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Guide to Buying an Electric Bike


Buying an e-bike can be a difficult process with all of the manufacturers, styles and features electric bikes have to offer. The goal of this article and my website Urban Bikes Direct is to guide you to make the right confident decision while purchasing an electric bike.

It can be quite easy to become overwhelmed when choosing an electric bike. There are hundreds of electric bike manufacturers. When deciding on which bike to purchase there are two major factors: price and style. If you focus on these two factors it will help you cut through all the overwhelming features and benefits.

I decided to break the styles down into five categories with sub-categories:

These are the five main categories for electric bikes. Each category has different features and benefits. Let us dive into the categories.

Electric Mountain Bikes

Electric Mountain Bikes are built for trails and off-road performance, but they also do well on the streets as well. Electric Mountain Bikes are picking up in popularity for commuters and city riders for consumers who want a bike build to last.

One of the fastest growing segments in the electric bike world is the electric mountain bikes. They are even gaining attention among hunters. Our partner, Quietkat, focuses on catering to the hunting segment. Electric mountain bikes are growing in popularity for many reasons. If you have ever been on a mountain bike excursion you know how difficult on your body it can be. Peddling uphill is exhausting and many times by the time you reach the top you need a break before you come down. The pedal-assist feature takes away all the wasted energy you use while you're off the trail along with climbing up the mountain.

Electric mountain bikes are not only beneficial for mountain bikers but also for hunters, outdoors-man and anyone who navigates through rough terrain. They are built to withstand the outdoors and are extremely fun to ride! 

Electric Mountain Bikes on the lower end of pricing make terrific commuter e-bikes. These bikes are usually hardtails and do not have rear suspension. They typically will have a front suspension fork, but their suspension is not meant for hardcore trail riding but is good for medium trails and any road condition. 

If you want to jump your e-bike and do any serious mountain biking, you'll be looking at a downhill electric mountain bike. These bikes are built to much higher standards and designed to survives brutal punishment of hardcore trails. Electric mountain bikes are certainly great for riding trails and heading off-road. But don’t count them out on the street either.

Electric mountain bikes on the lower end of the price range can make excellent commuter e-bikes. Such bikes are usually hardtails, meaning they lack rear suspension. Instead they often have just a front suspension fork. Their suspension might not be good enough for hardcore trail riding, but it is usually sufficient for hitting a few potholes on the way to work.

Electric City Bikes

One of the most popular styles of electric bikes is electric city bikes due to convenience. These are extremely popular for commuters and anyone who lives in populated cities where it is difficult and costly to get around in a vehicle. This is a great way to save money on parking and car maintenance. Studies show it is significantly faster than taking a car. These electric city bikes come in a couple of different sub-categories. These are some of the more affordable electric bike options but can also lack some of the comfort features that other categories provide. Check out a few features below that electric city bikes can contain.

  • Fat Tires - Developed to get you through the snow while also providing a smoother ride!
  • Folding - Most electric city bikes are folding, but not all. Electric folding city bikes are another convenient feature these provide so you can tuck your bike in a small storage area and carry it around easily. See the picture below.
  • Fat tire and folding - Combine the two features above and you get a fat tire folding electric city bike. This is common but the bike typically weighs more due to the fat tires which are commonly 4" wide.

 Pictured above is an Ecomotion Fat Tire Electric City Bike.

If you are a city commuter and want a bike to get around, this is the bike for you. This is especially common for people who live in tight apartments and don't have a lot of storage room. Some electric city bikes you can even tuck under your bed. Many of our electric city bike options go further than 50 miles on one charge!

Electric Cruiser Bikes

Electric Cruiser bikes do not have any of the folding benefits the electric city bikes have but it is usually more comfortable to ride and in my opinion, more stylish. Electric cruiser bikes are great for beaches, neighborhoods and for people who just want to enjoy a nice comfortable ride. They provide a lot of comfort and style to go around, a lot of cushy touchpoints and a relaxed riding position. Manufacturers are now coming out with a sub-category of cruiser bikes with a step-through feature.

Electric Step-through cruiser bikes: Designed for convenience of not having to step over the top bar every time you hop on your bike. It is a feature that typically does not provide much of a cost increase. Electric Step-throughs are number one selling bikes for the elderly, but this does not mean you have to be elderly to ride them. Many people enjoy electric step-thru cruiser bikes for the comfort and ease.

What you need to know

Electric Cruisers are build for cruising. They are all about comfort and style. If you are looking for a performance bike, take a look at our Electric Mountain Bike collection. Electric Cruiser Bikes typically have a wide seat and higher handlebars that are pushed towards the rider so you do not have to lean forward to ride. The pedals are typically mounted further forward, which allows the rider rest both feet flat on the ground at stops. 

 

Pictures above is an X-treme Electric Cruiser Bike

If you are looking for a comfortable, stylish ride you should start with our electric cruiser bike collection. Great for beaches, neighborhoods, and hills!

Electric Fat Tire Bikes

Electric fat tire bikes are great for people who will be using their bikes throughout the year. All of what we previously discussed has fat tire options, but we decided to break it into its own group due to the popularity. If you will be traveling in mud or snow, this is a must.

Ecomotion Fat Tire Bike

On the left you see an electric fat tire mountain bike. These are heavy-duty bikes that are meant for snow and mud. You can use electric fat tire mountain bikes on traditional paved roads or even take them through the woods and mountains.

In the middle shows an electric fat tire city bike. If you are commuting to New York city or somewhere will it will snow, you will definitely want to consider these.

On the right you see an electric fat tire cruiser bike. If you are going to be riding through paved roads and expect snow and rain, you will want to consider this option.

Electric Hunting Bikes

Quietkat Electric Hunting Bike

Urban Bikes Direct is an authorized dealer for QuietKat Electric Hunting Bikes. QuietKat offers a wide variety of high-quality hunting bikes. Hunting bikes have become extremely popular over the years as regulations have tightened up for emission vehicles. QuietKat electric bikes provide zero-emission along with being quiet and stealthy while approaching your hunting zone. These bikes have powerful motors that can get you through any terrain safely and efficiently. Check out our blog on the top Quietkat Products of 2020. Less air pollution, no noise pollution and does not leave a scent on the trail are some of the main reasons people choose QuietKat Electric Bikes. If you are looking to enhance your hunting performance it starts with QuietKat!  

How Much Battery and Power Do I need?

This is the most common question we get at Urban Bikes Direct. How do I know how much battery and wattage you need? Well, in this section I will explain how the Ebike batteries work and how to select the right bike battery for you.

Every bike manufacturer we offer at Urban Bikes Direct will list the distance the battery will travel until it dies, along with the charging time it takes to fully re-charge the ebike battery. 

Ah Vs Wh

To be clear, Amp Hours (Ah) means nothing unless you figure in the wattage. Watt-Hours (Wh). Watt-Hours is far more important because it factors in the Voltage and the Amp Hours together and determines your full charge capacity. 

Wh Example: 36v 10ah = 360wh and 48v 10ah = 480wh

Volts (V) = Horsepower

This is a very simple way of putting it but its the closest analogy to a car. Ebikes typically come in 24V, 36V, 48V and some even 72V! More volts = more power.

If the power output (watts) or the max speed of an e-bike gives above 750Watts, 20MPH then the e-bike will be classified as a moped that legally requires registration, insurance, etc. 

AMP Hours (Ah) = The Fuel

Generally speaking, the more Amp-hours you have the more distance you will cover. Each bike we offer will provide you with the distance the bike will travel, but keep in mind that the distance is typically based on flat terrain and average weight. There are a number of factors that control the distance your e-bike will cover. Some of those factors include: 

- What power assist setting are you using? Note, the more assistance you use the less range you will get. 

- Are you climbing hills?

- Are you riding into headwinds? 

- Are you carrying heavy cargo?

- What is the condition of your bike?

The more you pedal, the further you'll go and the healthier you'll be. 

 

Summary:

While going through our collections you will want to consider all of these features and benefits.  If you have any questions or need help with selecting the perfect bike for you, please email us at support@urbanbikesdirect.com or call us at (800) 591-7508.