Choosing the Right Electric Bike For You

Christa E

Member
If you're reading this, chances are you are trying to learn more about e-bikes prior to your first purchase or you're interested in just learning more about the different varieties of electric bikes that are being manufactured. Electric bikes or e-bikes (also known as a pedelec or power bike) is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor and a battery that assists with propelling. Some e-bikes are pedal-assist only and some are closer to moped functionality.

Lighter e-bikes can go from 15-20 mph while more powerful bikes can see speeds up to 28 mph. Depending on the laws of your state and the kind of speed you need for your e-bike ride, it's important to consider this when looking at the different types.

Many people have commented on the feeling of pedalling while having acceleration assist; it allows you to combat hills, long distances, and even allows you to enjoy a bike ride in any condition.

Surveys have been done that suggest having an e-bike will increase how often you ride, even if you already ride a lot.

"A North American Survey of Electric Bicycle Owners," published in March 2018, in which nearly 1,800 e-bike owners were interviewed revealed that e-bikes reduced barriers that deter individuals from standard bikes. Variables include trip distance, topography, time and physical exertion. The study revealed that replacing car trips ranked among the highest reason people bought e-bikes, with increased physical activity and ability to carry cargo as contenders.

More interesting, 55 percent of those surveyed revealed that they rode daily or weekly before getting an e-bike. After getting an e-bike that number flew to 91 percent who road daily or weekly. No matter how tired you are, or if you've been working out and training and getting on a bike feels like another workout, even just to go on a short trip- with an e-bike you can still enjoy riding while giving yourself a break. Plus, it's a faster trip which makes it all the more attractive for those on a tight schedule.

Given that most e-bike owners end up utilizing their bike daily or weekly, it makes sense that there are as many types of bikes as there are riders. In fact, it's a little crazy how many types of bikes there are. E-bikes come in many shapes and sizes; there are cargo bikes, commuter bikes, recreational, full-suspension mountain bikes, fat bikes, dirt bikes, so many different styles.

So far we have covered many of the basic benefits of e-bikes, however, each bike is designed for different purposes. When it comes down to actually deciding the perfect e-bike to fit your lifestyle, there are a few things you should consider. Think about the type of commute or activities you want to use your e-bike for, do you want the motor to engage automatically or manually, what kind of motor mount you want (hub motor assist or crank motor assist)- each one has their pros and cons depending on how you want to use your e-bike, the range and distance of your projected bike trips (which affects the type of battery you might want), and how much you're willing to shell out.

Check out our review sections for a few types of bike and let us know what you think.

Mountain bikes:

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DJ Bikes DJ Mountain Bike


Affordable electric bike that performs adequately through the city or on light off-road trails with an integrated front headlight that allow for riding in low light and front suspension to help absorb some of the bumps.

Electric mountain bikes are powerful, all-terrain vehicles that increase your trip territory considerably, plus you can increase the intensity of your ride by being able to ride pretty much wherever.

You can find full-suspension e-bikes that allow you to go cross country or through trails with shock protection.

Keep in mind that mountain e-bikes tend to be very heavy, and many brands can be expensive. Some brands have a Walk Assist feature to help you walk uphill, but make sure to demo this to make sure you find it useful.

Here's a thread on the Walk Assist feature in 2017 models submitted by readers.


Cargo bikes:

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Rad Power Bikes RadWagon

One of the most compact electric cargo bikes on the market, capable of hauling gear or a passenger up front, the frame is stiff and sturdy with a large double-leg kickstand, available with 20 mph or 28 mph motors.
You can attach a basket to any e-bike that you purchase, but some are specifically made to handle a cargo full lifestyle. Cargo bikes are usually standard size e-bikes that are equipped with front or rear rack mounts to carry your groceries, bags, equipment, etc. You can get as fancy or as economical as you want, the featured bike in this article- the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon, is an exceptionally affordable, feature-rich e-bike worth doing research into.

Commuter bike:

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Riese & Müller Delite 25

An ultra-premium urban commuter with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting, Fox front and rear air suspension, Bosch CX high-torque centerdrive, and Shimano XTR hydraulic disc brakes

When considering commuter bikes, imagine your day-to-day. You'll be lifting this bike to carry upstairs or put in a car or bus. You might want a battery that is easily removable and doesn't weigh too much. You might want a bike that's fast, sturdy and can easily go up hills. Maybe you live on a campus, or downtown, or any place with traffic, pedestrians, and different types of terrain. Consider all this when you demo your e-bike to see if it fits your bill.

Fat bike:

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2017 BULLS Monster E

Full suspension fat bike with a high-quality mid-drive motor from Bosch and their updated 500 watt-hour battery pack for extended range
Fat bikes have very big, wide tires with low pressure and wide, heavy frames. These e-bikes are great on any terrain and work really well with snow. Plus, they look like a lot of fun. Riding a fat bike pretty much means you aren't limited to your surroundings, this is definitely a bike that works in all conditions.

Electric Trike:

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Pedego Trike

A custom designed electric trike with large plastic cargo bin at the back, three-speed internally geared hub can be shifted at standstill and is more durable than a traditional derailleur

This particular electric trike looks a little like a Roman gladiator cart if they favored electric blue style, but that's probably just me. Not all electric trikes are made the same, which makes looking through every review a small pleasure. Most electric trikes can go offroad and can usually haul cargo.

One of the greatest aspects of e-bikes is that they aid and encourage people, some of whom might struggle with manual pedaling, to enjoy the outdoors and ride. It helps people ride with friends, travel further and carry gear. Electric trikes fit naturally with accommodating people who might struggle with biking. Electric trikes can be more comfortable for longer rides, trikes generally have a lower center of gravity and the three wheels help with weight distribution to give the rider better handling and security.

Folding Bike

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Gocycle GS

A futuristic, lightweight, folding electric bike with removable wheels, the magnesium body is lightweight and durable, the battery and motor are almost completely hidden.

Folding bikes work really well for riders who frequently use the bus or train, but have longer trips to and from the stations. Similarly, you can just fold your bike and put it in the trunk of your car if you plan on hitting a trail outside the city but don't want to bike all the way there. Also, for many apartment dwellers with limited space, folding bikes are a great way to utilize storage. Imagine being able to bike to work, then just folding it under your desk!

These are a few of the basic styles you'll find as you search for the perfect bike for your lifestyle and needs, and as with any bike purchase make sure to do your own test drives.
 

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ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
A category missed here is relaxed/cruiser style bikes that can be used for commuting or urban/suburban riding. I use my cruiser-style bike for 25 mile RT commuting, errands, recreational riding, etc.

Also, there are nostalgia-styled e-bikes. Some cruiser-types are in that category (my bike style reminds me of the beach cruiser rentals from the beach when I was a kid) and also there are vintage-styled ebikes that evoke mid-century styling. Some folks are interested in a look that has more of a fun component.

To me what distinguishes the cruiser style is its upright stance which does not require leaning onto the hands/arms. This is an important feature for some riders.
 
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Christa E

Member
A category missed here is relaxed/cruiser style bikes that can be used for commuting or urban/suburban riding. I use my cruiser-style bike for 25 mile RT commuting, errands, recreational riding, etc.

Also, there are nostalgia-styled e-bikes. Some cruiser-types are in that category (my bike style reminds me of the beach cruiser rentals from the beach when I was a kid) and also there are vintage-styled ebikes that evoke mid-century styling. Some folks are interested in a look that has more of a fun component.

To me what distinguishes the cruiser style is its upright stance which does not require leaning onto the hands/arms. This is an important feature for some riders.
Thanks for that! I completely missed that category, and cruiser style bikes are some of my favorites. They have such a 60's vibe and look so perfect and nostalgic like you said.
 

JimFMB

Member
A category missed here is relaxed/cruiser style bikes that can be used for commuting or urban/suburban riding. I use my cruiser-style bike for 25 mile RT commuting, errands, recreational riding, etc.

Also, there are nostalgia-styled e-bikes. Some cruiser-types are in that category (my bike style reminds me of the beach cruiser rentals from the beach when I was a kid) and also there are vintage-styled ebikes that evoke mid-century styling. Some folks are interested in a look that has more of a fun component.

To me what distinguishes the cruiser style is its upright stance which does not require leaning onto the hands/arms. This is an important feature for some riders.
What type of bike do you ride?
 
Those look like awesome e-bikes! For myself, I have a folding e-bike with a strong frame, it's what I use as my daily driver everyday. It has a Bafang motor, Shimano disk brakes and an LCD screen. One added bonus is the frame is made from Carbon fibre. The folding Gocycle G3 you listed is premium bike, but in my opinion, it's too expensive
 

brooklynboy64

New Member
I’m new to the site, but excited to see all the forums!

I am just about to place an order for a bike and wonder if you all can give me some advice: the bike that is in my sites is not sold where I plan to move in a year from now. I have found the bike that i want to get, but there is no dealer in the location I’m moving to in a year. I know there are many bike dealers that ship all over- so they’re obviously may not be the nearest dealer for service.

Please give me any feedback! I’d appreciate it!