E-bikes have been around for some time now – people have accepted them as part of our commuting scene, and even in areas like mountain biking and off road cycling Did you know that the first electric bicycle was actually invented in 1897 by Hosea W. Libbey in Boston? This bike came back around in the 1990’s (!) made by the powerhouse Giant Lafree. Yes, they have been forgotten for a long time (probably because of the lack of charging stations in the Victorian Era!) and came back into our good graces.
Today, there are more e-bike options that we know what to do with, and it might be confusing at first, especially for someone who’s just beginning to research them and thinking about getting their very first e-bike. There are a lot of dealers out there, but you can do your research online and compare all sorts of different options and styles at long established stores like Really Good eBikes – we chose them because they literally have every type of e-bike in stock so it’s easy to compare – they are also quite the experts in the niche and a great source of knowledge.
There’s a lot of information to take in if you’re new to this kind of bike. It’s essential to find something that will fit your individual needs related to your lifestyle, health condition, capabilities, and of course, aesthetic sensibilities. In this article, you will find a few tips that will make the whole decision-making process easier.
Decide on your budget
The first and a very important thing to do before you even start researching e-bikes is to calculate your budget and how much you’re willing to spend. As with most things in life, your budget will depend on what you need and what you want to use your e-bike for.
If you need a cargo bike or a custom-made bike for heavy duty hauling, be prepared to pay more. Same with getting a custom, or top-of-the-line mountain e-bike. These involve a lot of extras like state of the art suspension for downhill riding, or everything that makes a bike become a car substitute – all of this will cost more than a conventional e-bike.
If you’re in the market for a commuter or city bike, you’ll need a budget that’s at least in the 600$ range. You can take a look at classic step-through Dutch style city bikes or classic beach cruiser e-bikes – they tend to be on the lower end of the price scale because of their simplicity. They don’t need any bells and whistles in order to do their job well.
Mind the warranty
Make sure that you read into the warranty – there are a lot of things to be mindful of on an e-bike, and usually, the warranty is on parts like the battery or the motor. Ask to read the warranty rules – and make sure you’re purchasing from an authorised dealer!
Some warranties only apply if purchased from a licenced dealer, so make sure that you go to the pros when you’re e-bike shopping.
Accessories for e-bikes
Take a look at the accessories available for your e-bike when you go shopping. You might be able to get a better deal when purchasing them together. Some obvious ones include:
- Trunk bike bag (a large capacity, stylish bag that transitions into a cross-body bag. It safely holds all of your important items, or any fun ones you desire- such picnic items, a bottle of wine and a tablet!)
- Cargo trailer (for hauling cargo, christmas trees, shopping, kids and dogs)
- Luggage trailer for e-bikes
- Aftermarket lighting
- Extra batteries
- Bike lock
- Extra battery
- Coffee cup holder
Some of these are more necessary than others, but it’s a great idea to see what’s available out there, and much like us and the coffee cup holder, you might not even know you desperately need something until you read about it.
Battery life is one of those things that you have to read about before making your purchase – coffee cups and pretty lights aside, this is the part of an e-bike that actually does the work.
Batteries usually last anywhere from 3 to 5+ years. Ask your dealer if there is a possibility of getting a long-life battery installed if your e-bike comes with a lower expectancy one.
Most batteries take 2 to 4 hours to charge – not that long at all! Some people opt for purchasing two batteries so one can be used while the other is charging.
Consider the range
The range of an eBike refers to the distance you can ride it in the ideal conditions with a full battery until it’s completely drained; the ideal conditions depend on how flat your route is, how many hills you ride up, what the capacity of the battery is, but also your weight, the average speed, how much you pedal and the level of assistance needed from the e-bike.
When you are using your e-bike, make sure it’s well maintained – lubed up and the tires pumped up to optimal pressure. This will help both your battery range and your human power range!
The bottom line
E-bikes are a great way to put more power into your biking – they allow you to go for greater distances while not getting exhausted, sweaty and discouraged. This is why they are the ideal commuters, and help you if you’ve been out of the exercise loop for a while.
Finding a great e-bike doesn’t have to be budget-crushing. There are plenty of sensible options out there, both for children and adults. And if you’re in the market for a specialized bike that can take a beating on the trail, or help you haul heavy cargo – this is also the ideal option for you.
Remember that the more you invest in quality, the more enjoyment you’re going to get out of your ride. Don’t hesitate to get close and personal with your e-bike dealer- ask questions and develop a relationship.