How to choose the best electric bikes

The electric bikes have become one of the most common means of transport in big cities. In addition to the investment in lanes for the bicycles that the town halls have made, it has also influenced the drop in prices that these bicycles have suffered and the improvement in their conditions and batteries. In addition, electric bikes  can travel aboard many public transportation. That is why we will explain what are the best electric bicycles you can buy right now .

The electric bike  is a much more affordable vehicle than a motorcycle or an electric vehicle, and for many it may be the first step with which they begin their adventure in electric mobility. In the city, bicycles have great advantages over other vehicles and lack their problems to find parking.

What is an electric bicycle?

An E-bike is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor that offers some assistance to the cyclist while traveling. This assistance can be in different ways: including front, center or rear assistance.

The output power of these motors or drive units is governed by the regulations (we will talk about this later). However, it is fair to assume that most electric bicycles are equipped with an output power of 250 watts .

Cyclists also have to be equipped with functional pedals for the bicycle to be considered an e-bike. Bicycles equipped with an accelerator-based engine system must comply with slightly different power regulations. With a maximum power of 200 watts, while the speed remains limited to 25 km / h. Any electric bike that exceeds these standards is classified as a motor vehicle and the standard circulation rules apply.

Differences between an electric bike and a normal one?

Apart from the electric motor system, modern electric bicycles are starting to look more and more like their cousins ​​of conventional pedaling. When observing a cyclist on a traditional bicycle and another on an e-bike, it is easy to see some resemblance between the two. But as we begin to look a little closer we will see a series of differences begin to become more noticeable.

The difference between a standard bicycle and an e-bike is that the latter is normally manufactured with a specific frame, as well as forks and reinforced components to withstand the additional loads offered. As a result, they often tip the balance above 18 kg , and that before adding accessories such as water bottles, luggage and tools. So the total weight of the bike is an important factor to consider.

Best Electric Bicycle you can buy now
Types of E-Bikes

Despite having a relatively “new” technology in relation to the conventional bike. The large number of electric bike styles on offer is almost as wide as traditional models. In the following list I tell you the most popular types of electric bicycles that you can find in the market.

Electric City Bike

Also known as “commuter” bicycles, urban electric bicycles are among the most popular options available in the market today. Perfect for urban commuting , these bicycles allow cyclists to make short trips without sweating or spending large amounts of energy . Urban bicycles are extremely practical in terms of transportation, due to their low weight, in addition to providing a safe and reliable trip.

Urban e-bicycles usually have a tube frame made of steel or aluminum. The wider tires often offer greater protection against punctures and disc brakes are almost always used thanks to increased braking power they offer. It is also common to find them equipped with front suspension.

You can also expect to find integrated accessories on these bicycles, such as a stand, fenders, front and rear lighting, as well as racks for transporting bags and merchandise. In addition, urban electric bicycles are designed for users who wear casual clothes , so expect to find them with pedals suitable for normal shoes, and a chain protector to keep your pants fat free.

Electric mountain bike

Commonly known as MTB’s, electric mountain bikes are among the most powerful on the market . As you can imagine it is a normal mountain bike, but with power assistance activated by pedal.

With a suspension travel greater than 100 mm (and sometimes up to 180 mm!) And large-volume tires, these off-road machines are likely to be more forgiving than their cousins ​​without a motor. Which makes them perfect for both beginners and experienced mountain bikers. However, more groups and components optimized for electric mountain bicycles are beginning to appear, often with reinforced parts to cope with the additional load required.

You can also expect the wheelsets to be shod with 2.3 inches of rubber or wider, all in an effort to add traction on the road. The racks are usually made of aluminum , however, more and more carbon fiber options appear in the emblematic options. Carbon fiber offers the key advantage of saving considerable weight on a frame that is more complex than a normal mountain bike.

Electric road bike

Electric road bicycles combine the aerodynamic and balancing efficiency of a traditional road bike with the power and effortless driving of a pedelec traction unit. The result allows cyclists of all abilities to face any climb or epic ride with a little more ease.

With a geometry focused on endurance , electric road bicycles are better suited to long days in the saddle or the type of mountainous terrain that would make a professional cyclist shudder. The racks are usually made of aluminum or carbon fiber, while the group options are similar to those of traditional road bikes. The hydraulic disc brakes usually provide stopping power, while the wheels are manufactured with additional radios to increase strength and stiffness. The tires are usually wider than the standard ones (30c +) to provide greater comfort, traction and puncture resistance.

Folding electric bicycle

Perfect for those who have little storage space or want to use a bicycle in addition to traveling by bus or train. A city bike is usually small, which makes it more compact for storage and portability.

City bikes, foldable or not, often have a limited change and smaller wheels , which means they are best used for shorter city trips on smooth surfaces . Some city electric bicycles will also be equipped with racks in the front, ideal for transporting small loads on the round trip. Integrated lighting at the front and rear is typically standard for use in all light conditions, as are fender mounts and frame bags.

Parts of an Electric Bicycle

Engine

Most of the new ebikes that are sold today come with an engine system that consists of: the drive unit, the battery pack, the wiring and a control unit. Usually, all of them come from a single supplier such as Shimano, Bosch or Yamaha, however, some brands have begun to integrate their own patented units, such as screens and drive units that work with other aspects of the engine system.

Types of engines

The output motor power (and torque), battery size and assistance modes are usually adjusted for the intended use. There are two main types of electric bicycles: those that have an engine in the rear hub  and those that have one mounted on the frame in the lower bracket (between the cranks), commonly known as the Pedelec engine .

Cube driven engines are often found as conversion kits that can be installed on normal bicycles, as a more economical alternative.

The Pedelec engines offer improved ride quality, efficiency and configurations using standardized parts. The main advantage of pedelec engines over hub motors is that they include a sensor that detects pedaling power, so that the drive unit provides adequate assistance.

Assistance Levels

Engine systems are usually programmed at different levels of assistance. Among which we find:

Standby mode: The ebike would work exactly like a traditional bicycle, even if it is heavier. They do not offer any electrical assistance.  Despite this, most will continue to offer basic data on their display drivers when they are in standby mode.

Eco Mode:  It is the optimized configuration specifically to achieve maximum reach . In this way most manufacturers claim a theoretical range of more than 100 km. In Eco mode, assistance levels can range from 25-80% of the maximum. This means that for each pedaling, the traction unit will provide an additional 25-80%, up to 250 watts or 25 km / h. The Eco mode is best suited for those who wish to maximize the reach of their e-bike, and is often the most suitable for use on flatter terrain.

Normal Mode:  In this mode the drive equals the pedaling effort between 100-150% . The additional power that is offered makes the exit of traffic lights and intersections very easy with motors that provide a significantly greater torque than the Eco mode. Ideal for exiting forcefully from a stop.

Superior Mode:  In this mode you can see what electric bicycles are really capable of. Selecting the highest level of assistance will make work easier on steep slopes and driving becomes a pleasant ride. With units that provide maximum assistance exceeding 200% , the highest performance is perfectly suited to a more energetic driving with a higher cadence. However, with a large power the range is reduced, so it is better to use this mode in moderation or for short trips.

Depending on the power of the engine, the size of the battery, the level of assistance and the driving style, the ranges of the electric bike can vary from 50 kilometers to more than 150.

Batteries and charge

The battery system is one of the most important aspects in ebikes. Available in a range of watts ranging from 200 to 550 watts. The number of watts or watt-hours a battery has will be indicative of the range offered, and a larger number can usually provide a larger range. Electric bicycles are normally sold with a battery pack installed. However, in some engine systems it is possible to operate two battery packs in tandem, thus doubling the range offered.

If you need to replace an exhausted battery, you will only have to connect the bicycle to a standard outlet through the charger provided. The charging time depends on the battery capacity, output amperage charger and energy standards to which your country adheres. A full charge from a completely empty battery will take between three and five hours . Most engine systems ship with a two-amp charger as standard with more powerful options that are usually available directly from the engine system manufacturer.

The battery technology currently employed by leading manufacturers normally uses the same lithium-ion technology found throughout everything from laptop batteries to electric cars. You can expect a battery pack to have a lifespan of more than 1,000 complete discharge and recharge cycles .

For most users, this should provide a three to five year cycle for the battery . Like the battery of a smartphone, the battery life should be expected to slowly degrade to approximately 80 percent of its capacity when it is new. Most manufacturers usually offer replacement batteries that specifically fit motor systems, and many of them offer a limited warranty on the battery.

It is also worth noting that current aviation laws prohibit cyclists from flying with their e-bike batteries. So if you plan to travel with your electric bike, it may be better to get a rental battery at your destination or send the battery sooner.

For best performance and life , lithium-ion batteries should not be fully discharged and should be charged once every three months if you do not use it for extended periods. For the sake of safety, you should always use the charger that comes with the system to avoid power spikes, short circuits or overheating.

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