Which E-Bike is Best for Me?
Electric bikes are rapidly becoming popular in Europe and North America.
They are lightweight and compact in nature, and are therefore very helpful in tackling urban congestion. They’re also a healthy mode of transportation, with numerous studies establishing how regular use of electric bikes can keep you both physically and mentally fit.
However, the most important benefit they bring is a significant reduction in your transportation costs. They’re not only inexpensive to buy but also very inexpensive to operate. Since you won’t be needing fuel to run them, you won’t be affected by volatile gas prices. As for the maintenance, that cost very less too.
Electric bikes are also environment-friendly as they don’t run on gas… and their widespread use can help us a lot in our fight against climate change. Their green nature is another reason why e-bikes are going to be prevalent everywhere as time passes by.
In case you’re also planning to leave your car and embrace this ride of the future, you might wonder which e-bike is right for me? There are so many options from so many manufacturers that finding the right electric bike can be a tiresome task. This is why we have put together this guide.
From discussing the various types of electric bikes to what factors you need to consider while buying one, we’ll discuss everything you need to know.
What Types of Electric Bikes are There?
In order to make the right buying decision and know which e-bike is best for you, you should be aware of what types of electric bikes there are that you can choose from.
Electric Road Bikes
Electric road bikes are designed to let you travel at high speed, so they are understandably light in nature, aerodynamic in shape, and sporty in handling.
Electric Mountain Bikes
Electric mountain bikes (e-MTBs) are made to let you travel on mountains and hills. They have a sturdy frame, a capable suspension system, giant mountain tires (usually 27.5”), and a powerful mid-drive motor.
Electric Hybrid Bikes
Electric hybrid bikes can be thought of as a cross between the electric road and mountain bikes. They combine the features of both and can therefore be used on a wide variety of terrains.
Electric Commuter Bikes
Electric commuter bikes are designed to let you comfortably ride to longer distances. Unlike electric road bikes, these have a suspension system and can weigh more.
Electric Cruiser Bikes
Electric cruiser bikes are meant to ride on beach or city roads in comfort and style. They have a characteristic cruiser look with sweptback handlebars to ensure a relaxed riding posture and usually have a single-speed drivetrain.
Electric Folding Bikes
Electric folding bikes are compact and foldable in nature which allows for easy storage and transport. Riders can even take them on public transportation.
Electric Fat Tire Bikes
Electric fat tire bikes, as the name suggests, have wide tires usually with 4” width. These electric bikes are perfect for off-roading and work great both on hard-packed terrains (like jagged hills, gravel roads, or rocky tracks) on soft-packed terrains (like sand, snow, or mud).
Electric Cargo Bikes
Electric cargo bikes are meant to let you haul heavy loads. The most high-end options on the market can have a payload capacity up to 250kg and can be used to carry everything from your camping gear to your children.
At Engwe, we carry folding fat tire electric bikes that provide the best of the both worlds by combining portability with comfort and capability.
What Types of E-Bike Motors are There?
Electric bikes can either have a hub motor or a mid-drive motor. Here’s how these two types of motors differ from each other.
Mid-drive motors, as the name says, are located at the “mid” of an electric bike, that’s within the center of the frame and midway between the cranks.
This placement ensures a low center of gravity and an overall balanced weight distribution – which explains why mid-drive motors are widely used in electric mountain bikes.
Mid-drive motors can produce a lot more torque and can use the mechanical advantage of gears to give you a remarkable climbing ability.
However, as a downside, they cost way more than the other alternatives and have an average starting tag of €3,000. It’s because these motors feature advanced internal electronics and also because they require a frame that’s been designed around them.
Hub motors, as the name says, are located inside the wheel hub where they directly spin the wheel to propel you forward. Due to their configuration, these motors are by default independent of your drivetrain and are therefore less capable at hill climbing than mid-drive motors.
However, except for mountain climbing or maybe cargo hauling, these motors can work perfectly great for all other types of uses.
The biggest upside of these motors is that they are extremely inexpensive when compared to mid-drive motors… and thanks to that, you have a lot of e-bike options from a lot of manufacturers to choose from.
Another notable advantage of hub motors is their compatibility with throttle, which makes them suitable for seniors, or people with joints or knee problems, or simply those riders who love to move around without pedaling.
Hud motors can either be front or rear. Front hub motors have severe traction issues on hills so should only be used on flat roads, while rear hub motors can be safely used on a wide variety of terrains, including hills and inclines.
At Engwe, we used brushless rear hub motors, with an exceptional power output. Most of our fat tire bikes are rated at 750 watts of continuous power output and are counted among the most capable options on the market.
What Types of Pedal Assist are There?
The pedal assist system detects your pedaling input to decide how much power the motor should give you at any instant. It senses your power requirements and tells the controller about how much current the battery should send to the motor.
There are two main types of pedal assist systems that you can get: torque and cadence.
A torque sensor detects how hard you're pedaling while a cadence sensor detects how fast you’re pedaling. Torque sensors have a significantly high sampling rate, due to which they can regulate your ride in almost real-time. However, they’re way more expensive than cadence sensors and are usually found in mid-drive electric bikes.
Cadence sensors, on the other hand, have excellent compatibility with both hub motors and throttle.
At Engwe, we use cadence-based pedal-assist systems with throttle, as we believe this system provides the best value for your money and is adequate for most of your needs. Our cadence systems give you the option to switch between multiple power levels, so that you can get just the right amount of assistance – not more, not less.
What About the Battery of an E-Bike?
All electric bikes today use Lithium-ion batteries – however their placement and size/capacity can vary a lot.
As for the size, just keep in mind that the more ‘Ah’ a battery has, the farther you’d be able to go on a single charge. The Ah or ‘Ampere-hour’ is the measure of how much charge a battery can store inside it.
The battery placement and integration is also an important factor to consider. The batteries should not be mounted on e-bikes in such a way that impacts the weight distribution. For instance, placing a battery on the rear rack of a rear hub e-bike will skew the overall weight distribution, leading to poor ride handling.
Another thing is to see if the e-bike you’re buying has a removable battery or not, as this can be an important consideration for those people who don’t have a charging place in their garage. The removable batteries can be taken out of frame within just seconds for easy charging in your home or workplace.
We, at Engwe, offer removable batteries, perfectly placed to ensure a stellar ride handling.
Which Types of Tires are There?
The selection of tires depends on where you’ll be using your ride. If you plan to use your electric bike on flat and smooth urban roads, you can get thin on-road tires. But if you plan to go off the road or travel on sand, snow, or mud, you would be better off with fat tires.
Fat tires – such as the ones we feature at Engwe – have a wider tire profile that distributes your weight over a larger surface area, preventing you from digging into soft-packed terrains. So, if your area experiences a lot of snowfall or you’re looking for something that you can ride on the beach, a fat tire e-bike would be your best bet.
Besides the soft and loose terrains, fat tires can also be your perfect companion to tackle rugged uneven terrains. Just maintain the right air pressure and you’ll be unstoppable. These tires pack a large air volume to cushion all impacts and avoid any damage to rim… and they also come with an anti-puncture build and an anti-skid knobby tread.
And since fat tires can inherently cushion all impacts, even the urban riders can go for them if they want to have a comfortable ride on city potholes. So, to sum up, if you want an all-terrain ride, or something for weekend adventures, or you just want to be more comfortable on the road, fat tires would be your best companion.
What Kind of Suspension Can I Get?
A suspension system makes your ride smooth and comfortable by absorbing all kinds of surface undulations. When it comes to suspension on an e-bike, you can have three options.
No Suspension: The electric bikes that are meant to be used on smooth pavements alone (such as road e-bikes) can have no suspension. But you cannot ride these bikes off the road and they’re also not very comfortable.
Front Suspension: If you want to have a comfortable ride or you plan to take your ride off the road, you need to have at least a front suspension fork – such as what we have on the Engwe C20 Pro and the Engwe EP-2 Pro. They offer the best compromise between affordability and capability.
Full Suspension: If you’re looking to undertake daring off-road rides, you need to have a full suspension electric bike, that’s one that has suspension on both the front and the rear. At Engwe, we carry two full suspension e-bikes – the Engwe Engine X and the Engwe Engine Pro, both of which can defeat even the most rugged of terrains possible.
What Other Factors to Look For?
Some other important factors that you need to look for include the brakes and drivetrain of the electric bikes.
Hydraulic disc brakes, such as the ones we have, are the most advanced type of braking system today. They work perfectly fine on slippery terrains and can let you stop efficiently even when you’re cruising at your top speed.
As for the drivetrain, the more gears an e-bike has, the more capable it would be on hills. The Engine Pro, for instance, has an 8-speed drivetrain instead of the usual 7-speed and can therefore climb hills in a better way.
In case you want to use your e-bike during the dark, it needs to have front and rear lights… and if you want to carry your gear with you, a rear cargo rack would help you a lot. Likewise, having an LCD display (even better, if it’s colored) can make your rides safe and fun by letting you monitor your speed, distance, battery level, and pedal-assist mode in real-time!
Luckily, our folding fat tire electric bikes offer all that (and more). If you’re interested in exploring our lineup, you can visit it here. We hope it was an informative read for you!