Electric bicycles are one of the few ways to save money and improve health simultaneously. They help reduce your transport fare and increase your cardiovascular health.
But choosing an eBikes that suits your needs is almost as complex as solving advanced calculus. You've got to consider your purpose, local regulations, price, and a long list of state l and federal laws.
This article will show you how to buy top-quality electric bicycles with minimal stress. Ready? Alright, let's start with some explanations.
What Is an Electric Bike?
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, electric bicycles are vehicles that come with either two to three wheels, operable pedals, and an electric motor that has less than one horsepower (750 Watts). Let me guess. That's not the answer you need. Here's a better one:
An electric bike is a bicycle that uses electrical energy to boost its speed. The idea behind these bicycles is akin to asking a friend to push your bike while you put minimal effort into pedalling. Only this time, your friend isn't human.
It's an electric motor. The electric motor converts electrical energy from a battery into mechanical energy. But it doesn't work alone. It, too, needs friends, and these friends include:
- A battery
- A throttle (Pedal Assist System)
- A controller
Electrical energy from the battery moves to the motor when you apply pressure on the pedals of your bicycle. And the electric motor converts this energy to mechanical energy, which reduces the energy you expend on pedalling. The harder you push the pedal, the more power you get from the battery.
However, the process isn't linear. Most riders need control. So, manufacturers incorporate a pedal assist system (PAS) or a throttle into the design.
The PAS helps you retain control of the bicycle's speed. Think of it as an equivalent of cruise control in cars. It enables you to maintain the speed of eBikes.
That said, e-bikes do not have unlimited speed. In the US, most federal and state laws regulate the top speed of eBikes to at most 20 miles per hour if the rider weighs 170 pounds or less. However, rules change from country to country, and in many countries, the speed limit is around 20 to 28 miles per hour.
Types of Electric Bikes: Understanding Your Needs and Local Rules
1. Electric Bike Comparison Charts
2. The Different Types of Electric Bicycles
Manufacturers and regulators have different classifications for eBikes. Regulators focus on the safety of eBikes for public use, and manufacturers care about customers' needs.
Yet there's no conflict. Your bike can meet your needs and still be safe for public use. Here's a list of the different types of eBikes based on manufacturers' designs.
City or Commuter eBikes: as the name suggests, commuter eBikes are perfect for commuting to and from work or running errands.
Cargo eBikes: Although cargo eBikes can't carry as much cargo as cars and motorcycles, they are your best option if you want to carry loads with your eBike. These bicycles always have a long tail or a front loader to help carry loads or kids.
Fat Tire Mountain eBikes: Mountain eBikes offer thrill seekers the opportunity to explore. They have higher suspensions, and you can use them to scale rough terrain such as trails and hills. Nakto's Santa Monica is an excellent place to start if you need a good mountain bike.
Folding Electric Bicycles: folding eBikes offers you portability and convenience. You can carry it into a store, apartment, or public transit. Consider the Folding Ox eBike if portability is your priority.
Step-Through eBikes: step-through e-bikes ensure you don't have to swing your leg over a bicycle's top tube to mount it. Manufacturers design these bikes with low frames that enable riders to climb a bicycle without swinging their legs.
You should try out Nakto's Camel step-thru eBikes if you have mobility issues or wear clothes that make swinging your legs difficult. Now, here's how most local authorities categorize electric bicycles.
Class-1 Electric Bicycles:Class-1 electric bicycles, also known as pedelecs, only provide pedal assist (extra energy) when you are pedaling. They have a top-speed limit of 20 miles per hour. And most local authorities allow you to ride them on the same lane as conventional bicycles.
Class-2 Electric Bicycles: Class-2 eBikes come with throttles. These throttles allow you to ride them without pedaling, although they also provide pedal assist.
Like class-1 eBikes, they have a top-speed limit of 20 miles per hour, and you can ride them on the same path as conventional bicycles (bike-only lanes).
Class-3 Electric Bicycles: Class-3 eBikes have a top-speed limit of 28 miles per hour. Depending on local regulations, they may or may not have throttles.
However, unlike their class-2 and class-1 counterparts, class-3 eBikes must have speedometers. And you can't ride them on bike-only lanes.
How to Choose an Electric Bike: a Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Outline Your Needs and Preferences
If you type in the word e-bike in Google with the intent to buy immediately, you'll see lots of advertisements. And all of them will claim to be the best option for you.
Trust me. You don't want to be in that situation because it's a recipe for mistakes and regrets. Here's what you should do instead.
- write down the reasons behind your intent to purchase an eBikes
- Note the distance you need to cover daily.
- Take note of your weight, height, or any other disabilities.
- Read about eBike regulations in your place of residence.
Step 2: Choose Your Ideal Class and Style
Most US states use the class of an eBike to determine the routes it should ply. So you must choose an eBike that complies with local regulations in your state.
In addition to that, ensure you choose a bicycle-style that suits your needs. For instance, step-through eBikes are your best option if you have mobility issues.
Step 3: Choose Your Ideal eBikes Motor Drive
eBikes use two types of motor drives: hub drives and mid-drive motors. Manufacturers place hub drives within the hubs of either the front or back wheel. And they place mid-drive motors around the chainrings and between the pedals.
That said, the motor drive of your eBike determines its torque. Most eBikes use hub motors because they are cheaper and ideal for riding on paved roads.
But mid-drive motors are more powerful. They are ideal for hills or riding on steep slopes, and they make riding an e-bike feel as natural as riding conventional bikes.
Step 4: Consider Battery Quality
Battery quality is one of the most essential parts of eBikes. An e-bike with a high-quality battery ensures you can travel long distances with minimal recharge, but a poor-quality battery will leave you stranded.
That's why you must take note of battery quality. And one way to take note of battery life is to learn about the following terms:
- Ampere hours
Higher ampere hours mean a higher range, and higher voltage entails more power to climb hills or scale rough terrain.
Step 5: Ensure the Manufacturer Has a Reliable Maintenance Service and Warranty
Imagine you buy a new eBike, and it becomes faulty after use. But you can't find any of its manufacturer's maintenance centres. So you have two options: dump your new bicycle or take it to a third-party maintenance center.
Either way, you won't get adequate bang for your buck. And that's not a situation you want to find yourself in.
So you must ensure an e-bike manufacturer has a maintenance centre near your residence before purchasing its product.
3 Things You Need to Know Before Buying an Electric Bike
1. Battery Maintenance Standards
As an eBike owner, you must learn the basics of battery maintenance because a poorly maintained battery will decrease your bicycle's range.
Here are some battery maintenance tips to help you protect your battery life:
- Store your battery in a cool, dry place ( 20℃ to 55℃)
- Avoid overcharging: remove the charger once it's fully charged
- Avoid total discharge: lithium-ion batteries prefer partial discharge
2. Electric Bike Maintenance Practices
Good Maintenance culture is one of the best ways to ensure the durability of your eBike. And to ensure your bike's durability, you must practise maintenance culture. Here are a few:
- Ensure your tires are inflated to appropriate levels.
- Schedule periodic maintenance with a professional technician.
- Clean the bicycle's frame regularly.
3. Pedal-Assist Systems
eBikes come with different pedal assist systems. And you must choose the best option that suits your needs before buying an eBike.
Take a look at some of the most popular pedal assist systems:
Torque Sensor Systems: This is the traditional pedal assist system in pedelecs. It measures the amount of force you apply and multiplies it. This means the more force you use, the more assistance you get.
Cadence Sensor Systems: cadence sensor systems work based on your pedalling speed. That is, the faster you pedal, the more electric power gets converted to mechanical power.
3 Best Electric Bicycles in the Market
1. Santa Monica
Santa Monica is a fat-tire mountain eBikes. It has a 750 W motor, a range of 60 miles, a top speed of 28 MPH, and a 48V 10Ah battery. You can buy a Santa Monica for $889.Top Features
- Large customizable cranksets
- Dual disc Brakes
- 1-year warranty.
2. Camel Step-Thru
Camel step-thru eBikes are some of the best step-through eBikes on the market. It uses a powerful motor of around 400 - 600 Watts, has a range of 32 miles, and a top speed of 25 MPH.
- Rear rack
- Ergonomic design
- Liquid Crystal Displays
- Free Delivery
Stroller e-bike models are your best bet for commuting to and from your workplace. They use an electric motor with 600 Watts peak power, a 40-mile range, and a 25 MPH Max speed.
- Dual disk brakes
- Robust Crankset
- Rear rack
- 1-year warranty
Frequently Asked Question
1. Should I Buy an Electric Bike?
Yes. You should buy an eBike to improve your physical health and bank account balance simultaneously. Electric bikes can also help reduce your carbon footprint.
2. How Much Should I Spend on an Electric Bike?
You can get an electric bike for as cheap as $400. Nakto offers urban eBikes for affordable options from $499 to $999. Plus, they are currently offering an 18% to 45% discount.
Electric bicycles use an electric drive system to help riders improve propulsion. There are different classes and designs of eBikes. And each class and design has its purpose and target audience, respectively.
To buy an electric bike that suits your needs, outline your goals, choose an ideal eBike class and style, select the best eBike motor drive for your goals, consider battery quality, and buy from an established manufacturer.
Similarly, you must know the best battery maintenance standards, eBike maintenance practices, and pedal assist systems that fit your preferences,
Thankfully, Nakto has three eBike products that can fit your preferences with little to no ado.
Related reading: Electrifying Ride: Navigate E-Bike Classes 1, 2, & 3