tame treacherous hills (I feel your pain San Fransisco), and get to work without a sweat on your back.

Electric commuter bikes can even go on cycle paths, which is their main selling point, especially if you live in a concrete jungle. You can skip past all the traffic and not have to worry about freshen up when you get to work.

Plus, you don’t need to worry about filling up at the gas station on the way or spending what feels like hours searching for a parking spot in the parking garage.

They make climbing hills easier, the commute to work much less stressful, pedal-assist commuter bikes beat a normal bike every time when it comes to commuting to work.

If you ride down quite rough roads, then I would recommend either going for an electric mountain bike or a hybrid bike with a suspension fork; this should help smooth your ride.

Road E-Bike:

If you enjoy riding on roads and want that little bit of help keep you up to speed for the short sprint rides, going up hills, and maintaining overall performance for long periods, then e-bikes are brilliant.

They have drop-bars, and many of the batteries are subtle, too; one thing I love about electric road bikes is that they’re almost silent, so you don’t feel embarrassed that you’re using an e-bike; most people won’t be able to tell.

You should go for a Fazua or a Bosch motor system; these are best for road e-bikes. You may be adding more extra weight, but there are some pretty incredible lightweight options.

Electric Mountain Bike:

Some say it’s cheating, but while it might be easier, it makes it that much more fun. If you have never tried e-mountain bikes, then you’re missing out!! Electric mountain bikes have flooded the market.

With the high-performing motor and trail ripping capabilities of the mountain bike frame, you can attack the trails harder and faster, plus you can push further than you ever did before.

There are so many options to choose from when buying electric mountain bikes.

You can either purchase e-hardtails, which are a much more affordable option, or if you fancy the splurge, then full-suspension models offer insane levels of versatility and offer amazing performance whatever the mountains throw at you.

You can ride rougher, harder and longer with complete ease, comfort, and thrills.

Electric mountain bikes follow the same geometry as a normal bike, with different frame sizes, levels of fork travel, and wheel sizes to suit every kind of rider– which is the real beauty of it.

However, adding an electric motor and battery system means that there’s extra added weight while riding, which isn’t always ideal– but with the electric motor to boost you, you won’t even notice it!

Electric Fat Bikes:

Along with regular electric mountain bikes, you can also get your hands on fat tire electric bikes; they’re brilliant at providing that little extra traction on the technical terrain.

Fat tire electric bikes have a massive advantage over any other electric mountain bike through having a whopping 4 inch wide fat tires that offer more surface contact with the ground and upmost effective stability and traction, even on the most rugged and uneven terrains.

A fat tire electric bike is an e-bike that features tires at least 4 inches wide; they offer more surface area and contact with the ground over conventional bicycles, making them ideal for the rocky terrain. 

Fat tire electric bikes come in various frame styles and power levels, so they offer a massive amount of versatility, practicability, and excitement for every type of rider.

The extra surface area spreads the weight of you and your bike over a greater area so you can enjoy even speedier propulsion over flat surfaces and tackling hilly terrains like a breeze.

In winter, we see the sight of snow, and it ruins our bike ride plans, but a fat tire mountain bike, electric or not, offers the ultimate traction on these kinds of terrain and these kinds of weather conditions. Fat tires even provide cushion and shock dampening, so every ride is a smooth ride.

The weather, terrain, treacherous climb, or daring descent will never get you down if you’ve got an electric fat bike!

Electric Hybrid Bike:

Hybrid bikes are often much heavier out of the lot because motors are less complex as they’re more designed for robustness than lighter weight.

The majority of e-hybrid bikes tend to have a front suspension fork, which helps to absorb the bumps and uneven surfaces when riding over rough ground, while some models come with mudguards and pannier racks.

Hauling them upstairs can be quite a challenge and can be quite awkward, so if you live in an apartment where the elevator is constantly broken, I wouldn’t recommend getting a hybrid e-bike.

However, most hybrid ebikes are designed for commuters. They even come in cargo options, which I thought was pretty cool; you can haul around heavyweight without feeling the toll on your body.

Hybrid E-bikes are also known as ‘town and trekking e-bikes.’ They have the same design as standard hybrid bikes as they can be used both on roads and light off-road use.

E-Folding Bikes:

Electric folding bikes are brilliant as they offer the same benefits as a regular e-bike, but they are much easier to store. They’re ideal if your office doesn’t have a place to store bikes.

Their small wheels, easy acceleration, and sharp maneuverability. They are brilliant for getting in and out of traffic along with whizzing down the cycle lanes.

They can be folded, so the design is compact, making them not only ideal for commuting, but there are some brilliant electric folding mountain bikes on the market which are super easy to transport.

Electric Cruiser Bikes:

The hint is really in the name, really; cruising bikes are made for cruising. This type of electric bicycle is all about comfort and styling while cruising down the streets.

They tend to have wider, plusher saddles and higher handlebars that are generally swept back toward the rider. The pedals are generally mounted further forward so the rider can rest both feet on the ground at stops.

They also tend to have larger balloon tires roughly 3 inches thick, so much thicker than regular electric road bikes but thinner than fat tire e-bikes.

They tend to have a classic look with a curvy frame and thicker tubing.

Electric Cargo Bikes:

Electric cargo bikes are the first electric bikes ideal to haul a heavyweight without breaking a sweat, they might not be the sexiest e-bikes on the market, but they’re super practical.

They’re designed to haul as much shit as possible. They might take a few different methods and ways of hauling the load, but they’re an excellent electric bicycle component quality.

Front-loaders tend to have large front buckets or covered pods, they offer the best hauling capacity on an electric bike, but they can be awkward at slow speeds as they have an extra stretched design.

Other electric cargo bikes tend to have a frame that is stretched at the rear to provide a foot or cargo platform on either side of the rear wheel. These kinds of electric cargo bikes also offer a wide amount of different cargo accessories like racks, bags, and even child carriers.

There are even cargo e-bikes that come in a smaller size, but they use a combination of the front cargo rack and rear cargo box; they also come with cargo accessories making it the perfect electric bike for hauling heavy loads.

electric bike health benefits

Different Classes Of Electric Bikes:

If you live in the US, then you might’ve heard of the three-class system when it comes to buying electric bikes. If you haven’t heard of this, then this system breaks e-bikes down into three categories and types.

FYI If you live outside the US then this won’t apply to you so you might want to check out my guide on all the laws and regulations around electric bikes for all countries.

Before looking for certain types, you should first work out what class of electric bicycles you’d like to go for.

Class 1 electric bike: 

This is an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that assists only while the rider is pedaling. It can reach maximum speed limits of 20mph and has a power output of 750W.

Most new riders start with a class 1 electric bike as they are the most affordable; they’re also universally accepted by law. You’re legally allowed to ride on city streets and many bike paths.

As e-bikes are becoming more and more popular, it is becoming more common that you’re allowed to ride on traditional mountain bike trails. While this may not be all it is a start, be sure to check before you go.

Class 2 electric bicycle: 

This is an e-bike equipped with a motor that can be used exclusively to propel the bicycle; it doesn’t assist when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20mph.

Class 2 e-bikes are typically allowed in the same places as class 1 as they cannot really exceed 20mph of motor assistance. They’re not as commonly made by manufacturers like REI and TREK, so I recommend getting either class 1 or 3.

Class 3 electric bike: 

This e-bike is equipped with a motor that assists only while the rider is pedaling. It stops assisting when the bicycle reaches 28mph, and it is equipped with a speedometer.

Class 3 e-bikes are more commonly found in commuter e-bikes as they’re much more powerful and faster than the other two classes. These are popular for commuters as you can keep up with traffic easier.

Class 3 e-bikes can also climb hills better and make it much easier to carry heavier loads; the only downside is that you can’t ride on most bike paths or mountain bike trails.

If you’re a commuter looking to make your daily commutes much more of a breeze, then class 3 e-bikes will be the ideal one for you, but class 1 or 2 is your best bet for recreational riders.

Most newer riders tend to start off with a class 1 e-bike as they are the most affordable and most universally accepted; you can ride in bike lanes, city streets, and even some mountain bike trails.

Just be sure to check the laws for your state first.

electric bikes 6

What You Need To Know About E-Bike Batteries:

So this is pretty obvious here; the bigger the battery, the more capacity and the further you can ride, but the quality of the battery, battery capacity, battery charge time, and the number of batteries is also super important.

Capacities of e-bike batteries are measured in watt-hours (Wh) which is the number of hours a battery can sustain 1-watt of power before dying.

So if you have a 500-watt motor and a 500Wh battery (commonly found in class 3 e-bikes), the power will drain more quickly than a 250 watt motor with a 500Wh battery. So bear this in mind when buying.

Other factors you’ll want to consider are battery charge time, number of batteries, and mounting setup.

The battery charge time is how long it will take to charge fully from empty; the larger battery capacity, the longer it will take to charge. But it is recommended that you charge your battery after every ride to prolong the life of your bike battery.

The number of batteries the e-bike comes with is also important as it is much easier to have two batteries over one, you can travel much further, or you can charge one while you’re riding then switch so you never run out of battery.

The battery capacity is how long the battery will last in one battery charge; you should base this on how far roughly you’re aiming to ride. On average, the battery range is around 20-100 miles. As a general rule of thumb, the more you spend, the higher the range.

Some batteries are integrated into the frame to clear space for the bottle cages or a small saddlebag, while external batteries are easier to charge and replace.

Want to know more about electric bike batteries? I broke it all down in a full guide. Don’t worry about how to remove, charge and replace e-bike batteries like a pro.

Electric Motor Locations:

So another important factor to look into is the location of the electric motors on the e-bike you’re thinking of choosing. There tend to be two different types and positions.

Hub-Drive Motors:

Rear-wheel hub motors send pedal power straight to the rear wheel, so it gives you the feeling of being pushed along. At the same time, front-hub drive motors use the same technology and idea as front-wheel cars.

They also use a standard drivetrain which is found on the rear of the bike.

A front or rear wheel hub will still offer a good level of power, but they can add weight to the front or rear of the bike, which is why you tend to find them on cheaper models.

Mid-Drive Motors:

Mid-drive motors tend to be housed around the bottom bracket of the e-bike, where you’ll find the crank and pedals; it looks like a thick cylinder you would find on a conventional bike.

Mid-drive motors tend to be the most expensive but deliver the most power and better balance as their central location can offer better balance; they help keep the central gravity low which is a good thing.

There are three different classes of e-bikes in the United States, which is the level of motor power permitted in your area/state.

But as a general rule of thumb in the US, you are legally allowed to use up to 28mph pedal-assist e-bike, but there are certain laws around where you can use it per class of e-bike.

remove electric bike battery

Other Things To Look Out For In Electric Bikes:

So the most important factors to consider when choosing an e-bike are the type of e-bike, motor, and battery, but there are a few other things you should consider before you splurge.

The top thing to look out for is the price. E-bikes are very much investment, and while they come at quite a steep price tag at first glance, they save you money in the long run– especially if you’re buying one for commuting.

I wouldn’t recommend spending much less than $1000 on an e-bike but for those on a budget, between $1000-$2500 is a respectable price to pay for an e-bike that will still give you top-quality components.

If you’re looking for something more higher-end, I recommend spending around $2500 to around the $6000 mark; you will be guaranteed to have a carbon frame and superior shock absorption; this is ideal for those serious trail shredders or those that ride on rugged city roads.

But while this seems like quite a steep price tag, the best electric bike will save you lots of money on gas and parking, and you’ll be saving thousands over the years.

The more you pay, the higher quality the components will be, so the more you pay, the longer the components like the battery will last. If you buy an e-bike for under 1000 bucks, then the battery will be of poor quality, will have a short lifespan and short-range.

But the components and price aren’t the only factors to consider but also the material of the bike itself.

Most budget-friendly e-bikes use aluminum alloys in their frame, making them lightweight and sturdy. There can be many choices for frame material such as steel, carbon, or aluminum. If you want to get a high-price and quality bike, it would have a carbon material, but if you want an affordable e-bike, you’ll get other materials like aluminum.

Aluminum is still a great choice compared to cheap e-bikes as it makes the frameset of the bike lightweight and reliable. The product mentioned above can be a good choice for you to get a cheap and quality e-bike.

Most aluminum options come with a carbon fork which helps with the shock absorption while keeping the price low. So you can still get similar quality features of a carbon frame but without the hefty price on top.

So when you’re looking for the best electric bike for your budget, just bear the quality of components and type of e-bike you’re after, and if anything, spends a little extra for the top quality components.

How to choose an electric bike

Summary:

So there you have it, everything you need to know when choosing a pedal electric cycle bike. E-bikes are getting better and better over the years, and the industry has well and truly flourished.

So when choosing a pedal-assist bike, make sure you do a test ride (if you can). They’re brilliant, especially when buying your first electric bike, as you can get a real feel for the bike.

If you’re still on the fence as to whether to buy an electric bike and still need some convincing, here is an article of the top 10 reasons why you need an electric bike in your life.

Your electric bike adventures await!

Latest guides
Best Budget Bike Computer
Best Budget Bike Computer

[Review] in 2021Check out the results fast - here are our review winners[dica_divi_carousel item_width_tablet="400px" item_width_phone="345px" item_width_last_edited="on|phone" show_items_desktop="3"...

Best BMX Bikes For Kids
Best BMX Bikes For Kids

[Review] in 2021Check out the results fast - here are our review winners[dica_divi_carousel item_width_tablet="400px" item_width_phone="345px" item_width_last_edited="on|phone" show_items_desktop="3"...

Best Shoes For Spinning
Best Shoes For Spinning

[Review] in 2021Check out the results fast - here are our review winners[dica_divi_carousel item_width_tablet="400px" item_width_phone="345px" item_width_last_edited="on|phone" show_items_desktop="3"...

Best Hybrid Bikes For Women
Best Hybrid Bikes For Women

[Review] in 2021Check out the results fast - here are our review winners[dica_divi_carousel item_width_tablet="400px" item_width_phone="345px" item_width_last_edited="on|phone" show_items_desktop="3"...