Electric Bike Buying Guide
Proudly sitting as the fastest growing category in the cycling industry globally, the rise in popularity of electric assisted bicycles, or e-bikes, is impossible to ignore. This is largely thanks to the many ways in which an e-bike can be of benefit for everyone from non-riders to engrained cycling enthusiasts. Simply put, an e-bike widens the possibilities of cycling being viewed as a viable transportation option as well as a sustainable leisure activity.
electric bike buying guide
An e-bike is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor offering some form of assistance to a rider in propelling the bike forwards. This assistance can come in many forms including hub assist, however, pedal, or pedelec assistance is by far the most popular option.
Aside from the often obvious electric motor system that integrates into an e-bike, modern e-bikes are starting to look more and more like their traditionally pedal powered cousins. When looking at a regular commuter and an e-bike side by side, it's easy to see some resemblance between the two, start looking a little closer and a number of differences start to become more noticeable.
One of the latest categories to score electrical assistance, electric road bikes marry together the rolling and aerodynamic efficiency of a traditional road bike with the effortless power of a pedelec drive unit. The result allows cyclists of all abilities to tackle any climb or epic ride with a little more ease.
With an endurance focussed geometry electric road bikes are best suited to big days in the saddle or tackling the kind of hilly terrain that would make a professional cyclist wince. Frames will typically be constructed of either aluminium or carbon fibre whilst groupset options will be similar to those found on traditional road bikes. Stopping power will typically be provided by hydraulic disc brakes, whilst wheels will be built with additional spokes for added strength and stiffness. Tyres will typically be wider than standard (30c +) to provide additional comfort, traction and puncture resistance.
The load luggers of the e-bike world, cargo e-bikes are quickly becoming a viable option for both commuters and businesses to move goods. Combined with the effortless power on offer from an electric drive unit, cargo e-bikes are perfect for people wanting a bike capable of commuting to work, or carrying kids, pets and shopping. Weather permitting, a cargo e-bike can be a viable replacement for an around town car.
In Australia, the laws surrounding e-bikes closely mirror those found in Europe, meaning that e-bikes are required to have a motor output of no more than 200w for pedal cycles with a throttle or an electric auxiliary hub driven motor and 250w when used on a certified pedelec (power assisted pedal) bike. Motors are also speed limited to 25 kph, meaning that once you hit 25.1 kph, the electrical assistance will rapidly decrease, leaving you to continue pedaling the bike under your own steam.
At standby level, e-bike systems operate exactly the same as a traditional bike, albeit a heavy one. Offering no electric assistance, the majority of e-bikes will still offer basic metrics on their display controllers when in standby.
The battery pack is arguably one of the most important aspects of electric bike motor system. Available in a range of wattages spanning anywhere from 200w to 550w; the number of watts or watt-hours a battery has will be indicative of the range on offer, with a higher number typically being able to provide increased range. E-bikes will typically be sold with one battery pack fitted, however, on some motor systems it is possible to run two battery packs in tandem, effectively doubling the range on offer.
The $1,000 to $2,000 price bracket is typically where you will find entry-level electric bikes options. At this price point, Hub driven units drastically outnumber pedelec options thanks to their reduced cost and simplified design. As for bikes, commuter and urban type e-bikes are by far the most commonly found here. Often the components used on these bikes are similar to what you would find on a $400-$750 non-powered bicycle.
We hope this guide has given you newfound confidence in the world of e-bikes. You can shop the wide range of E-Bikes right here on BikeExchange, all available through leading retailers across the country. Or if you're after a new bike but unsure on what type or where to start looking, our guide on how to choose the right bike is the perfect place to start
Keep in mind that due to high demand, many of the best electric bikes are either on backorder or are sold out. And while many are still quite expensive, they're coming down in price; in fact, we also have a list of the best budget electric bikes. And before you do any riding, be sure to pick up one of the best bike helmets and some of the best bike lights if you'll be riding in the dark.
For the vast majority of riders, the Rad Power RadCity 5 Plus will be the best electric bike. It has a comfortable design, plenty of power, and a multitude of mounting points for things such as baskets and child seats. Plus, it comes with a rear rack and mudguards. Its 7-speed shifter, combined with three levels of pedal assistance and a twist throttle is more than enough to get you up even the steepest of hills.
The price of electric bikes is coming down, but many of the best electric bikes still cost more than $1,500. The Aventon Soltera is a much more modestly priced model that sacrifices little in the name of economy. In our tests, we found it very comfortable to ride, and it looks great, too.
However, the Soltera's rear hub motor does feel a little underpowered, especially on hills, and if you want the least expensive version, you'll have to go with a single-gear model. Still, if you're looking for a low-cost electric bike to get you around town, this is definitely a model to consider. Be sure to check out the best budget electric bikes for more picks.
If you're looking for a fat-tire electric bike that's less than $2,000, the Aventon Aventure is hard to beat. It's as good off-road as it is on pavement, has a beefy battery and a clear color display, as well as fenders that'll save your clothes from getting too muddy.
The handle bars fold flat, for easy storage in an apartment or cubicle, and the City's electric support is so smooth you'll think you're doing all the work yourself. We were able to do three days plus of typical city commuting before having to re-charge. At night, the bike's lights sufficiently lit up the road and the throttle helped us zip around potential trouble when we felt out of gas. Founded by folks from biking icon Cannondale, Charge's sui generis feature is that even newbies can assemble the bike right out of the box in 10 minutes or less. All you basically have to do is put the front wheel on.
With sleek, clean lines, the VanMoof S3 is sure to turn heads, but this electric bike is more than just looks. It has an electronic shifter that automatically changes your gears and a boost which provides you an uphill assist. Once you connect the bike to your phone via Bluetooth, you get a bunch of other features, too: You can change when the bike shifts gears, change the sound of its electronic horn, and more. Best of all, you can lock the bike using your phone, and get an alert if someone tries to make off with it. You can also use Apple's FindMy app to locate the VanMoof S3 and X3 in case it's ever lost or stolen.
The Yuba Supercargo CL can haul an astounding 500 pounds, making it one of the heftiest electric cargo bikes in its class. Yet, it offers a surprisingly stable ride, thanks to its low center of gravity. Its cargo area is very customizable, letting you convert it from a place to carry groceries to a space to tote your tots to soccer practice.
The Gocycle G4i+ looks like something a supercar designer would build, which isn't surprising given that it was conceived by former McLaren sports car engineer Richard Thorpe. Not only is this bike's unique wheels-on-one-side and tapered body eye-catching, it is also able to fold up in a couple of minutes into a size small enough to get by security and into the office elevator. At 36 pounds, it's one of the lightest folding electric bikes out there, too.
Unlike more expensive electric bikes, the Core-5 requires you to attach the handlebars, front wheel, pedals, and make a few adjustments, which might require a trip to your local bike shop. Also, while Ride1Up says the bike should fit riders up to 6' 4", it felt small to a 5-foot 11-inch rider, so taller riders may be more comfortable on the Aventon Soltera.
The Gazelle Ultimate C380 HMB is one of the smoothest-riding electric bikes we've tested. Thanks to a Gates belt drive and seamless Enviolo shifter that allows you to change gears in the middle of a hill, everything about this bike is effortless. Its low-step frame is topped with a Selle Loire Gel seat with an internal compression post to soften the ride. The aluminum frame also has an internal front fork suspension system and removable battery to keep the whole design as svelte as possible.
Its Bafang 750W mid-drive motor is surprisingly powerful, and can be used in pedal-assist as well as throttle mode, for when you want to give your legs a break. While not as nimble as purpose-built electric mountain bikes, it performed admirably on mud-slicked roads. Our only real critique is that the Bafang controller was a bit difficult to master.
While a lot of cargo ebikes can carry kids, the Urban Arrow Family is the best electric bike for the job. We really liked its stability and the ease with which we could start this massive bike from a dead stop. This is not a small bike: it's 9 feet long and weighs 110 pounds, which is a good thing that it also has one of the best kickstands we've seen yet from a bike.
If you're looking to replace your car with an electric bike, then the Riese and Mūller Load 60 should be at the top of your list. Despite its large size and weight, the Load 60 was a delight to ride, with a tight turning radius, full suspension, a Gates carbon belt drive, and a strong and responsive motor assist. 041b061a72