Electric Bike Buying Guide

e-MTB

What is an e-bike?

An eBike is not too dissimilar to an ordinary bicycle, the only difference being a motor and a battery which assists with the peddling.  Take away the motor and the battery and essentially you have a normal manual bike.  Most e-bikes have a power setting of zero which enables the rider to not have any power at all, and should the rider need power to assist up a hill for example, then they can select the power setting on the electric bike, to switch the assist system back on as the desired speed setting. 

 

An eBike provides the rider with all of the health benefits of a non-assisted bike, and is excellent if you suffer from recurring injuries preventing you from riding an ordinary bike, due to inclines hindering your ability to rehabilitate.  Other fantastic benefits of electric bikes include, filling in the distances between commuting, carrying heavier loads and of course the environmental and financial impact to that of a car.  All electric bicycles sold in the UK will provide power assistance up to the legally defined speed limit of 15.5mph before the motor cuts out.  

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What types of e-bike are there?

Folding electric bikes

Folding eBikes come in a number of varieties, with the most popular being the commuter folding e-bikes which are perfect for those city commutes. The city folding e-bikes are usually very compact and quick to fold, should you need to use public transport or to pop it in the boot of a car.  Some cargo and utility electric bikes are also classed as folding, as the handlebars can collapse for easy storage.

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e-MTB

Simply put, an e-MTB is an electric mountain bike.  Using the same components as an ordinary mountain bike with the addition of a battery and a motor,  although some manufacturers are now making components specifically for e-MTB's, like a drivetrain for example.  There are many benefits to an e-MTB, to keep up with fitter friends, to climb those gruelling inclines and have fun on the downhill trails.  

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E-cargo / utility

With more and more people opting not to use the car and public transport, there needed to be  a solution for to carry cargo and groceries, as well as your children.  This is where electric cargo and utility bikes come in.  With so many add ons and accessories to choose from, you can really load your eBike like a pack horse, the addition of childrens seats mean the school run would be a breeze.  Tern Bikes make a fantastic range of e-cargo bikes.

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City / hybrid e-bikes

A very popular category of electric bikes are the commuter and hybrid eBikes.  These e-bikes are very versatile indeed, and can be used as your daily commuter, just going down the shops or a leisurely cycle through a local nature trail.  Most hybrid electric bikes also come with front and back racks to enable easy transporting.

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Road e-bikes

Road e-bikes have become increasingly popular with road bikers.  The addition of a motor can add precious road time and extend riding pleasure on those long distance rides. Road eBikes are evolving at a fast rate, with trusted manufacturers, such as our suppliers at Ride LEV, using only the highest quality of components.

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What should I consider when buying an e-bike?

The Motor

Electric bikes can come with either a front hub motor, a rear hub motor and at the very top of the range, a mid hub motor. 

The front hub motor is located on the front wheel hub.  The benefit of a front hub motor is that because it isn't linked to the drivetrain, rather it supplies the power direct to the front wheel, there is less stress on the chainlinks.  A front hub motor is very common on smaller folding eBikes.  The rear hub motor is located on the rear wheel hub and tends to feel more like a manual bike as the power is coming from the rear wheel which feels more natural, and gives a little more traction.  Rear hub motors need to interact with the gears and chain, and so are more sophisticated.

The mid hub motor is mounted directly into the frame.  The motor drives power directly into the pedals, which feels more balanced and more like a manual bike.  Electric bikes are easily transportable as there is no hub motor on the wheels which makes it easier to quickly swap out wheels.

The Display

E-bike displays (also known as controllers) are usually mounted on the handlebars and offer a plethora of information pertaining to your ride. From the display unit you can change your level of assist, display your speed and distance, and show you a battery indication.  Levels of assist on electric bikes usually offer low, medium and high assist.

The Battery

In this case, bigger is definitely better.  Yes the bigger capacity that your battery has, the further the distance you can travel.  Batteries can either be mounted on the frame, be in-line with the frame or can be integrated into the seat post.  Generally if the battery is mounted down the tube it provides the e-bike with better balance.  Lithium ion battery technology has come leaps and bounds, and if you want to travel longer distances you will need to find to go for eBikes with batteries with the highest wattage hour (Wh).

Frame size

Another very important factor to consider when buying an e-bike is the frame size.  Many riders buy an incorrect sized frame, whether it be too large or too small, the end result will be the same, a degradation in your riding pleasure.  We have devised some handy charts here below to help  you choose the correct sized frame.  Please note that these tables are a guideline, and should you require more advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Commuter / hybrid sizing chart

e-MTB sizing chart

Road e-bike sizing chart

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