The idea of an eco-friendly commute is indeed enticing, and what better way to accomplish that if not with an e-bike. An e-bike has both power and sleekness, thus leaving no room for any disappointments.
However, there’s just one itsy-bitsy problem, how to choose one?
Thousands of e-bike models, hundreds of brands, and dozens of customization, that’s what typically makes an e-bike.
That’s not all, you also have local bike stores and online articles (lots of them) that would tell you one or the other thing about these bikes.
If you think I am trying to overwhelm you with these facts, then you are wrong, the thing is you need to weigh in every factor before buying an e-bike, or else you would end up with nothing but an expensive paperweight.
To avoid that from happening we have addressed some of the biggest mistakes which people often make while buying an e-bike. So stay tuned to find out.
Why are you buying an electric bike?
A question that definitely needs some pondering. Think about this, why do you need an e-bike? What matters the most to you and what will be the primary use of your e-bike.
As you might know, there are options in e-bike for commuting, traveling, road biking, cruising, hauling kid or cargo, etc. You even have the option of an electric mountain bike as well, so finding out your purpose is a must.
Some people (mostly newbies) make the mistake of buying an e-bike based solely on its looks, and looks don’t matter much in the long run.
Depending on the bike’s intended purpose each of them has its own set of capabilities, motor, brakes, tires, and more.
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The company will advertise certain aspects of the bike, like a single-charge range, for instance, sometimes what they say will appear unrealistic to you. In such a situation probe them for more information.
Check the e-bike’s publicized mileage then compare with these average statistics.
A typical 7.8Ah battery would provide a backup of ~35Km/22Miles, a 10.4 Ah battery would offer a range of ~50Km/31Miles while a 13Ah battery would provide a mileage of ~65Km/40.5Miles.
Note: Unless the bike weighs less than 20Kg/44Lbs these above-mentioned stats are the best you can expect from those particular batteries.
As that old saying goes. "You receive what you spend for". Although an entry-level affordable electric bike wouldn’t cost you more than a thousand bucks, if you want a decent bike then it would cost you around $2000.
The reason behind this pricing is simple, you aren’t paying for the brand, but for the quality of the components.
Speaking about components there are two to consider. One is the motor the other being the battery.
Bigger usually is better but not always, especially when it comes to the motor.
A drawback of having a bigger motor is that it will make your bike heavier which directly affects the mileage. However, the upside is your bike would be a lot faster.
Another thing regarding the motor is its placement.
The rear hub motor although quite powerful (250-750W) can be a hassle when it comes to its installation and maintenance. Not to forget the minimal effectiveness during a hill climb.
On the other hand, a mid-drive motor provides impressive speed and balance, nonetheless they are costly, have decreased power output, and tend to drain out a lot faster.
Commonly there are two kinds, lithium-ion and lead-acid. The latter is not only affordable but also convenient to recycle. Nevertheless, they have a shorter life-span and require a lot of attention for proper working.
This is the reason why lithium-ion has a monopoly on the market. They are not only powerful but they are durable as well. Apart from being expensive, they don't have any drawbacks.
When it comes to lithium-ion batteries you have a few options to choose from, since electropaedia recommends lithium-manganese batteries, I say it’s better to go with that.
A test ride
You can’t imagine how many elements can cause discomfort to you while riding. A seat that’s rough, falsely placed pedals, inaccurately spaced handlebars, it could be anything.
Apart from comfort you also need to assess the bike’s performance and balance. Some bikes have only throttle while some features pedal assist.
And the best way to find out about all these characteristics is with a test ride. Test as many e-bikes as possible and while doing so keep your requirement in mind and see if a particular bike fulfills it or not.
One other thing, if are one of those riders who like to commute but sometimes on the way back you just decide to drive the car instead.
So for them, a folding electric bike would be ideal, here make sure that your car’s trunk space can accommodate the bike.
Capricious buyer and Poor customer service
Many e-bike brands have popped up in recent times given the ever-increasing popularity of e-bikes among the e-bikers community.
Needless to say, not all of these manufacturers are reliable ones, so choosing a reputable brand can be daunting at times.
So do some research and choose the brand which has its customers particularly in the US and Europe.
Unless you buy your e-bikes from a trustworthy supplier you can’t expect to have good customer service. Good support is important especially when e-bikes are concerned.
Otherwise, you can try the old school method of “brick and mortar” retail shop, they are the best when it comes to ensuring service and support.
The golden rule to remember while buying e-bikes is to ask questions. Don’t shy away! The more you ask the better you will understand what you are buying. That is one sure way to avoid making any mistakes.
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