Electric bikes buyer’s guide
Guess what? E-bikes are here to stay! It’s no surprise, really – they’re easy, practical, and fun, so why wouldn’t everyone want them? If you’re thinking about getting yourself an electric bike, you’re in the right place, so read on!
What’s an e-bike?
An e-bike, or electric bike, is a bicycle that is assisted by an electric motor. When you pedal, the motor kicks in and helps out too, up to a speed of about 15mph (you can go faster, but the motor won’t help you past that point).
They’re really practical for riding in town, where they get you up to speed quickly in stop-start traffic and up hills without getting sweaty, and also great for mountain bikers who want to save their energy for the fun bits!
What’s your flavour?
As you might expect, you can get an electric version of just about every kind of bike, whether it’s a hybrid for getting around, a folding bike for the commute, or a mountain bike for big days out. What that means is, just like any other bike, you need to think about what you’re going to use it for.
For example, if this is your new way of getting around town, make sure you can fit some mudguards so that rain doesn’t stop play. If you’re going on public transport for a bit or are struggling for storage, a folder is the answer.
With great power comes great responsibility
All e-bikes are limited by law to the amount of power they can provide and the speed they can assist you up to – if they have more power, they’re more of a motorbike than an assisted bicycle. So what does more money get you?
The most basic of e-bikes will be a bit more on/off in the way they deliver power, and they may feel a bit less natural to ride. As you work your way up through the ranges, you’ll start to find e-bikes doing clever things like turning the power up and down based on how hard you’re pedalling, and batteries and cables will magically disappear into the frame and start looking slicker. Of course, the bikes themselves also get upgraded, with better components for braking, gears, and a lighter overall weight.
What about the batteries?
If you’re interested, you’ve probably also been thinking about batteries too. How long do they last? Have I got to go out to the shop for 2000 AAs every time it runs out? Well, no. Your battery will be rechargeable and quite often removable, so you don’t have to bring the whole bike inside to charge it up. If you’re commuting to work, you only really need enough power to go one way if you have access to a plug when you get there.
You can expect to see maximum ranges from around 30 miles and up, but of course this depends a lot on how you use the bike – you’re probably not going to see 30 miles if it’s uphill both ways and you’re always on full power, and if you pedal more then your battery will last longer.
That’s where we come to one of the best things about e-bikes. They’re bikes! If you manage to get lost, or you’re having so much fun you don’t want to come home, or you take a big detour to avoid a morning meeting, and your battery runs out of juice, it’s still a bike! You can still pedal along just like normal and get around, so it’s not like when a car runs out of petrol.
Want to learn more?
We know that e-bikes are still pretty new, all things considered. That’s why we’ve gotten a couple of other articles so you can find out more. You can see them by clicking the links below: