When it comes to purchasing an electric bike (eBike), the process can often feel overwhelming, especially if you're not well-versed in the world of bikes. Even seasoned bike enthusiasts may find themselves daunted by the myriad of options, including various components, frame geometries, and types of eBike. However, fear not, as we are here to simplify this experience for you.
In this comprehensive guide, we break down the things to consider when selecting your ideal eBike. Whether you're an eBike enthusiast, flirting with electric bike commuting, or brand new to the space, these essential factors will help you make an informed decision and find the perfect eBike that aligns with your needs. And, as you embark on this journey, we're proud to present our own line of exceptional eBikes, which we firmly believe stand as the best option for your next bike purchase. Let's dive in and discover the path to your ideal eBike.
What Will You Use It For? Understanding the Diverse World of Bikes
When it comes to choosing the perfect eBike, there's more to consider than just the act of riding itself. The bicycle market has evolved significantly in the past 5-6 years, introducing numerous new bike types that cater to different purposes. Let's take a closer look at some of these types of eBikes:
- Mountain Bike: Built for off-road adventures, mountain bikes feature robust suspensions, wider knobbier tires, and a geometry designed to tackle steep and rugged terrains.
- Road Bike: Designed for speed and efficiency on paved roads, road bikes offer a lightweight frame, thin tires, and a more aerodynamic riding posture.
- City/Commuter Bike: Ideal for urban commuting, these bikes come with narrower tires, an upright frame geometry, and often have features like fenders and racks for practicality.
- Fixed Gear Bike: Also known as fixies, these bikes have a single, fixed gear, providing a direct connection between the rider and the road, offering a unique and engaging riding experience.
- Fat Bike: Recognizable by their oversized tires, fat bikes excel in handling sandy, snowy, or muddy terrains, making them suitable for various adventurous rides.
- Cruiser Bike: Emphasizing style and comfort, cruiser bikes are perfect for leisurely rides along the beach or around town, with their laid-back design and wide handlebars.
- Scrambler/Moped Style Bike: Inspired by motorbike aesthetics, these bikes combine vintage charm with modern functionality, appealing to riders seeking a distinctive look.
- Trike: Tricycles, or trikes, offer stability with three wheels, making them suitable for riders who prefer a more balanced and secure biking experience.
- Recumbent Bike: Unique in design, recumbent bikes have a reclined seating position, which may be preferred by those seeking a different riding experience.
Each type of bike caters to specific purposes and attracts different buyers based on their preferences and needs. Road bikes, trikes, recumbent bikes, and gravel bikes are often sought after by those who know precisely what they want for their specific activities. On the other hand, cruiser bikes, scrambler bikes, and fixed gear bikes appeal to individuals who prioritize style and enjoyment over sheer functionality. However, for the majority of buyers, mountain bikes and commuter bikes stand out as popular choices.
The question often arises—can a commuter bike handle off-road trails? Can a mountain bike be suitable for daily commutes? While both bike types have their specific strengths, they are not strictly limited to their primary purposes. For instance, mountain bikes with their durable suspensions, wider knobbier tires, and specialized geometry are better equipped for tackling challenging mountainous terrain. On the other hand, commuter bikes with narrower tires, upright frame geometry, and less suspension excel in navigating urban environments efficiently.
Yet, the line between these bike types can blur, as manufacturers have responded to unique consumer demands by introducing hybrid models. These hybrids aim to bridge the gap between specialized bikes, offering a more versatile and adaptable riding experience. As a result, you need not feel overwhelmed or overly stressed when choosing between a commuter bike and a mountain bike. In most cases, a commuter bike can handle light off-road trails, and a mountain bike can serve as a reliable option for your daily commute.
While the array of bike choices may seem perplexing, the key lies in understanding your own riding needs and preferences. As we proceed through the following sections, clarity will emerge, guiding you toward the perfect eBike that suits your individual requirements. Remember, there's no need to rush the decision-making process—finding the ideal eBike that complements your lifestyle is a journey well worth taking.
How Will You Ride? Terrain, Weight & Speed Impact Range
Are you contemplating an eco-conscious and exhilarating way to navigate the urban jungle or explore scenic trails? Investing in an eBike might be the answer you're seeking. Embracing the world of electric bikes not only adds excitement to your daily commute or weekend escapades but also presents a sustainable solution to reduce your carbon footprint. However, before embarking on your eBike journey, it's essential to understand the factors that influence one of the most critical aspects of these innovative rides – their range. The range of an eBike refers to the distance it can cover on a single charge. Several key elements significantly impact the eBike's range, including the type of terrain you ride on, the distance you plan to travel, the speed you ride at, the weight of the rider and cargo, and the amount of pedal assistance you provide. By delving into these vital considerations, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect eBike that seamlessly integrates into your lifestyle and meets your riding preferences.
How Much Do You Want to Pedal?
When it comes to choosing the perfect eBike, understanding your pedaling preferences and the terrain you'll encounter can significantly impact your decision. Some eBikes are powerful enough to carry even heavy riders up steep hills without much manual effort, while others offer a more traditional biking experience with just a little extra help. People usually know which category they fall into, and fortunately, there are eBikes for everyone, depending on their preferences.
How Many Hills?
As a general rule, 250W of power is roughly equivalent to the typical pedaling power of a human. For instance, a 500W eBike engine will require minimal pedaling, and a 1000W eBike will only need assistance on the steepest of hills, depending on where the motor is mounted on the bike.
Mid Drive or Hub Drive?
The debate around hub drive vs mid drive often centers on hill-climbing capabilities. Both types can handle hills with ease, but when comparing wattage to wattage, mid drive eBikes are generally better suited for climbing steep inclines. A 500W mid drive eBike can carry more riders up hills easily compared to a 500W hub drive. To achieve a similar performance on a hub drive, you would need approximately 3-6 times the power of a mid drive.
However, it's essential to be mindful of ongoing maintenance when selecting between mid drive and hub drive eBikes. Mid drives can create more wear and tear on the drivetrain as the motor's power is transmitted through the bike's chain and derailleur. Over time, hard shifting under load on mid drive eBikes can lead to potential issues with derailleurs and cassettes (rear gear cogs), resulting in higher maintenance requirements.
Let’s break it down:
By considering these scenarios based on your weight, terrain, and desired level of pedaling assistance, you can narrow down your options and find the ideal eBike that perfectly complements your riding style and preferences. Making an informed decision ensures that your electric bike will provide a delightful and efficient riding experience for many journeys ahead. Now, let's explore additional factors that will help you select the perfect eBike for your cycling adventures.
The Lyric Graffiti is the Go To eBike
Our Lyric Graffiti meets your needs across the board. If you like to pedal, you can keep it in pedal assist level one or two, and it gives the feel of a cruiser bicycle. Hills ahead? Crank the throttle, and even with a heavy rider or two light riders, you will effortlessly conquer the hill.
Check out the Lyric Graffiti Now!
How Natural Do You Want the Motor to Feel?
When considering an eBike, one crucial question to ask yourself is how natural you want the engine to feel during your rides. Electric engines offer instant torque, making them powerful and capable of delivering exhilarating acceleration similar to electric cars breaking acceleration records. However, this immediate power can also impact the bike's feel, making it less akin to a traditional bicycle.
eBikes typically employ three different methods to engage the engine and add power:
1. Cadence Sensor:
- A magnetic sensor positioned around the pedals detects when the pedal crank is in motion, activating the engine each time it passes one of the magnets (usually 12 magnets in a full circle).
- The motor supplies power based on the user's selected power level, irrespective of the force applied to the pedals.
- Cadence sensors provide continuous power but may not feel as natural as other methods, as they do not account for how much force you apply while pedaling.
2. Torque Sensor:
- Located in the bottom bracket where the crank attaches to the bike, torque sensors can sense the amount of force exerted while pedaling.
- The engine responds by providing power more gradually and in tune with the rider's pedaling effort, resulting in a more natural riding experience.
- High-end commuter, road, mountain, and gravel bikes often incorporate torque sensors, catering to discerning riders seeking this seamless and organic feel.
- Throttle functionality offers a direct input to the engine, usually via a twist or thumb-driven lever.
- With a throttle, the rider can activate the engine without pedaling at all, providing a fun and effortless mode of riding.
- However, using a throttle deviates from the conventional way of riding a bicycle and may not appeal to those seeking a more traditional biking experience.
Most eBikes will feature a combination of these methods, offering riders versatility and choice.
With the Lyric Graffiti, we feature a cadence sensor, which is tuned down in power, to provide a natural pedal push-back in the low pedal-assist levels. When you want the thrill of speed or prefer to kick back and relax, the twist throttle does the work for you.
How Fast Do You Want to Go?
When searching for an eBike, your desired speed becomes an essential factor to consider. Riders have varying preferences; some crave the thrill of high speeds, while others feel more comfortable at moderate velocities.
It's crucial to keep in mind that most countries have laws regulating the maximum speed allowed for eBikes. These laws categorize eBikes into different classes (Class 1, 2, or 3), each with a specific speed limit to adhere to within your region. While we do not advocate breaking laws, we understand the appeal of speed, and that's why all of Lyric's electric bikes are designed to offer the option for faster rides. Nevertheless, it's vital to always prioritize safety and obey traffic laws.
Top speed on an eBike is often determined by its power, which is measured in watts, volts, and amps. As a general rule, higher numbers in these categories translate to greater speed. Although delving into the technical aspects of power and speed would require another article, it's worth noting that most eBikes available for purchase have battery voltages ranging from 36 to 52 volts, with engine power typically between 250 to 1000 watts (nominal rating).
For those seeking greater speeds beyond 1000 watts (nominal), eBikes with higher voltage batteries (60+ volts) are recommended, with many falling in the range of 60-72 volts. Some daring enthusiasts even go beyond this upper limit for extreme performance.
Here's the electric bike top speed you can expect based on power ratings:
- 250-350W: Basic helper engine with a top speed around 20 mph or 32 km/h.
- 500-1000W: Extra power, offering speeds ranging from 28-36 mph or 45-58 /kmh. At this range, the ride can get a bit intense, adding an exciting element to your journey.
- 2000W-14000W: Tons of power, delivering speeds equivalent to those of mopeds or motorcycles, ranging from 45-90 mph or 72-145 km/h (depending on voltage, controller, and other factors).
Understanding the relationship between power and speed will help you make an informed decision when choosing an eBike that aligns perfectly with your need for velocity. Always prioritize safety, abide by the speed limits imposed by the laws in your area, and enjoy the exhilarating experience of riding your eBike within legal boundaries.
How Tall Are You?
If you fall into the category of being above or below average height, you may have already noticed that the eBike industry is currently a bit limited in catering to your specific needs.
While some more eBikes offer adjustable seat height, a significant portion of eBike frames available in the North American and European markets are manufactured in China, where standard bike frame sizes are produced. As a result, these one-size-fits-most frames dominate the offerings from brands like Juiced, Ariel Rider, Himiway, Biktrix, and similar companies. While some well-known brands such as Trek, Specialized, and Giant offer different frame sizes, they often come with a higher price tag due to their recognized names.
As the eBike industry continues to mature, we can expect more options to be developed to better serve the needs of short and tall riders.
At Lyric, our seats are designed for two passengers. However, if you’ve been blessed with the height genes, you can position yourself further back on the seat, making for a more comfortable ride.
The Lyric Graffiti fits riders 5’4 to 6’4, and the Voodoo and Ghost fit riders 5’6 to 6’6.
Electric Bicycles to Suit your Living Situation & Lifestyle - Where Do You Live?
While it may seem like an unusual question, your location plays a vital role in choosing the most suitable eBike for your needs. If you are new to electric bikes and haven't experienced the weight and size differences, you might be surprised at how heavy they can be compared to traditional bicycles. Additionally, some eBikes may occupy more space due to their wider or longer design. Considering your living situation can be a crucial factor in making the right eBike choice.
eBike Weight and Space Considerations:
If you reside in an apartment with no elevator access and have to navigate several flights of stairs, the weight of the eBike becomes a significant consideration. Opting for a bike with a lower weight or exploring folding bike options can make transportation and storage more manageable.
For those with limited storage space, such as small apartments or condos, selecting a compact eBike or one designed for easy storage will be advantageous.
Similarly, if you need to transport your eBike on the roof of your car or have limited space on a bike rack, a lighter and more compact model may be the ideal choice.
eBike Variety and Weight:
- Different eBike models come with varying weights, depending on their intended use and features. High-end mountain, road, and gravel eBikes typically have lower weights compared to dual battery or fat-tire eBikes.
- Some eBikes feature both front and rear hub engines, which can add a significant amount of weight to the bike. While these models offer incredible speed, they might be heavier and require consideration of storage and transportation logistics.
Electric Bicycle Battery and Engine Impact on Weight:
- It's important to note that the battery and engine contribute significantly to the overall weight of the eBike. As you increase the power of these components, the bike's weight will also increase.
- For speed enthusiasts seeking eBikes in the 3000W or greater category, the combined weight of the powerful engine and battery can be substantial.
By taking into account your living situation and transportation needs, you can choose an eBike that aligns with your lifestyle, making it more convenient and enjoyable to integrate electric biking into your daily routines. As we delve further into crucial considerations for selecting the perfect eBike, let's explore additional factors that will guide you in finding the ideal bike that suits your preferences and enhances your riding experience.
The Lyric Graffiti is light and small enough for condo living. It can easily fit in an elevator, can be stored on your balcony or in bike storage lockers, and at just 59 pounds (+9 lbs per battery), you can even throw it on a bike rack. Check it out now!
Do You Want a Legal eBike?
Upon reading the heading, you might have found yourself firmly on one of two sides: either a resounding "Yes!" or an indifferent "Who Cares!" Each perspective holds its merits, and it's essential to recognize the differing viewpoints on this matter. For speed enthusiasts, the desire to ride the bike of their choice may lead them to opt for an eBike that doesn't strictly conform to the designated classes of eBikes in various regions.
Electric Bicycle Legal Classifications:
- In the USA, the maximum permissible power for eBikes is 1000 watts, and anything exceeding this range is usually classified as "offroad use only."
- In Canada, the limit is set at 500 watts, allowing for slightly more powerful eBikes.
- In Europe, eBikes are typically limited to a maximum power of 250 watts, making it straightforward to comply with legal requirements.
Limiting eBike Speed:
Even when eBikes are sold with engines, batteries, or controllers that exceed the legal limits, it is possible to limit the bike's speed through controller software to ensure compliance with local regulations.
Transparency is essential, and bike companies should make their customers aware of the options available, empowering them to make informed decisions. Lyric Cycles eBikes offer both legal and off-road settings, providing users with the freedom to choose their preferred level of speed and power.
Know Your Local Laws:
To ensure you're in compliance with your area's regulations, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific laws governing eBikes. Keep in mind that eBike regulations can vary by country, state, and even certain areas within cities, such as parks that may have specific restrictions on electric bike usage. Before making a purchase, make sure to understand how local laws may affect your eBike choice.
If you have any concerns or questions about whether a particular eBike adheres to local laws, your bike shop or online distributor should be able to provide you with relevant information.
At Lyric Cycles, we are here to assist you in figuring out the legality of an eBike, even if it isn't one of our own models. Feel free to reach out to us for guidance and support.
How Much Do eBikes Cost?
The real question is, how much do you want to spend? We have dedicated a more detailed article to break down the cost of eBikes, providing valuable insights into why these machines can sometimes be expensive. Electric bikes consist of numerous intricate parts, including several costly components that set them apart from traditional bicycles. As a result, you usually get what you pay for, and cheaper isn’t better.
Consider Your Budget:
- When it comes to purchasing an electric bike, there is a wide price range to consider, with options available from $1000 to $20,000.
- We advise against selecting eBikes priced below $1000, as these lower-cost options may involve compromises in the durability and quality of various bike components, potentially leading to higher expenses for repairs and replacements in the long run.
Price Range Summary:
- $1000-$2000: In this price range, you can find entry-level eBikes suitable for casual riders or beginners in the world of electric biking.
- $2000-$4000: The mid-range segment offers eBikes with improved performance, larger batteries, and more powerful motors, making them suitable for daily commuting and recreational riding.
- $4000-$8000: In the higher price range, eBikes showcase high-quality features, extended range, and enhanced overall performance, catering to experienced riders seeking more advanced options.
- $8000 and above: At the premium end, eBikes boast top-of-the-line components, cutting-edge technology, and unique designs. These luxury options often involve well-established brands, custom designs, and exclusive features, providing added value for certain riders.
Factors to Consider:
- As the cost of an eBike increases, it usually correlates with the size of the battery, engine, and controller. Higher-priced models often feature larger and more powerful components to deliver superior performance.
- It is essential to ensure that higher-powered eBikes are equipped with appropriately matched, more robust brakes to ensure safe and efficient braking at higher speeds.
- While the price range summary serves as a useful guideline, there are exceptions to these general rules. Unique features, custom designs, and specific brand preferences can influence pricing, allowing riders to invest in products that align with their personal preferences and priorities.
In conclusion, as you assess your short-list of eBikes, it is crucial to consider the price range alongside the features and performance offered. While more affordable options can be tempting, investing in a higher-priced eBike may provide the advantages of improved durability, cutting-edge technology, and a more enjoyable riding experience. Ultimately, the decision should align with your budget, riding preferences, and the specific features you value the most.
At Lyric, our goal is to select quality components, designed thoughtfully, and provide excellent value for your money. Check out our eBike collection now!
Discover Your Ideal eBike: A Conclusion to Choosing the Perfect Electric Bicycle
While this list provides valuable considerations for choosing your next eBike, it is by no means exhaustive. If you have any further questions or need assistance in making your decision, please feel free to reach out to us. We are more than happy to help you find the perfect eBike that aligns with your preferences, riding style, and specific needs.
Your journey to finding the ideal electric bike doesn't have to be overwhelming or confusing. Armed with these key considerations, you can confidently embark on this exciting venture, exploring the vast world of electric biking and discovering the joy of enhanced riding experiences. Happy riding!