Choosing the Right Bike for You
We all loved riding bikes when we were kids, but somehow many of us fall out of the habit as responsibilities of adulthood pile up on us. Whether you remember cruising around town with a group of friends or coasting down country lanes with fields rushing by, you can recapture that feeling again.
Electric bikes are the perfect option for adults who are rejoining the bike riding world for many reasons. They are excellent commuting vehicles and enable you to get exercise without doing more than you are capable of. Forget huffing and puffing to get up hills. Your ride is smooth and comfortable with the assistance of your electric motor.
Once you have made the decision to purchase an electric bicycle, you may be overwhelmed with options. We at Cit-E-Cycles are here to help you simplify your choices and find the bike that is best for you and your lifestyle. Consider these top elements to choosing an e-bike.
Do you want a bike for taking off-road during camping trips or riding for your commute to work? As you can imagine, bikes built for different purposes are designed differently.
For a commuting bike, you will need fenders that keep water from being splashed up, so that you don’t arrive at work looking like, well, you rode a bike. A commuter will also need storage space. City riding also means that you need a bike that is highly visible to drivers and enable you to sit upright and see well in traffic.
An off-road bike will be lighter with a robust suspension. You may also consider bike tire width for comfort and traction. Be sure to discuss your needs and riding style with a Cit-E-Cycles specialist to find the bike with all the options you need.
If you already own a high quality bicycle, you may be interested in and e-bike conversion kit. This allows you to use your traditional bike, while upgrading it with electric power. Several kits are available for this purpose. While it may save money, you won’t have the streamlined look or feel of an e-bike that has been designed to incorporate its electric components.
Electric bikes come equipped with a handlebar throttle or pedal assist. Depending upon how much exercise you would like to get, you may choose one or the other or a combination of the two. Pedal assist bikes do require the rider to exert some effort while pedaling, while electric bikes with a throttle option can be ridden like a scooter without the need for pedaling. Most of our electric bikes come with both of these options built in and we call them 3 way bikes because they can be ridden without any assistance at all, in pedal assist mode or in throttle mode.
Geared or non-geared hub motors? Rear drive or center drive? These are your main options for e-bike motors. Geared hub motors are most common and have great acceleration and hill climbing power. Direct drive motors or non-geared motors have the potential for greater speed as well as regen braking and tend to have a longer life, though they are also heavier and some would argue that any benefit of regen braking is offset by the extra motor weight. Center drive motors which drive the chain directly are best suited to mountain biking where more precision and technicality may be required while taking full advantage of your gears.
For obvious reasons, the battery that powers your electric bike is one of the most significant cost factors. When choosing a battery, you will also want to consider your riding style. Will you be pedaling and minimizing battery power used or will you be sitting back and relaxing while cruising up and down hills? Are you planning on making short trips to the mall or long commutes to and from work? Consider you battery needs as well as your budget.
All of our electric bikes come with Lithium batteries nowadays and they are available in several different types of chemistries. We find that choosing between the different types of lithium chemistries available today isn’t as important as choosing a battery from a reliable manufacturer. Sony, Samsung and Panasonic all make high quality lithium batteries for E bikes and most of our suppliers use batteries from these 3 manufacturers.
You can expect to invest between $2000 to $4000 for a high quality electric bike. If you are using it to commute, you will quickly see the savings that accumulate from riding it instead of driving a car. Determine what your budget is before shopping so that you can focus on your must have options and select the bike that is right for you.
E-bikes tend to have speed capabilities ranging between 30-45 kph. Though some models can go faster, check your Provincial laws if you are unsure. Most Canadian Provinces will classify an electric bike as an “electric power assisted cycle” and it will not require licensing or insurance if it has a regulated top speed of 32 kph without pedaling. The, “without pedaling”, part is the gray area. Some electric bike manufacturers are now coming out with bikes that can travel up to 45 kph in pedal assist mode but will cut out at 32 kph in throttle mode. We find that the 32 kph speed limit on most electric bicycles is more than adequate for most of our customers since this speed feels a lot faster on a bike than in a car!
How far do you need to be able to travel in a single trip? Make sure that your bike is comfortable for the length of your commute and that your battery will last ample time to get you there and back. The average E bike in our shop will give you a range of between 40 and 70 kilometers per charge depending on your riding style. If you choose to ride in the highest levels of pedal assist or in the throttle only mode obviously you won’t get the best mileage. If you stay in a lower pedal assist setting and take advantage of your gears you can expect to get better range. If you are going to be doing much longer daily commutes you can either purchase a secondary battery or a secondary charger to charge up your bike while you’re at work. Some of our suppliers also offer several choices between battery sizes and we can discuss your needs and options prior to your purchase.
You will need to store your bike, so choose one that you have space for. You will also have storage needs when you are riding. Are you content with somewhere to keep a water bottle or would you like space for a bag or other gear? Consider what you will need with you on your bike and plan accordingly.