Buying your first electric bike should be a joyous occasion, filled with positivity for the adventures that lay ahead. However, many common issues await new ebike owners that haven’t done their due diligence, so we’ve put together a definitive list of important things every new electric bike owner should consider.
1 – Electric Bike Weight
Many people are surprised at how much heavier an electric bike can be compared to the pedal-powered alternative. Given the weight of precious metals used in the batteries, and other components involved in powering the bike, an ebike will be significantly heavier than your traditional pushbike.
This is an acceptable compromise, as the motor adds 4lb’s of pressure for every 1lb pushed through the crank, meaning that you never feel this additional weight when riding. However, you will inevitably have occasion to try and lift your bike – whether to mount raised curbs or navigate styles and farm gates. Therefore, you should always be confident that you can lift your bike comfortably before purchasing.
2 – Ebike Battery Range
There is a very simple reason some ebikes are cheaper than others. Aside from the brakes, gears and frame, the ebike battery is one of the most expensive components. A good battery can cost up to £700, so be wary of the quality of the battery on the electric bike you are buying. Most manufacturers provide the expected distance the bike will travel on a full charge, but it’s worth checking user reviews to ensure their claims are truthful.
Manufacturers will almost always display the ‘maximum’ range figures as their standard battery performance, however, do be aware that the actual range performance will plummet once you increase the level of assistance and gradient of terrain you are riding on.
3 – Replacement Electric Bicycle Parts
This is an issue highlighted by the recent restrictions to supply chains in the wake of the global pandemic, as many well-known component and tyre brands were overwhelmed with a mixture of unprecedented demand and stringent workplace restrictions. Shimano, probably the best-known manufacturer of brakes and gears in the world, had to stop taking orders in the middle of 2020, as it had sold it’s entire production capacity right up to 2023.
This was caused by customers in the UK, Europe and the USA, buying new bikes in unprecedented volume because lockdowns restricted them and one of the few acceptable reasons to leave the house was to go cycling. This is a very extreme circumstance, however as population growth continues, the risk of pandemics increases too.
So make sure you buy a bike where replacement parts, such as battery, crank arms and electric motor, are stocked in your country and do not need to be shipped from overseas. Otherwise, your pride and glory could be restricted to the shed when you want to get out for a ride.
4 – Choosing the Right Tyres and Suspension
It stands to reason that if you are buying a new ebike solely to enable you to commute to work, then unless you are a park ranger, an electric mountain bike isn’t going to be the best choice. Similarly, if you are a park ranger that does have to go off the beaten track, then a nimble-wheeled racing bike is probably not the suitable choice either. That said, most of us don’t just buy a bike for a single purpose, which is why there has been a huge increase in the popularity of hybrid electric bikes, that are suited for commuting and light offroad adventures.
So when you are choosing your e-bike, make sure you choose a set-up that suits your broader lifestyle, not just one part of it. You will often find that most electric bicycle brands offer a variety of set-ups on the same frame to accommodate to individual riding styles. UK ebike brand Wisper Electric Bikes are a perfect example of this practice, creating a range of unique set-up options enabling the user to tailor their bike to their own riding requirements.
5 – Electric Bikes That Give Best Value
An obvious one, I know, however most people don’t understand that two bikes with different price points can sometimes be identical. This is because many e-bike brands don’t manufacture their own bikes.
Often, the manufacturer will offer the brand a range of set-up options, and it’s down to the brand how they price it for retail. As a result, you can often find two technically identical bikes, with completely different price points, and the only difference is the name on the frame. This is most evident with new e-bike brands, as they will choose the same set-up as other brands to reduce manufacturing costs.
We hope this guide has been useful and informative and gives you some food for thought if you plan to buy a new electric bike this year.