With cities getting more and more crowded with various types of buses, trucks and cars, more and more city residents are thinking about an alternative mode of transportation, such as bicycles, and specifically, electric-assisted bicycles.
Read also: Could e-bikes replace cars in home-to-work commutes? – in this article.
For all those who are considering switching to an electrically-assisted bicycle, here are a few tips on how to choose one, if you are thinking about buying an e-bike to be mostly used for your city trips.
First of all, keep in mind that this is an electric-assisted bicycle and not a motorcycle. An e-bike will not move forward if you don’t pedal. It requires a physical effort, even if this effort is not as hard compared to that with a traditional bicycle. The motor assistance allows you to ride uphill without batting an eyelid, like a Tour de France champion…
Read also: Can e-bikes help climb steep hills? – in this article.
As long as you have the right e-bike… It also allows you to ride at a good speed, without sweating your way to work or to appointments. Nevertheless, the speed of the assistance is limited to 25 km/h (European regulations).
Beyond that speed limit, only your muscles will do the work, for regulatory reasons. Finally, speaking of heads, think about wearing a helmet. It is not mandatory (yet), but it is more prudent to wear one.
Read also: Traditional or speed e-bike? – in this article.
1. What is my daily commuting distance?
Not everyone has the same needs. So the first question to ask yourself is the daily distance you plan to travel. Think that once you’ve experienced the joys of an e-bike, you’ll be tempted to make a few extra trips during the day. So, for independence, plan to travel at least twice the distance to and from work, with a small margin. Why twice? Simply so you don’t have to recharge the battery every day.
Read also: How far can e-bikes go? What is e-bike riding range? – in this article.
2. Which e-bike battery do I need?
Once you have set the number of kilometers you want to ride per day, place the battery at your choice. This bike is an electric machine. Its autonomy is therefore based on its battery, which is logical. Not all batteries are the same.
And there are no miracles either. Quality comes at a price. The first piece of advice is not to skimp on the quality of the battery. Choose a well-known brand. Bosch and Panasonic are the most used.
Read also: What are the differences between e-bike batteries? – in this article.
The charm of an e-bike is that even a little nudge helps you move forward a little more easily, to climb the hills with a smile… that’s the engine. Engines located on the bottom bracket are very common (mid-drive motors).
For a city e-bike, a mid-drive motor is the best, especially for the stability of the machine. As for the battery, avoid overly exotic choices and turn to the safe ones: Bosch, Panasonic, or another well-known brand. Some good resellers also recommend Yamaha, Bafang, and Impulse, among others.
Read also: Front, rear, or mid-drive motor, which one to choose? – in this article.
3. Which brakes? And which tires?
This one is a budget question, as many of them. Discs or pads? Without hesitation, I’d say discs. But if for financial reasons you choose pads, remember to change them regularly. It’s amazing how quickly they use up in an urban environment!
And if it’s for riding in the city, classic city bike tires will do the trick, no need to look at the mountain e-bikes, fat tire ones, etc., … except for the fun.
Read also: How to select the best city e-bike? – in this article.
Read also: How much does a city e-bike cost? – in this article.
4. What do I plan to use my e-bike for?
Are you going to use your e-bike to drop one or two children off at school? Shopping? Carry goods (if you knew how much you could carry on a bike, you’d be surprised)? Or just to ride around? Answers will depend on the choice of the frame, its robustness.
For most uses, city e-bike frames will do the trick. Without betraying any secrets, steel is solid, but a bit heavy. Aluminum is lighter but a little less sturdy. Forget about carbon frames, unless you really want to break the piggy bank!
Read also: How to select the best cargo e-bike? – in this article.
5. How many gears do I need?
Forget the fixies, those bikes with no gears. Most e-bikes are available with gears, 7 or 8 are enough. For the derailleur: Shimano, eyes closed. You can also aim for an e-bike with several electric assistance modes, depending on your mood at the moment.
Want to make a little more physical effort? Put electric motor assistance at the minimum (as the electric bike generally weighs more than 20kg, it’s often hard to do without some help from the motor).
Read also: Do e-bike riders switch electric assistance up and down as they ride? – in this article.
A little tired? Increase the level of electric assistance. Depending on your budget, you will have access to three or four different assistance modes.
Read also: How to change electric assistance levels on an e-bike? – in this article.
Practical questions (bonus)
If you have the opportunity, it is best to try the e-bike before you buy it. Bicycle resellers have multiplied on the territory, especially in the big cities. Don’t hesitate, ask to try it out to get an idea of the shape that suits you best, the position of the handlebars, the seat, the size of the bike. A good dealer will advise you.
Read also: How to select the right electric bicycle size? – in this article.
Do I have a place to store my e-bike?
For a “good” electric bicycle, you have to pay at least 1500 euros (excluding possible subsidies). It is therefore important to know where you are going to park it. For the night, it is more prudent to store this type of machine in a garage, a car park, a bicycle room, in short in a closed place. And during the day, it’s better too.
Otherwise, make sure you have good anti-theft locks. Again, don’t be stingy. It will be a good investment. Always attach the bicycle frame to a fixed attachment. Two locks are good, and you may want to add a third one to prevent the saddle from being stolen.
Read also: How to protect an e-bike from theft? – in this article.
Read also: Do I need insurance for an e-bike? – in this article.
Read also: What is the best way to store an e-bike? – in this article.
Any e-bike brand you can recommend?
There are plenty of good choices on the market now.
The Moustache has an excellent reputation but is a bit on the more expensive side. Read more about Moustache Friday 28.3, an electric bike built for the city – in this article.
The Vanmoofs are also attractive, with their clean lines and integrated LEDs. Take a look at Vanmoof Electrified S2 – an e-bike, which is like a supercharged car – in this article.
Belgian designed Cowboy has been the winner of the year for city e-bikes. More about Cowboy, an electric bike that rides faster than its shadow – in this article.
And here is another one, which weighs only 14kgs and promises 200km of autonomy. An introduction to Modmo Saigon, an urban e-bike to compete with Cowboy and Vanmoof – in this article.
Here is a quick video review of a folding city e-bike: