With so many options out there on the market today, deciding what is the best ebike on the market to fit your specific needs will be the first question to ask yourself. Will it be for commuting to work, health reasons or just a bit of fun at the weekends? battery life, distance, budget and riding style will also be key factors so hopefully this article will be a good starting point to help you decide.
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What type of Ebike is right for me?
There are 3 main ‘Classes’ of Ebikes on the market which are as follows:
Class 1 ebike – Pedalecs or otherwise known as ‘Pedal Assist’
Pedal assisted bikes require the rider to pedal normally as they would on a traditional bike however there is either a mid drive motor located near the crank, or within the wheel hub ( usually on the rear wheel) which provides assistance in some cases of anywhere between 50 -350 times the effort you are actually putting in -this makes the hills become very easy to climb at speed with very little effort by the rider.
Class 2 ebikes- Throttle Assisted
Throttle assisted ebikes are most commonly used in the United states and China as their laws allow it, Europe however prohibits this class of ebike on public roads. These bikes use a throttle to accelerate much like a moped or Motorcycle without any peddling required from the rider.
Class 3 ebikes- Speed Pedelecs ( pedal assisted)
As the name suggests, Speed Pedalecs work in exactly the same way as Class 1 Ebikes yet can reach speeds of up to 45kph! These are not usually allowed on public roads unless you have a license and are mainly used by off-road enthusiasts/ adrenaline junkies.
What is the Best ebike for city riders
So here we are really only looking in the Class 1 category if you are considering what is the best ebike for city riding or commuting to work. I would look for models with a minimum battery output of 250 -300Wh (Watt-hour) which should give you a range of up to 40miles over most city terrain in a mid to high assist level. Folding bikes are a popular choice if you have limited space in the office or want to take it on the train, however can be quite heavy to carry for long periods at a time.
What is the Best ebike for light off-road and adventures
In my opinion if you really want the best of both worlds then Hybrid Ebikes are the perfect option as they are extremely versatile and perform well over almost any terrain whether you enjoy trekking down woodland trails at weekends, or fancy a road trip. Often referred to as ‘touring’ or ‘Adventure’ ebikes they are designed to cover long distances of between 40 – 100 miles on a single charge – for longer ranges look out for models with upwards of 500wh (Watt hour) Battery options.
Best for off-road
Otherwise known as ‘E-Mtb’s’ the electrc mountain bike market is on fire at the moment and for off-road use they are awesome. Serious mountain bikers wouldn’t think twice of spending over $2500+ dollars on one of these, even if its just to help them with low intensity training when recovering from injury, however for the average rider there are still many options out there to suit most budgets. Mid drive motors are considered a better option as they tend to have higher torque output for climbing hills on rugged terrain. Still, a popular choice and a good option to consider if you will be spending most of your time off the beaten tracks.
Road Ebikes are starting to gather momentum with cycling enthusiasts, with speed and distance in mind these Ebikes are specifically designed for ‘paved’ road surfaces and come with some of the lightest frames on the market with motor usually located in the hub to keep the weight down.
Cargo Ebikes, depending on model can carry loads of up to 300KG and usually have specially designed gearing systems to accommodate the extra loads. Some Cargo Ebikes have large front boxes and can be ‘modular’ in design, most commonly they have a longer frame geometry and over sized racks to fit extra loads on the rear. These are heavy machines, extremely useful if you need to carry stuff from a to b with ease and most come with 500Wh and upwards in terms of battery power.
If you known what you are doing and like a challenge then there are many companies out there who supply kits to convert your traditional bike into an Ebike. Conversion kits are a fraction of the cost of buying a new Ebike and kits include a wheel with hub based motor, batteries can be attached to the frame or some have special pannier racks where batteries can be fitted and removed easily.
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Ebikes and the Law
In Europe all Electric Bikes are restricted to 15.5MPH if they are to be used on public roads. The terminology here can be confusing as its not so much a restricted speed, it is the limit where the motor stops assisting you.
This means if you want to ride faster than 15.5mph then you can of course do so but it will be without any assistance.
In the US the speed limit is 20mph where the above applies, and some other countries have their own legislation so I would check this depending on where you live.
No Licence is required for electric bikes, as long as they fall within the above limits. If you have anything where the motor does not cut out at these limits then the bike will need to be registered ( if you are using on a public road) and a licence will need to be obtained.
For Off- Road then these limits do not apply and some models have a setting where this can be changed on the actual bike.
Conclusion – What is the best ebike?
So, what is the best ebike? As you have guessed by now it depends completely on personal preference factoring in all the above but one thing that I can guarantee is when you do find your perfect ride you will go further, faster and never worry about the hills again!
In the meantime I would love to hear from you if you own an Ebike and what your thoughts/ opinions are so please drop me a message below. Dan