So you’ve decided to buy an electric bike – excellent choice! Riding an e-bike is a fun, eco-friendly way to get around town. But with so many options out there, how do you choose? Don’t worry, this guide will help you find an electric bicycle that fits your needs and budget.
We’ll go over the different classes of e-bikes, types of motors and batteries, and extra features to consider. You’ll learn the pros and cons of front wheel hub motors versus mid-drive motors, lithium-ion batteries versus lead acid, and more. Whether you want an e-bike for recreational riding, commuting to work, or exercise, you’ll find recommendations for highly-rated electric bicycles at different price points.
Buying an e-bike is an investment, so you want to make sure you get the right one. Follow this guide and you’ll be zipping around in no time on your new set of wheels. Let’s get started!
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Electric Bicycle
Choosing an electric bike is exciting, but with so many options out there it can also feel overwhelming. Here are some of the key things to consider to help you find your perfect e-bike match:
•Motor type: Hub motors in the front or rear wheel are simple but less efficient. Mid-drive motors between the pedals provide torque and extend range, but usually cost more. Think about how much power and range you need.
•Battery: The battery powers your motor and determines how far you can go on a single charge. Lithium ion batteries are light, charge quickly, and hold more power for their size. Look for a minimum of 250 watt hours for most riding needs. For more range, you’ll want 500 watt hours or more.
•Frame: Do you prefer an upright riding position, the athletic stance of a mountain bike, or something in between? Frames come in a range of sizes to fit riders of all heights. Consider folding frames if you need to store your bike in a small space.
•Components: Higher quality disk brakes, suspension, racks, fenders and shifters will provide better performance, safety and convenience but add to the overall cost. Think about how and where you plan to ride.
•Price: You can pay $500 for a basic e-bike or $10,000 for a high-performance model. Set a budget before you start shopping to avoid paying more than you can afford.
Buying an e-bike is a big decision but also an investment in sustainable transportation and adventure. Now that you know what to consider, you can find an electric bicycle perfect for your needs and budget. The open road awaits! Happy riding!
Top 5 Best Electric Bicycles of 2020
So you’re in the market for an e-bike, but don’t know where to start. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top 5 recommendations for the best electric bicycles of 2020:
The Rad Power RadRunner is an affordable, stylish cruiser e-bike that’s perfect for casual riding around town. With a 750W motor and 45+ mile range, you’ll have plenty of power and distance for errands or leisurely rides. The step-thru frame, plush seat, and upright riding style provide a comfy ride.
If performance is a priority, the Luna X-1 Enduro is a high-powered eMTB ready to crush hills and trails. A mid-drive motor and high-capacity battery produce up to 1500W of power and 50 miles of range. The full-suspension frame and fat tires can handle any terrain. It’s a beast of an e-bike for serious off-roading.
For a folding e-bike, the Blix Vika+ is a solid choice. It folds in seconds to stow in your trunk or closet, yet rides like a standard e-bike. The rear hub motor and removable battery provide 20-40 miles of range, ideal for commuting or recreational use. At just 33 lbs, it’s also quite lightweight for an electric bike.
If you want the latest tech, the VanMoof S3 is a futuristic e-bike with an integrated display and security features like an electronic lock and anti-theft tracking. The 250W motor and 60 mile range deliver a smooth, connected ride. For the tech-savvy cyclist, the S3 is the cutting edge of e-bikes.
Last but not least, the Aventon Pace 350 is an affordable yet high-quality e-bike for commuting or exercise. With a 350W motor, 40+ mile battery, and 7-speed drivetrain, it has solid performance for the price. Sleek, lightweight, and available in multiple frame styles, it’s a well-rounded e-bike that won’t break the bank.
Speed and Power: How Fast Can Electric Bikes Go?
The motor power of an e-bike determines how fast it can go and how much it can assist you. Motors typically range from 250 to 750 watts for most recreational riders. Higher wattage means more torque, so the bike can reach higher top speeds with less effort from you. However, more powerful motors are more expensive, reduce the bike’s range per charge, and may not be legal on bike paths in some areas.
For casual riding around town, a 250 to 500 watt motor should work great and provide pedal-assist up to 20 miles per hour. If you want to ride longer distances or tackle hills with ease, go for at least 500 to 750 watts. The higher power will get you up to speed faster and make those climbs feel effortless while still allowing you to pedal for exercise.
In addition to motor power, an e-bike’s top speed depends on your location’s regulations. In the U.S. and Canada, e-bikes are classified as bicycles, so they’re limited to 20 mph in motor-only mode and 28 mph with pedal-assist. E-bikes that go faster require licenses and insurance.
Faster e-bikes, often called speed pedelecs, are increasingly popular for commuting and recreational riding. They can reach up to 45 km/h or 28 mph, but may require registration, licensing, insurance and helmets depending on where you live. If speed and power are priorities, look for a bike with a more powerful motor, larger battery, and quality braking system for safety at higher speeds.
In the end, choose an e-bike with a motor and top speed to suit how and where you plan to ride. Start with less power and speed until you get used to riding, then consider upgrading to a more powerful bike if needed. The most important thing is finding a safe and enjoyable riding experience.
Range and Battery Life: How Far Can Electric Bikes Travel?
The range of an electric bike depends on several factors, including the capacity and type of its battery. In general, an electric bike can travel 15 to 60 miles on a single charge. The exact distance will vary depending on the bike and how much you pedal to assist the motor.
The higher the battery’s voltage and amp hour (Ah) rating, the more range it can provide on a single charge. Most electric bikes use lithium-ion batteries ranging from 36V 8Ah to 48V 17Ah. A 48V 17Ah battery can power a bike for up to 60 miles, while a 36V 8Ah battery typically offers around 20 to 30 miles of assist. For longer rides, look for a battery with a higher voltage and amp hour rating.
Pedal Assist Level
The level of pedal assist you use also impacts range. At higher assist levels, the motor is doing more of the work so the battery drains faster. If you want to maximize range, use lower assist levels and do more pedaling. Some bikes offer eco modes that provide the least amount of assist. Riding in eco mode, you can often double the range compared to the highest assist level.
Terrain and Load
Hilly terrain, high loads, and high speeds require the motor to work harder, reducing range. For the best range, ride on flat ground without heavy loads at moderate speeds. Strong headwinds can also cut into range since the motor has to assist more to move the bike forward.
The good news is, electric bike batteries fully recharge pretty quickly. Most take 4 to 6 hours to recharge from empty. Some higher-end bikes offer fast charging options that can recharge the battery up to 80% in just 2 to 3 hours. So even if your range isn’t the maximum, you can easily recharge and get back riding the same day.
With the right size battery for your needs and by optimizing for range, an electric bike can take you plenty far. And when the battery does run low, you can always pedal without assist to keep riding or make your way to a charging point for a quick boost to get you home. The more you ride, the more you’ll get a feel for maximizing your bike’s range and capabilities.
Additional Features to Look for in an Electric Bike
When shopping for an e-bike, consider additional features beyond the motor and battery. These extras can enhance your riding experience and safety.
For riding at night or in low light conditions, a good set of LED headlights and taillights are must-haves. Look for bright headlights to illuminate the road ahead, and taillights that can be seen from a distance for maximum visibility to others. Some e-bikes come with built-in lighting, but you can also purchase aftermarket bike lights if needed.
If you plan to ride in wet weather or on dirt and gravel roads, fenders will keep you clean and dry. Fenders attach above the wheels to block spray from the tires. Some e-bikes come with fenders already installed, or you can buy snap-on fenders for most bikes.
A sturdy kickstand allows you to park your e-bike upright without leaning it against a wall or fence. Center-mount kickstands are the most stable. If your e-bike doesn’t come with a kickstand, you can install an aftermarket kickstand, available at most bike shops and cycling retailers.
A rear rack gives you a place to attach panniers (bike bags), a bike basket or other cargo. This allows you to haul groceries, gear and other items. Some racks can support over 100 lbs. Make sure any rack you choose is compatible with your e-bike’s frame and tires.
If using your e-bike for transportation or exercise, a phone mount lets you follow a navigation app or track your ride stats. Handlebar mounts place your phone within easy view while riding. Look for a sturdy mount that grips your phone securely over bumps.
Upgrading your e-bike with useful add-ons will make your riding experience safer, more convenient and enjoyable. While some features may add to the initial cost, they can greatly enhance the functionality and value of your electric bicycle.
So there you have it, everything you need to know to choose an electric bike that fits your needs and your budget. While the options can seem overwhelming at first, by focusing on a few key factors like power, range, and additional features, you’ll quickly narrow down the choices to find the perfect e-bike for you. Once you start riding, you’ll realize why so many people have made the switch to electric – the thrill of the ride combined with the practicality of an easy commute is a combination that’s hard to beat. Happy shopping and enjoy the ride! The open road is calling.