Buying your first Electric Bike can be really exciting, and there are of course so many benefits to consider. From revolutionising the future of mobility, contributing positively to a cleaner environment, keeping yourself safe from overly crowded transport options and to experience the exhilarating feeling of freedom and fun as you cycle or scoot around.
But it is of course a big and important decision for you. That is why we put together guides for both Electric Bikes and Electric Scooters, to help you choose the perfect ride that fits in with what you need.
The popularity of Electric Bikes (and Scooters for that matter), is increasing at a rapid rate, and for good reason. As well as the reasons listed earlier, eBikes provide the freedom to travel further and faster, whether its to enjoy a leisurely ride or use daily for your commutes.
However, with all the intricacies and eBike world jargon, it can be difficult to know exactly what is right for you. Should you go for the 250W or 900W eBike? Would a Rear Hub, Mid Hub or Front Hub motor be best for you? What is a display unit? How much assistance do you actually need? These are all areas we will explore below, to help you choose the right Electric Bike for you.
1. How Electric Bikes work
An Electric Bike is essentially a normal push bike that has a built in electric motor system to assist its propulsion when you pedal. So in order to generate that power and enable the assist, the pedals have to be in motion. Having to pedal to generate that power is the key difference between an Electric Bike and what is classed as a motorised vehicle. Due to this, as well as the fact that they are typically legally capped at 15.5mph, you do not have to pay to get tax or insure them like you would a typical motorised vehicle, or even get a licence in order to ride them.
There are 3 key parts to an Electric Bike that we will explore in a bit more detail:
2. The Motor
The motor controls how much power (torque) feeds into your eBike - meaning, the more torque the more power. There are 3 different placements of the motor - the front hub, mid hub or rear hub drive motor.
The motor is arguably one of the most, if not the most important component of an eBike. It not only controls the power that is generated, but can have an impact on things like, handling, acceleration, weight, transportation etc.
Front Hub Motor:
- Positioned on the front wheel hub.
- Generates direct power into the wheel rather than the drivechain, meaning it doesn’t wear down the chain rings
- Can impact weight distribution and create a pull rather than a push propelling sensation
- Can make it difficult to remove the front wheel
Mid Hub Motor:
- Typically found in more expensive eBike models
- Provides a more balanced weight distribution
- Makes it easy to change and replace your wheels
- Can wear down the drivechain quicker, and makes it more difficult to customise your gear setup
Rear Hub Motor:
- Provides more of a push sensation when riding
- Requires a specially designed rear wheel, so can make it difficult to replace and change
- Although less of a jolting experience to what you will find with a Front Hub Motor, the Rear Hub Motor can have weight distribution problems too
3. The Battery
The battery is of course, what stores the “juice”. It is the component that will ultimately be the factor in deciding how far you can travel. Batteries vary in size, frame and make, and typically they all require you to charge it for different amounts of time. Charge time and range should clearly be displayed or communicated with you when it comes to choosing your eBike.
The Battery size you would need really depends on how far you want to or need to go on one charge. They are made from Lithium-ion batteries, and can range between 250W to 900W.
250W battery will be ideal for flat cities like Berlin or London, but if you live in an area with lots of hill climbs, opting for a higher wattage would be worth considering.
It’s important to note, the range of your eBike can be impacted by other factors aside from just what size the watt is. For example, which power mode is selected, the terrain you are riding on, the rider weight or max load, wind. But typically eBikes can provide a rough range of between 20-80 miles.
4. The Display
Linking together with the sensors (torque and speed sensors), as well as the battery and motor, the display is a crucial element to any Electric Bike. It provides you with important information such as your speed and battery level, but also options to switch between different assistance levels.
5. Other Things to Consider
Getting the right size frame can have a big impact on how comfortable your ride is, from the handlebar position to the seat to pedal level. Refer to our size guide to find the most suitable frame for you, or ask one of our experts for advice.
We always encourage you to stay safe and be responsible when riding. As obvious as it may seem, there are clear steps you can take to make sure you are not only having fun when riding your eBike, but keeping safe.
- First and foremost, wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries caused by accidents, and up to 80% of these can be prevented by simply wearing a helmet.
- Make sure you have an adequate lock system to ensure the safety of your eBike, no matter where you are and where you are travelling to.
- There are specific eBike models which have built in lights to keep you safe in traffic, such as Models X, Y and Z. By lights, we do not recommend the reflectors you can stick on, but rather recommend that you use blinking front lights and a rear red LED light.
- Carrying out necessary checks before going out for a ride. Such as, checking your tyres are correctly inflated, your display is working properly, and your battery is charged to a sufficient level.
Most eBikes will have different settings that you can choose in order to select the assistance mode that best suits you. The sensors on a bike (speed sensor and torque sensor) match and amplify your effort by one and a half times or even doubling your input. Most Raleigh bikes for example, have four settings to choose from; Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo, and each setting will provide additional or less power to provide that added boost.
If you have any questions that you were not able to find here, or want to have a chat to explore what bike could be best for you, feel free to contact one of our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be more than happy to help you find the best ride for you.