Choosing to buy a new bike can be an incredibly exciting decision. But, when you get into the nitty-gritty of it – researching the difference between torque and power – it can be a much more difficult decision than you might think.
After all, thanks to the rise of technology over the years, the days of it being a straight choice between a manual road bike or a manual mountain bike are long gone. Nowadays, electric bikes are all the rage and, in recent times, more and more people are starting to get behind the latest tech. So, with this in mind, we thought we’d help you navigate the landscape if you are in the market for an electric bike as well.
Join us as we run through some of the key questions to ask yourself before deciding which bike is right for you while highlighting some of the most important factors to look out for.What type of bike are you looking for?
The first – and arguably most important – question to ask yourself is what type of electric bike you’re looking for.
Whether you’re after a:
- Road bike - to help you navigate tricky hills
- City commuter bike - compact options that allow you to commute to work more easily
- Touring bike - that works for longer over further distances
Deciding on the type of electric bike you want will determine the attributes you’ll need to pay attention to when shopping around.
And this, in turn, brings me nicely onto another important question…
What is your budget?
You will need to weigh up what your budget is before committing to buying an electric bike.
Put simply, while you may dream of owning a beautiful bike made by a well-known manufacturer which offers incredible torque, amazing power and an unrivalled battery range, each of these attributes comes at a price. Urban eBikes say, “Buying cheap will cost more in the long run, so it's important to buy the best bike to suit your budget, on a payment plan centred around your personal requirements or as part of a government-backed cycle to work scheme.”
Moreover, it’s important to work out what is most important to you and go from there, adjusting the type of electric bike you can buy in accordance with how much you can afford. That way, you will not only guarantee that the bike you go for fits your needs but you will also ensure you avoid spending beyond your means.
Do you want an electric bike with a hub-driven or mid-drive motor?
When you come to choosing the right electric bike for you, you will need to think carefully about where you would like the motor to sit on the bike. Generally speaking, there are two main placements to choose between: hub driven and mid-drive.
For hub driven bikes, the motor sits in the rear hub with the battery living in the down tube. As such, this helps make the bike look more 'normal' and is typically the better placement for those investing in their first electric bike.
Mid-drive motors, on the other hand, may be slightly bulkier-looking but tend to be a much more popular option. For this type of system, the motors are placed around the bottom bracket which, in turn, helps improve the bike’s overall stability and handling.
Mid-drive motors are also designed to generate significantly more torque than hub-driven alternatives, making it easier to climb steep hills. However, they come with the added drawback of being more expensive and potentially less value for money, depending on how much you are likely to use the bike.
Which size battery should you get?
While on the topic of how much use you're likely to get out of the electric bike, it's important to think about the battery it has.
Currently, all electric bikes come equipped with high-quality lithium batteries due to their efficiency. However, the size of battery you can get will vary, with the best choice for you again depending on what you plan on using the electric bike for.
While you may think a bigger battery is better, that's not always necessarily true. After all, the bigger the battery is, the heavier the bike will be and the more work you'll need to put in when not relying on pedalling assistance.
So, before you rush in and buy the first or best-looking bike you come across, you need to think carefully about how much you're likely to use the motor assistance it comes with.
What kind of battery range should you get?
Finally, at the same time as deciding on the size of the battery, you also need to consider how much range you want to get from your bike.
Generally speaking, the battery range refers to how many miles a rider can go before needing to recharge the battery. As such, the range you will need will vary depending on your circumstances – say, for example, you plan on using motor assistance to go back and forth to work, you will need a battery with a range capable of making both trips.
Therefore, it’s important to do your homework beforehand, by calculating what the minimum battery range should be for your requirements.
The last thing you will want, after all, is to invest in an electric bike that’s unable to get you where you want without its battery dying on the way.
This article was written by cycling enthusiast, James Freed