If you’ve never purchased an electric bike, you might feel uncertain about what to look for in an eBike. After all, with so many models and brands to browse from, knowing what to look for can be challenging.
When looking for an ebike, it’s crucial to look for one that’s the right size, can reach your desired speeds, and has the right power modes (pedal-assist-only or pedal assist with full motor functions) to suit your needs.
You’ll also want to consider your chosen ebike’s charging methods, weight, and type. Taking a few extra moments to check out each bike’s included accessories, such as bike lights and cargo racks, can help you select an electric bicycle that suits your needs and expectations.
I’ve been riding ebikes for years, and created a list of what to look for in an eBike before choosing one that checks all the right boxes. To ensure you pick the perfect e-bike for your needs, I’ll share the most crucial things to consider when buying an e-bike.
What Should You Look For in an Ebike?
There are dozens of features and qualities to consider when browsing for an e-bike. That said, the most crucial things to look for in an e-bike include:
- Maximum speed
- Power modes
- Charging methods
- Type (intended use)
- Included accessories
No matter who you’re buying for or what type of e-bike you’re hoping to buy, considering these aspects can ensure you select an electric bicycle that perfectly suits your needs and preferences.
Without further ado, let’s explore these qualities in greater detail to discover why they’re vital to making the best purchasing decision and getting the most out of your e-bike.
Size is the first thing you’ll want to look for when choosing an e-bike. Like manually-powered bicycles, e-bikes come in a wide range of sizes, ensuring that riders of all heights can feel comfortable and pedal easily.
If you’re unsure how tall you are, go ahead and take a measurement before searching for e-bikes. That way, when you’re browsing, you can check your selected e-bike’s rider height range to ensure it’s the right size.
Another essential thing to look for is top speed. Although the average adult-sized e-bike has a maximum speed of 20mph (32km/h), some are a little slower, while others have higher top speeds.
For riders who live in areas with bicycle lanes or bike-friendly roadways, it might be better to select an e-bike with an above-average maximum speed. But if you’re purchasing an e-bike for a child, it’s crucial to select one with a much lower top speed (12 mph or 19 km/h) for safety reasons.
Some e-bikes have motors that only operate when the bike is being pedaled. Others have handlebar throttles that function whether or not you’re pedaling.
If you’d like to ride your e-bike without having to expend too much physical energy, choosing a model that offers throttle power is an excellent idea. But a pedal-assist model could be the right choice if you’d like a little extra power when climbing inclines or cycling over rough terrain.
Either way, check your chosen e-bike’s class and determine whether it’s a throttle or pedal-assist-only bicycle. Class 1 e-bikes are generally pedal-assist-only models, while Class 3 e-bikes tend to rely more on throttle acceleration and be a little speedier.
Not all e-bikes have removable batteries, which could significantly affect how easy it is to charge your e-bike after each use.
After all, if you live in an area with limited space (like a shared apartment), finding a spot to park your e-bike and connect it to a wall outlet can be tricky. But an electric bicycle with a removable battery can be much easier to keep charged.
Still, if you’re planning on parking your e-bike in a garage with plenty of unused electrical outlets, your bike’s charging method might not be a huge concern.
Unlike motorbikes and motorcycles, e-bikes allow riders to pedal and/or use electric power. Consequently, it’s an excellent idea to consider an e-bike’s weight while shopping for one.
Unless you intend to solely use your e-bike’s motor to get around, there’s a good chance you’ll be pedaling the bike for some of your journeys. But if your chosen electric bicycle weighs several hundred pounds, you can quickly find yourself struggling to move those pedals.
Fortunately, most e-bikes weigh an average of about 60 lbs (about 27kg). That’s heavier than standard road or cruiser bikes, but e-bikes with pedal assist can negate these extra pounds.
If you live in an apartment building that doesn’t have an elevator, choosing a lightweight e-bike could be particularly important. But several lightweight models weigh between 26lbs and 33lbs (11.7kg to 15kg), so if weight is a major priority, you can find a light e-bike that suits your needs.
Type (Intended Use)
Like standard bicycles, electric bicycles come in many styles. There are road e-bikes, mountain e-bikes, cruiser e-bikes, and even powerful off-road e-bikes!
So, when looking for an e-bike, one of the most crucial things to ask yourself is, “What am I planning to use this e-bike for?”
For example, if you’d like to buy an e-bike to help you commute to work, a commuter or road e-bike could be the best choice. However, if you’d like an e-bike for casual travel around town, a cruiser or cargo e-bike might be the better option.
Every type of e-bike has specific advantages and disadvantages based on its design and components, and each is geared toward a specific usage. It’s vital to keep this in mind when browsing and comparing electric bicycles.
Some e-bikes are very utilitarian, only coming with the essentials you need to get pedaling or powering down the road. But others come with tons of added accessories or features.
If you already own quite a few bicycle accessories, finding an e-bike with these extra touches might not be a priority. After all, it’s easy to detach your bike light from your standard manual bicycle and attach it to your new e-bike.
However, if you don’t own a bicycle (or bicycle accessories), selecting an e-bike that comes pre-installed with lights, speedometer displays, and back cargo ramps could help save you time and money. E-bikes that come with small display screens can also be helpful to those who’d like to monitor their speed, travel distance, and battery power levels.
Still, you’ll need to consider your personal preferences when deciding which accessories and features are most important to you.
When looking for an e-bike, you’ll want to consider the bike’s size, its maximum speed, and what power modes it offers.
You’ll also want to consider the bike’s charging methods (is the battery removable?), how much it weighs, and its type (road, mountain, etc.). Included accessories and features, like built-in bike lights and cargo racks, are also something you’ll want to check out while browsing for an e-bike.
Before purchasing an e-bike, list and check off each of these qualities to ensure your new electric bicycle is easy to ride and charge and meets all your transportation needs.