When it comes to smart and sustainable transportation, electric vehicles always come to mind - one good example is an electric bike. Many people have a misconception that using an electric bike seems like they're cheating, when it's totally not. In fact, e-bikes offer beneficial exercise for all kinds of riders, whether you're a seasoned cyclist or a beginner.
As with any regular bike, you can find different kinds of electric bikes in a bike shop or your local dealer. There are cargo bikes, electric road bikes, electric mountain bikes, folding ebikes, and all other new electric bikes, which we'll discuss further below.
If you're about to purchase your very own electric bike, there are tons of things to consider before sealing the deal. In this guide, we'll give you expert advice on how you can choose the best bike for you. So, whether you're looking to buy a folding e bike, electric mountain bike, e-bike with fat tires, or that with a step-through frame, then make sure to check out this buying guide!
We'll also be discussing all the components and essential features of an electric bike and how it forms part of the entire mechanism of an e-bike including the suspension fork or front suspension fork, hydraulic brakes, mid-drive motors, rear hub motor, removable battery, thumb throttle, chain guard, and other functional features including rear rack and integrated lights.
This guide works perfectly if you're looking for a good cheap e-bike or for expensive e bikes - so let's read on!
Electric Bikes: A Brief History
The first versions of electric bicycles emerged towards the end of the 19th century. Many Americans also licensed their inventions with the patent office, which goes back to the late 1800s.
A guy named Ogden Bolton made his ideas in 1895, a basic battery-powered bicycle, preceded by Hosea Libbey, who built a bike with a double electric engine.
Models of electric bikes with torque sensors and power controls were popular in the late 1990s. The first commercially popular electric bike model was launched in 1997 and called Select. In the early 2000s, two large Japanese firms, Yamaha and Panasonic, became the most significant mass manufacturer of electric bikes.
The key feature of electric bikes comprises a conventional bicycle frame with pedals and a compact electric motor with rechargeable batteries. The strength of such engines differs from the configuration in which the popular engines achieve average speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.
The first recognized types of motors used to date are the direct-drive and the geared form. The transfer of power from the engine to the wheel is through the drive mechanism, which involves a chain drive, a belt-drive, a hub drive, and a friction drive.
Why Should You Get an Electric Bike?
By now, it's safe to assume that you're already considering getting your own e-bike. BUT, if you're not at that stage yet, and you're only casually scrolling through electric bikes, then let me give you the top reasons on why purchasing an e bike is a great move.
ELECTRIC BIKES PROMOTE SMART COMMUTING
Electric bikes are efficient - that's undeniable. Now if you're tired of all the hassle of commuting, then getting an e bike may be a great solution. What's great with an electric bicycle is that you get to take back control of your time. With a reliable e bike, gone are the days when you spend time waiting for the bus or rushing to catch the train since you can travel at your own pace. In addition, because e bikes are generally more capable, so you can rely on it for an entire day of activities since it offers a longer range and a faster top speed for a more powerful ride.
ELECTRIC BIKES OFFER AN EFFORTLESS AND COMFORTABLE RIDE
If you're not a very active person, then you might just shrug off the idea of riding a bike. But the good news is - you don't have to worry about exerting too much effort since its electric components will supplement your physical efforts. With the pedal-assist and throttle-assist modes, the rider will have a more effortless ride when going uphill or whenever passing through rough terrain. And because of its assistive features, you'll get enough power without exerting too much effort, so your muscles won't swell after a full day of riding.
ELECTRIC BIKES PROMOTE AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE WITHOUT BEING STRENUOUS
Earlier, we've mentioned that electric bikes are effortless to ride. However, that does not mean that there's no physical effort required from your end. With an e bike, you're still required to exert some physical effort, good enough to jumpstart an active lifestyle. What this essentially means is that you'll still get a good exercise and a good sweat after every ride but without the muscle soreness and without sweating too much - and yes, you still burn calories of course!
ELECTRIC BIKES ARE ECO-FRIENDLY AND SUSTAINABLE
Since it's electric, you can benefit from riding a powerful e-bike without any feeling of guilt. Cycling has always been an evergreen mode of transport, and it still is even when it comes to e-bike. Besides, not just because it's electric means it's already not eco-friendly. It's still eco-friendly and sustainable since it does not have any carbon emissions. Hence, by investing in an e bike, you're already doing a big part in saving the environement.
How Do Electric Bikes Work?
An electric bike is simply a regular bike - BUT with an added electric mechanism - motor, battery, controller/sensor. As with any other bike, you move by pedaling. The main difference is that pedaling is way more effortless in an electric bicycle since it comes with powerful motors that provide a significant boost, so you won't be too exhausted when pedaling. This electric boost helps you ride through steep hills, rocky surfaces, and mountainous terrain.
An electric bike usually offers pedal assistance or throttle assistance. But don't be deceived as you still need to pedal to get these powerful boosts, so you cannot fully rely on the pedal or throttle assist features. What this means is an electric bike merely supplements the physical effort that you're already exerting for a more powerful performance - thereby allowing you to still enjoy a beneficial amount of exercise.
Going into detail - there are two kinds of assistive-riding modes in an electric bike: pedal-assist, and throttle-assisted riding.
PEDAL-ASSIST: This kind of driving mode feels like you're just driving a regular bike without heavy resistance from the bike. A pedal-assist feature is extremely helpful when you're riding in the countryside wherein the riding conditions are challenging - where roads are steep and along off-road trails, since every pedal you make releases an extra boost, thereby supplementing your physical effort. This kind of assistive riding is extra helpful whenever passing through rough roads, hills, and other mountainous terrains, so you won't have to exert all your efforts just to move forward.
THROTTLE-ASSIST: When it comes to effortless riding, throttle assist will play a significant role. Usually, throttle-assist electric bikes are not available in all three classes of e-bike. This feature is only available in class 2 and class 3 electric bikes. With a throttle-assist feature, you get an ample boost as you ride when you flick the throttle. Now, if you're wondering if you can rely solely on the throttle, the answer is no. The throttle-assist feature will only work when you're already moving and still requires a bit of pedaling.
Did we cover everything about riding an electric bike? If not, you can check out this guide on how to ride an electric bike. Or perhaps you can also do a test ride if you know someone who has an electric bike, for a better grip on how it works.
Parts of an Electric Bike
At the outset, an electric bike does not greatly differ from a standard bike. An e-bike comes with the standard components that a regular bike has including the frame, suspension fork, brakes, pedal, wheels, saddle, and chain mechanism. The main difference lies in the three additional components, which are the motor, battery, and controller.
Let's discuss each component one by one below:
Like any other electric-powered equipment, the battery is the one in charge of delivering power to the engine motor, to keep it running. A high-quality product should come with a high-quality and reliable battery to ensure its utmost performance. When it comes to e-bikes, the battery can help ensure that you get a smooth ride and comfortable ride for daily commuting that's capable of giving fast top speed and longer range. For a better understanding, here's a good article that will explain how ebike batteries work.
There are two main placements of an electric motor: the rear hub motor and the mid-drive motors. Each kind offers a unique boost, which is built to address the different needs of every rider. For instance, mid-drive motors are the most common installations in e bikes as it can deliver peak performance easily. With a mid-drive motor, you get an effortless assisted-riding and longer range, promising its users with utmost performance. In contrast, a hub motor is placed on the rear wheel of the e bike, and might require ample push to get it working seamlessly. The hub motor is perfect for riders who won't heavily rely on assistive riding as in the case of daily commuting.
ELECTRIC BIKE CONTROLLER
Like any other electric equipment, an e-bike also comes with a controller that combines all the electric mechanisms together - it's essentially the brain of your e bike. It's where you control the movements of the e bike especially when accelerating and stopping. The main function of an e bike controller is to navigate taking into consideration the controls set for throttle, speed sensor, display, battery level, and motor status. It's basically the means where you can control the e bike.
Bikes are not bikes without wheels of course. And when it comes to e bikes' wheels, there's not much difference from a regular bicycle. You can still get anything from 12-inch wheels to ginormous 29-inch wheels. Typically, a folding bike comes with smaller wheels while an electric mountain bike comes with bigger wheels. Mostly, electric bikes come with 24-inch or 26-inch wheels, which you can find on electric road bikes, electric mountain bikes, and beach cruiser electric bikes.
When it comes to the frame, it's essential that you check its composition. It should be made up of high-grade aluminum steel, which can stand even the toughest and harshest environmental conditions - this is extremely important when it comes to an electric mountain bike and a cargo bike. In terms of the frame, there are step-through and step-over bikes. Step-through bikes are better in terms of comfort since it allows for easy access, step through-frame bikes also come with swept-back handlebars, which allow you to sit in an upright position for better posture. On the other hand, step-over bikes are those with a diamond frames, which you'll mostly see in electric road bikes and mountain bikes.
One essential component of any bike is the brakes. Most e bikes come with hydraulic disc brakes that ensure gradual and reliable stoppage. When you have high-quality hydraulic disc brakes, you'll have peace of mind that you can glide carefree on the streets. There are also other kinds of brakes that you can find in an e-bike including roller brakes and rim brakes.
Aside from the essential components abovementioned, there are also other functional parts that significantly improve the riding conditions or your riding experience. For one, a cargo bike requires a bike rack or rear rack while an electric mountain bike would need fenders to shield you from mud. Having an e bike with fat tires is also essential if you live in the countryside since you pass through rough roads more often than not. Integrated lights are also important if you'll be using them at night since they will keep you safe. Other than that, you also need to check if there are other safety features that can help give you peace of mind when riding.
Different Types of Electric Bikes
Now that we've covered all the basics, let's now dive deep into the topic of all the types of e-bikes. If you're a first-timer in the e-bike industry, then you'll definitely be overwhelmed by all the different kinds of electric bikes. Good news for you, we made this article to give you a better understanding of how each type of e-bike differs from another.
Let's get to it!
Electric Mountain Bikes
An electric mountain bike, also known as eMTB, is a form of a mountain bike equipped with an electric motor that assists you every time you pedal. The electric MTB doesn't have a throttle, which is why pedaling is required to improve your power. eMTB's pedal-assist features added to your physical effort will allow you to easily handle all sorts of challenging terrain. Usually, this kind of ebike comes with powerful features to tackle on rugged trails, and boasts extreme performance that's great for long-distance travels.
Price range: $800 - $8000
Sub-categories of Electric Mountain Bikes:
Best-selling Electric Mountain Bike:
In this segment, no one beats this Aostirmotor S18-1500W 48V/15Ah 1500W Fat Tire Electric Mountain Bike 175366. This fat tire electric mountain bike is the most capable ebike for tackling uphill climbs and rugged terrains with its 500-watt electric motor. This powerful bike will give you the confidence to ride on the most rugged terrain, even on dirt trails, sandy pathways, and muddy rocky roads. In terms of capabilities, this fat tire electric mountain can travel for up to 49 miles on a single charge with an outstanding top speed of 30mph. With all these powerful capabilities, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy riding it both on the city roads as well as in the countryside.
Fat Tire Electric Bikes
A fat tire electric mountain bike is not much different from any other electric bike. It's a subset of electric mountain bikes with bigger tires, allowing for better grip and stability. Generally, this kind of electric bike is perfect for tackling a more challenging mountainous path that’s very rocky, muddy, and difficult to pass through. Essentially, it’s just the perfect combination of a fat tire electric bike and an electric mountain bike, so you get the benefits of two powerful electric bikes in one.
Price range: $700 - $8000
Sub-categories of Fat Tire Electric Bikes:
Best-selling Fat Tire Electric Bike:
If you’re looking for a fat tire electric bike that offers extra stability and grip, then this Nakto Discovery 48V/8Ah 350W Fat Tire Electric Bike DIS200025 is a must-have. This best-selling fat tire electric bike comes in a huge build that allows for better traction, especially on rugged and muddy terrain. This fat tire electric bike is a great choice when riding around the city where rain is pretty common and roads are typically slippery like in Seattle. In terms of capability, this electric bike is equipped with a 350-watt motor that provides you with the necessary boost required to make riding effortless. It has a long range of up to 25 miles with a carrying capacity of up to 110 kgs. It’s also equipped with four-inch fat tires and front suspension, which make riding over bumps, potholes, and wet surfaces a lot easier. The highlight of this fat tire electric bike is that it only costs less than one grand!
Folding Electric Bikes
When it comes to portability and compactness, a folding electric bike should be the way to go. This kind of e bike is a great choice for young adults who are always on the go and require a compact yet reliable ride for every day commuting. Don't underestimate its compact form as it's packed with all the capabilities that you would normally see in bigger bikes as in eMTBs. But what really sets it apart is the fact that you can easily dismount it and hide under your desk / in your locker.
Price range: $600 - $2,600
Sub-categories of Folding Electric Bikes:
Best-selling Folding Electric Bike:
This best-selling Green Bike USA GB Low Step Fat Tire 48V/18.20Ah 750W Folding Fat Tire Electric Bike is perfect for young professionals and students who are looking for a stylish and high-performing ride that they can use every day. It's perfect for those who live in the city and even in the suburbs since it comes with fat tires as well. This Greenbike USA Electric Bike may just give you the most convenient riding experience when going to school or work. While it comes in a compact design, this electric bike comes with a powerful 750-watt motor with a travel range of up to 60 miles - giving you the best combination of power, practicality, and comfort.
Electric Hybrid Bikes
An electric hybrid bike combines the capabilities of two or more different electric bikes in one single bike, which provides utmost flexibility and capability. When it comes to performance, an electric hybrid bike can ride on any kind of terrain, whether on city paved roads or along forest trails. It essentially gives you the freedom to go wherever you want without being restricted by the capability of your electric bike.
Price range: $750 - $2,000
Sub-categories of Electric Hybrid Bikes:
Best-selling Electric Hybrid Bike:
The Ecotric Vortex UL Certified 36V 350W Electric Bike is our best-selling electric hybrid bike. It's the perfect choice if you’re looking for the best combination of practicality and performance. This electric hybrid bike features a proven MTB-inspired frame and a 36-volt drivetrain made for paved roads and off-road paths around the city. It comes with huge 26-inch spoked rims and a long range of 16 miles, making it a great city bike that will not lose charge halfway through your commute. It boasts a top speed of 20 mph, allowing you to glide your way through the streets while maintaining a safe speed. This electric hybrid bike is an affordable, entry-level electric bike designed for quick trips.
An electric trike, also known as an e-trike or electric tricycle, is a bicycle with three wheels, with a built-in electric motor offering pedal-assist power for the rider. The type of pedal-assist in an electric trike has two kinds, a front-wheel hub-mounted motor or a mid-mounted motor, which is installed into the pedal and crank area of the trike frame. Electric tricycles improved the conditions of the traditional tricycle design by adding an electric motor to the drivetrain. With each pedaling, the motor kicks in to give an added burst of power to your speed. In some electric trikes models, you could choose to ride the tricycle without pedaling at all, allowing the motor to do the work much like an electric scooter.
Price range: $2000 - $7000
Can travel up to 20 mph
Stable and reliable for daily use
Best-selling Electric Trikes:
In this segment, our best-seller is the EMOJO Caddy Pro Fat Tire Electric Trike. The new Caddy Pro (seen in the image) is upgraded with a 7-speed transmission to tackle any hill and a pleasant and comfortable seat with a backrest. It is a fantastic choice for seniors because it provides the best stability of any E-Bike on the market. You can comfortably cruise around in style on the street, the beach, or extensive trails. The reliable Kenda fat tires, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, and aluminum frame make this a super value electric three-wheeler.
If you're a casual driver, a day-to-day commuter, or a pro-cyclist, having the best electric bike on the road will make a big difference.
You should look for the highest quality and affordable versions you'd like in your adventures. You should also review all the information and specifics about the models and variants of your chosen electric bike.
Having a list helps you narrow down your options, without thinking about the costs, and gives you satisfaction at the end of your purchases. The selection of your preferred e-bike will also give you peace of mind and contentment every time you travel.
We hope that, with the aid of this post, we'll give you insights into what you need to buy and get. If you still need some tips, please check out our selection page to help you out.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions? Or would you like us to help you in your quest for the best electric bike on the market today? Don't forget to look at our different collections, and you might find the best electric bike suited for your needs and preferences.