E-BIke buying guide
Everything you need to know before buying an e-bike
How does an e-bike work?
At their core, electric bikes operate in the same way as their non-electric counterparts. The difference comes from the 4 main components which will give you a boost as you pedal. The motor, the battery, the sensor and the digital display all work together to promote your pedalling power. Most e-bikes are pedal assisted (aka pedelec bikes) where the motor only kicks in when you pedal meaning that you still get a workout. Some eBikes include a throttle to produce power from your motor.
E-bikes give the rider a pedal assisted boost to make hills feel less steep but you still get all the health benefits of being active outdoors.
TYPES OF E-BIKES
Perfect for commuting, folding bikes are lightweight, easy to carry and quick to fold. You can ride part of your journey and then fold to easily carry and store on a train. Also, you can take you folding e-bike to work, easily fold and then plug in your battery while you’re working. Then when you’ve finished your day, simply fold out and enjoy your journey home. Electric folding bikes go further than a manual by giving you a well-earned boost on your way to work meaning that you are not sweating when you arrive!
Electric Mountain Bikes (EMTBs)
Electric mountain bikes allow you to focus on zooming down hills while the bike takes care of the uphill. Built for mountain bike trails, electric mountain bikes often have more powerful motors and different levels of assistance so you can choose the right level to suit any terrain.
Take your eMTB to one of the UKs awesome mountain bike routes. We have written a blog on the UKs best routes here.
Step Through E-Bikes
Step through electric bikes provide you with style and practicality all in one. The step through design is made for easy access onto your bike so you don’t need to worry about swinging your leg up over a high frame. Also, step through e-bikes offer a classic design whether you are riding through your local park or in the cycle lane.
Electric Road Bikes
Get the sleek road bike design with an extra electric boost. Our electric road bikes are designed to be comfortable and perfect for your town or city’s cycle lanes. Cruise through your city with ease and enjoy every journey.
MOTOR TYPES – MID DRIVE VS HUB
There are two motor types used across electric bikes, but what’s the difference and which one suits me best?
Hub motors, which are found in the centre of a bicycle wheel, are certainly the most common form of electric bicycle motors. The main advantage of a hub drive motor is that they require little to no maintenance. They are an enclosed system meaning there is a lot less to fail and mess around with on your eBike.
Mid Drive Motors:
Mid drive motors main advantage over hub motors is their gear ratio. They allow riders to choose a gear to suit their terrain whether they need an extra push uphill or to accelerate from a standstill. Also, it makes changing wheels a lot easier when the motor is not connected to the rear wheel, instead a mid-drive motor is found as part of the pedal system in the centre of your electric bike.
To summarise, generally speaking mid drive motors are more suitable if you want more gears to choose from and more torque. This makes mid drive motors better equipped for off-road cycling whereas hub motors are perhaps better suited to commuting. If you don’t intend on using your e-bike for challenging journeys, a hub motor is bulletproof and requires less maintenance.
This is worth considering when it comes to choosing your new electric bike. At Pedal & Chain, we have put together a quick questionnaire where our experts can provide you with immediate product recommendations.
Batteries play a big part in creating the experience of riding an e-bike compared to a manual bike so it is important you choose the battery size to suit you. Let’s bust the jargon associated with electric bike batteries:
Volts (V) – describes how fast electrons move. More volts = more speed.
Amps (A) – the amount of force that the battery can produce.
Watts (W) – the combination of volts + amps = watts.
Amp hours (Ah) – how many amps the battery can produce in an hour. This measurement is often listed in an e-bikes specification.
Watt hours (Wh) – how many watts the battery can produce in an hour.
The size of your e-bike's battery will give you the best indication of the range you can expect to get out of your battery.
As a rule you can expect 10 Wh to translate to 1km of range.
So a 30v 10ah battery will give you 300 Wh which translates to 30km of range.
It is important to note that this example is designed to give you an idea as to how much range you can expect to get from your battery. Range is dependent on many other factors such as: level of assistance, gradient of ride, speed of cycling etc.
HOW WILL YOU USE YOUR E-BIKE?
Something key to consider when you are deciding which electric bike is perfect for you is how you will be using it. Whether you are commuting short journeys through the city or you want to use your e-bike to explore nature for hours, there will be an electric bike to suit you.
If you will be using your bike to commute to and from work then you may prefer the practicality of a folding eBike or a step through bike to cruise with ease. Check out our electric bike collection here with bikes specifically chosen with your commute in mind.
If you are planning on using your new e-bike on the roads of your town or city, you may be better suited to a comfortable ride with tyres to suit the roads. Check out our range here with electric bikes chosen specifically for the roads.
If you want to explore the beautiful UK countryside, an electric mountain bike will be best suited for this terrain. The motor and battery will give you a push when the terrain gets tough so you can focus on enjoying the scenery and the downhills! Check out our range of eMTBs here.
CONSIDER WHERE YOU BUY FROM
There are international retailers offering electric bikes often at a cheaper price. However, they often achieve this price through the use of lesser frame materials and cheaper component parts.
At Pedal & Chain, we understand that buying an electric bike is a big decision and your eBike will serve you for years (often a lifetime purchase). We are a specialist electric bike retailer who will put your needs first to ensure you find a bike that suits your needs.
VALUE FOR MONEY
E-bikes are generally more expensive than normal bikes due to the motor, battery and electrics. But how do you decide whether your favourite electric bike is good value for money? These are the points to look out for:
They are initially more expensive than manual bikes however when buying an e-bike it may be more realistic to compare the price to your current commuting and travel habits. Public transport, fuel and car maintenance costs all add up. In most cases these types of transport can accumulate to be a more expensive way to travel, not to mention the additional cost to the planet.
There you have it. You now have enough information to make an informed decision when buying your new electric bike! At Pedal & Chain, we have a range of electric bikes to suit all preferences and needs.
We also offer a personalised service to save you hours of searching time. Why not answer a few questions today and we will recommend the perfect ride to suit you.