What to look for when buying an electric bike
Electric Bikes are expensive right? Here we will show you what to look for when buying an electric bike so you can avoid the pitfalls and find your perfect ride to suite your budget.
Buying any kind of bike is a personal preference, be it riding style, frame type, Battery range and distance, what you will be using the bike for and how often are all important factors that need to be considered.
Finding the right electric bike is a process of elimination which I have been through myself on many occasions so the key is to eventually whittle options down to a ‘shortlist’ of around 2 or 3 models to compare – so Let’s get started!
Storage – Where will the bike be kept overnight?
Do you have plenty of secure storage at home like a garage or a shed where the bike can be locked up and protected from the elements overnight?
There is no point in buying the bike of your dreams and keeping it out in the rain or open to theft because you don’t have the room to properly store the bike so this should be one of your first considerations.
If storage space is limited then a folding option may be your starting point.
If you will need to carry up stairs then you will also need to factor in weight as Ebikes can range from as light as 13KG up to 30KG, the average is around 20KG.
Rider type and bike style
Most of us have a preferred type of bike frame style that we gravitate towards, for me I have always preferred hybrid / mountain bikes as the riding position suits me best.
It’s the same consideration when choosing any bike, If you prefer more upright riding positions then fold up models are great for this, or maybe you prefer road bikes with a more forward facing ride – either way, once you have established what your ‘go to’ style is we can start looking at options.
Basically for every standard bike type you will find an electric equivalent so this should be pretty straight forward.
For senior riders or if you have short legs then you may want to consider either a step through frame or maybe a fold up option as these will be much easier to get on and off. Fold up Electric Bikes usually have lots of adjustment on the seat post and on the handlebar stem if you struggle with the standard frame sizes on the more traditional models.
What will you be using the bike for?
Using the below table will give you a good idea of how to decide what you will be using the bike for and what type of electric bike may be best suited to you.
Hybrid Electric bikes –
AKA the ‘all-rounder’, Hybrid Electric Bikes are extremely popular and the most versatile type of ebike as riders are not limited to any specific kind of terrain.
They also make great commuter bikes as racks, lights and mudguards usually come as standard on most models or can be easily fitted. Battery range options can be anywhere from 40 to over 100 miles on a single charge ( depending on budget). Read more about Electric Hybrid Bikes here
Electric Mountain Bikes –
Or Emtb’s are made for the dirt tracks and for climbing steep inclines as they usually have very powerful mid- drive motors, are lightweight and come with suspension front and rear.
They are designed for the dirt tracks so weight and balance are key for serious riders. For this reason they are recreational rather than everyday so bear this in mind if you want something more practical.
High end models can be expensive
Read more about Electric Mountain Bikes Here
Electric Road Bikes –
Want to keep up with the spandex boys? Then this is the bike for the job. These Road bikes are like the old ‘Racer’ style design and are for the road enthusiast.
They are lightweight and fast with lots of range and are becoming more popular with the cycling communities and clubs. Great choice if you want to stay up with the pack, not so good for any other terrain than paved surfaces.
Folding Electric Bikes –
If you have short legs, lack of storage or need to carry your electric bike then the fold up options should be a good place to start looking.
These ebike are extremely popular as there are many budget options which are good for commuters. Be warned though, they are not exactly lightweight but they can be stored away easily and are great for shorter trips.
Read more about Electric Folding bikes here
Fat Tire Electric Bikes –
These bikes have taken off recently and are what I would call at cross over between a mountain bike and a hybrid as they are designed more for ‘Trekking’ across rough terrains so the good ones have distance in mind and come with decent battery range.
The Fatter Tires make for a more comfortable ride and traction is better over rough terrain and also snowy conditions.
Hunting Electric Bikes –
Similar to the Fat Tire but these bikes come equipped with some cool accessories for carrying hunting equipment like bows and rifles which can be fitted to the side of the rear racks and parts of the frame.
They also have tow hitches on the rear racks for specially adapted trailers to transport the days accomplishments, or extra gear. Designed to be very quiet ( for obvious reasons) and popular because hunters can travel long distances on a single charge across rugged terrain.
Cargo Bikes –
These are the ‘Work Horses’ of the electric bike market, capable of carrying in some cases up to 250KG loads ( Including the rider). Electric Cargo Bikes are becoming increasingly popular with delivery firms as part of their courier fleets in order to bring down their carbon footprint, especially in the inner cities.
On the domestic side they really are very useful for carrying shopping, kids and some believe they can be a replacement for your car.
The downsides are they are very heavy as you can fit 2 – 3 batteries at a time to the frames. Great range though and you won’t be worrying about running out of charge in a hurry. Read More About Electric Cargo Bikes here
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You can download the free guide here
What to look for when buying an electric bike – Conclusion
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I hope you enjoyed this article on what to look for when buying an electric bike, but If you have any questions or need some pointers then please drop me a message below as I would be happy to help
10 thoughts on “What to look for when buying an electric bike – Expert help and advice”
I have never ever heard of a hunting electric bike but sure glad I did. Such neat options for transporting equipment, meat, and food to far-off locations all the while being quiet. I love that it has a tow hitch too. Do you have any reviews of the hunting electric bike? If you don’t would love to see one, as I hunt and think this would be right up my alley.
Hi Dan, Yes they are awsome machines , especially the QuietKat – I plan to do some reviews on these soon so if you want to notified feel free to sign up to the newsletter. Dan
Thank you very much for your advice on this. After reading several posts, my personal take is that I should pay attention to their design. Electric bikes are designed for different people and different purposes. It’s important to consider the types of electric bikes and the type of ride I’m aiming for.
Hi Abel, yes that is correct. There are so many options out there, once you have established how you will be using the bike it will be much easier to narrow down your search. Dan
Hello there! I never thought of getting myself an electric bike before. I definitely did not know where to start on looking for the one that matches my needs if I were to decide to get one some day. This article definitely helps gives good tips on how to choose one. I did not know there were so many types and the charts you provided definitely help a lot to help me choose. I probably would’ve gone for the hybrid. A hunting one would’ve been cool to have too.
Thanks Mike and glad you found it useful
I never knew there was so many options in the e-bike market. I’ve been considering purchasing for some time and this article really helps organize my thoughts!
The What Will you be using this bike for chart was especially helpful as I want a bike that is road friendly but also can be packed up and stored! Thanks for the insight and I’m looking forward to my purchase.
Hey Mike, glad it helped you narrow down your search – if you need further buying advice you can download my free ebook ‘The Electric Bike Buyers Guide’ here. Dan
I was looking at some bikes and glad to read your post about what to look for when buying electric bike.
just one question, what is the life span of the battery and how long it takes to charge the battery?
I like mountain biking as i used a lot of mountain bike for mountain track cycling
Hi, very good question – batteries usually are good for up to 1000 charges and they can take anywhere between 3 – 6 hours to charge from flat.