How to choose an e-bike
There’s no denying that e-bikes are growing substantially in popularity, and for good reason. Not only are they brilliant fun, but they offer a fantastic mobility option for those who perhaps struggle with riding otherwise. Additionally, they make short journeys more appealing without a motor vehicle. So what are e-bikes and how do you choose which one is best for you?
What is an e-bike and why would you need one?
An electric bicycle is very similar to an unassisted bicycle, except instead of being entirely powered by your legs, you have the added benefit of a motor to assist you. The motors are usually found either in the wheel hubs (hub-drive) or above the bottom bracket (mid-drive). In the UK, e-bikes must be limited to assist only up to speeds of 15.5mph and only has pedal assist abilities, i.e. you must be pedalling for the motor to work.
There are plenty of types of e-bikes available and the market is only growing bigger. Now is a great time to buy one, as the battery and motor technology has developed rapidly in recent years, and the bikes are now incredibly versatile and considerably more durable.
E-bikes are great for anyone. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a reason to have one. They are great fun and if that’s all that’s guiding your purchase decision, then good for you! They can, however, offer the enjoyment of a cycle ride without the added stress on your body that an unassisted bike has, making them great tools for people who have a long-term injury, illness or health issue that means they need to take it a bit easier. What’s more, e-bikes can open up the world to people who don’t have a car, and they make great utility tools too.
Think of your needs
The biggest question you need to answer when making your decision is what are your requirements for the e-bike? Are you going to be riding to work? Is it for getting back on the road and tackling hills or longer distances? Or is it for shredding the trails and saying ‘no' to the uplift service?
Urban or hybrid e-bikes are ideal for commuters or those wanting to replace short journeys once made by car. Bikes like the Specialized Vado come with rear racks, ideal for securing the shopping or your work bag. They also come in either step-through or crossbar frame designs and use a Specialized 2.2, 90Nm torque, custom-tuned mid-drive motor for exceptionally smooth pedal assist.
If you’re after something more suited to longer road rides, then something like the Specialized Turbo Creo SL is ideal. It’s lightweight and the motor is almost undetectable at first glance. The subtlety, however, only lasts in the aesthetics as the SL 1.1 motor kicks in, providing enough power to help you glide up mountains and laugh in the face of a headwind. The internal battery provides enough range for up to 80 miles, with the extender battery available to increase that number by 40.
If neither of those float your boat and you just want something to rip up the trails with, then the Turbo Kenevo SL Expert is here to help. An electric enduro rig, it combines the agile handling of the Enduro bike with the speed and reliable power assistance from the mid-drive SL 1.1 motor. It also has 170mm travel at front and rear so you'll be at home on even the trickiest descents and most technical climbs.
Align your budget and needs
Of course, if we could, we'd all go for the most expensive, high-tech option of everything – the one that has all the features and all the snazzy parts. But if you don't need them, then save your money. Set yourself a budget and work within that. For instance, if you think you only need 40 miles of range on your battery, don't bother buying an extender. If you require a rear pannier rack but prefer the look of an electric road bike, think practically.
Get a bike that suits your needs, but equally, get one that makes you want to ride. There’s no point spending lots of money on a flashy new e-bike if it doesn’t do what you need it to do and ends up as a glorified clothes horse. You can always upgrade your parts later, the most important thing is that the bike fits, the frame is suitable for your riding, and it’s within your budget.
If you don't know where to start or need a helping hand narrowing down your e-bike options, why not pop into one of our Concept Stores? Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be on hand to give you all the information you need to make the right decision.
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