When it comes to choosing a suitable e-Bike, seniors and elderly people need to keep certain things in mind before picking the one that’s right for them.
How to select the right e-bike for a senior rider? Components like safety, comfort, and stability are at the top of the priority list. However, there are also other considerations to keep in mind as well, such as battery and motor power, e-bike weight, and its storage location, among others.
This article will aim to highlight which features and e-Bike models should be kept in mind for senior riders.
If you are a senior, e-bike safety and stability are key
One thing for elderly riders to keep in mind when buying an electric bicycle is that certain features will contribute to better safety and stability than others. For example, puncture-resistant tires are important to invest in, as this will help to prevent potentially dangerous falls and injury. Having thicker/fatter tires is also a good idea, as this will help with further balance and stability (the lack of which is a common side effect of aging, unfortunately).
A step-through frame or a low crossbar
Another common suggestion for senior riders is to get a step-through frame, or a step-through e-bike, as opposed to high-top tube e-bikes. This means that the e-bike needs to have a low crossbar, or none at all, to make it much easier for riders to mount and dismount.
Step-through frames are ideal for riders who have more limited mobility or decreased balance, as it both makes it easier to get onto the e-bikes as well as eliminates the risk of falling or tripping while mounting, stopping, and dismounting.
For example, if a rider loses balance while riding, it requires merely stepping through the e-Bike to get off rather than trip over or hit the bars or risk further injury by falling on the bicycle. If you are not able to get a step-through frame, choose an e-Bike with a swooping or lower frame to make it as easy as possible to mount/dismount.
A good way to test out whether it’s the right e-bike for you is to see if you can put both feet on the ground when sitting on it. Choosing a low step-through height will make your riding process much safer, and more comfortable.
An electric tricycle
If you are an elderly person whose balance is compromised, or if you are particularly concerned about your balance while riding, consider an electric tricycle as opposed to an e-bike, as it has three wheels instead of two, which will help to keep you more stable.
It is also worth considering an e-bike that has a pedal forward design, which allows riders to put both feet flat on the ground when needed. This helps to better keep balance when riding, stopping, and starting, while still attaining the proper leg extension required for cycling. Most step-through frames also include the pedal forward design, which is a nice two-in-one bonus!
An upright seating position
Lastly, in addition to buying an e-bike that has a low or step-through frame, it is recommended to choose an e-bike with an ergonomic frame. Having an e-bike that allows riders to stay upright in posture, as well as maintaining relaxed shoulders and wrists, is especially helpful for senior and elderly riders, as this lowers the risk of exacerbating joint pain or conditions, as well as avoiding soreness (which elderly people are more susceptible to).
Keeping relaxed muscles and joints while riding is important, so make sure to find an e-Bike that allows you to stay in ergonomic positioning.
Determining motor and battery power
It is typically recommended that senior riders get an e-bike that ranges between 250-watt to 500-watt motor, as it is not necessary to go much faster than that and in fact may be detrimental to do so.
Speed is something all senior riders should be wary of; going too fast means that there is a higher potential of severe injury, and since elderly riders may experience slower motor functions, maneuvering too much of a high-speed vehicle is not recommended. However, it is also important to understand the landscape where you are riding, since that is a determiner of what power level you might want your e-bike to be.
If you are a senior rider who is looking for an e-Bike to ride leisurely, for commute, or even for exercise purposes, a powerful motor is not needed. Going for 1000 watts is not necessary, because 250-500 watts is equal to about 15-20 MPH (miles per hour) and can be even higher with the pedal-assist, which is relatively fast.
For leisure and everyday riding, it is recommended that 250 watts is the best motor power to go for. If you are dealing with a particularly uneven or rough landscape, however, such as steep hills, then 500 watts could be a better option. Higher wattage will make it easier to tackle these big hills and uneven terrains.
However, going for a lower wattage will allow you to ride for a longer period of time, so these are all considerations to keep in mind that you can determine based on your planned riding style and the landscape on which you are riding.
Keep in mind that motors can be placed on the front, on the rear tire, or as a central hub close to where the pedals are, and each placement will affect the gravity and balance of the e-bike accordingly. It is a good idea to test out or consider which placement is optimal for you and your body.
When it comes to the battery of your e-Bike, it is important for senior riders especially to have either a backup battery or a double-strength battery. This is a safety feature that ensures riders, particularly more vulnerable riders who may need pedal-assist at all times, will be able to get home safely, without having to exert themselves beyond their physical limits.
Suggested e-bikes for seniors
E-Joe Anggun 3.0 Electric Comfort Bike
This e-bike is a comfortable and affordable vehicle that allows for a relaxed seating position. This vehicle can go up to 50 miles per battery charge, which is quite a long distance. It has a lightweight 350 watts speed motor and is included with four levels of pedal assist, one of which is an extra off setting.
This e-Bike comes with puncture-resistant tires, and front and rear brakes as well. It also has a step-through frame, which again is optimal for balance and stability for seniors. The battery charging time is relatively short, at 4 hours, which is optimal if you do not want to wait long for a charging time!
- Weight: 55 lbs (24.9 kg)
- Price: $1899 USD
- Estimated Range: 30 – 50 miles (80 – 110 km)
- See on BikeBerry, or see a similar model on Amazon
ElectroBike Gama Cruise 350 W
This e-Bike has swept-back handlebars which are ideal for a larger variety of hand positions while riding and allow for a comfortable and relaxed seating position. Included is also a shock-absorbing seat, which is optimal for senior riders, as this will ensure that road bumps and other barriers are cushioned and do not affect the body too harshly.
The frame is very low, making it easy to step over. This option has a 350 watts power motor. It is considered a durable, affordable, and comfortable e-bike. The charging time is 4.5 hours, which again is fairly short all things considered.
- Weight: 53.2 lbs (24 kg)
- Price: $1499
- Estimated Range: 15 – 30 miles (25 – 50 km)
- See this model or a similar model on Amazon
E-wheels EW-29 Electric Trike
This e-Trike (this is an option for those who are concerned about balance) has a 500 watts motor and has a rear storage basket, which is perfect for errand-running and groceries. For every charge, it can run at 15 MPH and travel up to 20 miles.
This option has a step-through frame, allowing riders to mount it easily. The seat is oversized, and the e-bike also includes a backrest, as well as front and rear suspension, which makes for a relaxed and safe ride.
- Weight: 55 lbs (24.9 kg)
- Price: $1840 USD
- Estimated Range: 20 miles (32 km)
- See this model on Vitality Medical or a similar model on Amazon
E-Joe Gadis 48V 350W Electric City Bike
This e-bike has a low-step frame. A great feature of this option is that this e-bike comes with a display that shows riders their battery life, pedal-assist level, and speed level. This is a particularly good option for riders who are concerned about their own cognitive and motor functions, as the display will help to keep track.
This model comes with 700 watts of motor power, which is a bit more than what is recommended for senior riders but is optimal for those who are riding in hillier or more uneven terrain and thus need more power when riding. The e-bike’s full battery charge time is 5 hours.
- Weight: 55 Lbs (24.9 kg)
- Price: $1700
- Estimated Range: 45 miles (72 km)
- See on BikeBerry or similar models on Amazon
This e-bike’s step-through design has a very durable and solid frame, which is especially good for stability. This commuter e-Bike has 500 watts of motor power and includes fenders and a suspension fork.
For a full charge, this e-bike ranges from 4-6 hours and can go up to 40 miles per charge.
- Weight: 56 lbs (25.4 kg)
- Price: $1599 USD
- Estimated Range: 25 – 40 miles (40 – 65 km)
- See this model on Volt Bikes or a similar models on Amazon
A few words in conclusion
As you can see, there are plenty of options for senior riders to ride an e-Bike that is safe, comfortable, and durable, without sacrificing the joy and fitness benefits that are attained from cycling. While the options above are just a few, keep in mind that there are plenty of electric bicycle options out there for elderly riders to enjoy!
Read also: Guidance for riding an electric bicycle with certain health conditions. And, Most common e-bike riding pains, how to prevent and cure.