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Shopping for your very first E-bike?
Yep, it can be intimidating. There so many brands to choose from, Gazelle, Bulls, Tern, Serial 1, Velec, Opus, So many brands, so many bikes and various performances, it can make your head spin .
Here are a few pointers that can help you get started.
The first thing to do is to established what you plan to do with your electric assist bike. Pedal? Of course, but so much more!
Everyone will tell you, the range is very important. And it is, but it’s not the same for everyone.
Here are two examples to put in perspectives how the use of each will differ in terms of needs for an Ebike:
This rider will use the bike when off work, during vacation or if you’re retired. Since this person has a whole day ahead, chances are they’ll want to go on a bike ride for a whole day too. This rider will need a lot of range, because you want to avoid running out assistance from your battery when you’re on your wait back and the most tired. It is also safe to assume that if you aren’t riding regularly, you might need higher levels of assistance, thus depleting the battery faster.
The *Commuter* use his bike as his main transportation device, he uses it every day. But he works relatively close to home, so he has to drive his bike around 15km and 30km every day. It is a more intensive use, but this person will necessarily be in better shape, so not using the higher levels of assistance as much. On top, he can easily plug his battery once at work. A small battery that would only offer 60km of range would be enough, even taking in account any detours for grocery or getting kids at school. However, this rider needs greater quality of components, to avoid having his bike too often at the bike shop for repairs.
What depletes a battery the most:
Also expect to go through your battery faster during very windy days. A bike battery, just like a car battery, doesn’t like the cold. You won’t have any problem when riding, but don’t leave it on your bike in winter, as it will get depleted in a record time.
When you evaluate the range, don’t look only at the distance you are capable of doing now, because that’s what the assistance is there for: you will be able to ride 2 to 3 times or more the distance you use to do. So, if you use to ride between 15km to 25km, you’ll easily do 60km with an average Ebike. There is also the possibility to get a second battery and some ebikes now offer a dual battery port which lets you use both batteries at once to double the range.
There are many brands of motors, such as Brose, Bosch, Bafang, to name only those, and they’ll all offer different performances. Check the Watts but also check the torque, measuring the power in Nw or Newton Meter: that’s the capacity to ride up hills and/or carry weight. For example, a cargo bike may have 75Nm of torque (Bosch Cargo line) while a recreational city electric bike will have 40nm. Again, it’s all about the usage you’ll do.
This one is set on the pedals, it reacts intuitively as soon as you put pressure on the pedal and assist you fast. Just like the rear hub motor, it offers various levels of assistance, but on those the throttle is not available. However, several have a walk assist function available.
This one is generally installed on the rear wheel but can be install on the front too. This type of motor can be very powerful too, the difference is more in the time the assistance comes on: you’ll need half a turn on the crankset for the demand to reach the motor on the wheel. They pretty much all come with the throttle function, which is super practical when you are at a full stop like on a red light and gives you a little boost to get going, it can also provide walk assist. Throttle also lets you move without pedaling at all, but that will burn through the battery real fast, so use reasonably!
Have a good look at the quality of the brakes on your Ebike, especially if you plan to carry precious cargo, such a as a child on a child seat behind you. An electric assist bike will let you ride faster, cover greater distance; you’ll need good reliable brakes that will let you stop on time and not let you down at the worst possible time.
An Ebike is naturally heavier, because of the battery and the motor of course. For some people, this is a hang up. Note that the more powerful the battery, the heavier it is, so if you chose a lighter weight Ebike, be careful you are not about to sacrifice a lot of range in the process. Remember that since you now have electrical assistance with a motor, the weight of the bike is not all that important when pedaling.
However, it does matter when you need to transport them with your car. There are now good electric bike racks for cars that come with a retractable access ramp, very practical to roll the bike in place on the rack and let you get them off the rack just as easily. Note that a regular bike rack is not suited to transport electric bikes safely. To avoid regrettable accidents such as losing a bike on the road while driving, check the maximum load your bike rack is allowed to carry. All bike racks indicate the maximum weight, so shop wisely for both, bikes and bike racks.
Then there’s the ergonomy of the bike, position, comfort. With or without suspension? Integrated battery or not? Internal wiring or not? Low step, step through or step over? Foldable? When you get there, it’s time to call us and chat with one of our experts. We will help you finish this reflexion and make sure whatever bike you choose, that it will be the best option, the best bike for your needs.