Best Electric Bicycle Buying Guide:- Detailed Guide

An electric bicycle is designed like a normal bicycle with a pedal, 26-inch wheels, hand breaking system and an ergonomic seating arrangement. However, unlike a normal bicycle, an electric bike comes with an electric motor that is battery operated.

What Is So Special About Electric Bicycle?

  • History behind Electric Bicycles

Electric bicycles have been around for many years now. The earliest patent for an electric bicycle was filed in the late nineteenth century. The first electric bicycle used a steam-based propulsion device, which was very rudimentary in technology. However, that changed after the discovery of electricity and lead-acid batteries.

In the years following the war, a lot of research went into the motor design. The newer motors were compact and more powerful than their predecessors. This was a good development as electric bikes were concerned because the earlier motors tended to be bulky. The bulkiness of the motor meant that comfort and safety were always compromised. The new motors changed all that, as they were smaller in size.

Lead acid batteries continued to be a problem for a few more decades, until the advent of Nickel Cadmium batteries. The newer Li-Ion batteries are even lighter and last longer on a single recharge.

  • What Is So Special about Electric Bikes?

Cycling for a few minutes every day is good for your heart, cardiovascular system, knees and joints. Since the foot is in contact with the pedal throughout the pedaling motion, there is less stress on the knees and joints consequently lesser injuries. Done at the right pedaling rate, cycling will burn enough calories to keep you from getting fat and at the same time increase your heart rate sufficiently to get the blood pumping to the all the vital organs of the body. However, most of us find it difficult to find the time for any form of exercise, leave alone cycling.

Indoor cycling is a good option, but there is nothing like cycling outdoors. Moreover, indoor cycling becomes very tedious after a certain point of time making it ill-suited for a long term exercise program. This is where electric bicycles come in. Unlike a normal bicycle, electric bikes come with three options:

  1. Manual mode with no power;
  2. Pedal-assist mode;
  3. Full throttle mode.
  • Cycle Your Way to a Healthier Life

Cycling in manual mode is like any other cycling activity. The cyclist pedals without any type of assistance. Most modern electric bikes are made from an ultralight aluminium frame which means that there should be no problems when it comes to riding the bicycle. However, tackling hills is a different proposition if you choose to pedal on your power.

Pedal-assist is a good option for those of you who want to strike a middle path when it comes to convenience and physical activity. Pedal-assist helps you do so by providing pedal assist. The electric motor kicks in the moment it detects any pedalling activity and provides impetus to the pedalling activity.

The motor will continue to provide power until it senses pedalling activity. The moment you stop the motor cuts off automatically. The third option is full throttle. Unlike manual mode and pedal assist, there is no pedalling activity involved during the full-throttle mode. Power is supplied at the thrust of a throttle much like a scooter. The moment you twist throttle the engine provides power to the drive train which controls the rear wheel of the bicycle. Compared to pedal-assist mode, full-throttle is more energy-consuming.

  • Enjoy a Stress-Free Lifestyle!

There is no training required to ride an electric bicycle. If you have ridden a bicycle before, you can easily switch over to electric bicycles without the need for any training or certification. Moreover, there is no need for any kind of licensing because electric bikes do not fall under the classification of motor vehicles unless the motor used is more than 750 Watts or 1HP and speed is more than 20MPH.

The battery pack and the motor does not pose any health or injury risk and can be charged anytime without any sort of inconvenience. Electric bicycles are also known for being eco-friendly which is a good thing considering the havoc caused by fossil fuels to the environment. More and more people are taking to electric bikes they offer multiple advantages without costing a bundle.

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If you’re serious about getting an electric bike, or how an electric bike works, read this guide for a thorough understanding of electric bikes and what you should be looking for in a good quality electric bicycle.

The Importance of Having Good Quality Electric Bicycle

The easiest means for keeping fit is cycling. It is hugely enjoyable, as well. Imagine cycling through the countryside inhaling fresh air and listening to the chirruping of the birds. Undoubtedly an éclair for life! Working on a bicycle has advantages that the best gyms and gym equipment can never provide. Unlike other activities, cycling can be easily incorporated into the daily routine. One does not necessarily have to set aside a time-table for cycling, as is the instance for a gym. Using a cycle for commuting does the trick.

Cycles are either of the traditional kind with a pedal and wheels or the newer and the fancier electric types that have an electric motor that still retains the functionality of the pedal. This literally means that electric cycles are not only a good means for exercising but are less tiresome as well compared to the traditional ones.

In the case of the traditional bicycle extra effort is required for climbing uphill or for carrying additional weight. It is not so with the electric bicycle-consistent effort is required whether you are riding uphill or carrying groceries. Health and convenience apart the chief advantage of a good quality electric bicycle is that it saves costs. It is far cheaper compared to the cost of commuting via car.

According to studies, it costs anywhere between .26 and 2.38 dollars for driving a car whereas comparable costs for commuting via electric bicycle roughly amounts to 5 to 8 pence a mile. And to top that the electric bicycle causes negligible pollution.

Evidently the electric bicycle scores over the traditional bicycle. However, in order to get maximum benefits, it is necessary to invest in a good quality electric bicycle. Electric bicycles cost anywhere between 500 to 2500 dollars but still is much cheaper compared to the car. Even bus and train tickets can cost much more. So the importance of buying a good quality electric bicycle can certainly not be discounted.

Provided below, are some reasons why it is better to spend a few dollars more on an electric bicycle.

  • Better Averages

A good quality electric bicycle provides better averages: One of the deciding factors while buying an electric bicycle shall be the objective behind using it. Decide in advance whether this is to be used for the sole purpose of commuting or shall this aid in exercise. If you are going to use the bicycle for long trips, it is reasonable to invest in the more expensive ones, i.e. the ones that have longer battery life.

You, after all, wouldn’t want the bicycle to play truant en route. Generally, good quality bikes have a battery life that lasts for around 20 miles. Any battery that lasts less shall be useless unless you prefer to extend your energies about every incline.

  • Light Weight

Weight is never an issue with most good quality bikes. A good quality electric bicycle is generally lightweight: the older versions of the electric bicycle were heavy and thus were cumbersome, to say the least. Whatever advantage these had over the traditional bicycles was lost because of the weighty issue. The newer versions are not only more aerodynamic but are also much easier to handle because of the lightweight. As such, it becomes easier to manoeuvre these in case the battery gives away.

  • Sounder Ergonomics

Again a deciding factor for investing in a good quality electric bicycle is the sound ergonomics. Better quality bikes are more adjustable than those that are not. The saddles and the crossbars can be easily adjusted according to your liking, and this is what makes the electric bicycle such a sound investment.

Electric Bicycle Buying Guide

  • What is an Electric Bicycle?

An electric bicycle is just like your bicycle with a motor and battery pack attached. Riding an electric bicycle is easier and swifter compared to riding on a normal bicycle. It is like seating a very fit athlete instead of the old you. Riding to work on your electric bicycle will shave off several minutes from your traveling time and keep you from getting sweaty.

Electric bicycles come with two options: Pedal Assist and Full throttle. Pedal Assist is like having an addition set of legs assisting you on your daily commute. Your bicycle has torque and motion sensors that will activate the motor the moment you start pedaling. Full throttle mode is different because it does not require any type of pedaling activity. You can use this option if you are finding it very difficult to climb hills or you are getting very late to work and need an extra boost of speed to make it to that meeting in time.

Most people’s journeys are most 2-5 miles. Taking your car for short commutes is wasteful. Electric bicycles can cover 25 miles on a single recharge. Even after considering depreciation, cost of recharging, cost per mile comes to pennies. Traveling by car is not only expensive but harmful to our health too. Electric bicycles are greener and consumes energy equivalent of a 100 watt bulb.

  • How to Choose an Electric Bicycle?

A good measure of quality is how easy it is to cycle without any power. The newer electric bicycles are much lighter compared to older bicycles. Ideally, your electric bicycle should not weight more than 30 kgs. However, there are a few other factors that have to be taken into consideration.

  • Step Through Vs. Cross Over Bikes

Basically, there are two types of bicycles: Step through bicycle and Crossover bicycle. Crossover bicycle is built like men’s road bike, featuring a horizontal bar few inches below the seat (2 inches ideally). Step through bicycles does not have this. If you suffer from knee or hip problem, it is better to invest in a step-through bicycle.

  • Pedal Assist or Throttle assist

Pedelecs use motion or torque sensors that activate the motor as you start pedalling. It is just like having an extra set of legs to assist you in your cycling activity. Throttle assist uses a twist grip on the handlebars similar to that used in a moped to provide power. Throttle assist is very helpful for those who are recuperating from a serious injury and need a mode of transport that will help them to move from one place to another without expending too much energy. However, you will still need some initial pedalling to get you started. Once you get started, you can start right away.

  • Adjustability

Riding position and comfort is very important if you want to ride for longer intervals. If you have adjustable settings in your bicycle, you will be able to try out different combinations to get to the most out of your bike. Ideally bicycle handlebars should be at the same or slightly higher level to the seat; your electric bicycle comes with preset factory settings that are not perfect and require a little bit of tinkering. If your bike has an option for adjustable setting, you can raise the height of the handlebars to where it is perfect.

  • Weight

Ideally, your bike should not weigh more than 30 Kg’s. The newer electric bicycles use better quality material in their construction making them lighter and longer lasting. If the bike you have chosen weighs more than 30 kg’s, it is time to chose something that is lighter.

  • Range

The electric bike you choose must have a 20-mile radius on a single recharge. If your bike does not offer you a minimum of 20 miles on a single recharge, it is not worth buying. After every recharge, your battery will lose some of its capacitance lowers the battery life of your electric bicycle substantially. It is a good idea to ask your dealer how far you can travel on a single charge.

  • Availability of Spare Parts

Depreciation is inevitable in the lifetime of an electric bicycle. Even if you take the greatest care, your bicycle will eventually wear down necessitating spare parts. Therefore, it is a good idea to check for the availability of spare parts before purchasing an electric bicycle.

  • New Vs. Old Electric Bicycles

Electric bicycles fetch a good resale value in the market compared to normal bicycles. However, purchasing second-hand bicycles is not without risks. For example, the battery may have denigrated to the point where replacement is inevitable. Your bicycle suffers usual wear and tear over a period of time which reduces battery life significantly. It is very difficult to understand the state of bicycle battery by merely looking. Taking these factors into consideration it is advisable to purchase a new bicycle.

  • Storage

Before purchasing your bicycle, you must make sure that you have a room that is dry and away from sunlight. The room temperature should be below 25 Celsius as it is optimum for battery. Do not keep your electric bicycle in direct sunlight as it causes the paintwork to fade. If you are going away charge the batteries, deflate tire pressure to half and ensure that the bicycle tires do not touch the ground by suspending the bicycle a few feet off the ground.

Safety Tips for Riding an Electric Bicycle

An electric bicycle is your ordinary bicycle with an electric motor and rechargeable battery. Electric bicycles have been around for ages. The earlier models used a steam engine to power the bicycles. These engines were very bulky and made the bicycle very unstable. With time these engines became more sophisticated and lighter and safer. The advent of Lithium and Nickel Cadmium batteries made riding on these bicycles even safer. The new electric bicycles are safe and provide a high degree of enjoyment for the rider.

Modern Electric Bicycles are designed for your safety and comfort. These bicycles have to pass several safety tests before they are certified fit for public use. Despite these proactive steps accidents happen. Most of these accidents happen due to negligence. Poor bicycle maintenance is another reason. If you do not follow the traffic rules accidents will happen.

Here Are a Few Tips on Safe Riding :

  • Obey traffic rules while riding including traffic stops, giving way to pedestrians and using proper hand signals
  • Riding in a straight line is very important. Riding unpredictably is extremely hazardous in heavy traffic
  • Use correct hand signals while stopping or turning
  • Look where you are heading. While riding it is important to avoid potholes, gravel and wet roads.
  • Always cross railway tracks at a 90-degree angle. If possible walk your bicycle across. It is much safer.
  • Be prepared for anything while cycling. Watch out for the unexpected, like sudden opening of car doors
  • Ride with caution. Be very cautious while passing other vehicles, negotiating corners or crossing intersections
  • Familiarize yourself with the bicycle especially changing gears, applying breaks and negotiating corners
  • It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the route you will be taking every day
  • Use bicycle clips if you are wearing loose-fitting trousers. It is important to keep loose-fitting clothes away from the bicycle chain at all times. If your cloth gets stuck in the moving part you could easily end up in an accident
  • Do not carry passengers or luggage that would impair visibility in any way. Wearing a headphone is not advisable while cycling because it diverts your attention from cycling
  • Do not apply front breaks first as this will cause you to topple. It is always better to apply the rear brakes first. Once your bicycle has slowed down considerable you can apply the front brakes.
  • Always keep a safe braking distance from the vehicles in front.
  • Your electric bicycle is designed for road usage only. Do not use it for show jumping or dirt track riding.

Underage children should not be allowed to ride. It is very important that all the safety rules are clearly understood before they are allowed to ride.

Here Are a Few Safety Rules When It Comes to Children:

  • Bicycle is designed for children 13 or older
  • Make sure that they wear a properly fitted helmet
  • Do not allow your children to play on the driveways or the road
  • Do not allow them to ride during the night
  • Train your children to look right, left and right again before entering a street
  • Train them to drive safely while going downhill. The use of brakes to slow down the bicycle is a must
  • Never ride with your hands off the handlebars while going downhill

Downhill Cycling is Very Exhilarating.

However, you should be extra careful while cycling downhill because most accidents happen when you are not in control of your bicycle. Here are a few safety tips –

  • Switch to a low gear while approaching a hill. Keep on lowering the gear till you attain a comfortable pedalling rate.
  • Switch to a high gear while pedalling downhill. This will give you more control and help you ride safer
  • Maintain a safe cycling speed. Take extra care while approaching other cyclists

Bottom Line

Your electric bicycle is designed for your safety and convenience. However, if you are negligent or do not take proper care, you end up in an accident hurting yourself badly. The safety precautions given above will help prevent such accidents and keep you safe from harm’s way.

Electric Bicycle vs. Ordinary Bicycle

An electric bicycle is an ordinary bicycle fitted with a rechargeable battery pack and a motor. However, there are a number of features that make it different from a normal bicycle. Here is a list of those features:

  • Electric Motor

Electric Bicycle The biggest difference between a normal and an electric bicycle is the motor. The motor is powered with a rechargeable battery pack that may be lead acid or Lithium or Nickel Cadmium. For classification purposes, motor is limited to 750 Watts or 1HP. Speed is limited to 20 MPH. Each bicycle comes with inbuilt sensors that cut the motor the moment speed exceeds 20MPH. There is a very thin line when it comes to what is an electric bicycle and manufactures have to heed them carefully in order to avoid licensing requirements coming into play.

  • Climbing Hills

There is a big difference when it comes to climbing hills. Electric bicycles are made for tackling obstacles like hills and gradients. A good electric bicycle flattens hills effectively successfully, removing the groan factor. You are also able to maintain a better average speed while riding on an electric bicycle. In a mountainous topography, there is a stark difference in the performance of an electric bicycle and normal bicycle.

  • Slower Downhill

Riding electric bicycles downhill is much slower than what you expect. This is because the braking mechanism comes into play the moment your bicycle exceeds 20MPH. But that is perfectly OK. Speeding downhill is not exactly everybody’s idea of safe riding. The chance of accidents increases while speeding downhill. Electric bicycle with their automatic cutoff feature is definitely safer when compared to a normal bicycle.

  • Operating Expense

One mile on an electric bicycle costs you 5-6 pence/ Mile compared to 4 pence/Mile it costs in a normal bicycle.

However, if you consider that it costs more than 50 Pence/ Mile in a car the advantage of using an electric bicycle becomes more evident. Even after taking battery depreciation into account owning an electric bicycle seems like a better proposition

  • Health Perspective

If you thought that buying an electric bicycle is your ticket to good health, then you thought wrong. According to Ordinary Bicycle research, normal bicycle owners were less likely to take out their bicycles every day compared to electric bicycle owners. Sure pedal assist is less energy consumption compared to manual pedalling, but the long term benefit of cycling every day is too hard to ignore. If you want to stay fit long term, get an electric bicycle.

  • Less Sweat

If you are planning to take your bicycle to work, make sure that there is a shower in your office. A few minutes of pedalling in the hot weather will make you a sticky mess. Electric bicycles provide pedal-assist and full-throttle mode. If it is too warm, you can stop pedalling altogether and switch over to full throttle mode. In cold weather, you can do the exact opposite.

  • Environment

The energy consumption of riding an electric bike is equivalent to energy consumed by a 100 Watt electric bulb for six to seven hours. Of course, you cannot compare this data to that of a normal bicycle, but it must be mentioned here that an average car uses 15,000 Watts for the same period. You do the math.

  • Rechargeable

Electric bicycles use a battery pack which may be lead acid, lithium or Nickel Cadmium. Unlike a normal bicycle that can be used right out of the package, you will have to charge up the battery pack before cycling outdoors. The charging time varies. In lead-acid batteries it may take up to 10 hours for a full recharge, Lithium batteries take 4-6 hours at the most.

  • Travels Faster

Electric bicycles travel faster than a normal bicycle. You will have to be a very fit cyclist to reach the speeds capable of in an electric bicycle. Sure it is faster to travel by car, but you hardly reach 10MPH on a busy road. Electric bicycles provide an advantage because you can use cycling lanes, unlike cars.

  • Bottom Line

Electric bicycles are almost similar to normal bicycles when it comes to impact on the environment and the energy consumed. But they have a big edge when it comes to average speed, tackling hills and convenience.

Electric Bicycle Maintenance Guide

Bicycle Maintenance is very important for the longevity of your bicycle. Before you take your bicycle outdoors, it is important to read and understand the manual to get the best performance from your bicycle. It is also important to get acquainted with the bike someplace away from traffic, people and another cyclist.

Your bicycle is a complex piece of equipment containing many parts. Electric bicycles come with a motor which gets its power from a rechargeable battery. Proper maintenance is needed because negligence will reduce the life of the battery significantly.

  • Electric Bicycle Maintenance Tips

Here are some maintenance tips that will keep your electric bicycle in tip-top condition

  • Battery should be fully charged when the bicycle is not in use. Before you go out for a long ride, make sure that your bicycle batteries are recharged.
  • Do not ride your electric bicycle in wet conditions as it may damage your bicycle’s electrical system permanently
  • The wire and connectors should be checked periodically
  • The pained surface needs proper care. To clean, dust surface with a lint-free cloth and then wipe with a damp cloth soaked in a mild detergent. Dry frame with a dry cloth and finish by applying wax and polishing the frame
  • Chrome surface should be wiped with a rust preventive fluid
  • If you ride in a beach area extra maintenance is needed because the corrosive air in coastal areas can wear out your bicycle much faster. Wash your bicycle regularly, and apply rust preventing fluid frequently.
  • Store your bicycle in a place that is not damp
  • If the pain is chipped or scratch apply to touch up paint on the spot
  • Clean and lubricate all moving parts regularly
  • Storage of your Electric Bicycle

How you store your bicycle will make a huge difference to your bicycle’s longevity. Your bicycle should be kept in a dry location away from the sun and the weather. Direct sunlight will cause the paint to fade spoiling the look of your bicycle and making it susceptible to premature rusting.

If you are going out for a long time, clean and lubricate all moving parts and wax the frame. Deflate tire pressure to half and hang the bicycle so that the tires do not touch the ground. Batteries should be charged and kept away from water. Avoid capacity loss by charging Lithium batteries every 30 days and SLA batteries every 90 days. The bicycle should also not be covered with a polythene covering while you are away as it leads to sweating under the covers.

  • Taking Care of Bicycle Battery

Bicycle battery is very important to your electric bicycle. A single recharge should last for 25 miles in ideal conditions. However, if you fail to take proper care of your battery pack, you will end up with an underperforming battery pack. Remember, your battery is not going to last forever. Every time you recharge your battery its relative capacitance decreases by a small percentage. You can maximize battery life by taking a few precautions.

Precautions

  • Battery should be recharged once they are received for the full recharge time
  • Sealed Lead Acid batteries take a minimum of 10 hours for a full recharge
  • Lithium batteries take 4-6 hours for a full recharge.
  • Never recharge batteries for more than 24 hours
  • High temperature reduces battery life significantly. The optimum temperature for batteries is around the 25 Celsius mark.
  • Switch off the batteries after every use.

Security of your bicycle is paramount. Your bicycle is an expensive piece of equipment, and you must take steps to ensure its security. Maintain a record of your bicycle’s serial number (serial number is stamped on the frame). Register your bicycle with your local police authority. Invest in a good quality bicycle lock that will resist hack saws and bolt cutters. If you are leaving your bike unattended make sure to secure it to an immovable object.

  • In A Nutshell

Your electric bicycle is a wonderful piece of machinery. It helps you to commute and provides a great outlet for recreation. Proper care and maintenance is a must. If you are negligent, your electric bicycle will start malfunctioning resulting in costly repairs.

The Benefits Of Using An Electric Bike

An electric bike is just a modified bicycle with an electric motor and rechargeable battery. However, there are some additional advantages of using an electric bike that you should know about. Here are some of the features that make these bicycles so useful.

The Advantages of an Electric Bike:

  • You can commute without getting tired or sweaty;
  • Climb hills easier;
  • You benefit from optional pedalling
  • It speeds up to 20+ mph
  • You can enjoy a 20-30 miles ride before the battery runs out
  • It is Eco Friendly, therefore, there’s no polluting involved
  • It doesn’t require insurance or license
  • It is a great stress reliever and it’s incredibly fun to ride

Commute to Work without Being Sweaty or Tired

If your place of work is nearby, taking your car for the daily commute would be wasteful. Cycling is a good option, as it is cheaper and greener. However, the last thing you want is to arrive at a meeting sweaty and wobbly in the legs. An electric Bike will allow you to beat the morning traffic and arrive at your place of work fresh and reinvigorated. How did that happen? The secret is in the motor powering your electrical bicycle. Depending upon your requirement or how fast you need to get to your office, you can choose from three riding options: Manual, Pedal Assist and Full throttle.

Get Up Hills a lot Easier

Hill climbing is no joke and leaves you too exhausted to complete the rest of the journey. Even with gears it is not an easy task. If you have hills in your neighborhood, it becomes very tiring negating all those hills. Soon the car becomes the only option for you but with escalating fuel costs, for how long? The good news is that an electric Bike is designed for exactly such obstacles. You have two options when you come across an uphill climb. You can choose pedal assist or full throttle (twist and go). As the name suggests, pedal assist will provide the initial thrust that will make tackling hills less of a challenge.

Pedaling is Optional

One of the advantages of an electric Bike is that pedaling is optional. You cans switch between three cycling options: Pedal assist, Full Throttle and Manual. Manual mode is similar to normal cycling. However, if you do not feel like cycling, you can choose pedal assist or full throttle. Even when you are on pedal assistance mode, some energy will be expended. Of course, full throttle is entirely different because it does not use any pedaling.

Ride at Speeds Up to 20 MPH

Your electric Bike is quicker than an average bicycle. It can reach speeds up to 20MPH in the blink of an eye. If you are late to your place of work, or afraid of missing an important lecture, you can just crank up the speed and reach on time.

Ride 20-30 miles on a Single Recharge

A single recharge is more than adequate for 20-30 miles. Charging time depends upon the type of battery used. Lithium batteries take 4-6 hours whereas lead acid batteries take more than 10 hours for a single recharge.

Eco Friendly

Here are some numbers:

A case study related to the impact of all electric Bikes versus other means of transportation shows that electric bikes are thirteen times more efficient than a sedan in terms of energy consumption, eighteen times more efficient than any SUV, and 6 times more efficient than the well-known rail transit.

This proves that when it comes to environment conservation there is nothing like electric Bikes.

No License or Insurance Needed

One big advantage is that you do not need a license to ride an electric Bike provided certain rules and regulations are followed.

  • Speed should be limited to 20MPH
  • Motor should be limited to 750 Watts or 1HP

No licensing is needed if the above two rules are followed.

Fun to Ride

Electric bicycles are fun to ride. They are comfortable, travels far on a single recharge and do not cost a bomb. You can buy a good quality electric Bike without having to cough up a huge sum of money. If you are too tired switch to throttle mode and watch your bicycle eat up distances in a flash.

Electric bicycles provide an affordable yet reliable means of transport. Whether it is commuting to your place of work or running errands, an electric Bike provides all the answers.

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