Electric bikes are equipped with a battery and a motor to provide additional propulsion. Find out about the many kinds and what you need to be cautious of before you make a purchase.
E-bikes, which stand for electric bicycles, are rapidly gaining in popularity. They can make a challenging commute, such as one that is hilly or long, more tolerable, let you to go further on leisure rides, or reignite a smoldering passion for cycling.
E-bikes have a few additional aspects over ordinary bikes that need to be considered before making a purchase. These elements include the weight of the bike, the position of the motor, and the range of the battery.
In this buyer’s guide, we cover all you need to know to determine whether or not an electric bicycle is good for you, as well as how to pick the best model.
The results of our impartial e-bike tests not only disclose which systems are capable of traveling the most distance before requiring a recharge, but they also reveal which systems are not at all suited for use in terrain that contains hills.
check out our article on the best electric bike motor systems to learn more about the motor and battery systems that we recommend.
How exactly do electric bicycles function?
The only thing that differentiates an electric bike from a regular bicycle is that the former comes equipped with a motor that is powered by a battery and offers pedaling assistance. You can adjust the amount of motor input as you go thanks to a little digital display that gives you the option to switch between lower and higher quantities. These are what are commonly referred to as “help levels.” While a result, as you pedal, you can select a level of assistance that will cause the motor to match – or even double – the level of effort that you are exerting, so assisting you in moving forward.
What sets electric bicycles apart from other types of motorized vehicles?
You have to start pedaling before the motor will engage, and the law limits the maximum speed that electric bikes may travel at 15.5 mph (25kph). Because of these limits, you do not need a license and do not have to pay taxes or insurance on it, as you would if you were driving a scooter. The highest speed that is permitted for electric bikes is 15.5 mph. This does not preclude the possibility of going faster than the
on an electric bicycle, with the exception that the electric bicycle’s motor assistance will stop working at this speed. You will need to put more effort into pedaling or be traveling downhill if you want to get there any faster. When riding uphill, 15.5 miles per hour will feel like a very speedy speed, but it is a reasonable speed for cruising along on the flat. First Impressions: the most recent electric bikes – we put a few of the newest models to the test and here are our initial thoughts on them.
Do you still get exercise on an e-bike?
Yes. When you go for a ride on a bike, regardless of whether it’s an electric bike or not, your heart rate will go up, you’ll breathe a little bit deeper, and you’ll burn calories. E-bikes come with a range of help levels, each of which determines the extent of aid provided by the motor. If you haven’t been on a bike in many years, you should probably start off with a higher assistance level and work your way up to a more challenging one as you go. In a similar vein, if you are an avid biker but you find that you are unable to maintain your momentum up longer hills, then purchasing an electric bike may provide you with the additional kick you need while still allowing you to get a good workout.
What kind of weight do electric bikes have?
An electric bicycle is typically up to 10 kilograms heavier than a conventional bicycle with the same specifications. The normal weight of a hybrid electric bicycle is between between 22 and 25 kilograms. Because they are intended to be carried, foldable electric bicycles are often lighter than this, coming in at a weight of between 16 and 18 kg. The motor and the batteries are responsible for the added weight. Carrying an electric bicycle or moving it into a vehicle demands a certain amount of strength; despite the fact that this should not have a significant impact on your riding experience, it is important to keep this in mind if you plan to transfer it.
The average weight of a hybrid electric bicycle
There are models that weigh a considerable amount less; for example, the Hummingbird Electric weighs only 10 kg. However, models that weigh significantly less are typically constructed from carbon fiber and cost significantly more.
On the other hand, if you know that you will frequently have to lift your e-bike into a car, up stairs into an apartment, or while hopping on and off public transportation, then it may be advisable to invest in a lighter e-bike so that you have an easier time using it. This will make it more convenient.
How much does it cost to purchase an electric bike?
E-bikes can be purchased for as little as £500 and as much as £5,000, but the majority of them cost between £1,500 and £3,000. The cost of an electric bicycle may be determined by a number of different factors, including the following:
When it comes to the motor position, e-bikes that have a motor in the front or the back hub are typically more affordable than those that have a motor in the middle hub.
Range is measured in miles that can be traveled on a single charge; these bikes require a battery that has a bigger capacity and, as a result, cost more. However, in the course of our research, we came to the conclusion that batteries with a greater power rating do not necessarily translate to a longer range because this factor also depends on the motor that is linked with the battery. Check out our reviews of electric bike motors to learn more about our top choices.
The cost of the frame is determined by the material it is built of. More expensive materials, such as carbon fiber, are used to construct frames. How to choose the best bike – our recommendations to assist you in selecting the bicycle that is most suited to your way of life
An explanation of the three types of electric bicycle motors: front, mid, and rear-hub motors
The placement of the engine on the electric bike is an important aspect that you should take into consideration before making a purchase of any kind of electric bicycle.
This may have an effect on the way the bike handles as well as how easy it is to carry.
Mid-hub motors, as a general rule of thumb, tend to be more expensive than front-hub motors or rear-hub motors, but the vast majority of people find that they offer a smoother ride.
Your own personal experience on an electric bicycle is obviously the best way to identify which motor will provide you with the most satisfying ride, but the following list of advantages and disadvantages will assist you in narrowing down your options.
The motors in the front hubs
They are frequently found on foldable bikes and less expensive touring electric bicycles (usually priced at less than 1,500 dollars), where they are installed on the hub of the front wheel.
The motor provides direct power to the wheel, rather than going through the drive chain, which reduces the amount of wear and tear on the chain. It is simple to modify gear to suit your needs.
The front of the bike is heavier than the back, which might cause the bike to be unbalanced.
It is difficult to detach the front wheel so it can be transported.
When climbing steep terrain, improper weight distribution might cause your front wheel to slip, which can result in serious injury.
It is possible to become used to the sensation, but the motor actually pulls you forward rather than pushing you.
Motors in the rear hubs
These can be found attached to the hub of the back wheel. They also typically come in at a price that is lower than 1,500 pounds.
The motor propels you forward, which, to the vast majority of individuals, is a more natural feeling experience than being pulled forward by a front-hub motor. The motor ought to cause less chain wear than a mid-hub motor does in a shorter amount of time. The gears are quite easy to customize.
Con: You will require a rear wheel that was specifically manufactured for your vehicle.
It is difficult to detach the back wheel in order to carry it.
The back of the bike is often heavier than the front, however this might throw off the bike’s balance.
This problem is made significantly worse if the bike does not have front suspension and the battery is also situated in the back of the bike.
Motors located in the center of the wheel
E-bikes that have a motor located in the middle of the wheel hub, also known as a mid-engine motor, are often more expensive. Despite this, they do possess a number of substantial benefits.
The advantages include a more even distribution of weight, which makes it simpler to lift and transport.
When compared with front-hub or rear-hub engines, the center of gravity is lower on these bikes, making them ideal for riding off-road.
Wheels are simple to personalize, switch out, and replace as needed.
When it comes to transportation, wheels are simple to remove.
Con: The gear arrangement is not as simply customizable as other options.
You are not completely limited in your options because the cassette (gears) on the rear hub can be changed, but the crankset, which includes the pedals and the front chain ring, cannot be changed.
It’s possible for the drive chain to wear out more quickly.
Find out which rechargeable bike lights are the brightest and the lightest so that you can stay safe when riding on the road.
Which motor system for an electric bike is the most effective?
There is no dispute that the motor is the single most crucial component of an electric bicycle. However, there are thousands of various types of electric bicycles that can be purchased in the UK, making it difficult to know where to begin. On the other hand, a sizeable percentage of e-bike manufacturers source the motor systems for their products from third-party vendors.
Because of this, a large number of electric bicycles are available on the market that use the same motor, battery, and display configurations.
Consequently, locating a fantastic motor system for an electric bike might really reduce down your options. E-bikes produced by companies like Giant, Canon, and Raleigh will have motors sourced from companies like Bosch, Shimano, or Yamaha. These motors will then be paired with a lithium-ion battery and a digital control display.
After you have selected the appropriate motor system for you, you can then take a few different electric bicycles out for a spin to pick the one that is the most convenient, suited to your needs, and simple for you to ride.
There is a significant gap in quality between the many third-party mid-hub electric bike motors that are sold in the UK, as demonstrated by our testing of almost all of them. There are certain electric bike motors that don’t have enough power to propel you up even a slight incline.
The most effective electric bike systems can carry you twice as far as the least effective ones that we’ve evaluated. E-bike motor system reviews, including our top recommendation, to help you narrow down your options when shopping for an electric bicycle.
Which size of an electric bike battery do I need?
There is a range of battery capacities available for e-bikes. Check its capacity, which is measured in watt hours, to find out how far a single charge can take you (Wh).
Batteries for e-bikes typically have a capacity ranging from 300Wh to 500Wh. A good rule of thumb to follow is that the longer the range is, the larger the capacity should be.
On the other hand, this is also determined by the motor that the battery is linked to. For instance, the same 400Wh battery may do 10 miles fewer if it is connected to a motor that is less efficient. When you are in need of assistance, the amount of help that the motor can provide will also be affected by the size of the battery.
If you reside in a location that is predominantly hilly, or if you intend to ride your bicycle over a significant number of hills, then you should consider purchasing a battery with a greater wattage to ensure that it has sufficient power to deal with the terrain.
Does the bicycle have a battery that can be replaced?
After a few years of heavy use, you may notice that the lithium-ion battery doesn’t last as long, or take you as far, as it used to. This is due to the fact that lithium-ion batteries degrade with time. In point of fact, it is quite usual for a battery to have a warranty that is far shorter than the warranty on the rest of the bike.
Because of this, it is of the utmost importance to choose an electric bicycle that has a battery that can be replaced. If this is not the case, the countdown to the end of your bike’s useful life will begin the moment you ride it out of the store.
The majority of electric bikes with a price tag of over 1,500 pounds come with a battery that can be swapped out, while lesser bikes might not. Check everything out before you buy it, and don’t forget to look into how much it will cost to replace the batteries. The cost of a new battery for an electric bicycle normally ranges between £200 and £500.
When shopping for an electric bicycle, there are a few other aspects to keep in mind.
Various levels of assistance
Although each electric bicycle has its own unique configuration, the vast majority of models include assist levels that are somewhat comparable to low, medium, and high. These often mean that the motor will either match the input that you give it, give you one and a half times the input, or double the input that you give it.
You are able to make real-time adjustments to the amount of help provided by the control display, which is often mounted on the handlebars. During the course of our research, we discovered that some were more understandable and simpler to operate while on the move than others.
A frame that is either too large or too little is among the most typical errors made while purchasing a bicycle. If you have to stretch too far for the handlebars or if you just can’t find a riding position that’s comfortable for you, riding a bike might not be as enjoyable as it could be. Before you buy a bike, you should always take it for a spin at the local bike shop to get a feel for it, and you should consult the manufacturer’s specifications to determine the best frame size for you. Brakes Because of the additional weight of e-bikes, you need to be sure that you have a good set of brakes. The brakes on an electric bike are exactly the same as the brakes on a traditional bike. The type of braking system that is on the bike you are considering purchasing will be determined by the type of bike that you are looking at.
V-brakes are readily available cartridges that can be swapped out, making them a popular choice for touring and off-road bicycles.
Cantilevers are brakes that are very similar to V-brakes; however, they simply have a cable running between them, therefore they are less likely to become obstructed by mud. Off-road cyclists will find this to be a useful choice.
Caliper brakes are typically seen on road or racing bikes; in comparison to V-brakes and cantilever brakes, they are more compact and lightweight.
The use of disc brakes, which are gaining more and more favor in the world of professional cycling due to their greater stopping power in wet circumstances, is the primary benefit of using disc brakes.
Braking systems from well-known manufacturers like Shimano and Tektro are typically seen on entry-level electric bicycles.
SRAM and TRP components are typically found on more expensive electric bicycles; however, this is not always the case. How to get the most out of your money when shopping for a folding electric bicycle, including helpful hints and pointers on what aspects of a folding bicycle are most important.
Conversion kits for electric bicycles
It is possible to turn a regular bike into an electric bike by purchasing a conversion kit for a relatively low price and then attaching the kit to the conventional bike. Prices begin at approximately 400 GBP.
In most cases, you will receive a battery, a display unit, and an electronic hub to attach to either the front or the back wheel of your existing bicycle. Although they are not easy to install on your own, they are sometimes a more cost-effective alternative than purchasing a totally new bicycle.
Retailers and manufacturers of electric bicycles
Electric bicycles can be purchased from any of the leading bicycle retailers in the United Kingdom, including Halfords, Evans, Wiggle, Chain Reaction Cycles, and Rutland Cycles. If you want to check out a few different varieties of electric bikes, a good place to begin is at one of these retailers or at the bike shop in your neighborhood.
The vast majority of the industry’s most prominent bicycle producers now offer electric bike lines, including BMC, Cube, Giant, Orbea, Raleigh, Scott, and Trek, amongst others.
There are also certain brands that are exclusive to electric bicycles and that you possibly aren’t as familiar with, such as Cowboy, Gazelle, Haibike, and Volt.