The electric bicycle, or e-bike, has recently seen an explosion in popularity—and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. If you’re thinking about getting one yourself, there are some questions you should be asking yourself and potential sellers before you buy an e-bike so that you can make the best possible purchase and avoid any regrets later on. Here are five e-bike questions that need answers if you want to make the right decision!
1) What kind of bike do I want?
There are four basic kinds of e-bikes. Depending on what you want to use your bike for, here’s a look at each: Fat Tire Bikes. With thicker tires than their traditional counterparts, these mountain bikes can tackle almost any terrain and many people love them for commuting or leisurely rides in parks and along beaches. They are usually less expensive than a road bike. While some fat tire bikes come with pedals that allow pedaling, most are designed to be self propelled with either electric or pedal assist motors. Road Bikes. Ideal for long distance cycling and competitive races, road bikes are made from lightweight materials like carbon fiber and titanium which help to make them lighter weight than other types of bicycles. The frames also tend to be more aerodynamic, allowing riders to go faster without much effort (or even sweat). Traditional Mountain Bikes. These often feature wider wheels than other types of bicycles so they can handle rough terrain better (and go off-road) but also make it easier to ride up hills and over rocks because they have more traction due to wider tires. Hybrid Bicycles. Combining features from both road bikes and mountain bikes, hybrid bicycles offer something for everyone; they’re great if you enjoy exercising outdoors but also need an option that allows quick trips around town too!
2) How much is it going to cost me?
The cost of e-bikes varies greatly depending on where you live, how old your bike is, and other factors. However, a quality commuter e-bike will likely set you back anywhere from $2,000 to $3,500. At these prices, it’s certainly understandable if you want to keep your budget in check. Luckily for those who are interested in buying an e-bike but don’t have thousands of dollars to spend upfront, there are some good financing options available to help smooth things over. One example is FlexPay, which offers financing with no payments or interest for up to 60 months. This means that as long as you make regular monthly payments, you can get a new e-bike without paying anything up front. And even better: If you pay off your FlexPay balance early (either through monthly payments or by making one lump sum payment), any remaining amount owed on your loan gets credited toward future purchases! That way, when you purchase another item using FlexPay, not only do you get that new item at no additional cost (because all of your previous payments were applied to that purchase), but also pay off any remaining balance due out on your loan!
3) Where can I buy an electric bike locally?
If you’re planning to buy an e-bike and live in a city or state that doesn’t offer much cycling infrastructure, there may not be many places locally to buy one. Luckily, online retailers will ship to most locations. If you’re looking for a place to try out e-bikes, REI is a good option; they have several retail stores across most of North America and often have sales on bikes. Not all bike brands are available through REI, so if you want something like Specialized or Trek make sure it comes from their website. Many local bike shops also sell e-bikes, but again availability varies by brand. Your best bet is to contact your local shop and ask what they carry.
4) How long does the battery last?
The e-bike battery is one of most important parts of an electric bike, as it determines range and speed. Some batteries last for about 30 miles, but if you want to ride longer distances, consider upgrading to a lithium ion (LiFePO4) battery that lasts longer on a single charge. And if you use regenerative braking, you can extend your range even further than that. How far do you travel each day? Will your range make it possible? And what are your energy needs? What will be your daily commute? Do you need to carry extra gear or groceries home from work or school? What will be your maximum distance traveled in a day? Once you’ve answered these questions, think about how long you’ll need to recharge when using public charging stations. Most standard chargers take four hours or more to fully recharge a battery, so plan accordingly. For example, if you typically travel 20 miles per day and have a two-hour lunch break at work, chances are good that you’ll be able to return home with plenty of juice left in your battery pack—but don’t forget to factor in time for breaks!
5) Are there other accessories I need to buy with my bike?
When you buy an e-bike, you’re really buying two things: a bike and a battery. Depending on how often you ride and your average range, you may need to invest in add-ons (like helmets or locks) that are specific to electric bikes—though we can’t stress enough how important it is to always wear your helmet when riding anyway. A good rule of thumb for anyone getting started with an e-bike is not to go overboard on accessories until they have their e-bike figured out. They are fun and cool gadgets but many new riders find themselves confused over what they actually need. Extra saddle bags can be nice if you don’t want to carry a backpack every time you ride, but aren’t needed if your commute doesn’t include lots of extra baggage. The same goes for lights and fenders; only get them if you think you’ll use them. If there’s something about your bike that could make riding easier, like a basket or bell, maybe consider it before spending money on an accessory. In other words, don’t make yourself crazy trying to figure out which accessories will complete your e-bike experience; just focus on finding ones that will help make your life easier while making sure you enjoy biking as much as possible!