What Questions Should I Ask Myself Before Buying an Ebike?December 16, 2022
Whether you buy your electric bike online or from a bricks and mortar store, there are a number of important points to consider that will help determine the right e-bike model for you. When you start talking to e-bike retailers, here are the most important questions you should consider asking…
Do you prefer a hub-drive motor or a mid-drive motor?
Mmid-drive motors have a number of advantages over hub drives due to their ability to take full advantage of the bike’s gear system, thereby maximizing power and efficiency. Thinking about the terrain you will be riding on and how much effort you want to put in yourself will help you decide which will suit you better.
What size motor do you require?
The size of an e-bike motor is generally described in terms of its power output measured in watts. For on-road use in the UK the maximum size power output is 250W however if you are looking to use your e-bike off-road then you may wish to consider a higher-powered e-bike which will help handle the steeper and rougher hills you may encounter.
What modes of power assistance does the bike provide?
i.e. Does the bike offer Pedal Assist mode only or does it have Throttle Mode also. The benefit of having both is that the throttle mode allows you to get started easily without having to pedal and once moving you can begin to pedal at which point the pedal assist mode kicks in. This makes it easier for many to ride particularly if you are likely to want to get started on a hill at some time.
What sort of gear system does the bike have?
Effectively combining the mechanical efficiency of the bike’s gear system with the power and torque of its motor is one of the best ways to fully maximize the overall performance of an electric bike. You’ll want to know whether the bike has a single-speed gear system, which will limit your ability to optimise the riding performance and may force you to rely more on the motor, of it is has a multiple-gear system which will give you a broader range of riding options and makes it easier to climb hills and even perhaps improve battery performance.
You may also wish to consider the differences between a derailleur gear system and an internal hub gear system. For many people the internal hub systems are easier to use, more reliable and require less maintenance however they are also significantly more expensive and local bike store support may be more limited depending on the system.
What type of battery does the e-bike come with?
Currently, lithium batteries are the lightest and most efficient batteries to use on electric bikes, so be sure the e-bike you’re looking at uses a high-quality brand rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
What’s the battery’s range?
For electric bicycles, this is generally described in terms of how many kilometres a rider can go before needing to recharge the battery. The range of the battery you need depends on the type of riding you plan on doing. If you are likely to use more motor power than pedal power, then you’ll be using your battery’s charge quicker and will therefore need a larger range. If you plan to pedal a lot and use the motor assistance only periodically, you can probably use a battery with a smaller range. The length of your rides similarly impacts the type of battery you need: if, for example, you have a long daily commute then you probably need a larger range than someone who only goes a few miles each day. In short, be sure the range of the e-bike you’re looking at will conveniently cover the distances you plan to travel.
What is the warranty?
How long is it and is it for parts only or labour and parts? There are many e-bike alternatives on the market currently and many of them offer what appears to be an extended warranty such as 2 years. It is important to check the details of this as in many cases this extended warranty is only on specific parts of the bike that are unlikely to ever have an issue while the key areas that may have issues have a shorter warranty and are often then for parts only – no labour.
If the e-bike retailer is reputable and supports the bike well then you should look for a min 12 months parts & Labour warranty on all elements of the bike. Parts availability – Notwithstanding the warranty offered, you should check to see if all spare parts are stocked locally or do they have to be ordered in from overseas each time.
What if it breaks?
If at some time you require the bike to be serviced or repaired, either under warranty or outside of warranty, how does this work? Is there a well-organised way for this to happen in an easy and efficient manner? Is the motor and drive system relatively simple and therefore easy to find someone to assist in repairs or do it yourself or is it more complicated thus requiring a specially qualified service agent to work on? Obviously, this again will affect both the cost of timeliness of repairs if necessary.
As electric bikes continue to prove their usefulness as incredibly efficient, convenient, quick, and fun vehicles for everything from leisurely rides with friends and family to daily commutes and weekly errands, they will become more and more widely available and the choices will become larger. The good news is we are always happy to answer anyone questions be it in the comments below or via our Contact Us page.