Buyer's Guide To Electric Bicycles!
Electric Bicycles are the future of cycling for most people….. but many don’t know it yet! If you are reading this Electric Bike Buyers Guide you are someone who for some reason has already realized that electric assisted power on your bicycle will somehow “improve” your riding experience. You are in for a real treat!
E-Bikes change lives and Energize your ride! Welcome to the Revolution!
These modern marvels are akin to your favorite two-wheelers and are equipped with battery-powered electric motors that help propel you, all or part of the time. E-bikes as they're often called, are popular because they're quiet, non-polluting, and can make cycling a lot more fun for a lot more people.
A helping hand
For example, they're ideal if you'd appreciate a little boost when climbing hills, fighting headwinds and riding for transportation or distance. Commuters find that the motor provides enough extra oomph to eliminate sweating. So, you arrive at work calm, cool and collected. Plus, the motor makes it easier to carry the extra weight of your work clothes and lunch, laptop, cell phone, etc.
Electric bikes are wonderful for other uses, too. They'll let you keep up so you can enjoy riding with a significantly fitter person. They'll let you travel further with a lot less effort so you can consider biking places you used to drive to. And, they make it possible to do things you might not be able to without motorized assistance, for example, pulling a trailer with the kids or groceries in it. Once you go electric you're sure to find that it makes your everyday life easier and more convenient.
No special requirements
Because electric bikes are classified as bicycles, no license, registration and insurance are required, saving you a bundle (and there are no gas costs and only cheap, basic maintenance needs). What's more, these zippy (top assisted speed is about 28 mph) bikes let you sneak around traffic jams, are a breeze to park and the battery can be recharged in a few hours so the bike's always ready to roll. These advantages have prompted many city dwellers to buy electric bikes as a viable and hip transportation alternative to the automobile.
Great for fitness and fun, too
Don't think that you won't get any exercise buzzing around on your assisted steed, either. You're repaid for pedaling with longer battery life. Plus, it feels great to pedal when it's so easy to, so most e-riders actually pedal a lot. Many even ride their green machines as much for fun and staying in shape as they do for basic transportation. It's nice knowing that you can head out to parts unknown unconcerned that you might tire out and not be able to pedal home. No worries. Just let the motor assist lend a helping hand! The bottom line is that you exercise, placing your heart rate right where you are comfortable, making your ride more enjoyable than a normal bicycle. You get as much exercise as you want…… or don’t want!
Understanding the different Class/Types of E-Bikes
There are three basic Class/Types of electric bikes:
1) TYPE 1 E-Bike: Pedal Assist, is an electric bicycle on which you must pedal in order to use the motor. It's just like a conventional bicycle except that there's a motor that senses that you're pedaling and kicks in to aid the pedaling effort. It feels like you have the best tailwind of your life on a permanent basis. This class/type of E-bike may or may not have a throttle. (Pedal Assist, may or may not also have a throttle, Max. Speed 20mph, no need for driver’s license, no age limit.)
2) TYPE 2 E-Bike: Throttle Only, is an e-bike equipped with a motor controlled by a throttle. On these electrics, you don't have to pedal to benefit from the motor. When you want power, just crank the throttle and away you go. You'll be able to accelerate in the middle of a corner thus increasing traction. Of course, the less you pedal, the sooner you run out of juice in the battery. (Throttle Only, Max. Speed 20mph, no need for driver’s license, no age limit.)
3) TYPE 3 E-Bike: Pedal Assist 28mph. this Class/Type is the fastest “legal” E-bike with a maximum speed of 28mph. Still considered a “bicycle” and does not require a driver’s license, license plate, ect. It’s legally considered a bicycle….. and man is it fun! By law a helmet is required. Typically this category would be best for someone commuting on their bike. (Pedal Assist, may or may not also have a throttle, Max. Speed 28mph, no need for driver’s license, must be 17 or older, helmet is required.)
What kind of Motor should I get?
E-Bike Motor technology has been evolving so rapidly over the last few years it’s been hard to know what is best………. Until Now! You will be happy to know the E-Bike industry has now pin pointed the future. There are only two motor types one should consider when buying an E-bike. Both motor types are extremely reliable, energy efficient and will be the future for the E-Bike industry.
1) Rear Hub Drive Motors: There are two types of rear hub drive motors;
- Direct Drive: Best for high speed flat commutes, good for climbing most hills, not “steep” hills, excellent for exercise, transportation and fun.
- Geared Hub: Best for carrying heavy loads and steep hills! But work well for all applications such as commuting, exercise and fun. This motor pedals quite efficiently if the battery runs out.
2) Mid Drive / Center Drive Motors: Mid Drive / Center Drive Motors are the most efficient motors typically giving the longest range. They are excellent for all applications; hills, speed, distance, commuting, exercise and fun. These motors are lighter weight and have a much better center of gravity making for much better bike handling characteristics. The only drawback is that a Mid Drive / Center Drive Motor can be more expensive than a hub drive motor. But well worth the extra cost if you can afford it.
What E-Bike is best for Me?
The best way to choose the right E-Bike for you is to first, look at it like you are shopping for a regular bicycle. Once you know what category of bike is best for you, the rest will fall right into place because E-Bike manufactures of today know the motor/battery needs of each particular bicycle category. So if you have a bicycle that suits your needs, it will likely have the right motor/battery for that application. It really is that simple. Below are the most common bicycle categories and the features and benefits to help you choose the right bicycle category for you.
1) Comfort / Cruiser: This category is designed for the casual recreational rider that wants comfort and control. You will sit upright, have a super comfy saddle, positioned to see the sites and have a blast doing it! Perfect for getting some exercise or running a quick errand to the store. This category comes with two frame styles, the traditional diamond shaped frame and the “Step Through” frame. The “Step Through” frame makes is very easy to get on and off the bike. No need to lift your leg high to get on and off the bike. The perfect choice for anyone with a handicap that might prevent you from lifting your leg……. Now you can just “Step Through”.
2) Hybrid / Commuter: This category is designed to go far and get there fast. Perfect for commuting to work, getting around town or just getting some great exercise without your heart popping out of your chest. These speedy bikes will typically have the longest range and some go as fast as 28mph! No more problems finding a parking space when you arrive at work and in some cases getting to work faster than you would in a car because you can weave right through traffic. Many of these models come equipped with a rack for carrying your laptop, groceries or even an extra change of clothes and bathroom supplies. And, on some models, you might find a lighting system integrated right into the electrical system on the bike, so, if your bike is on so is your safety light!
3) Mountain / Off-road: This category is designed for riding off road on trails taking you farther and faster with less effort than a traditional bicycle. These Off Road machines climb hills like a billy goat and make descending even more fun do to the acceleration you can get when you pedal. With the motor and the battery positioned low and to the center of the bike you will have even more stability, more control and more fun than you ever have before. E-Mountain Bikes take the “fun factor” to new levels. Ride with a friend or a spouse that’s more fit than you. Exercise? Oh yeah…. If you want to…..If you want to take it easy, you can do that too. You can climb steeper hills faster than ever and not suffer doing it!
Can I ride an e-bike in the rain? Yes. Electric bikes come waterproofed right from the factory able to ride in the rain. However, water can still damage the motor or the battery if they are submerged. Also high water pressure can allow water to get into the circuitry inside the electronics causing problems. Like a normal bike, water is ok but should be avoided if you can. Water never “helps’.
How fast can I go on an electric bike? Most electric bikes have a top assisted speed of 18 to 28 mph. It will depend on the system. Above the high speed intended for the bike the motor will shut off. But, if you have the strength or if your going downhill you can go as fast as you can pedal.
How far can I go on one charge? Electric bike range varies from 15 to 60 miles by model. How far you go on a single charge will also depend on your weight, the weight of your cargo, the terrain, the steepness of hills and wind. How much you pedal and which power setting / mode you use also affect range.
How much does it cost to operate an electric bike? Based on the price of electric, it typically costs 6 to 14 cents a mile to charge and maintain. Compare that with a car!
Will a conventional bike keep me in better shape? Yes — but only if you use it as much as the electric bike. Many e-bike users find that the electric's benefit on hills and into wind eliminates their fear of riding and gets them out on the bike when they otherwise might not ride. Some are more fit because they ride more often.
We hope these tips help you understand electric bicycles more. Please visit our store for more information about the electric bicycles we carry. We can point out differences, answer questions, arrange for a test ride and demonstrate the features and benefits that are making these green vehicles the latest personal mobility craze. Join the revolution and Energize your ride!