Buyer’s Guide: Ebikes

Posted by Kenneth Poon on

Electric bikes are very popular in several countries found in Asia and in Europe. Nowadays, it is also taking the United States by storm. The way Americans move and travel from one place to another is beginning to change too.

Whether you are commuting for long distance, shopping for goods or you are just doing a leisurely ride, a lot of people are now looking at the electric bike as one of the most practical, economical, and fun ways to go to places.

However, deciding on what kind of electric bike is not as easy as pedaling your way to transport from one place to another. Here are not five, not eight, but ten tips on how to make the right decision.

 

Consider your needs

Battery powered bikes are designed and built for different purposes and different users. It is still up to you to decide on which is the most important things for you and which are the least important. If you would like to experience comfort first before others, you should get a step-through frame from your retailer. If climbing hills is crucial, you need 250 watts or a mid-mounted one.

 

Warranty is Important!

Whether you are purchasing a $1000 or a $6000 priced e-bike, purchasing a bike is like buying yourself a long time engagement. If your investment has a warranty, you can fully rest. A two-year warranty on parts, motor and battery are reasonable to expect from most electric bike manufacturers with product selling for over $2000.

 

Choose Your Retailer

Buying your own electric bike or electric bike kits will be the same experience that you have whenever you are buying outside.

When choosing the best retailer to buy your unit from, there are three changes: Vibe, commitment, and quality.

Once you get into the room, how are you being treated? Is the staff you are talking with friendly? Is she knowledgeable enough to answer your questions? Commitment refers to the shop's evident enthusiasm for electric bikes. Do they have many e-bikes or just a few stuck in the back of the shop? Knowing that the shop is committed to the e-bike movement means they will be willing and wanting to help you make the most of your e-bike years down the road. The last point, quality, refers to the types of bikes that the retailer is selling.  Are they brand names that you can research, or are they bikes that information is hard to come by on? You want to be sure the retailer is in the business for the right reason and not just to make a quick buck.

 

Trust Your Gut Feelings

There might be a lot of contradicting information that you will get. These are some which are relatively true but there are also others which you might feel are just lies. 

There are a lot of choices. There might also be a lot of opinions about certain models. As a consumer, what should you do? The best thing to do is to trust your gut feeling. If the product you are eyeing at is not from a known company and you cannot find information from it, it is still best to stay clear.

 

Quality is Important But Service Counts Just as Much

These electrical bikes are not toys; they are modes of transportation. The quality of the e-bike is very important. If you are planning to use the electric bike every day, checking for its quality and standard is even more important. Although it is easy to judge the quality of the bike's components by looking at the listing of the parts, it can be quite difficult to check the quality of the motor and the batteries by just looking at it.

When you are in doubt, you can do a research about the motor and the batteries. However, also keep in mind that no matter how high the quality is of your bike's components, if the electric bike itself is not set up and tuned correctly, then, everything will be pointless. On times like this, your local independent bike dealer is the best choice to go to in order to maintain the quality of the products you choose.

 

Take a Longview

Other than just running on electricity, it is important that the bike is also running environmentally sustainable too. It is about how the e-bike was built, the quality of constructing it, as well as the after sales services it gives. Your e-bike should be able to last you for a minimum of five to ten years. The battery will last you after 600 to 800 months of train.

 

You Are Getting What You Pay For

The old adage works for electric bikes as it does for many other things in life. It is not cheap to build a good lithium-ion based electric bike that is reliable and has quality components. For throttle operated bikes or bikes with a cadence sensor, expect to pay at least $1500. For e-bike with a torque sensor, expect to pay over $2500. The good news is that a quality e-bike can pay for itself very quickly, and this does not even account for the happiness dividend!

 

Purchase Local

If at all possible, buy local. In the best case scenario you will have questions about your bike, and in the worst case scenario you will have problems, but for both scenario's you want to be within 50 miles of your place of purchase so that they can help you. Besides, your patronage assures that local e-bike experts will be there for you when you need them. 

 

Test Ride Your Electric Bike

Perhaps the most important and fun part of buying an e-bike is test riding. Trying an e-bike allows you to put aside specs and reviews and research and just answer the most basic question: "Do I want this bike?" If yes, then start asking a few other questions: "Does it climb hills in the way I need it to? Does the bike fit me in the way I would like it to? Does it have the quality and functionality I would like?"

 

Have High Expectations

If you are purchasing an e-bike with a proprietary electric system, you will need to have trust in the bike manufacturer. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from electric bike brands with proprietary systems if the brand is not being sold widely in North America and Europe.

Now that you know how to make the right decision when purchasing an electric bike, now it is time to choose the right one for you! There are more than a thousand different models to choose from and you have definitely a lot of choices but the big question is “Which is the bike perfect for me?”

 

Playground

Electrical bikes are designed for different purpose and for different people. It is up to you as the rider which is the most important to you, what is not important at all, and then inform the retailer or your dealer about it. Since there are a lot of models available, you should figure out first where you will be riding your bike most frequently. E-bikes can be used in different kids of activities such as trail riding, cargo hauling, relaxed cruising, mountain biking, road biking, commuting, and traveling. Before you enter the store, ask yourself first where is the playground you are going to be the most.

 

Kind of Drive

There are two main types of electric bike. The most common type is called the "pedelec". This system monitors the rider's pedaling. It automatically adds a certain amount of motor assistance depending on the rate, speed, and force of the user. 

In a lot of countries in Asia and Europe, the output of this motor is regulated and is limited to 250 W. Once you reach the speed of 25 kilometers per hour, the motor will automatically switch off. There are also fast high performance battery operated bikes that can run as fast as 45 kilometers per hour. However, the user needs a special driver's license, insurance, and plates. 

The other type is the "twist-n-go". This type of system uses a switch to trigger assistance from the motor.

 

Motor Mount

There are also two main types available for this bike. The first one is the hub motor assist, which is mounted in one of the wheels, and the other one is the crank motor assist which is mounted at the crank and pedal area. The electronic control also includes a sensor. This sensor can detect how hard you are pedaling so it can measure out the assistance that you need. Bikes with crank motor assist work well with steep hills. However, they are also known to be a little noisy. Hub motor assists, on the other hand, are very quiet. However, they do not handle hills as well as how crank motor assists can do.

 

Battery

Most bikes use Lithium-ion batteries. These batteries degrade over time and hold less charge as they age. However, the quality of the battery used also makes a difference especially if the battery is from a reputable manufacturer like Sony, Samsung or Panasonic. More expensive bikes use higher technology batteries. These batteries can be lighter, last longer, and are quicker to charge. 

Most Lithium-ion batteries can last from 600 to 800 cycles. If you use them carefully, they can last longer and can stay with you for at least 2,000 half charge cycles.

 

Range

The distance that an e-bike can reach with just a single charge of the battery is called the range. This is the most important specification. If you would like to commute for longer hours, you do not want to run out of battery when you are half way. Without power, this electrical bike is just a heavy one. The range depends on the speed, the weight of the rider, the battery capacity, the assistance level you choose, and the pedaling power percentage. 

If you are using your bike for at least ten kilometers in a day, then, you do not need to look for a bike with an 70 kilometer range. Always remember that the bike you should be purchasing should have a higher range than what you need since the range will drop as the battery ages and loses its capacity.

 

Cost

A good electric bike is not cheap. If you do not want to spend too much money with one and pick up a basic model, how long do you think you will be happy with it?

If you will look into it, an average bike with quality frame, suspension, functional brakes, and other components is expensive. When you buy an e-bike, you would want to spend more money for the motor.

Remember that the higher the price, the better and the longer your bike will last.


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