Electric bicycles are taking off around the world. In the Netherlands, about 40% of all bicycles sold are electric bikes. Sales are growing here in the UK too.
Thinking about buying your first electric bicycle? Read on to learn about 5 factors you need to consider when choosing an electric bicycle.
1. Consider Why You Want an Electric Bicycle
Your thinking about buying an electric bicycle. It’s important to understand why you want one. There are so many options that it’s easy to make the wrong choice unless you’re clear about why you want an electric bike.
There are almost as many types of electric bicycles as there are regular bikes. People use their regular bicycles for leisure, commuting, touring, and even to do the grocery shopping. You may even have a regular bicycle that you’ve been using for one or more of these purposes.
Why would you opt for an electric bicycle rather than a conventional bicycle alternative? Electric bicycles or e-bikes have the obvious feature of some power assistance. Interesting to note that despite this motorized capability, e-bikes don’t have any of the regulatory issues of other powered vehicles such as motorbikes or cars.
You may be attracted by the added help of a motor. They certainly can help you when the uphill sections of your route are making your ride less pleasant. Why might this be important for you?
If you have an injury or an illness that is reducing your ability to handle the hills a little power assistance can make a big difference. It may mean that you can continue to enjoy your cycling until you recover or even if recovery is not an option.
Not everybody is capable of long or demanding bicycle journeys. Despite this, you may want to take on a distance or a terrain that is beyond your conventional bicycling capacity. An e-bike can be your means of doing that.
If you need to carry a heavy load, an electric bicycle can ease your burden. Deliveries are completed with ease and a child seat doesn’t hold you back either.
Perhaps you see an electric bicycle as one way of adding to your mobility with minimal environmental impact. Your commute to work might be completed without having to take a shower when you arrive in the office.
There are many reasons for choosing an electric bicycle but which reason makes a big difference to which bike you chose.
2. Consider Style
Understanding your motivation will help you with the next stage of your decision-making process. You need to decide which style of e-bike you want.
There are electric bicycle versions of road bikes, cruisers, and mountain bikes. Some are folding style commuter bikes and others are load-carrying cargo bikes. That’s not even exploring all the hybrids, weird and wonderful special bikes, not to mention electric tandems.
So, work out what you need from your electric bike and then select the style that meets that need.
Just as with conventional bikes, some electric bicycles can perform reasonably well across different roles. A mountain style electric bicycle can make a passable commuter bike. It might even handle curbs and bumps in the road well.
3. Consider Batteries and Motors
Batteries are the energy source for your electric bicycle. You should expect the battery performance to downgrade over time. Just like your phone battery, the life of a battery can be extended with good battery care but you will inevitably need to replace it from time to time.
Check out the battery charge time and battery capacity. More capacity means you can take on longer journeys. It also means a longer charge time at the end of your journey.
You can carry a charger with you. Having more than one charger means you can leave one at your commuting destination. Charging at both ends of the journey might be a good arrangement for you.
Buying more than one battery is also an option. You can switch batteries when you need to.
A differentiator between e-bikes is the motor. Powered by the battery, a top of the range motor can convert the electrical energy into effective hill-climbing and some quite impressive acceleration. The better the motor the greater the % assist you’ll see in the specification.
4. Consider the Retailer
Getting the right advice and support at the start of your electric bicycle owning journey can make a big difference. The retailer you choose is key.
As you research your electric bicycle purchase check out the retailers too. Look for knowledge and enthusiasm for electric bicycles and a passion for customers in equal measure. Do they offer an after-sales service to support you and your e-bike for years to come?
There are some clues about the retailer’s quality. Are they willing to spend time with you to talk about your needs or do they seem to have already decided what you need without understanding you? Do they communicate enthusiasm about electric bicycles or is this a sideline to their conventional bicycle business?
5. Consider the Price
The range of prices is wide. With electric bicycles from a few hundred pounds up to many thousands, you need to be clear about your budget and what you get for your money.
To a great extent, how much you are prepared to pay, will determine the quality of your electric bicycle experience. It determines the battery range and life, motor quality, and performance as well as the features on the e-bike.
Don’t forget to check out the warranty and any aftersales support that is included by the retailer. This is part of what you are paying for.
Your Electric Bicycle
Getting the right electric bicycle for you is about matching an e-bike with your specific needs and circumstances. Start with clarity about your needs and you’ll give yourself every chance of finding the right e-bike for you.
Learn more about electric bicycles right here.