With so many electric bike choices on the market today, it can be daunting to decide which one is right for you. There are fat tire and regular tire options, different motor power and voltage ratings, frame types, tire height sizes and price points to choose from. No need to worry though as we break them all down and walk you through the common options e-bikes offer in today’s market to help you better pick the right electric bike for your next adventure.
What to Consider When Choosing an E-Bike to Purchase?
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Fat Tire vs. Regular Tire
Bike tires that are much larger than normal tires are called fat tires. They are usually around 4 inches wide, though some can be even wider, and provide a more rugged look and the ability for your bike to ride over more difficult terrain. Bikes with fat tires are great for riding on the beach, riding in snow, and riding anywhere that may have a lot of bumps or rough terrain in your path. The extra width of the tire improves traction and fat tires on bikes usually have much more sidewall and are much thicker than normal bike tires, allowing them to make the ride much more comfortable over rough terrain. Fat tires also can be a great and affordable alternative to expensive suspension parts on your bike, as the tires can often absorb as much or more of the rough terrain than traditional bike shocks. This combination can decrease the overall cost of the bike without compromising the ride comfort.
Power Rating (Watts)
One of the most common questions most people have when purchasing a new e-bike is what size motor to get. How many watts is right for you? Watts are essentially how much power the motor is able to produce, which generally relates to how fast you will be able to go over hills and rough terrain. There is no straight forward answer for this question of what size motor is right for you, as it depends on how you intend to use the bike, how fast you want to go and how heavy the rider is. Many people are fine with 250 Watts for casual electric assist for easy rides around parks, paths and their neighborhood. Other people want a little more kick with a 500W motor, which can help turn the larger fat tires and get you up hills with more ease. For those who want to feel the torque and power of the motor really kick in, opting for a 750W motor and above may be more up their alley. It is also worth noting, that generally, the larger the electric motor in Watts the more expensive the electric bike will be. The most common motor size for bikes under $1000 is 350-500 Watts, while bikes over $1000 usually have 750 Watt motors and above.
Voltage is simply the amount of pressure your battery and electrical system can produce to get you moving. It is very similar to the horsepower rating in your car which is used to quantify how fast your motor can accelerate you forwards. Bikes with higher voltages tend to be more expensive, as their batteries have more cells in them and the electrical components need to be rated for that higher electrical potential. The most common every day cruiser bikes use a 36V system, as it is plenty to get you around town with ease, while bikes designed for more performance and weight carrying capacity opt to use a 48V system to account for the extra strain of use.
Electric bikes have the usual straight bar and step through style frame designs that bikes have had for years, although usually with beefier frame components to account for the extra weight of the electronics and tires. For smaller, shorter and older riders, step through bike frames are advised, as they are much easier to mount and dismount from the bike seat. There is typically no difference in performance of step through bike frames vs. straight bar bike frames other than usability and appearance in most cases. In addition to the two aforementioned frame designs, there is a new variation that has recently hit the market which allows the bike to fold. Bike designers who’ve created e-bikes that fold have simply put a very durable and sturdy folding and locking joint in the middle of the frame, which allows the bike to effectively be folded in half. This can allow for the bike to fit inside vehicles, trunks and storage much more easily and can be a great option for those who want their next bike to take up less space when not in use.
Price Points - How Much Should I Spend?
In the end, how much you should spend on your next e-bike is a personal decision that must fit your budget. Regardless, we will do our best to outline how far your dollar will go. Electric bikes are generally going to be more expensive than non-electric bikes, as the cost of the extra electronics, battery, motor and tires is baked into the overall price of the bicycle. That being said, there are a wide variety of great electric bikes under $1000 to choose from. These are going to be great for average, daily use and having a great time with. Motors are generally going to be between 350 Watts and 500 Watts and the bikes will often be without as much suspension as a more expensive model, but fat tire variations can make up for that in ride quality. For those looking to spend between $1000 - $2000, the options increase as 750 Watt motors become more of the standard and there are more e-bikes with suspension to soften the ride a bit more. From $2000 and upwards, you’re often getting into the realm of performance e-bikes that are designed for very long distances over rough terrain, such as e-bikes made for hunting trips and extreme mountain bike riding.
At the end of the day the choice is yours with choosing your next e-bike. It’s hard to go wrong if you know what type of riding you want to be doing and what price point you want to be at as the remaining e-bikes will be filtered down for you. Feel free to use the filters on the side of our electric bikes page and / or give us a call, text or message. We are here to help you choose your next electric bike that’s just right for you.
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