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The Essential Electric Bike Buying Guide 2024

The essential electric bike buying guide highlights benefits of using various bikes and which ones are right for you

Electric bikes are becoming a popular way to get around. Long distances are no problem for these bikes. In fact, there are electric bikes made just for specific purposes, like commuting, mountain biking, being portable, that is foldable. There are the benefits of saving money when you can use an electric bike rather than a car. Plus it will be easier and cheaper to find parking for a bike than a car.

The appeal of this type of bike is two-fold. It’s a good money-saving transportation option and it also appeals to people who want to get out and simply have fun. A good electric commuter bike can be a blast to take out onto on an excursion and you’ll love the feeling of the wind in your hair. It has a lot of the same fun as a motorcycle without being quite so risky to use.

If you are interested in buying an electric bike, then there are a number of things that you should consider before purchasing one. This is going to be a fun mode of transportation for you and you want to ensure that you’re going to have the best experience possible. Take a look at the information contained in this buying guide to learn everything you need to know before picking one out. This will allow you to make the most informed decision and will help to ensure that you have the most fun possible with your new bike.

Understanding What an Electric Bike Is

Before you set out to buy your first electric bike, it’s important to understand exactly what it is. This isn’t a motorcycle but it isn’t just a normal bicycle, either. Some people refer to these bikes as e-bikes. They have an electric motor installed to assist you with pedaling.

This will allow you to gain speed very quickly when riding on an e-bike. You will be able to enjoy the pleasure of touring with a bicycle without having to exert yourself too much. People enjoy using these e-bikes to travel short distances and also just for recreation. There are differences between the types of motors on these e-bikes that you should also

Motor Differences

One of the biggest things you need to consider when buying one of these e-bikes is the type of motor that is included with it. The most popular type of motor that is used is referred to as a pedelec or pedal assistance style motor. This motor generates power based on how much you are pedaling and you can gain a lot of speed rather quickly. Most of the bikes that you see people using in modern times are some type of pedal assist electric bike model.

These pedal assistance motors are typically mounted to the frame of the bike and are located around the bottom bracket between the cranks. There can be some variance depending on the make of the e-bike you’re looking at but this is the most typical design choice. Some older models may see the motor mounted around the rear hub. Regardless, you should understand that there are some differences in the different motor styles.

Hub-driven motors are the other type of e-bike motor you will need to know about. These motors are often seen in shops being sold as part of a front wheel bike kit but you will find them on some models as the stock motor too. Hub-driven motors are usually seen to be slightly inferior to the pedal assistance variety.

The pedal assistance motors have sensors that detect how fast you are pedaling so that the motor can efficiently distribute the available power to assist you. Hub-driven motors don’t have this convenient feature, making them a little less desirable overall. This doesn’t mean that hub-driven motors don’t have their merits but you’re generally better off seeking out a model with a pedal assistance motor installed.

Sometimes you will find that bicycles have been converted into e-bikes. In this case, it is usually a hub-driven motor being fitted onto the bike frame. A front wheel bike kit can be used to make this happen but it’s still recommended to avoid this option and get a good bike with a pedal assistance motor in most cases.

These motors further differentiate themselves by being tuned specifically for the type of bike that they are. Things such as the battery life of the motor, the amount of available torque, and particulars about the assist modes are all tuned based on what style your e-bike is. The different styles of e-bikes are road bikes, urban bikes, cargo bikes, and models such as a folding electric bike. Motors will perform differently based on what is expected of the type of bike that you buy.

More information about the types of e-bikes available to you will be gone over in detail later in the buying guide. For now, you need to consider other aspects that are related to e-bike motors. Once you know more about the particulars of assistance modes and battery capacity concerns, you will be able to make a good decision on which type of bike will work best for you.

Information about Assistance Modes

Many modern e-bikes come with a convenient display where you can change the type of assistance mode that is being used. There are generally three assistance modes that you can choose from. You can turn assistance off to put your e-bike into standby mode, which means that you will be pedaling without any type of assistance from the motor. While in standby mode, your e-bike is functioning just as a normal bicycle would.

The first assistance mode is usually referred to as eco mode on most e-bikes. This is the lowest level of assistance that you can make use of and is useful for traveling long distances. A lot of companies advertise that an e-bike will be able to go around 100 KM while in this mode. This might be a bit of a stretch for many e-bikes but you can possibly get close to this distance while in eco mode.

Eco mode is excellent for touring as it will allow you to enjoy a casual bicycling trip across fun locales. It’s also very useful for taking trips to the grocery store or riding around your neighborhood to visit friends. You will be getting a lot of use out of eco mode, especially if you plan on going long distances. Eco mode is popularly used by people who use their electric bike for long-distance touring trips.

The next mode up is called normal mode. It will match the power of your pedaling and provide ample assistance, giving you a much faster speed. You might wind up going around two times faster than you would through normal pedaling while using this mode. This mode can be a lot of fun because you can get a good top speed going and can begin to see the benefits of how quickly you can travel somewhere using an e-bike.

Finally, there is the high-performance mode option. This mode is how you are going to go the fastest on your e-bike. It will provide ample assistance to your pedaling with many motors being capable of providing a 200% boost to your top speed. The power being outputted in this mode isn’t going to last too long, though.

If you want to make use of high-performance mode, you’re going to need to use it only occasionally. Using it for short trips is possible and you may want to get into the habit of simply using it for short bursts of speed. It will drain your charge rather quickly. If you want to use an electric bike for long-distance touring trips then it is best to avoid this mode entirely.

Battery Capacity and Charging Information

As you might expect, the battery capacity is very important when it comes to picking out one of the electric bikes. You want to look at both the wattage of the motor and the number of watt-hours being advertised. This will help you to determine how long you’re going to be able to use the bike in one of the assistance modes before needing to recharge it.

E-bikes with higher wattage motors will be more powerful and are capable of going faster. In general, you will find e-bikes available with motors at 200w all the way up to 550w. There could be some variance in this and it is also important to note that your specific area may have restrictions on e-bikes that mean that they can only be so powerful. Look up your local laws to ensure that you comply with everything before you purchase one of these e-bikes.

Charging your battery is actually going to be quite simple. There will be a charger included with your e-bike that you can plug into a normal wall outlet. Since so many people keep their e-bikes in garages, this is an incredibly convenient way to get your battery back to full charge. If you completely deplete your battery down to zero, then it will take between three and five hours to recharge it to maximum again.

Remember that statistics will vary depending on the style of the motor being used and the wattage. These numbers should be useful to you in a general sense but you may find that the bike you purchase charges a little faster. It really just depends on the circumstances and type of motor being used. Either way, it should be nice to know that charging your e-bike will be very easy and that it won’t take too long to get back to a full charge.

Different Types of Bikes

There are many different kinds of e-bikes available to purchase. Each of the different styles is good for a particular type of cycling. Some may be meant for touring whereas others are meant for carrying items to and fro. Understanding what you want out of your electric bike experience is important before you make any purchasing decisions.

Take a look at these different styles of e-bikes so that you can better understand what style interests you. You’ll find that there are many uses for these bikes. You might even be surprised by how convenient some of them will be for your life.

Electric Mountain Bikes

Electric mountain bikes are well known for being very powerful. You can enjoy riding through trails at very high speeds when you have one of these bikes on your side. Going off-road isn’t a problem when you have a bike such as this. If you enjoy going out into nature with your bike, then this is going to be a good option for you to consider.

These bikes are a bit more rugged and powerful than many other types of e-bikes. They’re made to be enjoyed on nature trails and other types of dirt bike trails. Owning an electric mountain bike can be loads of fun as it is a superb electric bike for hills. You’ll have no trouble getting up a slope with the power of an electric mountain bike.

Electric Touring Bike

These bikes are somewhat similar to the mountain bikes in that they’re perfect steep hills on roads-think San Francisco. You can generate a lot of power on a road bike and will be able to take it to many different places. People enjoy taking these bikes out on easy-riding nature trails and using them to tour into the countryside. This is another fun option to consider for nature lovers.

Electric City Bikes

This is the most common type of e-bike on the market and people use these bikes for everyday transportation. These bikes are excellent for making small trips around your neighborhood. They can be used effectively for trips that have a long distance, too, but you likely wouldn’t want to stray too far away from the city limits. This is a comfortable way to get yourself around town without exerting too much energy.

Many of these bikes are very stylish as well. There are plenty of good-looking options when it comes to buying an urban bike. You’ll commonly see these bikes being sold with kickstands and even fenders. They look good and they feel nice to ride so you can’t go wrong with an urban bike if you live in the city.

Electric Cargo Bikes

Buying an electric cargo bike might be something that you should consider, too. These bikes have storage in the back so that you can carry groceries or other items with you. It’s really convenient for people who rely on these bikes as their sole transportation because they can actually transport items where they need them to go. You may see people delivering fast food on these bikes in some major cities as it can be easier to get around on a bike in cities with traffic congestion issues.

The cargo area of these bikes is very convenient. There are a few different styles but most will have a small cargo area in the back and space for something to be held at the front of the bike too. You should consider your needs when living in an urban space and decide whether this would be preferable to an urban bike.

Folding Electric Bike

You can buy a folding electric bike and make great use of it in a city environment. This is another one of the options that you need to take into account when you’re living in an urban space. If you don’t have a lot of room to store a bike, then it can be very convenient to buy one of these models that folds up when you aren’t using it. These bikes are easily portable and overall very convenient.

They perform comparably to an urban bike for the most part. Sometimes they are outfitted with a small rack at the front to give riders options for carrying small things while riding. This puts the bike somewhere in between being a cargo bike and an urban bike. It’s a good option to consider if you are low on space at your home.

Final Thoughts

Buying an electric bike is a great idea if you want to save some money on your transportation. It can be a useful tool for you to take advantage of. Getting back and forth using one of these bikes can be simple but it really depends on your needs. You might be more interested in these bikes for recreation than you are practicality.

People who want to get around in a city environment should consider purchasing an urban bike, cargo bike, or a folding electric bike. These options are all very convenient and can assist those living in the city greatly. You do need to be sure that you comply with any laws or regulations that have been placed on these bikes in your area, though. Look into your options before making a purchasing decision.

For recreation, nature lovers really enjoy buying electric mountain bikes and road bikes. These are great for getting out into nature and enjoying some fun trails. You won’t have a problem trekking up hills when you have one of these bikes so it can be very beneficial to have one of these instead of a traditional bicycle.

Think about your needs and desires before coming to an ultimate decision. You now have the knowledge of what to look out for when purchasing an e-bike. You will be able to find the right e-bike to fit your needs once you take all of the proper things into consideration. It won’t be long and you will be enjoying riding down the road on your new bike and having some fun.

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