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CHOOSING THE RIGHT E-BIKE

A buyer's guide for beginners

28 November, 2023

VELORETTI
VELORETTI
VELORETTI
VELORETTI

Are you considering joining the electric biking revolution and investing in an e-bike? With their positive effect on your health and the planet, electric bikes have become a popular choice for urban commuters and outdoor enthusiasts.

VELORETTI
VELORETTI

However, navigating the world of electric bikes can be overwhelming, especially if you're a beginner. Fear not! In this buyer's guide, we'll detail how to choose an electric bike step-by-step, ensuring you select the ideal model to fit your needs and preferences.

However, navigating the world of electric bikes can be overwhelming, especially if you're a beginner. Fear not! In this buyer's guide, we'll detail how to choose an electric bike step-by-step, ensuring you select the ideal model to fit your needs and preferences.

Step 1:

Find your rider style

How will you primarily use your electric bike? Are you riding short trips around the city, commuting long-distance to work, or exploring forest paths on the weekend? Not everyone’s riding style and conditions are the same. If you're a city rider, it’s a good idea to prioritise a smooth riding experience and agility so you can easily step on and off.

VELORETTI
VELORETTI
VELORETTI
VELORETTI
Then there’s design, colour and style.

Maybe you’re replacing a company car with an e-bike and want to show up to meetings with a professional and sleek look. If you’re commuting to work or school across a long distance, it’s smart to prioritise battery range, comfort, and cargo options for a front or rear carrier. And if you’re a trail rider expecting to explore uneven terrain, you’ll need a robust frame, tires, and suspension. 

Step 2:

The right tires for you

The type of tires on your electric bike significantly impacts your riding experience, stability, and overall comfort. Two tire options commonly found on electric bikes are city tires and knobby tires (yep, knobby is the real word for it).

VELORETTI
VELORETTI
City tires

City tires are slightly wider than traditional road bike tires, and provide better stability and shock absorption on city streets. This is especially useful if an urban e-bike doesn’t have seat suspension.

VELORETTI
VELORETTI
Knobby tires

Meanwhile, knobby tires are often found on electric fat bikes and are designed for off-road adventures. Their aggressive tread patterns provide superior traction on loose dirt, gravel, and rocky terrains.

Step 3:

Explore battery types

VELORETTI
VELORETTI

The battery is the heart of your electric bike, and you’ll want to consider capacity and range. Capacity is measured in watt-hours (Wh) and higher capacity batteries offer longer rides between charges. Range indicates the battery manufacturer’s estimate of the distance you can travel on a single charge. Remember, factors like terrain, rider weight, and assist level can affect this, and range often takes into account a rider using an economical level of support. If your battery’s range is 120 km but you are riding at maximum support to get there as fast as possible, your range will be significantly less.

The battery is the heart of your electric bike, and you’ll want to consider capacity and range. Capacity is measured in watt-hours (Wh) and higher capacity batteries offer longer rides between charges. Range indicates the battery manufacturer’s estimate of the distance you can travel on a single charge. Remember, factors like terrain, rider weight, and assist level can affect this, and range often takes into account a rider using an economical level of support. If your battery’s range is 120 km but you are riding at maximum support to get there as fast as possible, your range will be significantly less.

Another consideration is if your e-bike battery is removable. If you live in an apartment or up any stairs, you’ll want to buy an e-bike with a removable battery, so the only thing you have to carry is the battery itself. But if you live on a ground floor and can easily charge your entire bike close to a charging outlet, it may not be so important.

Another consideration is if your e-bike battery is removable. If you live in an apartment or up any stairs, you’ll want to buy an e-bike with a removable battery, so the only thing you have to carry is the battery itself. But if you live on a ground floor and can easily charge your entire bike close to a charging outlet, it may not be so important.

Step 4:

Compare motor types

Next up is the motor. There’s a wide range of options, but three are most common: front hub motors, mid-drive motors, and rear hub motors. Each configuration offers a unique set of advantages, catering to different preferences and riding scenarios.

Front hub motors are more straightforward for the manufacturer to install and add a boost to the bike's front wheel.

Mid-motors are positioned near the bike’s bottom bracket and offer a more balanced and natural riding experience by powering the bike's crankshaft directly. 

Rear hub motors are in the rear wheel of the bike and can be described as giving riders the feeling they’re getting pushed from behind. 

Front hub motors are more straightforward for the manufacturer to install and add a boost to the bike's front wheel.

Mid-motors are positioned near the bike’s bottom bracket and offer a more balanced and natural riding experience by powering the bike's crankshaft directly. 

Rear hub motors are in the rear wheel of the bike and can be described as giving riders the feeling they’re getting pushed from behind. 

While all three possess their own merits, the mid-motor emerges as the frontrunner for its efficiency in utilising the bike's gears, optimal weight distribution, and seamless integration with the rider's pedalling efforts. With a mid-motor, you don’t feel like you’re being pulled from the front or pushed from behind – instead, you’ll simply gain more power with each pedal.

While all three possess their own merits, the mid-motor emerges as the frontrunner for its efficiency in utilising the bike's gears, optimal weight distribution, and seamless integration with the rider's pedalling efforts. With a mid-motor, you don’t feel like you’re being pulled from the front or pushed from behind – instead, you’ll simply gain more power with each pedal.

Step 5:

The ideal bike frame

A comfortable riding experience is crucial, and all bikes come in slightly different shapes and sizes. When deciding which e-bike to choose, it’s good to consider whether you need to get on and off often throughout your ride, what you’re used to, and what you like to wear while riding. 

It’s important to select a frame size that suits your height. Like all bikes, the seat should come at a comfortable hip height. But if you fall just outside of the bike company’s recommended rider heights, it’s worth reaching out to customer support to get a second opinion. Or if possible, take your potential electric for a test ride. This hands-on experience will help you understand how it handles, its comfort level, and how well the assist levels work. 


VELORETTI
VELORETTI
High frame

A high-frame (often called men’s) electric bike means you’ll swing your leg behind to get on and off. The Veloretti Ace Two with a high frame is suitable for riders around 173 cm - 200 cm tall.

VELORETTI
VELORETTI
Step-through frame

A step-through (often called women’s) frame means you can more easily and comfortably step through the frame to get on and off. The Veloretti Ivy Two with a step-through frame is suitable for riders 164 cm - 184 cm tall.

Step 6:

What brakes are best? 

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Brakes are essential for safety, especially if you’re going faster on an electric bike. E-bike brakes generally come in two types: mechanical disc brakes and hydraulic disc brakes. Mechanical brakes use a cable to actuate the brake calliper, which then compresses the brake pads onto the rotor, creating friction and slowing down the wheel. These are the more classic style often seen on pedal-powered city bikes. 

Brakes are essential for safety, especially if you’re going faster on an electric bike. E-bike brakes generally come in two types: mechanical disc brakes and hydraulic disc brakes. Mechanical brakes use a cable to actuate the brake calliper, which then compresses the brake pads onto the rotor, creating friction and slowing down the wheel. These are the more classic style often seen on pedal-powered city bikes. 

Hydraulic brakes use a hydraulic fluid system. When the brake lever is squeezed, it pushes hydraulic fluid through the brake lines, activating the brake calliper to compress the brake pads against the rotor. The benefits of hydraulic brakes include their instant stopping power and precision, though you’ll need to have them checked by a specialist at least once per year. If you use your electric bike mainly for commuting among cars, consider buying a bike with upgraded hydraulic brakes. 

Hydraulic brakes use a hydraulic fluid system. When the brake lever is squeezed, it pushes hydraulic fluid through the brake lines, activating the brake calliper to compress the brake pads against the rotor. The benefits of hydraulic brakes include their instant stopping power and precision, though you’ll need to have them checked by a specialist at least once per year. If you use your electric bike mainly for commuting among cars, consider buying a bike with upgraded hydraulic brakes. 

Step 7:

Read reviews

VELORETTI
VELORETTI

Before making your final decision, read some reviews from other riders and do thorough research on the brand and model you're considering. Pay attention to any recurring issues or positive features mentioned, but keep in mind step #1: your personal rider style. For example, if the e-bike bike has more negative reviews about its performance on bumpy roads or trails, it might be fine if you ride the bike on paved paths in the city. 

Before making your final decision, read some reviews from other riders and do thorough research on the brand and model you're considering. Pay attention to any recurring issues or positive features mentioned, but keep in mind step #1: your personal rider style. For example, if the e-bike has more negative reviews about its performance on bumpy roads or trails, it might be fine if you ride the bike on paved paths in the city. 

Choosing an electric bike is an exciting step. With a little research and reflection, you can better understand your own needs, as well as what all the details on an e-bike spec sheet all really mean. By following this step-by-step guide, we hope you can better make an informed decision and enjoy many healthy and happy rides. Because your electric bike is not just a mode of transportation; it's a gateway to exploration, adventure, and a greener future. 

FAQs

Choosing a good electric bike is all about finding the right fit for you, so consider what your journey will look like and what features will make that easier or more enjoyable. We recommend watching reviews on YouTube to get detailed comparisons between bike brands.

When purchasing an e-bike, keep these essential factors in mind:

  • Safety features: Look for features like integrated lights, reflective accents, and reliable braking systems to ensure your safety on the road.

  • Industry-standard components and modular design: Like a car, your e-bike’s components may sometimes need to be repaired or replaced. E-bikes that use industry-standard parts from well-known manufacturers like Gates and Shimano will be easier for local bike shops to repair. 

  • Ease of use: Consider how user-friendly the bike is, including features like intuitive controls, easy-to-read displays, and comfortable seating positions.

  • After-sales support: Check if the manufacturer offers warranty coverage, responsive customer service, and easily available spare parts to guarantee a worry-free ownership experience.

When it comes to the specs of an e-bike, consider motor type and power, battery range in hours, charging time, and frame material.

The wattage of an electric bike depends on your intended usage and desired level of assistance. Generally, a good electric bike should have a motor with a power output between 250W to 750W. Higher wattage motors offer greater assistive power for tackling steep hills or navigating challenging terrains.

Investing in a good electric bike is all about finding the perfect balance between quality and value. Prices can vary depending on the brand, specifications, and features. Generally, a good range for a high-quality electric bike with reliable components and advanced technology starts from around €1,500 and can go up to €5,000 or more for premium models.

Absolutely! Electric bikes are a game-changer for urban commuting and outdoor adventures. They offer the perfect blend of convenience, sustainability, and style. You'll enjoy effortless rides, avoid traffic congestion, save money on transportation costs, and reduce your carbon footprint—all while turning heads with a sleek and modern electric bike.