Ultimate Electric Bike Buying Guide
Do you know that electric bikes are the fastest-growing category in the global cycling industry? It is thanks to the benefits that e-bike has. It opens a lot of possibilities either for professional cyclists or non-riders and city commuters.
What Do You Need to Know Before Buying an Electric Bike in 2020
If you want to enjoy your riding experience with an electric bike ultimately, we suggest choosing the e-bike type that suits your needs. If you like hunting, the cruising electric bike wouldn’t be the best option. Evaluate the criteria which will help you to choose the best electric bike type. In this guide, you are going to find out everything that you need to know about e-bike, the types of it, and much more.
Electric Bike Classes in The US
All the bicycles that have a motor up to 750W are classified as electric bikes. Besides, there are three e-bike classes in the United States. The types are based on the motor and the pedal-assist level. Would you like to find out more?
Class Electric Bike
The electric bikes that are classified to a first-class
have the low-speed pedal-assist mode. It means that the motor provides
assistance only when the rider is pedaling up to 20mph. You can ride this
electric bike on any road where the ordinary bicycles are allowed, as it
Class Electric Bike
The main difference between the 1st and 2nd classes is
the throttle. The electric bike that has a throttle-assisted motor keeps the
bike driving. However, this feature only works if you are going up to 20mph.
You can ride a throttle-assisted electric bike on any road where the regular
bicycles are allowed.
Class Electric Bike
The electric bikes are speed pedal-assisted and stop to
assist when a rider reaches 28mph. It also is one of the fastest electric bike
types, and it doesn’t have a throttle. The rider must be 16 or older to ride
the 3rd class electric bikes; also, don’t forget about a helmet! If you have a
3rd class e-bike, you can’t ride on a regular bike path, unless you have
Which Type of Electric Bike is Right for You?
It is essential to choose the right type of electric bike. In this
way, you can enjoy the experience of riding it. Besides, we have gone through
the main e-bike classification in the USA, so it will be easier for you to
choose the right electric bike for you.
Now we are going to give you information about the types of electric
bikes and where you can ride with a specific type.
Hybrid (Commuting) Electric Bike
- City roads
- A good condition unpaved roads
- Upright seating position
- Won’t be that comfortable as MTB e-bike on offroad
Are you living in a city, and you need to find a way to
save some cash and avoid the traffic roads? Well, the commuting electric bike
is the best e-bike type for you. All commuter electric bikes have lightweight
frames that you can easily carry if needed. They are specifically designed for
reaching your destination and avoiding traffic jams in the morning and
afternoon. The commuter electric bikes also offer a large luggage compartment
where you can store your backpack or other important stuff.
Hardtail Electric Mountain Bike
- Unpaved roads
- Bad quality asphalt roads
- Comfort on rough terrain
- Front suspension
- Sportive seating position
- Usually comes without fenders, rack, lights.
Hardtail mountain e-bikes usually come with an only
front suspension fork, and it is a lighter and less expensive version of an MTB
e-bike. If you are looking for an electric bike to experience hardtail outdoor
paths, you should go for a hardtail mountain e-bike.
- 26” – small but fierce, they provide higher acceleration and high speed thanks to being light and firm.
- 29” – go big or go home. The largest mountain bike wheel available out there, 29ers are wheels you want to take to cross country cycling. Even though they require more effort to accelerate, they will smoothly ride over any kind of terrain.
- 27.5” – want benefits that both previous types provide? This is your choice. Their popularity is in rise due to being light almost as 26ers, yet traction and rolling capabilities are almost at the level of 29ers.
Full Suspension Electric Mountain Bike
- Unpathed rough roads
- Downhill trails
- Comfort on rough terrain
- Front and rear suspension
- Powerful motor for hill climbing
A heavy-duty frame, full suspension, and a powerful
battery with a motor make an excellent MTB electric bike. If you are a person
that likes to take often rides in the mountains, you should get yourself an MTB
e-bike. This type of e-bike is one of the most powerful in the market, and it
would definitely provide you the best mountain riding experience full of power
and shock absorbing suspension.
Cruising Electric Bike
- City roads
- Bike paths
- Upright seating position
- Big saddle
- Won’t be good for a longer rides
Some people often think that commuter bikes are the same
as cruising bikes. Well, there is some truth here. The similarity between these
two types is the less powerful motor and battery. However, the cruising
electric bike is more suitable for relaxing beach ride instead of busy city
streets. The frame provides you a relaxed and comfortable sitting position.
Also, you can find a basket to store your beach picnic boxes.
Folding Electric Bikes
- City roads
- Bike paths
- Easy to transport
- Easy to store
- Not suitable for rough terrain
- Less powerful
Shoutout for all the space-savers out there! Electric
bike manufacturers thought about the space-saving feature and created a folding
e-bike. Besides, the folding electric bikes are great if you would like to take
it on vacation with you. The frame is pretty much lightweight and
straightforward. The folding electric bike has a simple motor that provides
enough power for a short trip.
Fat-Tire Electric Bike
- Powerful motor
- Easy to store
- Very comfortable and soft
- Harder to maneuver
- Weights a bit more than other types of e-bikes
Do you wish to experience different bike paths rather
than concrete or mountains? Well, if you want to go for a ride in the sand or
snow, you will need a fat-tire electric bike. The main reason why this is a
unique type of e-bike to travel on unusual paths is that the e-bike has wide
tires that offer great contact with the snow or sand. Having a fat-tire
electric bike gives you an extended riding season because you can ride it even
when there is a 10″ of snow on the ground.
Electric Road Bike
- Good quality roads
- Long-distance rides
- Aerodynamic frame
- Bigger battery range
- Quite expensive
- Big discomfort on rough terrain
The electric road bikes are the latest category in the
market. It takes the traditional aerodynamic efficiency of a standard road bike
and gives a little of a pedelec power. As a result, you have an electric road
bike that helps riders to tackle any mountain climb with more ease. If you are
looking for an electric bike that you can take to a hilly terrain for a longer
journey, the electric road bike is the best option to go.
- Comfortable and stable
- Good looking design
- Doesn’t have pedals
The moped electric bike can look like a lightweight
moped. It has a full seat and suits your needs when you are looking for a type
of transportation over your car. It won’t be suitable if you are looking for a
small and simple electric bike to reach your destination. However, the moped
electric bike is an excellent choice if you want to go for a ride and take your
partner with you.
- Transporting stuff
- Maximum comfort
- Very stable
- Usually has a two baskets
- Cheaper than cargo type e-bikes
- Requires more space for storing
- Weights also more
The e-trikes are your usual tricycles with the
electric-powered motor. It provides enough power to enjoy your riding
experience with three-wheeled transportation.
Electric Cargo Bike
- Transporting objects
- Replace a car
- Very stable with a heavy load
- Usually cost more than regular e-bike
Finally, there is a perfect solution for small-business
owners like florists or vegetable shops to transport their goods quickly and
effortlessly. The electric cargo bike has a storage unit where you can put your
stuff and transfer it from point A to point B. These types of electric bikes
have a simple motor and a pedal-assist mode to help you quickly move your
goods. It can be an excellent replacement for a town car!
Ultra-Budget Electric Bike
- Easy to transport
- Not enough power on hilly terrain
- Not very comfortable for tall riders
Whether you are on a tight budget or don’t want to spend
a lot of money on an electric bike, you can get a small e-bike that costs less
than a few hundred. It will not have a powerful motor or long battery life;
however, it will save you a lot of money and will be good enough for busy city
Budget Electric Bike
- Very affordable
- Come in various types, colors
- Won’t be big loss then stolen
If you are looking for an electric bike, want to stay on
a budget and still have a decent motor power, the budget electric bikes are the
best types to search for. The prices might vary from $500 to $1000, and you can
still get a decent battery life, suspension features, and a great frame.
Electric Hunting Bike
- Camouflage colors
- Ability to transport a heavy load
- May cost more than a regular fat bike
Electric hunting bikes are an excellent way to turn an ordinary hunt into an adventure. Of course, not every electric hunting bike on the market will suit your needs. If you’re looking to buy an electric hunting bike, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Always focus on the type of motor. Generally, hunting bikes come in three varieties: rear-hub, mid-drive, and ultra mid-drive. The motor is essentially the hearth of the hunting bike. The power and placement determine how your eBike will perform. You’ll also want to focus on range. Range details the power and efficiency of the battery. Some hunting bikes will last longer on a single charge than others. When choosing a hunting bike, you’ll also need to focus on the weight limit. How much bulk can the bike handle? After all, shooting that prized elk won’t matter much if you can’t haul it back to camp. When on the hunt for the perfect electric hunting bike, keep these buying guide points in mind before you purchase your perfect bike.
Electric Bike Motor Differences
Nowadays, most electric bikes have a motor system that perfectly suits
a specific bike type. Also, you can find many famous brands like Shimano,
Bosch, or Yamaha, that are creating great motors and provides excellent
acceleration experience. Besides, the location of the motor is also essential.
This is the main reason why there is a difference between mid-drive, rear hub
drive, and front hub drive motors. Let’s find out the variation!
The mid-drive motor is probably the most common motor type in the
market. If you are looking for a well-balanced and stable e-bike, look for one
that has a mid-drive motor. Because the power comes from the center of the
bike, you are steady and secure while riding your electric bike. Besides, the
power that comes to the drivetrain allows you to feel like you are riding a
Rear Hub-Drive Motor
As you can guess, this type of motor is placed in the rear e-bike’s
wheel. It gives you a feeling that you are being pushed from the back. If you
are looking for a powerful electric bike that reminds you of a basic moped, the
e-bike with the rear-hub motor can be very similar. However, the most
significant disadvantage of this type of motor is that you are slightly losing
control when riding on wet surfaces. Most of the mountain e-bikes come with
this type of motor.
Front Hub-Drive Motor
The front hub-drive motors remain on the front wheel of your electric
bike. It gives you a feeling that you are being pulled, as the power comes from
the front. It is very inconvenient for a mountain e-bike to have a front
hub-drive motor, only because it can struggle to go up the mountain or in
uneven terrain. Also, the front hub-drive motor makes the front of the e-bike
heavier than usual. It could be risky if you are speeding while turning on a
slippery surface. Most of the e-trikes have this type of motor. If you are planning
to ride in the busy city streets, the front hub-drive motor can be a great
Electric Bike Gearing Systems
Both standard and electric bikes need to have a gearing system. You
need to select a specific type of gear if you want to enjoy a smooth ride or
reach your destination quicker. If you don’t choose your gear correctly, you
are going to end up pedaling a lot and not speed up at all — effortless, in
other words. Just like a standard bike, electric bikes have different kinds of
gearing systems for each type.
Single-Speed Gearing System
As you might find out from the name, the electric bike is going to
have only one speed. Most of the time, people are choosing to buy an electric
bike that has a single-speed gearing system when they are not going to use the
e-bike often. What do we mean is that e-bike will be suitable for short trips.
Folding small city e-bikes usually comes with a single gear, and they are
enough to take a short ride to your school or grocery store.
Internal Gearing System
If you want to have minimum gear maintenance, get yourself an electric bike with an internal gearing system. You can find this gearing system in the hub of the wheel. You will get a casual riding experience, and your gearing system will be protected from all the mud and other things that might get stuck in the gears. If you want to switch the speed – twist your shift lever. Simple and easy. Also, having an internal gearing system allows you to change the gears without pedaling, so it makes it a perfect system for city riding when you have to start and stop a lot.
Derailleur Gearing System
First of all, we are going to
explain what is”derailleur gearing system.” It is a conventional
gearing system that most of the standard bikes have. The derailleur gearing
system has a chain, cables, multiple sprockets, and a mechanism that offers a
manual gear shifting. Most of the mountain electric bikes or the ones with a
powerful motor have derailleur gearing system as it is suitable for extreme
riding. Besides, it is excellent if you are going to ride off-road with an
uneven surface. However, it requires some skills if you want to manage this
type of gearing system. After a while, when you will master it, you will be
happy with the combination of derailleur gearing system and a powerful motor.
Which Electric Bike Battery to Choose?
Lead Acid Batteries
batteries are economical and robust. They are cheap to recycle. However, they
are heavy and bulky so that it won’t be suitable for a small commuter electric
bike. Also, the lead-acid batteries are not the right choice if you are going
to use your e-bike a lot as they don’t last for a long time. They weight a lot
and provides less usable capacity than lithium-ion batteries.
Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) Batteries
The capacity of
batteries is essential when you are choosing an electric bike. Well, nickel-cadmium
batteries have more capacity than previous lead-acid batteries, that is for
sure. However, there are a few disadvantages also. First of all, this type of
battery is expensive. Second, cadmium is hard to recycle. Yes, they will last
for a longer time, but because everybody is trying to find a way to get
ecological, nickel-cadmium batteries are becoming the past.
The most common
battery type for an electric bike. Over 90% of e-bikes are using this type of
battery and for a great reason. They last for a long time and generate a lot of
power to a motor than most of the other batteries. However, for the great
features, the price also rises. If you are looking for a cheap and small
electric bike, they will not come with a lithium-ion battery package.
Electric Bike Sizing Guide
As the electric bike industry continues to advance, so do the size and shape options in eBikes. This electric bike sizing guide will show you which size bike is best suited for you.
Extra small (4’10”-5’2”). If you’re of smaller stature your ideal frame size is between 13”-14” (33-37 cm)
Small (5’2”-5’6”). If you have a small stature, your ideal frame size is between 15”-16” (38-42 cm)
Medium (5’6-5’10”). If you have a medium build, your ideal frame size is between 17”-18” (43-47 cm)
Large (5’10”-6’1”). If you have a large build, your ideal frame size is between 19”-20” (48-52 cm)
Extra-Large (6’1”-64”). If you have an extra-large build, your ideal frame size is between 21”-22” (53-57 cm)
XX-Large. If you have an XX-Large build, your ideal eBike frame size is between 23”-26” (58-63 cm)
Make sure you measure your height accurately and check against manufacturer’s bike measurements. If you’re still uncertain about the right electric bike size, consult the company directly.
Wrapping Electric Bike Buyer’s Guide
We hope that a complete electric bike buyer’s guide helped to find out
what type of e-bike is suitable for your needs and why there is a big
difference between what motor type you should get and what kind of gearing
system you should look for.
Electric bikes are becoming a great transportation, especially if you want to save money and reach your destination while avoiding traffic jams.