How to choose an e-bike in 2021: what to look for in order not to regret buying

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Hello friends!

An e-bike is quite an expensive thing, and in order to choose it correctly, you need to understand the purpose of the components and their characteristics.

Before moving on to considering the components, I would like to consider such a characteristic of an electric bike as its weight.

It is often preferred not to be mentioned about it, since the electric bike itself is heavier than a regular bike due to the engine and battery, and indicating the weight can scare off the buyer.

However, it is worth paying attention to if you have to take the bike up stairs or load it into a car / public transport. Also, when traveling long distances, the battery may be discharged earlier than necessary, and you will have to go exclusively on the pedals.

A good weight can be considered a range of 20-25 kg. Top models of full-fledged e-bikes can weigh 12-15 kg, but they are much more expensive, and the weight of some bulky budget bikes can reach an incredible 40 kg.

The frames of modern e-bikes are made from aluminum, carbon fiber, and even titanium. Carbon frames are the lightest, but are shock-resistant. Aluminum frames are the most common and are used on most bicycles.

The frame can be solid and foldable.

When examining a bicycle with an aluminum frame, pay attention to the quality of the welds, the presence of chips in the paintwork. Choose a bike for your height, it should be comfortable to sit on, and at least take a ride through the sales area.

The main two types of motors on bicycles are the center (bottom bracket) motor and the wheel motor.

Central motor

By changing gears, the cyclist changes the gear ratio between the motor and the wheel, due to which you can both climb steep hills and accelerate along the highway to high speeds.

Wheel motor

Gearboxes

Engines

All-wheel drive electric bicycles are equipped with two motor-wheels, and have increased cross-country ability. Although, they also have their drawbacks — heavy weight and increased battery consumption.

The battery determines the maximum speed and range, that is, the distance that can be traveled on one full charge. The higher the rated voltage, the higher the speed, as a rule.

Battery location

It is wise to give preference to e-bikes with

Since the battery is the most expensive electrical component, it is good if the seller can provide for it (or for the whole bike)

Most modern electric bicycles have an engine assist mode when pedaling — an assistant mode.

For its implementation, a ring with magnets is installed on the front sprocket, and on the frame —

In addition to PAS, expensive bicycles often use a Torque sensor, or

Both the PAS sensor and the torque sensor can significantly reduce the battery power consumption when pedaling, and increase the power reserve by 2 times or more, so when choosing an electric bike, you should pay attention to its assistant mode.

On the one hand, the larger the diameter of the wheels, the better they pass the unevenness of the road. On the other hand, if it is a wheel motor, then it is easier for the engine to rotate wheels of a smaller diameter.

Wheels

Therefore, if you want to buy a fat bike, we advise you to think about how often you will ride it on a road with loose or soft soil, and if it is extremely rare, shouldn’t you prefer a lighter electric bike on ordinary wheels?

If you plan to ride mainly on the ground, along forest trails, then you need spiked tires, but if on asphalt, then smoother ones, otherwise large spikes on the asphalt will slow down the bike, reducing its range.

For a bike with a center motor, the ratio of chainring size to cassette sprockets will directly affect the gear ratio. If the chainring on the engine is too large, it will be difficult to ride the bike up steep hills.

For an e-bike with a wheel motor, the transmission does not affect the gear ratio in any way, so even if the chain breaks or the rear derailleur breaks, you can continue to ride on electric traction.

For the central motor, the quality level of the transmission is important, since the torque is transmitted through the chain and cassette, which means that they will have increased wear.

At the same time, an e-bike with a motor-wheel can have a very entry-level transmission — it does not participate in the operation of the engine, and the wear of the chain and cassette depends only on how actively you pedal.

Since an e-bike weighs more than a regular bike, there are increased demands on the brakes. V-brakes will wear out quickly, which is why most e-bikes are equipped with disc brakes.

They are divided into two types — with a mechanical (cable) drive and hydraulic, where the force is transmitted to the brake pads through the fluid, like in a car.

Hydraulic brakes are more efficient but more expensive. Mechanical ones are simpler and cheaper, both in terms of cost and maintenance.

If you plan to ride in the evening, you will need lighting so that not only you can see the road, but also that other road users can see you.

Therefore, headlights are needed on an e-bike — they can be installed by the manufacturer and powered by the main battery. This is a better option than installing your own lights and keeping an eye on the charge of their built-in battery.

On the other hand, a stand-alone headlight will continue to work if the bike’s battery runs out, so consider which option is best for you.

If possible, it is worth evaluating the work of the headlight before buying — it should provide good lighting, and at the same time not blind people walking towards you.

Fenders protect the cyclist from water and mud from under the wheels. They come in full size and cantilever. Full-size fenders provide better protection, but are more difficult to remove, and cantilever fenders can be quickly installed just before riding.

If you are planning to transport goods, you should pay attention to e-bikes with a luggage rack. Some models are equipped with two luggage compartments at once — a basket on the steering wheel and a classic trunk in the back.

Even if you liked a bike without a trunk, it can later be installed in a custom workshop, as they do in

The Topeak roof rack has special rails for securely attaching the bag from the same manufacturer.

The kickstand can also be installed after purchase, but if it’s already on the bike, that’s just a plus. With it, the bike can be placed where it is convenient for you, and not look for a place to lean against.

Price is often the deciding factor when choosing, but there is a good saying that a cheapskate pays twice for a reason. Having bought a cheap electric bike, many regret it after the first ascent of the stairs, if the bike turns out to be rather heavy.

An inexpensive Li-Ion battery is often assembled from low-quality cells, and lasts only 1 season, and the folding frame mechanism may not justify itself if you decide that you bought the bike mainly

At the same time, having bought a more expensive and high quality model, you will most likely be riding much more often and get real pleasure from the process.

If you are looking for an inexpensive e-bike for leisurely trips around the city, you should consider ready-made factory models, which are available in large quantities on the market.

If you need a light, fast and reliable electric bike for active riding not only in the city, but also off-road, you will be interested in two-suspension electric bicycles from well-known brands such as Merida, Haibike, Cube and Specialized, but their price is likely to exceed 200- 300 thousand rubles.

However, there is a decent alternative to buying such an expensive product, especially if you already have a reliable bike — to make it electric.

But if you do it yourself, without the appropriate qualifications, experience and tools, you can waste time and money. So you better trust it

Choosing an e-bike is a responsible business, and I hope this article has given you an idea of the components and what to look for when buying. Or at least broadened my horizons.

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THANK YOU for reading to the end and see you soon!