Are you considering an electric bike? An electric bike is a comfortable means of transport that is at best a very long-lasting solution for commuting, leisure cycling, regular urban cycling or even mountain biking. With the growing popularity of electric bikes, a huge number of different types of electric bikes have come onto the market. In this article you will find useful tips and important advice on choosing the best electric bike for you!
What is an electric bike and can anyone ride an electric bike?
Electric bikes are a popular and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional bicycles. Electric bicycles have a small electric motor and a battery to help you pedal, making it easier to pedal when you want to. One of the best things about electric bikes is that they don't cost anything in terms of fuel, so an electric bike can be a great long-term purchase.
When riding an electric bike, you must therefore respect the traffic rules for cyclists. No driving licence is required to ride an e-bike and there is no need to register the e-bike. This means that people under the age of 18 are also allowed to ride an electric bike.
E-bikes are therefore an ideal means of transport for users of all ages and sizes. It can be used for short journeys or trips of up to several tens of kilometres, as the battery lasts between 65 and 150 kilometres on a single charge, depending on the model. There are many different models of e-bikes available - read below for comparisons and more information on the different types of e-bikes.
What kind of electric bike should I buy?
There are several factors to consider when buying an e-bike. The first thing to consider is what you are going to use the e-bike for. Will it be used for regular commuting and pleasure riding, or are you planning long off-road adventures or year-round use? This will determine what type of bike and what features to look for. Secondly, consider the environment and terrain you plan to ride in - is it mostly flat or hilly? And thirdly, you should also plan your budget, as the best electric bikes that are reliable and of sufficient quality range in price from around a thousand euros to several thousand euros.
Electric city bike or City electric bike is, as the name suggests, the perfect choice for urban cycling. These electric bikes are designed with construction and features to make getting around town smooth and easy. The city electric bike is ideal for commuting for pleasure and other short to medium distances. These electric bikes are great options for both men and women.
An electric mountain bike or MTB is the most suitable option if you intend to cycle a lot on surfaces other than urban asphalt. An electric mountain bike is best suited to forest roads and trails. With their wide tyres, high quality suspension and robust construction, e-bikes are easy to ride even on challenging terrain. However, in addition to mountain biking and touring, these electric bikes are also ideal for commuting and leisure cycling.
The hybrid electric bike is a combination of urban and mountain bike, designed to be a versatile go-anywhere bike for a variety of environments. The best hybrid electric bikes are a great choice for anyone, as a hybrid electric bike will get you around town and on the nature trails with ease.
An electric fatbike is a true adaptor in terms of features. Its extra-wide tyres, sturdy frame and excellent suspension make it easy to ride in difficult conditions and over the most challenging terrain. The electric fatbike is a good choice if you want an electric bike for year-round use, as its features also make it suitable for riding in snow. With an electric fatbike, you can ride smoothly in the city, on forest terrain, in sand and mud.
The power and position of the electric bike's motor affect the feel of the ride
Among other things, torque affects the motor's ability to assist on uphill gradients. Torque is most commonly expressed in newton-metres (Nm). The torque of electric bikes generally varies between about 30 and 90 Nm.
For example, the Swoop electric bike motors are in a range of 250W and 65 Nm, so you can comfortably reach a maximum speed of 25 km/h and climb uphill with ease.
Where the motor is positioned on the bike also affects the feel of the ride. An electric bike's motor can be mounted either at the front or rear tyre (in this case, a hub motor), or at the rim and pedals at the bottom of the frame (a mid-motor). In both motor options, the assistance can be adjusted to different power levels. In general, mid-motors are slightly more powerful in terms of torque and quality of control, while hub motors are cheaper and quieter.
The rear motor is a fairly common basic solution for electric bicycles, as it is less abrasive to the wheels and chains than a central motor. It provides a smooth, comfortable feel for basic riding and is quiet. The rear motor places the bike's centre of gravity behind the rear axle, and in mountain biking it can interfere with handling to some extent. The rear engine is functional and great for basic cycling.
The mid-engine places the centre of gravity firmly in the middle of the e-bike. This makes the bike feel easy to control, making the mid-engine the best e-bike engine for mountain biking or sporty style riding. Mid-motors tend to have more advanced technical features than hub motors, and are therefore more expensive.
The front motor is the simplest and cheapest of the options. The front motor brings the electric bike's centre of gravity to the front and can make steering more challenging if the road is slippery. The front engine therefore does not offer the same comfortable, high-quality ride as a rear or centre engine.
What about the battery? How long does an e-bike battery last and how do you charge it?
Charging the battery is easy, as the battery is charged by mains electricity in the same way as other battery-powered electrical appliances. The charging cable supplied with the e-bike is attached to the battery and the other end is plugged into a socket. Depending on the model, the battery takes about 4-6 hours to charge.
The range of the battery on a single charge is usually around 65-150 km. The range varies depending on the battery life of the e-bike in question. It is important to remember that the maximum range indicated is a calculated estimate, which may be influenced in one way or another by conditions and the user.
Of course, a long-lasting battery with a long range is a big plus, even if you're not always travelling long distances. So it may be worth investing in one if you want to enjoy carefree e-biking.
In winter, it's worth bearing in mind that freezing temperatures can reduce battery capacity by up to 30%, so if you're planning to ride your e-bike all year round, you should choose a model with a battery that's a little extra long-lasting for your needs.
Choose the right size e-bike carefully
When buying an e-bike, it's also important to make sure that the frame size is right for your height. The frame size of an e-bike has a direct impact on riding comfort, safety and handling. The product information for electric bicycles will therefore mention the recommended length for the user.