The use of electric bikes is booming. How on earth do you go about choosing one? Trendy eBikes business owner, and Dutch native, Hugo van Roermund explains it all.
Electric bikes – or eBikes – come in all sorts and shapes, and if you’re not an experienced eBike rider, you might get lost in the details and end up with an electric bike you don’t really want or need. With this blog I hope to give you some tips on what actually matters when you buy an eBike. Here are a few things to keep in mind…
What do you want to use an eBike for?
First thing you should ask yourself is what you want to use an eBike for. Is it for your daily commute? If so, is it important that you arrive sweat-free? How long is your commute? Do you only want to ride it along the Adelaide beaches on a sunny Sunday? Do you want to be able to use it off road? Do you want to use it to do groceries? The type of riding you want to do is important to determine the style of eBike.
There are several elements that can make a huge difference for your riding experience:
Motor position and power
There are 2 different types of electric motors on eBikes. You can either have a ‘hub motor’ or a ‘mid drive motor’. Hub motors are built in the wheel (either the front or the rear wheel, see picture on
the right). Mid drive motors are located near the cranks, between your pedals basically (see picture on the right). Why is all of this important? Hub motors and mid drive motors operate differently. Hub motors will provide power when you rotate your pedals. You don’t need to provide any pressure on the pedals, you just need to rotate them for your motor to provide assistance. Some of them even come with a throttle (like the eZee Sprint).
Mid drive motors measure how much pressure you put on your pedals; the motor then multiplies the power. This provides a more natural cycling experience; it’s like cycling with a very strong wind in the back. Examples of eBikes with a hub motor are the eZee Sprint and the Earth Prime Mi5; examples of ebikes with a mid drive motor are Ordica Classic Max and Ordica Classic Pro.
To comply with Australian legislation, electric motors are restricted to a maximum of 250 Watt power, which is plenty to provide significant assistance. Anything over 250 Watt is considered illegal in Australia.
As a general rule, the more “Amp hours” (Ah) the battery has, the further you will get on a single battery charge. Unfortunately, I’ll have to get a bit more technical for a more detailed explanation… The capacity of the battery is determined by the power (Voltage) and the amount of “Amp hours” (Ah). Most eBikes in Australia come with a 36V battery, however the Ah can vary enormously. Some batteries only have 7Ah capacity, while others go up to a whooping 28Ah. When you multiply the Voltage by the Amp hours, you get the amount of Watt hours (Wh) which is the best indicator of how far you’ll get on a single charge. Although the actual range is influenced by lots of other factors (like wind, motor type, tyre pressure, hills vs flats, weight of rider, etc.), the general rule is: the more ‘Wh’ the further your eBike will go on a single charge. Most eBikes come with batteries that provide between 350 and 600 Wh. The manufacturers will provide an indication of the range of the eBikes. The Ordica Classic Max (560Wh) has a range of between 60 and 100km, depending on the level of assistance chosen. The eZee Sprint has a range of up to an incredible 275km on low assistance with the 28Ah battery (1000Wh). Something to keep in mind though is that eBikes with a high Wh are usually more expensive…
Make sure other elements of the eBike are from high quality brands. Shimano is a good choice for your gears and brakes. With the higher weight of the eBike compared to a regular bicycle, you’d want to have roller brakes or disc brakes (but avoid V-brakes) to provide enough braking power. Check whether the front fork and seat post have suspension, to make your ride more comfortable. A proper stand is a must, as is proper lights, a (integrated) lock and a bell.
You probably want your eBike to just work and not break down. You don’t want to spend a lot of time and money fixing things. So make sure you get a low maintenance bike. Consider an eBike with internal gears (no derailleurs) and roller brakes or disc brakes. These systems are very maintenance friendly.
Would you like to try an eBike? You can get in touch with Hugo at Trendy eBikes. He’s specialised in eBikes and wants to encourage more people to try an electric bicycle as an alternative for car trips.