8 Key Features to Look For

E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular. They look and feel like traditional bikes, but they have a built-in motor that propels you forward as you ride, making them a popular choice for leisure and commuting.

Electric bikes come in a variety of styles and configurations. Unfortunately, they’re also not the easiest things to buy. If you want to buy a new e-bike, you should pay attention to this.

1st Class

Electric bicycles are divided into three classes. The class of a bike determines both its top speed and whether or not there is a throttle. It is therefore one of the first features to consider.

  • class 1: Class 1 bikes have a top speed of 32 km/h and power is only supplied via pedal assistance. This means that the motor only turns on when you pedal the bike.
  • 2nd grade: Class 2 bikes also have a top speed of 20 mph. But alongside pedal assist, they also come with a throttle that lets you propel the bike forward with the push of a button.
  • Class 3: Class 3 motorcycles have a maximum speed of 45 km/h and no throttle.

It’s important to note that the class of a bike also determines where you can ride it. Class 3 bikes are the most powerful, but they are not always allowed on bike lanes.

2. Bike type

Electric bikes are also categorized based on their overall design and suitability for various terrains. While the exact designations vary by manufacturer, most eBikes fall into one of the following four categories:

  • racing bikes: These bikes are designed for use in urban areas. They are not suitable for off-road use, but they are light and handy. They are also the cheapest option.
  • mountain bikes: These bikes are designed for rough terrain. They are much more versatile and have better suspension. The downside is that they are heavier and often more expensive.
  • hybrid bikes: Hybrid bikes are suitable for both city and off-road riders. They are usually lighter than mountain bikes, but still suitable for rough terrain.
  • fold bikes: Many electric bikes, like the Fiido D11, are designed to be folded and transported on trains/in homes. They are ideal for commuting but often have smaller batteries.

3. Weight

Electric bikes are heavier than traditional bikes. The extra weight of the motor and battery means they typically weigh between 10kg and 25kg. If you plan on carrying your new bike up a flight of stairs or onto a train every day, consider that when making your purchasing decision.

Unfortunately, there is a trade-off between weight and performance. If you want a high-performance bike, getting something light may not be practical.

4. Mid-drive or hub motor

Electric bikes have two types of motors namely center drive or hub.

  • A mid-motor is positioned in the middle of the bike between the pedals.
  • A hub motor is positioned in the center of one of the wheels.

Hub bikes are the cheapest option. They are not as efficient as mid-engine engines, but are considered ideal for long journeys on flat roads.

Mid-drive bikes are more expensive but also more powerful. The central position of the motor not only increases torque, but also makes the bike more balanced overall. If you intend to climb hills regularly, it may be worth spending more to buy a mid-drive motor.

5. Battery life

All e-bikes have a designated range. This explains how long you can ride the bike on a single charge. Unfortunately, because the range depends on so many factors, it is often very variable.

When comparing bike ranges, it’s important to pay attention to battery size and motor size.

Batteries are measured in watt hours. This indicates how many hours a battery can generate one watt of electricity. Motors are measured in watts, which refers to how much power they need to run.

The bikes with the longest ranges have the largest batteries and the weakest motors. This leads to a trade-off where the strongest bikes also have the shortest ranges.

6. power

Electric bicycle motors typically range in size from 250 to 750 watts. 250 watt bikes are the most popular because not only are they affordable, but they have more than enough power for flat surfaces and small hills. They also allow you to maximize your battery range.

However, if you’re looking to spend more, higher wattage offers better acceleration and extra assistance when riding steep hills.

7. Add Ons

eBikes are sold with a number of add-ons that make them easier to use. Here are a few things to look for.

  • lighting: Electric bikes are often sold with lights, or you can add your own. They are a safety requirement if you intend to drive at night.
  • racks: The added power of eBikes makes them ideal for transporting cargo. If you want to take advantage of this, you need a rack over the rear wheel.
  • LCD: An LCD is often mounted above the handlebars. They are useful for showing information about battery usage, maximum speed and pedal assistance.
  • Smartphone integration: Some eBikes offer smartphone integration. This allows you to pair the bike with your smartphone and install apps that provide useful information such as GPS coordinates.
  • security: Electric bikes are expensive, making them a popular target for thieves. A strong lock is a requirement, of course, but you should also consider GPS tracking, which can help you locate your bike if it’s stolen.

8. Serviceability

All bicycles, including electric bicycles, require regular maintenance. While it can be tempting to buy from a small manufacturer, it’s important to consider serviceability when doing so. It’s much easier to find replacement parts for major brands.

For the same reason, you should also consider buying from a physical store rather than an online retailer. Having a physical location to take your bike to for repairs might be worth a higher price tag.

How much should you spend on an electric bike?

Electric bike prices range from $400 to over $8,000. Some people suggest avoiding bikes under $1,000 because they’re usually cheap for a reason. However, there are many bikes just above this price point that offer excellent value for money.

As with conventional bicycles, you get what you pay for when you buy an eBike. You should expect to pay more for these features if you want the biggest battery, most power, or strong off-road capabilities.

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