FINDING A DEALER
First things first: for most of us, an
electric bike represents a significant
purchase. It’s important that you
spend time focusing on what you can
spend and what level of bike fits into
your price range. Next, you have to
find a reputable dealer that will help
you find the right one, because they’ll
be handling any support and major
maintenance for your bike. There are
some electric-only stores and some
general bicycle dealers that also sell
electric bikes. The former are steeped
in knowledge and many continually go
to training with the brands they sell. The
latter sometimes are knowledgeable,
but sometimes don’t know as much
about electric bikes as they do cycling
Don’t forget that you are buying a
bicycle, so a quality bike with name-brand components (e.g., SRAM/
Shimano) will be a good guarantee of a
lasting, enjoyable ride. Another reason
why a good bike shop is important is
that they will (hopefully) fit you to the
right-size bike and discuss what type
of power you need and what meets
the budget. The better shops will also
let you test ride a few different bikes,
which is really helpful.
WHAT TYPE OF RIDING
DO YOU DO?
Is most of your riding on flat ground?
Do you have major hills to climb? Are
you getting your e-bike for commuting,
for exercise and to pick up groceries?
Want to use it to get to work in the
city quickly? Are you looking for an all-terrain mountain bike?
Different areas of the country have
different needs. If you live in New York
City, you won’t care as much about hill-climbing as you do about speed. If you
live in San Francisco, you’ll definitely
want something that can climb hills. If
you live in a city that is spread out and
amid mountains, like Los Angeles, you
may want a bike built for both.
There are two major types of drive
systems. Hub drives are a simple
design that are better for people who
live in places with mild to moderate
hills. Mid-drive bikes are better on steep
hills. Mid-drive bikes flatten hills better
because shifting gears via the derailleur
allows for more torque and makes
Also, if you need to carry stuff (e.g.,
groceries, briefcase, kids), it’s a good
idea to look into one of the bikes that
has a rack or just go for a purpose-built utility bike. There are some that
This Easy Motion bike has a step-through frame to make it easier to get on/off, and the
battery is elegantly integrated into the downtube. There’s enough suspension in the
fork to make the ride comfortable on the street. This is a good commuter bike.
If you need a grocery-getter or to haul gear around a movie set, bikes with larger
rack systems like these will make your day much easier. And, you can easily swap out
battery packs during heavy use to charge and keep going.
This is another step-through frame, and the rack on the back houses the battery
underneath. Bags can be attached, and kids can even ride on the rack.