Congratulations on deciding to buy an e-bike and to join the thongs of an enthusiastic tribe, ripping through outdoor trails and city streets with ease! Now it’s time to choose which e-bike will be best for you and your lifestyle.
We know this is a difficult decision, and it can be confusing to figure out what everything is and what makes one e-bike better than another. Fortunately, the answer to that question comes down to individual choice, which is why there are many options!
You need to figure out what type of range your e-bike needs, the different types of batteries available, and which style is right for your lifestyle. Thankfully, you’ve got us here to give you the low-down on everything you need to know to help you choose the best e-bike for you!
Types of Electric Bikes
Just like when you purchase a car and need to choose between a sedan, minivan, pick-up truck, or SUV, there are a variety of different types of e-bikes that work better for various purposes.
You wouldn’t buy a sports car to cart around a family of 6, so you want to go on tough trails and scale mountains, you probably don’t want or need an electric cargo bike.
The different types of electric bikes available fall into six separate categories:
Electric Mountain Bikes
While at the lower end of the price scale and an excellent option for someone looking to commute to work. If you want to do some real mountain biking, though, ensure you get one with rear suspension.
Electric Cruiser Bike
Great for beach boardwalks, with cushioned seats and larger handlebars so that riders can sit upright. These are perfect for the leisurely rider but are usually larger and heavier than other e-bikes.
Electric Commuter Bikes
Many different bikes fall into this category from hybrids to racing bikes, leisure, and even gravel e-bikes. These bikes are designed for efficient pedaling and are typically the lightest option you can get. Great for the hobby cyclist who just wants a little extra power to get uphill.
Electric Cargo Bike
These are the trucks of the e-bike world, electric cargo bikes have extended frames in either the front or back for carrying as much as possible. Some come with child seats, bags, and containers for lugging stuff around, and can hold up to 400lbs of cargo!
Electric Folding Bikes
These are great if you ride you split your commute between your e-bike and public transportation since you can fold it up to bring it on the train. Most fold in the middle and on the handlebars, shrinking down to about the size of a suitcase.
These are usually heavier than other e-bikes and tend to have more issues due to the folding mechanism, and lesser quality components to keep prices down.
Electric Fat Bikes
With gigantic tires, usually 4” or bigger, these e-bikes can easily take on any terrain - from loose soil to sand, and even snow! Most don’t even need suspension since the tires absorb so much of the force from potholes and divots that you won’t feel it.
How to Choose the Best E-Bike For You
Consider your needs, battery options, warranty, range, and assistance type when choosing the e-bike that’s best for your life. This ensures that you’re making the right purchase for you so that you can be well on your way to freedom on the open road!
Your Needs & Lifestyle
E-bikes are designed for many different people with many different needs. As such, you must decide which features are most important to you. Ask yourself questions like, what will you be using the e-bike for?
If you plan on going long distances, you’ll probably need a bike that’s comfortable with a longer-range battery. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an e-bike to enhance your cycling hobby or as exercise, the type of pedal assistance will be more important to reach your workout goals.
Type of Battery
Generally speaking, you should always purchase a bike with a lithium-ion battery. These are the best batteries for e-bikes and will last a long time. You may be tempted to save money by purchasing an e-bike with a lead-acid battery since they are much cheaper.
Not only are these models much more cumbersome, but they have shorter lifespans, and will never run at 100% efficiency!
If you’ve made any price comparison, you’re probably well aware of how much of an investment purchasing an e-bike is. That said, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting a warranty that ensures you’ll piece of mind when making the purchase.
Most manufacturers provide a two-year warranty on parts, motor, and battery. However, be sure that there are no exclusions for normal use in the fine print! Anything that only protects against “manufacturer defect” isn’t worth it!
Electric bikes usually fall into two main drive types: pedal-assist and throttle.
A pedal-assist e-bike provides power from the battery only when you’re pedaling. Benefits are that you can get more range compared to a throttled drive and perfect for those who are hobby cyclists and need that extra oomph to get up a hill.
You can usually find models that have different levels of assistance available to customize how much you’re going to have to pedal to get around so that it fits in perfectly with your lifestyle
Throttle electric bikes are more closely related to motorcycles and scooters in how they work. You can choose whether your pedal or sit back and enjoy cruising along, letting the battery do all the work.
These bikes will typically have less range than your pedal-assist and will drain your battery quicker. You should note, however, that in some countries, throttle-drive electric bikes are illegal.
The range is the distance you can travel on your e-bike on a single battery charge. While most e-bikes will come in at around 20 miles on a single charge, some models can go up to 50 miles!
The actual range will vary from person to person, based on weight, assistance levels you use, battery capacity, your average speed, as well as the type of terrain. To figure out the best range for your purposes, map your typical ride.
You’ll then have an idea of what range you’ll need when choosing a bike!
Most Importantly, Trust Your Gut
Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of a trusted organization that certifies or reviews electric bikes (yet!), so it can be confusing trying to figure out which bike is the best. In our experience, the best strategy is to trust your intuition.
In your research and browsing, you come across something that just seems too good to be true, like 100 miles on a single charge, it probably is.
Especially if it’s from a brand you’ve never heard of, and you can’t find any information on it. It’s probably in your best interest to stay clear of these types of e-bikes!
Going through the buying process and figuring out which e-bike is best for you is a thrilling but very personal decision. You have to consider factors like what you’re going to be using your bike for, expected distances, and preference for assistance type.
However, the final decision is yours. Hopefully, we’ve provided you with information to help you figure out what to look for and to figure out what the best e-bike for you will look like!