What Ebike is best for me?

All of us at eCycleDirect think Electric bikes are absolutely fantastic. We shout about it because they are genuinely real gamechangers if you want to get fit or replace your short car journeys, for example. However we also acknowledge they are a financial investment too. Therefore like any financial decision, it’s worth taking the time to make sure it’s the correct one. I will walk you through some key questions to consider which will help you answer your question, what Ebike is best for me?

Road, Offroad or Both?

This is the first question to ask yourself . Are you going to be riding offroad, on the road or a bit of both?

Offroad

If you are going to be riding almost exclusively offroad then an electric hardtail mountain bike or a full suspension eMTB are something to definitely look at. Their key features are suspension plus wheels and frames robust enough to deal with the trickiest of trails. You can expect big batteries, the most powerful motors and wide, big knobbly tyres for grip.

Road

If mostly Road was your answer then you could be looking at a Road or Gravel e-bike or even a folding Ebike featuring a flat or drop bar with super-skinny tyres. These are the fastest electric bikes. If speed doesn’t interest you then an electric leisure or commuting bike could be the ticket. These feature wider, more comfortable tyres and a nice upright position on a flat or curved bar. It’s quite a wide category of bikes so it’s common to have plenty of battery size and motor choices available to suit most budgets. Electric cargo bikes fall into a category on their own here too. Designed for shifting shopping, people or anything else bulky but not offroad.

Both

For real adventures, a lot of our customers want the ability to ride on the road and off too. This gives you the widest choice of bikes because any offroad bike is capable of being ridden on the road but not the other way around. You then might say well why don’t I just get an offroad bike then? That is a fair question, but it might not be the right option. Think of where you will ride on a scale from offroad to road with mixed terrain in the middle.

Types of Electric Bikes vs Terrain on a scale

The diagram above offers some general advice on what bike to consider based on the terrain you will be riding. For example, you wouldn’t take a road bike offroad and you wouldn’t pit a gravel bike against the trails a full-suspension eMTB will ride. It’s about being realistic.

Think about where you will actually ride the bike, not where you think you would like to ride the bike. Don’t let unrealistic aspirations cloud your judgement. If you live nowhere near a trail centre, why get a full-suspension bike? How often will you be able to commit to taking it somewhere to ride really? You can still enjoy offroad riding around your local woods, parks and canal towpaths so a Hardtail eMTB or a Trekking Ebike might be a better option you can ride straight from your front door.


Further Reading


Hub Vs Derailleur Gears

There are pros and cons for Hub and Derailleur gears. Most electric bikes come with derailleurs. But for models that have hub gear options here are some key points to help you choose what to go for.

  1. If your are going to ride offroad, always go for Derailleur gears. You need the wider ratio and smaller gears for hills.
  2. If you are going to be city or town based and hills are minimal, hub gears can be a good choice. They are low maintenance without the need for lots of gears.
  3. If in doubt, always choose derailleur gears.

Hub Gears are very low maintenance, they have a narrower ratio and you can change multiple gears at once when stationery.

Derailleur Gears have more gears and a wider ratio. They do require more cleaning and can only be changed when pedalling.

shimano nexus hub gear
Hub Gears = Very low maintenance

Frame Style

If there is a frame choice available, they will come in basically three styles. Crossbar, Trapeze or Step-through. When bikes used to be assigned a gender, crossbar was a man’s bike and anything else with a lower cross bar or no crossbar was a ladies. Times have changed and now all bikes are unisex. Frame choice should be solely based on how practical it is for you to get on and off and that’s it. Function should trump fashion.

The easiest bikes to mount and dismount are step-through or easy-entry frames which remove the need to lift your leg over or around the bike.

Accessories

The next question is are you going to be carrying anything? If the answer is yes, then you might want to look at cargo bikes, electric bikes with a rear rack pre-fitted or the ability to fit a front basket or a child seat. If it doesn’t have a rack, one can normally be fitted. Full-suspension e-bikes tend to be the exception here although some models do now feature racks too.

Motors And Batteries

It’s easy to say any ebike motor will be fine for the type of riding you have decided to do. It’s true but it’s also important to understand that the cost of the bike will be reflected in what motor you get. If you want the most powerful, something we would always advise you to do, you will pay more but that doesn’t mean you will be short-changed if your budget doesn’t stretch that far. Ebike motors are very powerful across the board. If you want to potter around the lanes, you don’t need lots of power to do that but having it there might be the peace of mind you want. It’s the same with battery capacities. Most riders don’t need the biggest battery but they take one for comfort knowing they will never run out of juice on a ride.

My advice here is simple. Go for the most powerful motor your budget allows. A little compromise on battery capacity is fine. A higher torque motor will cope better on the steepest of hills.

Bosch motor

Space And Access

It’s easy to forget where you will store your electric bike. They are heavy and electric cargo bikes are big and need good access. A folding ebike might be an option for you if space and access are limited however I would only recommend this type of bike if absolutely must fold it. If you can make a traditional sized bike work, they are far more robust and fun to ride. For ecargo bikes that have a big footprint, just make sure you have the space to store it and access it.

Tyres

If you do go for something which turns out to be a bit too roady or a bit too offroad don’t panic. Tyres are a cheap and easy way to fix the issue. If you bought a hardtail eMTB and want to ride it on the road more, just fit a narrower, slicker tyre. It will fly. Guards and a rack are an option too. If you bought a Raleigh Motus ebike for the road and fancy some canal towpaths, fit a more knobbly tyre for extra grip. It’s easy to switch things up with the right tyres so don’t let tyres put you off a particular model because they can be easily changed so the bike is tailored to you.

a picture of different tyre treads
a tyre for all surfaces

Final Word

If you are going to buy an electric bike it’s important to consider the right type for what you want to use it for. Above I’ve outlined some key areas to think about as you decide what bike best suits your needs and budget but don’t do it alone. Our experienced staff are here to help you too, just get in touch.

Whatever you go for what I can say, is if you buy a bike from us, it comes bundled with limitless fun for years to come.

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