During the last year, cycling has seen a surge in popularity mainly as an alternative to public transportation. As one of the most effective and sustainable micromobility solutions, cycling is claiming its deserved high status in both rural and urban areas.
With the growing demand for mobility solutions like electrical bikes and e-scooters all over the world, many users neglect ride-hailing services and wish to purchase their own bikes or electric scooters. E-bikes are predicted to grow from 3.7 million bikes sold in 2019 to 17 million in 2030. Although in the long run, bike-sharing will surely play an important role, the pandemic has pushed folks to purchase rather than rent. During the last decade, powered bicycles, also known as e-bikes, have become immensely popular.
We’ve put together a short checklist to help you in choosing your next e-bike.
While e-bikes are a great way of conquering the hills and traveling long distances, it might be wise to check the specificities of the landscape your future bike is meant for. For example, the types of the hub motor, bike battery and bike frame all work towards different goals. The rule of thumb is: the longer your average commute and the greater the incline, the more power and battery longevity you need. Head/tailwind can also dramatically impact the range of an e-bike.
- Distance and frequency
What is the average distance you will be commuting? That can help you choose between battery capacity, charging times and overall longevity. According to ABC News, the average distance to office in the United States is 16 miles. Your bike should cover that distance without charging. Even better if it can carry back home.
- Charging possibilities
Where can you charge your e-bike? Does your office have an option to charge the battery? It’s also good to review the city map if your city has one. The charging station locations are often marked on the maps.
Also, check out the Bikeep app for interactive maps and locate the nearest e-charging station or bike locker to you. Or Google– they provide a user-generated option. Charging stations will soon be as important as gas stations.
- Price range
E-bike pricing ranges from $400 all the way up to $80,000. That latter price point which is currently listed as the most expensive e-bike in the world, certainly has more bells and whistles than a casual rider would need. Then how to choose? Make sure your e-bike is purpose-built for your use-case. Riding offroad? Make sure your bike has a larger drive-hub that can provide more torque in steep or slippery scenarios. Commuting to the office? Get something with a stiffer suspension and a large capacity battery: the stiff suspension will ensure that power is sent in the direction of travel while the large battery can get you to and from the home in those instances where there are no charging opportunities.
For a regular user, however, a low-cost version or even a second-hand e-bike will do the trick. Another wise tip is to compare the price of your bike to similarly priced cars. You will get a great bike for the price of a sub-standard car. Factoring in maintenance, you’ll enjoy a comparatively low cost of ownership. Factor in the health implications and you might even be able to swap out a gym membership for a heavy-duty ride on your new bike!
- Maintenance and insurance
Vehicles tend to need care. It is useful to insure your bike and possibly your own health for additional security. Once or twice a year, take your bike to a seasonal maintenance session with your mechanic. Have them check the tires, chain and lights along with wiring connections, metallic contacts and the e-bike battery itself.
- The traffic rules
It’s also important to remember that while riding a bike, traffic rules still apply. These vary regionally; regardless, the cyclist should be abreast of local laws ahead of riding the streets. Some areas to focus on include which lanes can be used by cyclists, traffic signs and obligatory safety gear like helmets and vests.
Although there are many things to consider when buying an e-bike, the benefits of cycling immensely outweigh the difficulty of the initial decision-making process. Municipalities, commercial real estate managers, politicians and micromobility enablers (like Bikeep) are all working to actively encourage active lifestyles that include bicycling. When choosing your next e-bike, know that you contributing to this movement– a push towards more sustainable and prosperous urban areas.