Whether you wish to go on trails, work, or someplace you like, you often need assistance in travelling from one place to another. This is the reason electric bicycles are invented: to make the rider's journey as easy as possible, whether it is in the heart of the city or the forest.
So, if you are interested in getting one for yourself, from where do you expect to get the mandatory guidance? The number and varieties of bikes, wattages, amps, voltages, styles, etc., can confuse you within no time.
That's why we are here to guide you about these electric bikes. We'll tell you everything you need to know so that you can select the most suitable electric bike for yourself.
What Is An Electric Bike?
It has been several decades now that electric bikes have appeared in the market, but it's just in the last few years that these electric bikes have been more preferred as a personal means of transport. Since the times they were introduced in the market, these bikes have become more and more innovative. Their motor capacity has doubled, and their suspension has also improved, thus producing the modern-day bikes that can go wherever you like.
Modern electric bikes are just like traditional bikes in their appearance, size, and function. The popularity of electric bikes is growing exponentially, and you might likely have seen one in the streets, but you did not notice it.
Although there are numerous types and styles of electric bikes, the basic difference between the tradition and the e-bikes is that the latter ones function with the aid of two main parts: a battery and a motor that is powered by this battery, whether it is a thumb throttle or a peddle sensor, the electric motor powers the bike so that your legs don't have to. At the same time, the battery saves the chemical energy for the motor to make your ride speedy and lengthy.The Advantages of an Electric Bike as Compared to a Traditional Bike
It is true that the price of an electric bike – also of a battery and an electric conversion kit – is a bit high. This factor might cause many to turn their eyes away from electric bikes. But believe us, if you are interested in making a good investment in your future ride, it ought to be an electric bike that can not only make your life convenient but will also keep you active and energetic.
- An electric bike is the best combination of a regular and a moped bicycle- The power of the motor enables you to travel a longer distance at a greater speed that would never be possible on a standard pedal bike. It can also be used for a ride on the sidewalks, in parks and bike lanes.
If you think that parking a scooter or a motorcycle is easy, parking an e-bike is even easier and is much more reliable for the ride than the ordinary street bike. One of the advantages of an e-bike is that it is not mandatory to get a license or any registration paper for riding an e-bike in the streets, the things that are compulsory for fuel-powered bikes.
- Electric bikes are, in fact, exercise machines - Most of the movement of an electric bike comes from the pedal of the rider because the motor and the battery are only there to help the pedal movement, not to take its place. The motor's main function is to enhance the power of the pedal so that you can travel a longer distance at speed greater than the traditional bike.
That is why these are most suitable for individuals who face difficulty in riding a bicycle due to some medical problems such as joint pain. Rather than making a strong effort to ride a hilly road or pedaling the entire distance to your workplace, the electric motor is the most suitable option to relieve some pressure off the joints and boost the speed of the bike.
- These provide environment-friendly transportation - The efforts on the part of the environmental activists have resulted in increased public knowledge of the dire need to preserve our environment by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. More and more
people are now replacing their fueled transportation with an electric-powered bike.
- The ideal upright seating position in the electric bikes- These bikes are even best for those who are having pain in their neck or back while riding a bike. An upright ride also decreases the pressure that is being exerted on the wrists, thus giving an enjoyable and comfortable ride. Moreover, the upright position also gives you a comprehensive view of your environment so that you can better manage an unwanted obstacle that might prove hazardous for your ride.
- Quick and efficient commutation to and from work - Most people prefer riding a bike for their routine commute to and from work. But the thought of a massive distance, crazy road, and extra time prove a major hindrance in their intentions. The electric bikes can mostly travel up to the speed of 15-20 miles/hour and can cover a distance of more than 20 miles with a single charge.
Some bikes, such as the GB500 version of the Green Bike USA, can go up to 50 miles in a single charge and may cover a distance of 80 miles with a Pedal Assist System. So rather than getting yourself bored on the traditional pushbikes or wasting your time in a car while being stuck in traffic, go for electric bikes that can travel long distances efficiently without making you sweat.Which Electric Bike Frame and Design is Best for You?
There is no universal design in the e-bikes; rather, anyone can choose the frame of his own choice. However, three factors can help you a lot in choosing the best bike frame for yourself.
- The riding style you wish to have
- The comfort of the bike for your weight and height
- How conveniently you can mount and dismount the bike
Numerous frames are available according to your choice: The styles of the e-bikes are according to the types of rides they are most suitable for. Among the most popular hybrid designs of the e-bikes are:
Commuting – These frames are most suitable for city roads. They have a light frame and thin tires that are best for the daily commutation on the roads of a city. They also come with additional parts such as lights and indicators in case of travelling at night, luggage racks for keeping a bag, and mud-guards to avoid the mud from getting onto your clothes.
Cruiser – These are most suitable for beaches due to their cruiser-type structure. These frames are best for relaxed rides along the coasts. They have broad tires, swept-back handlebars, and upright seating position, due to which they look stylish and comfortable.
Fat Tire – These bikes are available in numerous designs (such as the mountain bike and cruiser style). These are also known as adventure bikes or off-road bikes because these bikes contain a "fat tire" that is at least 4" in width and thus can go on all terrains. Consequently, over-sized front and rear forks are then attached to the frame, which then makes this bike look even bigger. They can not only conveniently go on plain roads but also snow, sand, and other hard paths.
Folding– These are small and basic frames. These folding bikes are best suitable for the person who wishes to have his bike with him on some expedition or has an insufficient area at home. They usually contain smaller tires that decreases their overall size. It also has a 1-to-3 bar structure that either folds or collapses when it is to be folded.
Mountain– These frames are just like the ones you've witnessed before: a triangular design with a little slope that reaches the crossbar. These mountain bikes are structured for travelling on rough paths, just like the regular MTBs. They have a durable suspension system to absorb all the pressure coming from the jolts. They are generally heavier than the usual commuter bikes. For the comfort of the riders, these mountain bikes have upright or flat handlebars.
Moped E-Bikes– These bikes give a much heavy look, just like the e-scooters. These are the most popular e-bikes, especially for those who intend to replace their car with some e-bike since they are convenient to operate and comfortable just like an e-bike. Since they come with the general moped scooter features, they also contain indicators, large seats, and the capacity to have an extra passenger.
E-Trikes – Electric tricycles come in numerous designs, such as the general design that has a double wheeled rear axle or the big-wheel design. Riders that prefer the convenience of an e-bike along with stability mostly like these bikes; otherwise, they are not much common. These electric tikes also come in a "drifting range" that is best for both crazy adults and teenagers.
- b) The comfort of the bike for your weight and height: For your convenience, you should know well that bike of which size and frame will be best for you. The most commonly used technique to know this is by measuring your inseam (the distance from the bottom of your feet to the bottom of your crotch). The size most suitable for you will be nearly .65 times greater than the size of your inseam value.
If you still do not know how to measure your inseam, you can ask online for help as there are many videos and charts present on the internet that can assist you in choosing the best size of the bike. However, some of the frames are specially manufactured for the shorter or taller riders, for example, the huge sized 19" eProdigy Jasper electric cruiser or the petite 15" cruiser bike of eProdigy Banff.
- c) How conveniently you can mount and dismount the bike: Now, we will compare the unisex designs with the men's designs. If you deeply observe some of the famous electric bikes, you will see that some bikes have a high crossbar (for example, commuter bike of eProdigy Logan, for which you will have to move your leg a bit higher and over for getting over, or off the bike) whereas, some have no crossbar at all (or a low one with some slope such as in the X-Treme 300W Trail Climber Mountain e-Bike).
- Which is convenient to ride? This is a general question of personal choice since men and women can ride both types. However, the step-through design is more suitable for those with small height or those having difficulty in balancing themselves. This is because the process of dismount/mount will only demand a menial step.
- NOTE: It is pertinent to mention that the ride on the e-bike must not be similar to some physical challenge. These bikes are specially designed for the convenience of the riders. So if you face difficulties getting on and off the bike, it is likely that you do not have the right frame for your bike.
Know the Difference – Mid Drive & Rear Hub Drive
Though it may be insignificant for many to know the location of the motor of the bike, it has a massive impact on the operations of the bike and its convenience for you. E-bikes are mostly either a rear hub drive or a mid-drive. These two terms explain the exact location of the electric motor on the bike: either in the mid of the frame of the bike (mid-drive) or in the rear wheel of the bike (rear hub drive).
Rear hub drive motor: The motor in the rear hub drive is present in the rear wheel of the bike. Resultantly, it gives a natural sensation of being pushed forward rather than being pulled forward. If you frequently ride regular bikes or motorcycles, then this will be the feeling that you know very well.
If you are looking for some powerful motors, then the rear hub drive is best for you because there are fewer chances of the bike to slip due to the massive power being generated in the bike's rear part. The motor is present just under your body weight (under the bike seat). This will give you good road grip, especially on wet surfaces and on loose terrains.
However, the rear hub motor does not come with internal gearing. But still, it is a good recommendation for riders who wish to travel off-road (for example, the electric mountain bikes).
Mid-drive motor: The motors in these bikes are present in the mid of the bike frames and forward the power instantly to the drivetrain rather than through a hub. Due to this feature, these bikes feel more like riding a general pushbike. The drive of the motor in this type goes via the gearing system of the bike; this helps in maximum utilization of the power of the motor.
Since the weight of the motor is low and placed on the bike structure, these bikes have a very low centre of gravity, so you get more stability during your rides. The instant and efficient release is provided on both the tires (a prominent feature in the range of the e-bike of Biktrix). This is especially beneficial if you have limited space in your residence or wish to take your bike with you in the trunk of your vehicle.Comparison of the Electric Bike Motor Wattage – How Much Power Do You Need?
The wattage of the motor is the same as the displacement of a motor that is powered by gas. Instead of the unit in 'cc,' we would be talking about the watts, 250 watts, 500 watts, 700 watts, 1000 watts.
While making a choice about electric bikes, most people are concerned with the maximum output of power which the motor can produce. But, the formula of the bigger it is, the better it is doesn't apply here. Irrespective of the wattage of the electric bike, the speed is of all E-bikes is about 15-20 mph.
The electric bikes come with multiple ranges, and usually, the specifications of the electric bikes state the maximum load of the rider which this particular bike can bear. It can prove to be a great determinant factor for someone who is choosing a bike. If you are still not sure about the idea that which bike would suit you, you must choose the one with the higher wattage, as it is better to have more power than to struggle to get the bike running.
You can determine the amount of power you need simply by answering the following questions.
If you plan to use the electric bike for ascending the mountains and the hills, then you must go for a high-powered cruiser bike. For the sake of climbing the steep hills, you would need more power; otherwise, it is a better idea to stick to lower powers, as of in a range of 250-500 watts.
The weight of the rider matters because it is the weight which the electric bike has to pull along with it. It not only includes your weight but all your gear and equipment which you carry while riding. The more the luggage, the more the weight and the bigger the motor would be required. For instance, if you are riding with a big backpack on your back, you would need more power.
Along with the weight, the use of the bike is also very important to consider. As if you intend to trail on steep hills, then you must go for high-powered bikes because an under-powered bike would most probably burn out in any such case. On the other hand, if you intend to use it on straight roads, then it would be a good idea to use an optimum powered electric bike, but it may still feel that the bike is sluggish.
A 250-watt motor has an optimum capacity to allow the riders to move around their town on a flat road or a city.
If the weight of the rider is more than 200 lbs, then a motor of about 350 to 400 watts would be enough. The power generated by the motor would be enough, but sometimes there might be a need to propel physically by the pedals.
The difference between the Battery Voltage and Amp Hours
Once that you have decided the size and the style of the electric bike you want, and have come to a conclusion about the diamond frame and step-through, and are also sure about the motor location, the output of the motor, and the perfect drivetrain. But, once you look at the descriptions of the battery; 48V and 10AH, 36V and 12AH, 24V and 8AH, you might get a bit confused about its meanings and the decision about choosing one.
The equation has the variables of the battery's voltage (V), and the amp-hours (AH), the voltage of the battery is similar to that of the horsepower, which is used for describing the power of the engine of a car. In the same fashion, as more horsepower means more power, so does higher voltage means more power.
The e-bikes of the batteries normally range within 24 and 48 volts, as this size is optimum, provides a decent supply of power, and is not much expensive.
The term of the battery amp hour rating means the energy storage capacity of the battery. If the voltage is the power of the engine of the car, the amp-hour would be the size of the gas tank. The amp hour rating can make you have a guess about how far you can travel on this battery charge. The relation of amp hour rating and the time of riding is directly proportional.
The number of watt-hours depicts the total energy in the battery; it is determined by multiplying the amp hours and the voltage. It is specifically useful when there is a need to compare two batteries in terms of the size and potential power, as any two batteries may have different voltage and amp-hour ratings but may still perform as same if they have almost the same watt-hours.
For instance, if there are two batteries, 24 volt and 12 amp hours and 24 volt and six amp-hours, then one might think that they would have the same performance. But, the watt-hours shows that the first battery has 288-watt hours and the latter has 144 watt-hours. Both of these batteries might accelerate at the same speed, but the time or the extent to which the battery can make the bike travel.
It is imperative to consider that the distance which the bike would cover also depends on the riding conditions; the weight it has to carry, the steepness of the road, the condition of the weather, and also the behavior of the rider; which means either you are pedaling simultaneously or not. For instance, if there is a rider who has very little weight and is riding on a flat road, they would obviously travel more as compared to the one who is moving on a steep road with heavyweight and without propelling, actively using the pedals.
The Watt-Hour can help determine the best motor.
A battery is able to use the wattage of the motor to a certain extent, and many of the riders end up over-powering or under-powering their motor or battery assembly in such cases; the watt-hour would let you know that how many watts the cable is able to use. In order to make sure that your bike has optimum power, you would have to find a motor that has amp hour, which you are seeking.
For instance, if you have a battery that has 48v's and 14ah, it would produce 672w's, and a 48v 1000w motor would be under using the battery, so it would be a better choice to choose the 48v 750w battery, which is the best coupling to provide maximum miles per charge and power distribution.Which Battery to Choose: Lithium VS Lead-Acid
Either lithium or a lead-acid battery is present in most electric bicycles. Some other varieties are also present in the minority, but these two are the most commonly used batteries by the electric bike assemblers.
The choice of battery is individualistic, but most bike riders prefer good quality batteries. Lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries have their pros and cons.
Lead-acid batteries: Not like the lead-acid batteries deployed in the cars, which may start dripping toxic acid, the ones most frequently used in electric bikes are known as "sealed lead-acid" batteries or SLA. To protect the rider from any acidic material, these are covered in a tough plastic container.
Pros: The modern sealed lead-acid batteries use a tested and verified technique that has been used frequently, so they are trusted by many customers. They are very cost-efficient as compared to lithium batteries, which greatly impacts that bike price.
The power capacity of lead-acid batteries is much higher than lithium batteries. Since the power output of the SLAs is larger than the lithium batteries, they are mostly used in high-energy e-bikes.
Cons: The most common disadvantage of SLAs is that they are quite heavy. Their weight can reduce the overall distance covered on a single charge of the battery.
The other negative aspect of the SLAs batteries is that they have a limited life span of just 100 to 200 cycles of charging, which is just 10 % of the performance given by the lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium batteries: Lithium-ion batteries are mostly placed low and in the middle of the bike frame. This not only makes the bike more stable but also turns the appearance of the batteries insignificant in the bike frame. As a result, most of the e-bike manufacturers place the lithium batteries directly in the frame of the bicycles.
Pros: The minimal size of the lithium-ion batteries makes the weight of the bike very moderate as compared to other types of batteries that significantly increase the weight of the bike. Even though they have a small size and a marginal weight, these batteries can take the bike to a distance of over 100 miles. More than one lithium-ion battery can be joined in series to get a greater power potential than ordinary SLA batteries.
Another most significant plus point in the case of lithium batteries is the huge life cycle. It has a greater number of recharges in comparison to other batteries. As compared to the 100 to 200 recharge cycles of an ordinary SLA battery, the life cycle of a common lithium battery can go as far as 500 to 1000 cycles.
Cons: The most significant aspect in this matter is that the price of lithium batteries is a bit higher as compared to other batteries. In the long run, the lithium batteries may prove much beneficial in terms of their cost in relation to the lead-acid batteries as the lithium batteries last much longer. But initially, you have to pay a bit more for the lithium battery bike.
What Size of the Wheel will be best for you?
E-bikes come in variable tire sizes, but the most frequently used wheels in the e-bikes are of the size 16", 20", or 26". Like ordinary bicycles, the wheel sizes describe the diameter of the tires, and different sizes of the tires greatly determine the quality of the ride and the ease to manage the bike.
Small wheels – 16": The folding e-bikes or the electric bikes manufactured for the children usually contain a wheel of a diameter of 16". These small tires are less in weight and cover much less area than bikes of other sizes, thus reducing the size of the bike and making its portability easier.
But, due to their small sizes, they are not designed well enough to manage the pits and bumps in a road. This indicates that if you are travelling on some rough road with a bike of 16" tire, you will feel all the obstacles on the road.
Best for children and adults shorter or equal to 5ft in height.
Medium wheels – 20": Bikes with this size of tires are much more common than 16" tire bikes. These tires are present on many foldable e-bikes and those bikes that are generally manufactured for travelling within a city. The wheels of this size are more convenient to manage and give good control over the bike.
This thing is very important, especially when you are driving a bike on footpaths. These wheels also offer good acceleration as their low weight minimizes the moment of inertia. This is the fact that a bike with a 20" tire is quick to accelerate after stopping completely than bikes with larger wheel sizes.
But the 20" tire is not a good option if you wish to go off-road to some sandy or rough track. If you come across a pothole on the road with a bike of this size of the tire, the tire will go deeper and harder than any other bike. Similarly, the shorter the size of the tire, the more impact of any pothole you may encounter.
Suitable for the carpeted road for individuals with a height of 5'5" or more.
Larger wheels – 26" +: If you wish to have a comfortable and smooth journey, larger tires are the best option for you. The most common tires of the size 26" have a reduced angle of attack, which indicates that the potholes look very small as compared to the wheels. That is why these large wheels are best for anyone who wishes to go for off-road biking, where one might come across tree roots, rocks, sand, etc. This size is also fit for biking across the cities.
Although smaller wheels offer good and quick acceleration, the wheels of larger size are more able to conserve inertia as long as they are in motion. This indicates that if you have two e-bikes with the same size of the battery, motor, and weight, the one with a larger wheel will be able to travel more distance without using the motor or the pedal for a much longer period. In other words, less energy and effort are required to have a constant speed with a bike of larger wheels.
A longer wheelbase is required with the e-bikes of 26" wheel size. Consequently, it becomes difficult to maintain control over the bike. This is a disadvantage of having larger wheels. In other words, you will not feel stable and might zigzag at lower speeds. But these larger wheels will give good control and performance in open areas at greater speeds.
Most people do not know the fact that almost all e-bikes are manufactured overseas. So, in case you wish to buy an electric bike online, ensure that it is offered by a US-based company. Or, if you wish to import a bike from some foreign state, they will offer no customer service, and the shipping can also take some time. And in case the bike is damaged while shipping, you will have to bear the burden.