Electric bikes are soaring in popularity and it’s so easy to see why:
- they’re great for the environment
- you can ride to work and not arrive in a lather of sweat
- hills and headwinds are a thing of the past
- they’re even more ‘low impact’ on your joints than traditional cycling, and
- there are so many models you can most certainly find one to suit you!
Can electric bikes replace cars? Can electric bikes replace cars?But this last point can make the decision that teeny bit harder – how DO you choose an e-bike that will be right for you? Electric bikes come in commuter, touring, road, beach cruiser, cargo, mountain and folding models – just to name a few!
It’s important that you choose a model that is right for you, not what somebody else thinks is the best e-bike.
Here are some points which may help you to decide:
1.Buy from a respected dealer. One of the big benefits of going to your local bike store is that you will most likely be able to ride a number of different bikes – so you can see which one feels more comfortable for you.
Dealers can also modify the bike to provide the best handlebar stem, change the seat or tyres etc to suit you.
They can also help you with repairs and maintenance.
In addition to local retailers, Dyson Bikes offer online purchases and often participate in camping and adventure shows, sustainable living festivals or bike events – and test riding and comparing with other models is easy as everyone is in one place!
Above: Happy customer from Sydney Electric Bikes
2.Test ride different models. You might enjoy using a throttle to reduce the pressure of taking off at the lights for example or, you might like a pedal assist bike with a cadence sensor that blends your pedal power with the electric power, or an electric bike with both.
3.How much power is needed? In Australia you should be careful about what you choose here because bigger is not always better – or legal. Remember that 200w motors ARE legal in all states and territories and 250w are legal in all but the Northern Territory. There are larger sizes available but they are for off-road use only, and we know of many occasions when police have actually monitored this! Some bikes with higher power systems also feel more like a motorbike than a bicycle – and the dangers of riding a faster, more powerful bike on the roads are significant. The “feel” of the power also depends on where the power is being applied; Most of the e-bikes in the Dyson Bikes range are rear hubs with the Bondi Step Through being a front wheel drive; some mid drives can feel like a higher powered hub motor yet the ride is often not as smooth as front or rear hubs. A mid drive motor also needs you to manage the gears well so that the motor doesn’t get sluggish.
Above: 8FUN hub from Dyson Bike Hard Tail
4. How much range do you need? It might seem like the right way to have the highest range (distance available) possible – but be careful – having a higher range can add extra cost to the overall price of your bike. Batteries are generally the most expensive part of an electric bike! And, if you’re only going to be riding short distances then be aware that having a 100km range is probably not important for you. A typical standard battery pack is a 36 Volt 9 amp hour pack, 320 Watt Hour that will provide an approximate 40-60 km of range – but this always depends on conditions such as hills, headwinds, how often you pedal, how much weight you are carrying etc. If you are riding to work you can always keep an additional charger there – which is a much less expensive way of extending your range!
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Above: Hard Tail batteries.
5.How much should you spend? Like so many other products today, with an electric bike you generally get what you pay for. It’s important to think about how often you’ll use your e-bike and what you will use it for. While there are cheaper electric bikes available, we recommend the $2,000+ price range. Always check for high quality battery name brand cells, such as the Samsung or Panasonic cells. If you want more high tech, larger batteries (our current Hard Tail 12Ah battery lasts up to 100km), full suspension, cargo bikes etc then you can spend $4,500 and more!
So, hopefully these points will help you when you’re making your electric bike purchase. Enjoy the ride and let an electric bike help make cycling fun again for you!