Introduction: Your Electric Bike Buyer's Guide
Do you wish you could commute to work on a bike, but don't want to change from workout clothes to business casual the moment you arrive? Are you aching to get active and tackle steep hills but aren't sure if your knees can handle the task? Do you want to find a more eco-friendly option for last-mile travel, but don't have consistent access to e-scooters and e-bikes in your town?
Imagine cruising on a bike, powered by a motor, to work every morning without breaking a sweat, or zipping up hills without wearing yourself out for the ride back home, or having a fun and practical transportation alternative to reduce your carbon footprint. Electric bikes (e-bikes) make it possible for anyone in just about any shape, and in just about every location, to enjoy the benefits of biking every day. The best part is that you'll still get exercise, and you'll have a blast! If you've heard of e-bikes, and are considering purchasing one for yourself, you probably have a ton of questions. You've come to the right place. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know before shopping for an electric bike so that you can buy with confidence. We'll answer questions such as:
- What are the best electric bikes to buy?
- What do I need to know about buying an electric bike?
- Do you have to pedal an electric bike?
- Can you get fit on an electric bike?
- What should I look for in an electric bike?
- What regulations should I know about?
Buying an electric bike is a big decision and an investment in your health and quality of life. Whether you're a mountain biking expert or a beginner biker looking to commute or simply cruise some scenic trails, there's an e-bike for you. Biking e-style can help you reach health goals, enjoy the recreational aspect of biking, and rely less heavily on cars if you choose. Ready to join millions in a biking revolution? We're here to help you get started. Read this electric bike buyer's guide or contact us at Juiced Bikes, and we'll be thrilled to answer your questions and provide tips.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: How Does an Electric Bike Work?
Electric bikes are becoming more popular as a transportation and recreation option, and they are currently the fastest-growing type of bicycle on the market. For example, e-bike sales totaled over $77 million in 2017 – up 91% from 2016. People across the country are switching out cars for e-bikes to zoom past traffic or have a completely new biking experience. E-bikes are booming, and we can't wait to show you why. But, first thing's first — you need to consider if an e-bike is exactly what you need.
In this chapter, we'll cover the basics to help you decide if an e-bike is right for you and your lifestyle. If you're excited to browse bikes now, check out our selection of e-bikes for beginners or seasoned e-bike enthusiasts.
What Is an Electric Bike?
If you've never seen an e-bike before, it may be hard to imagine exactly what one looks like or how it's different from a regular bike.
E-bikes are like traditional bikes except they feature a compact electric motor to provide a power boost for climbing hills or traveling long distances. E-bikes are not the same as mopeds or motorcycles, are not loud and don't give off emissions.
If you have a particular taste in bikes or need a bike for a specific type of ride, you can be sure there's an e-bike for you. E-bikes come in a range of shapes and sizes to suit different needs, whether you need an efficient e-bike for the morning commute or an extreme performer for rugged terrain.
Even though e-bikes are recently increasing in popularity, they aren't something new. Electric bike prototypes date back to the late 19th century. This means that around the same time Karl Benz patented the first commercially available car, other inventors were working on improving the speed and power of bicycles. One inventor in particular — Ogden Bolton — filed a patent in 1895 for what may have been the world's first electric bike. Thanks to innovators like Bolton, e-bikes are now available to all.
How Do Electric Bikes Work?
E-bikes work in the same way as traditional bikes as far as pedaling goes, but unlike traditional bikes, they feature a battery and a motor. The battery stores the power to drive the motor. The motor is compact and built into the hub of the back or front wheel, or mounted in the center of the bike. The motor is the component that spins the wheels.
Besides battery and motor, another important part of an e-bike is the speed sensor or torque sensor. A speed sensor, also known as a cadence sensor, automatically tells the motor to start once you start moving. A torque sensor, on the other hand, provides assistance to match your power, whether you're going slow or fast. With a torque sensor, the harder you pedal, the greater the boost. Basically, a speed or cadence sensor detects if you're pedaling, and a torque sensor measures how hard you're pedaling.
Do You Still Have to Pedal an Electric Bike?
Part of what makes an e-bike so much fun and beneficial to your health is you can pedal whenever you wish — it's completely up to you. The battery and motor provide a boost to help you bike up hills, over rough terrain, or to cover long distances, so you can still bike and get exercise without overworking yourself. So, with an e-bike, you're still biking, but you're enjoying a faster, less stressful biking experience than you would with a traditional bike. If you decide you need to take a break, you can opt for throttle-only riding which doesn't require pedaling, and enjoy the breeze while you speed down your favorite trail.
Overall, you have great flexibility with an e-bike. If you want the challenge of trekking uphill as you would with a traditional bike, you can turn the power off an e-bike, and switch it back on whenever you want. If you're not in the mood for hill climbing, your e-bike will be ready to assist you.
Some e-bikes provide different levels of pedal assist to suit your needs. For example, Juiced Bikes offers ECO mode, which provides less power and helps the rider save more of the battery charge. A higher pedal assist level, like level 3, provides greater power to help you cruise up to 20 mph. The different power levels can be used to help you adhere to the local e-bike speed laws.
How Much Does an Electric Bike Cost?
The cost of an electric bike varies and depends on the riding you plan to do, and how often you plan to use your bike. If you intend to replace your car with an electric bike and commute to work, it's worth getting an e-bike with more premium features and a larger battery for an enhanced riding range. If you plan on using your e-bike mostly for laid-back recreation, you might feel comfortable finding something that's easier on your budget.
To give you an idea of what to expect, the average cost for an electric bike ranges between $2,000 and $3,000. Juiced electric bikes range from $1,599 to $3,499. Our practical RipCurrent is great for beginners and costs $1,899.
No matter which model you choose, an e-bike is much less expensive than the cost to purchase and maintain a new car and can be an extremely economical choice if you plan on using your bike for regular transportation. The average cost of a car is $36,590, not to mention the added costs of regular maintenance, registration and insurance, according to analysts at Kelley Blue Book. Whether you choose a higher-end bike or a more practical e-bike, you'll still save big on costs compared to a car.
Is an Electric Bike Worth It?
Electric bikes typically cost more than traditional bikes, but they offer a way for anyone to bike wherever they need to go. With an electric bike, you'll save money on gas, car maintenance, and car insurance as well as contribute to your health, so it's what it's worth to you.
Should I Buy an Electric Bike?
E-bikes are an excellent option to empower people who struggle to bike up hills, desire to ride for longer distances, are dealing with various physical limitations, or who would otherwise benefit greatly from a little boost.
They also make great alternatives to a car for those who want to avoid commuter traffic and enjoy a healthy ride to start their day right, while reaping the benefits of biking. E-bikes are incredibly fun and pretty much guaranteed to put a huge smile on your face!
Whether or not you should buy an e-bike is ultimately up to you. If biking is something you enjoy or if you're interested in a fun way to improve your health and the environment, we say it's certainly worth considering.
If you have more questions or want to speak with one of our team members, contact us today. We'll be happy to share our knowledge with you, so you know exactly what to expect when you ride an e-bike for the first time.