Electric bikes, or e-bikes, have gained immense popularity in recent times, owing to the numerous benefits they offer. They provide all the advantages of conventional bicycles, while also being equipped with an electric motor for added power and convenience. If you're considering purchasing an e-bike, you're making a wise decision, but selecting the perfect one can be quite daunting given the wide range of options available.
In this article, we'll simplify the process by outlining the crucial factors to consider when choosing your e-bike.
Purpose: What will you use your e-bike for?
The first thing to consider when choosing an e-bike is what you will use it for. You will have to define your needs precisely. Will it be primarily for commuting to work or school? Or are you looking for a bike to take on off-road adventures? Knowing your primary use will help you narrow down your options and find a bike that suits your needs. If you live in an urban area, it would be better to get a road bike. If you commute a lot while combining different means of transport, a foldable one is worth considering too. If you intend to use it for adventures in rough terrains, a mountain bike is the best choice. If you want to use your e-bike for both urban and off-road riding, a hybrid bike is the best option. It’s noteworthy that there are 3 categories of electric bikes in Belgium:
- Electric bikes with a maximum speed of 25km/h and a power of 250 watts.
- The motorized cycle with a maximum speed of 25km/h and a power of 1000 watts. The minimum age to drive them is 16 years old.
- The speed pedelec with a maximum speed of 45km/h and a power of 4000 watts. The regulations for this one are stricter. The minimum age is 16 years and registration and license are mandatory.
Price: How much are you willing to spend?
The price is always a factor to consider when choosing an e-bike. Prices can range from a few hundred euros for entry-level models to several thousand for high-end e-bikes with better performance and range. Set a budget that works for you and compare models within that price range. Don't forget to factor in additional costs such as accessories, maintenance, and repairs.
Autonomy: How far do you need to go?
Autonomy is a crucial factor to consider when choosing an e-bike. The range of an e-bike depends on the size and quality of the battery, as well as the motor's power and your riding habits. Consider how far you need to travel on a single charge and choose a battery with sufficient capacity. Most e-bikes have a range of 80 kilometers per charge. It’s good to know that usually, the one indicated isn’t always accurate, as it doesn’t take into account the weather, the land you drive on, or your riding style … When taking all of this into consideration, the autonomy can be lower than the one indicated initially. That’s why it’s always good to ask the retailer for more details about it.
Motor Type: Hub Motor or Mid-Drive Motor?
The motor is the heart of the bike. It powers the e-bike and gives the rider an extra boost of speed and power. There are several types of motors, each with its advantages and disadvantages. There are two that are most commonly used: hub motors and mid-drive motors. Hub motors are located in the wheel hub and provide direct power to the wheel. Hub motors can either be on the front wheel or the back wheel.
Mid-drive motors, on the other hand, are located in the center of the bike and provide power to the chain, which transfers the power to the wheels. Mid-drive motors offer better performance and efficiency, especially when climbing hills or carrying heavier loads. Hub motors, on the other hand, are simpler and more affordable.
Weight: How much can you handle?
Another important factor to consider when choosing your e-bike is weight. E-bikes are generally heavier than traditional bikes, as they are equipped with an electric motor and battery. They generally weigh between 10kg and 25kg. This can make them more challenging to transport and maneuver, especially if you live in a city or a place with a lot of stairs. You should keep in mind that the more powerful your e-bike is, the heavier it’s going to be.
Frame Type: Step-Through or Diamond?
E-bikes come in different types of frames, but two are the most common: step-through and diamond. The step-through frame has a low crossbar, making it easier to mount and dismount the bike. It is also more comfortable for shorter riders or those with mobility issues. The diamond frame, on the other hand, is the most traditional type of bike frame, with a triangle-shaped frame that connects the pedals, seat, and handlebars. It offers better stability and is more suitable for off-road or high-speed riding.
Wheels: What’s the right size and type?
When choosing an e-bike, one important factor to consider is the size and type of wheels. The wheels on an e-bike can affect everything from the ride quality to the overall performance. Typically, e-bike wheels range from 559 mm to 622 mm. The larger the wheel, the smoother the ride and the more easily it will roll over obstacles. However, larger wheels can also make the bike heavier and more difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. Smaller wheels, on the other hand, are more nimble and easier to handle, but may not be as comfortable on rough terrain. Another important factor is the width of the tires. Wider tires provide more stability and are better suited for off-road riding. However, they can also be heavier and slower on paved surfaces. Narrower tires, on the other hand, are more efficient on paved surfaces but may not provide enough grip on loose terrain.
Add-ons: Do you want a more customizable bike?
When choosing an e-bike based on add-ons, consider which accessories will be the most useful for your riding needs. Some e-bikes come with built-in accessories, while others may require purchasing them separately. Like additional lights, racks, locks, phone holders, more adequate saddles, and so on. That’s why it's important to factor in the cost of any additional accessories when considering the overall cost of the e-bike.
Repair and maintenance: Is it a known brand?
Finally, it’s better to choose from known brands than from small manufacturers. E-bikes, similarly to normal bikes, require regular maintenance and the best way to take good care of your bike is to know the common problems to be able to solve them quickly. Feel free to check out this article on what are the most common ebike problems and how to solve them.
Sometimes an e-bike might need replacement parts. You have a better chance to find them when your e-bike is from a well-known brand. It’s also highly recommended to know if there's adequate after-sales service. If not, check if there’s a third-party service provider that can repair the e-bike model you want. If you are looking for a competent service to repair your e-bike, don't hesitate to book a repair with STEPfix. We would be happy to assist you with your repairs and maintenance.
Choosing the right e-bike can be a daunting task, but by considering these factors, you can narrow down your options and find the perfect bike for your needs. And remember, once you've chosen your e-bike, always wear a helmet and follow traffic laws and safety guidelines for a safe and enjoyable ride!