Electric Bikes Buying Guide
Despite the fact that electric bikes have been around for a while, they have only recently gained in popularity as consumers dash to be part of the growing trend. Even transportation companies are eagerly developing them as a cheaper, and eco-friendly, alternative to a car.
As they grow in brands and numbers, it is important to note that different electric bikes come with different features. The choice can become difficult for those who are new to this type of transportation, which is why this article will provide you with all the necessary information to guide you in the process of purchasing your own electric bike.
Table of Content:
- Reasons to opt for an electric bike
- Do you need a license?
- Throttle vs. Pedal-Assist
- Definition of “torque”
- Types of drive
- Types of electric bike
- Price ranges
- Our recommendations
Reasons to opt for an electric bike
Before we get further into this guide, here is a list of reasons why an electric bike would be a great choice for commutes, errands, and outings:
- Battery-powered pedal assist
- Faster than a regular bike
- Improves mental and physical health
- Reduce travel expenses
- Environmentally friendly
- An assortment of designs to choose from
Is a license necessary?
In North America, people don’t need a license to ride electric bicycles despite the fact that they are entitled to the same rights as motor vehicle users. They are, however, required to follow the road safety rules. Some provinces have also set a minimum age for electric bike users. An e-bike is a limited speed motorcycle and would be required to become a motor-assisted cycle for it requires a license. Below are the set features for an e-bike according to the Transport Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (MVSR):
- Steering handlebars
- Electric motors
- Has a maximum of three wheels on the ground
- Can be moved using muscle power
- Have a manufacturer label stating it’s a Motor-Assisted Cycle
If you are traveling with your e-bike outside of Canada, please consult proper authoritative bodies for regional regulations.
Throttle vs. Pedal-Assist
Electric bikes use muscle power as well power-driven by either throttle or Pedal-Assist System (PAS).
The throttles are similar to those of motorcycles, while Pedal-Assist System requires a torque sensor to release power.
What does torque mean?
Torque refers to the force of energy that makes the wheels move.
What kind of drive?
There are two types of drives, pedelec, and twist-n-go. The pedelec drive monitors the pedaling so that it can determine the motor assistance to add. The twist-n-go is controlled by the user through a switch.
E-bikes have two types of motors, one that is mounted on a wheel or the and one that is mounted at the crank and pedal area. The other one is mounted on the hub and is quieter than the other mounts.
Electric bikes rely on lithium-ion batteries, and the type of battery can make a very big difference. You should ensure that the battery is covered by the warranty. When fully charged, a battery should be able to run for between two and a half to six hours. Please note that batteries cannot be charged while pedaling, or when the e-bike is in use.
Choosing an electric bicycle
The main determinants of choosing a bike come down to the price and style of the bike.
Electric bikes come in a variety of styles depending on your preference, some of which are mentioned below:
- Mountain bikes
- Cruiser bikes
- Commuter bikes
- Cargo bikes
- Folding bikes
- Fat bikes
For people living in the city, the most popular style is the cruiser bike.
Electric mountain bikes
If you’re the type of person that loves going off-road but also commutes on the streets, this electric mountain bike option is for you. They don’t have back suspension, but some come with front suspension forks that are good for handling things like potholes.
Electric cruiser bikes
If you’re after comfort and style, the cruiser bike might be your best option. They come with wide seats for comfort, and they usually have bigger balloon tires. Some of the companies known for producing great cruiser bikes are Pedego and Rayvolt.
Electric road or commuter bikes
These are easy to ride bikes that are suitable for street riding, and riding as a hobby, offering efficient pedaling. There are many types of commuter bike categories such as hybrid, leisure, and racing bikes. Some of the common brands include Raleigh Redux, Yamaha Wabash, and the GenZe 200 series e-bikes.
Electric cargo bikes
Electric cargo bikes are made for hauling as much load as possible, and it is best to go for the ones with the best hauling capacity and speed, depending on your needs. They can also come with extra accessories such as racks, bags, and child carriers. Some examples of popular brands include the Tern GSD and CERO.
Electric folding bikes
These are portable bikes that are foldable into a suitcase-sized package, easy to carry on the bus or trunk of a car. Electric folding bikes are usually heavier than other e-bikes, and their parts are sometimes of very poor quality. The Oyama CX E8D II is an example of a good folding bike, coming with a good battery and hydraulic disc brakes, among other features.
Electric fat bikes
Electric fat bikes come with large tires that are usually 4 inches or more, making them the perfect choice for off-roading conditions such as snow, sand, and loose soil. Majority of them don’t come with suspension because of the large tires that absorb pretty much everything. RadRover is one of the brands that make good fat bikes.
Other specialty electric bikes
You can also opt for other specialty bikes as below:
- Electric tandem bicycles – these are perfect for couples, coming with two seats and sets of pedals.
- Electric tricycles – these are perfect for the physically challenged people or those who can’t balance on two wheels. There are two types, delta trikes, which have two hind wheels, and tadpole trikes, which have the two wheels in the front, and also the more stable and speedier option.
- Electric recumbent bikes – these are more relaxed, coming with a chair instead of a standard bicycle seat, and available in both standard and tricycle varieties.
Electric bicycle price ranges
Now that you’ve decided on the style of bike you’d like to buy, it’s now time to consider the price. E-bikes are available in all price ranges, from budget to premium, and while you would think that the electric components are the determinants, it is actually the bicycle components, until the mid-range price level. They all have electrical components that are similar, but the components of the bicycles are made of different qualities. The more expensive the bike, the higher the quality of the materials used. It all depends on the sort of budget that you had in mind.
The best electric bikes
Below is a list of some of the best electric bikes available on the market:
- Merax 26” Aluminum Mountain Bike
- The ECOTRIC Fat Tire Electric Bike
- SwagCycle EB-5 Pro
- The Cyclamatic Power Plus CX1 Electric Mountain Bike
- The Super 73 Z1 Electric Motorbike
Armed with the information provided above, it should be easier for you to choose an electric bicycle. Just ensure that the brand you choose has after-sales support in the area where you live. re