How to Choose the Best E-Bike
E-bikes can get you around town faster than a standard bike, and with electric assist, they can take the strain off your legs when you're tired of pedaling. But they'll take a hefty chunk out of your wallet, so you need to make sure you get the best bang for your buck. This guide will help you find the best e-bike of 2022 for you and start riding.
Factors to Consider When Buying an E-Bike:
First of all, you'll need to figure out what you need from an e-bike by asking yourself a few questions.
How far do you plan to travel on a single charge?
Would you want a separate or fixed battery?
What kind of conditions would you be riding it in?
What's your ideal price range?
What kind of power or performance are you looking for?
Do you want to be able to take it on trips?
Are you using an e-bike for your daily commute across town or long distances on trails? Depending on how far you're trying to go, you'll want to think about the amount of charge the e-bike battery holds and how far that charge will take you. This largely depends on the type of battery the specific e-bike uses and its specifications.
Speaking of the battery, consider how you'll charge it and how long it needs to charge. Some bikes have a fixed or integrated battery, meaning it's a part of the bike itself and cannot be taken out.
Others have the battery as a separate detachable part. Depending on the size and voltage, a battery may be quicker or slower to charge.
Like conventional bikes, e-bikes are built for different types of terrain. Some will be better for mountain biking and trails, some for riding on sidewalks and city streets, and others for going along boardwalks and paths.
When you're looking to buy an e-bike, one of the first steps is to figure out your budget. Specialty and very high-quality e-bikes will be more expensive, whereas the simpler ones will be on the lower side. As a general rule, e-bikes start at $600 and can go to over $7,000, with a majority being in the $1,000-$3,000 price range.
5. Motor & Torque
E-bikes of course come with a motor, placed in two main spots on the bike. Either on one or both of the hubs for hub-drive or the middle of the bike around the bottom bracket and pedals for mid-drive.
Some advantages of hub-drive motors are that:
They're more affordable than mid-drives
You can take breaks from pedaling without the bike stopping
Some cons include:
Potential lower ride quality due to the weight bias toward the front or rear of the bike
The lack of torque sensors may make the bike feel less natural to pedal
Rear hub motors aren't used with most internal gear hubs
Some pros of the mid-drive motors are:
They tend to be more powerful and efficient, and as such have better performance and range
Because the motor is in the lower middle of the bike, it's placed closer to the center of gravity which improves handling and makes pedaling feel more natural
Cons of mid-drive motors are that:
Their chains are more likely to break because of the extra torque. If one breaks on a ride, you won't be able to ride it home because the electric power comes from pedaling
They tend toward the more expensive side because the frame has to be built around the motor
The torque of an e-bike allows you to accelerate, and more torque is especially helpful when riding up steep hills.
For those with city commutes or who are generally going to be riding on flat land, you'll need less torque. If you're someone who wants to take their e-bike on hills or considering a utility or cargo bike to carry heavier items, you'll want more.
If you're planning on taking your bike on a long trip or out of town for a trail run, a rack that can handle the weight of an e-bike is essential. Because of their reinforced frames and battery, e-bikes generally weigh about 40-80 pounds, whereas standard bikes weigh a range of 17-30 pounds.
A premier brand for e-bike racks is ride88, which builds superior quality truck bed bike racks. If you're looking for a crossbar as well as a rack to have your e-bike be safe and secure in the bed, the QR3 kit is a great option. With options for 1-4 bikes on a single crossbar and easy assembly and installation, all you need to do is measure, order, and you'll have a reliable bike rack in no time.
For the uninitiated, e-bikes come in three classes. This is because of their speed, which necessitates legal classifications for them in certain cities and states. When you purchase an e-bike, you'll need to think about the max speed you want to have, and where you'll be riding it most often.
Class 1 e-bikes are pedal-assisted, meaning that the electric assistance doesn't kick in until you start pedaling. These reach a top speed of 20 miles per hour.
Class 2 are those that can start the electric assist at any point with a throttle on the grip like motorcycles and scooters. These similarly have a limited top speed of 20 mph, and most also have pedal assist.
Class 3 are electric bikes that have an electric assist that caps out at 28 mph. However, state laws differ on whether these bikes are allowed to have throttles, or how fast they can go if they are built with a throttle. In addition, because of their speed, they typically aren't allowed on bike paths or similar terrain where there might be pedestrians.
Types of E-Bikes:
With all of this in mind, you probably have an idea about the price range and class you're interested in. But to find an e-bike for you, you'll also have to think about distance and terrain, as mentioned earlier. As with analog bikes, e-bikes are built with certain types of riding styles and uses in mind, including cruisers, commuters, and all-terrain.
If you've ever seen those tourist attraction photos from a variety of places with warmer weather, chances are one of them included a picture of a person riding a bike along the beach or boardwalk. These are your cruiser bikes, with large frames and tires meant for long, casual rides on flat ground.
Commuter bikes are just that, for traveling to and from around town. When you think of a standard bike, this is probably what your mind goes to. These are all-rounders, meaning they can be used for a little bit of everything, from flat land to small hills and fine gravel.
For daredevils with a sense of adventure, there are also electric bikes for mountain and trail riding. With these especially, you'll want to think about the motor, torque, tires, and brakes, among other specific factors since they require a lot more attention to what you and the bike can handle.
Like any other hobby, there are some more specialized niches. Folding bikes, for example, are bikes that can fold as well as perform as another type, usually commuter or cruiser. These are great for those with low storage space or who aren't able to keep their bike outside. More specific types include fat tire, single-speeds, and utility/cargo.
So What's the Best E-Bike for 2022?
For a first-timer, looking to purchase an e-bike can be a daunting task. There are an incredible amount of e-bike brands, and more are popping up each day.
And there isn't one clear-cut answer on which is best. Just like with cars or any other type of vehicle, what works for one person might not work for another. That said, here are a couple of top picks that lead the pack.
Aventon is a well-known brand founded in 2013 in Los Angeles that makes several different types of e-bikes, including commuting, off-road, folding, road, and cruiser models. With batteries that can go up to 40 miles on a full charge, these bikes have a lot to offer.
The Pace 500 is built for those looking for a quality, lower-priced e-bike at about $1,500 to $1,800. It offers an upright cruiser frame with an adjustable stem to raise or lower the handlebars as well as an integrated battery and rear hub motor. With a top speed of 28 mph, you'll have no problems riding across a bike path on the beach.
Rad Power offers cargo and utility, step-through, off-road, folding, high-step, and city and commuter bikes, suiting a variety of needs and desires. From North America's largest e-bike maker, the RadRunner 2 is a fantastic utility e-bike with lots to offer with a 25-45 mile range, a top speed of 20 mph, and a max load of 300 pounds.
Charge and Go
E-bikes are a great way to enjoy the outdoors or lessen your carbon emissions on your daily commute. Although there are many factors to consider, it's easy to find an e-bike that works for you. If you have a local bike shop in town, they can also help you pick out a bike or some safety accessories.
There's nothing worse than grabbing the best e-bike of 2022 and realizing you don't have a rack for your truck to put it on. So make sure to check out ride88 and get out there.