Are you excited to buy your first electric bike? Please read our essential electric bike buying guide first to understand how these machines work. There are many designs and brands out there, so we know how overwhelming shopping for electric bikes can be.
Consider this your electric bike guide to understanding the basics of electric bikes and how they work. Ultimately, we want you to make an informed purchase and fully experience the benefits of having your own electric bike!
Electric bikes, in the simplest terms, are bikes with a motor that helps with propulsion. Note that most electric bikes have a pedal assist (powers the pedals with each stroke) and a throttle mode. Meanwhile, electric motorcycles exclusively have a throttle and no pedals.
It is easy to see why everybody loves electric bikes. They are easier to ride than bicycles and can easily travel long distances. You can use them in bike lanes and unpaved paths to cut your commute and save on parking. However, only a few know what is happening inside their electric rides. If you learn their inner workings, you will be fully informed as to what maintenance is best and what future repairs to expect.
Electric bikes are really fantastic, revolutionizing the way you commute and spend time outdoors. Any well-designed electric bike has certain components, which the rest of the article will cover. Now, let’s proceed with this essential electric bike buying guide to dig into the things that make an electric bicycle an electric bike.
The Electric Motor
All electric bikes are propelled with a motor installed inside the wheel hub or crankset. You often see the watts typically displayed in electric bike motors. Watts describes how much electricity it can handle continuously.
The watt rating on electric bikes is usually the peak watts. More watts generally means faster speeds (or quicker acceleration) and better uphill climbing ability. For example, an electric bike with a 500-watt motor usually travels faster and can climb better than those with a 350-watt motor. On the downside, motors with higher watts will pull out more power from the battery.
Almost all motors in electric bikes are brushless designs, which are quiet and energy efficient. Even small brushless motors, like those in compact electric bikes, can surprisingly put out a lot of torque. These motors are sealed and need little maintenance throughout their life.
Needless to say, the motor makes and breaks an electric bike. For leisure or for rides on paved, level surfaces, electric bikes with 250-watt motors are sufficient. Hunting, cargo, and electric mountain bikes generally have more powerful motors, ranging from 350 to more than 1,000 watts (see the Rambo Rebel pictured above for an example of a 1000 watt motor).
A Battery Pack
When there is a motor, there will be a battery. Capacity in electric bikes is measured in amperes per hour (Ah). If you will go out in the countryside or ride trails, look for batteries with a higher Ah rating. Smaller bikes tend to have 10 Ah or lower (like the Nakto Camel Cruiser pictured below), but these are enough for short trips.
You can also see that the voltages of electric bike batteries differ. Small electric bikes are typically rated from 24-volts or 36-volts, and they can push the entire bike with the rider from a stop. More advanced electric bike models come with 48, 60, and 72-volt motors.
Higher voltages allow more electricity flow, resulting in higher speeds and weight-carrying capacity. Most electric bikes nowadays have a lithium battery pack because it is lightweight and delivers a steady voltage.
Choosing the right electric bike battery can mean a big difference if you are worried about range anxiety. Here at Electric Bike Paradise, we have a selection of electric bikes with high battery capacities at a good price. You can ask our chat support for models that have good battery capacity for traveling long distances.
The Electric Bike Controller
One part of your ebike often unseen is the controller box. It is a small computer that serves as the brain of your electric bike; it connects to almost every part of the bike. Most controllers have an Ah rating, which states how much current they can handle safely. Higher-performance electric bikes tend to have higher Ah numbers.
The controller (the Ecotric Tornado model controller is below) is responsible for fine-tuning the flow of electric current to the motor based on your throttle position or cranking the pedals in pedal-assist mode. It also has a lot to do with the top speed and acceleration.
The controller also controls the safety aspects of the bike. That includes over-current protection (prevents too much current from getting into the circuits or motor), under-voltage protection (cuts off current if voltage is too low to protect the battery), over-voltage cutoff (shuts down charging when the batteries are full), brake cutoff (shuts electric flow to the motor when brakes are engaged), and high-temperature protection.
Most decent models have sealed controllers hidden inside the bike frame for better aesthetics. As with computers, controllers can get damaged by heat and moisture ingress. Once damaged, it needs to get replaced. If you change a part of your electric bike, for example, switching to a higher-capacity battery, you may also need to change your controller.
Brakes, Tires, and Suspension
Like most bicycles, electric bikes have brakes, tires, and suspension parts. There are electric bikes that use the same components found in bicycles. You don't need to mind these components if you purchase a cheap electric bike or compact bikes not designed for off-road riding.
High-performance electric bikes, however, need more robust components. Note that electric bikes are driven by a motor, and those with powerful motors require durable components. That is true for bikes designed for adverse environments, such as electric mountain bikes and hunting bikes. They often have thicker tires (or fat tires), disc brakes, and complete suspension.
Hydraulic disc brakes are probably the best for electric bikes because they need less grip to activate them. Plus, disc brakes will still perform well even in muddy conditions. Front fork suspensions are sufficient on paved and unpaved surfaces.
If riding downhill and on rough roads is your thing, you probably need a complete suspension setup with lockout forks and multi-linkage rear shock absorber systems. If you will do long-distance rides, go to trails or downhill, or travel in the bush, you will appreciate having these components.
Electric Bike Frames
Gone are the days when electric bikes still have bicycle frames. Almost all electric bikes come with specialized frames that integrate the components such as the controller and the battery. There are also bikes with compact folding frames (like the Fiido Folding Electric Bike pictured below) that ingeniously fold into a smaller package, which makes it easier to store inside the house or bring in public transport.
Bike frames are either made with aluminum or stainless steel. Aluminum is a preferred choice because it is lightweight and does not rust. Electric bikes with aluminum frames tend to have better acceleration. On the other hand, electric bikes with stainless steel frames are durable and heavier but offer better ride comfort.
The Seat, Display, and Other Safety Equipment
Aside from checking the big components, checking other things is worth your time. Start with the seat, the grips, and the pedals, since they have a lot to do with the comfort of your ride. See if you can change those components to an aftermarket that will suit your style and desired performance. Check if your bike has lights, so you can ride in dark places without worries.
Note that some electric bike models have a USB socket that charges your phone while commuting. Also, check the electric bike display, which shows the battery level, miles traveled, pedal-assist level, and other things.
Get the Right Electric Bike for You
Follow the tips in this essential electric bike buying guide and you will find the perfect fit for you. Remember to think first about what you will use it for. Will you use it to go to school or work as a daily driver? Will you use it for short trips to the park or stroll around? Travel to your favorite trail or make long-distance treks?
There is no need to get the coolest or the most expensive bike. You should get an electric bike that will fit your lifestyle. We hope that our article made a lot of things easier for you.
Get your electric bike here at Electric Bike Paradise and get it delivered to your door. Our customer specialists can help you in real time and provide additional support during delivery and assembly. Shop now and get your very own electric bike!