The moment we live in seems to have finished accelerating the popularity of electric bicycles, finally consolidating them as the ideal means of transport for cities.
A means of transport that overcomes the limitations of the traditional bicycle, and that at the same time allows us to perform moderate exercise. But we will go into depth another day to define the many benefits and advantages of electric bicycles.
Today I bring you a guide on how to choose your eBike. What are the criteria, which from my point of view, you should always take into account when making your choice? Let's go for it !!
1. What use are you going to give it?
This is the first question you should ask yourself, leaving aside aesthetic issues or specific brands. Here we could define three large groups. Urban, road, and mountain.
The eMTB segment, because of how well the engine assistance adapts to the demands of the mountain, is where the most product range exists.
The urban eBikes are characterized by a more comfortable ride and a reduced supply of product origin, living a moment of the total boom. So if it is your choice, rest assured, you will find what you are looking for sure.
2. Engine position
There seems to be a consensus that the best engines on the market are currently made by Bosch, Shimano, Yamaha, and Brose. And speaking of the heart of the "bicha", in addition to the power, its position is a differential factor.
They are integrated into the front hub. Although traditionally associated with low-end bicycles, their use in small 16 "folding eBikes is very interesting. In fact, there are examples on the market with exceptional performance, such as the Brompton or the Xiaomi QiCycle.
They may not be as interesting for larger bikes as they put more wear on the fork and tend to cause the front drive wheels to skid on slippery surfaces.
They are integrated into the rear hub. Leaving the frame-free for folding, they are ideal for larger folding eBikes.
They are usually quieter than the front ones, offer a more direct power transmission, and allow better handling and grip while driving.
They are located on the bottom bracket shaft. It is the one that offers the best benefits for mountain, road, and gravel bikes. Its use for urban eBikes is a testimonial.
Provides more fluid and direct assistance, allowing the sensor to activate pedal assistance, practically instantaneously.
The central location leads to better weight distribution throughout the eBike and a lower center of gravity which ultimately provides a ride similar to that of traditional bikes.
3. Engine power
Taking into account that the nominal power is limited to 250W, although there are urban models with less power, they are not recommended at all.
Below I show you the details that make the difference between engines with the same power.
4. Maximum torque
The maximum torque or torque of electric bicycles is not limited to power. It is an attribute that, although it is not differential, marks the strength or joy with which your bike will come out. It is generally between 50-120 newton-meters (Nm) , although it is normal that eMTBs, designed to face steep slopes or very abrupt changes in rhythm, have higher maximum torques than urban ones.
In any case, the differences are not very exaggerated. We can even find Panasonic eMTB motors with 65 Nm torques and urban eBikes with 70 Nm Impulse motors.
There is no better torque here than another. It depends on preferences when driving and the type of use you give the bike. If you do urban routes with many hills, you may need more torque. If your thing is the mountains, in principle you will need less torque on a DH to go downhill, than you do routes with many slopes.
What should be clear to you is that the greater the torque, the greater the force in the exits and the less autonomy. Torque is a very battery-depleting attribute.
Therefore, if your goal is to do a 120-kilometer journey, you may prefer a bike with a more moderate torque. If your goal is to go cross country, you may need a higher torque.
5. Pedal assist sensor
Closely related to torque is the way your bike's engine is powered. Although in my humble opinion it should not be something that determines the purchase decision, the truth is that it totally affects the pair. There are two types of pedal-assist sensors.
6.1 Battery voltage
Traditionally it oscillates between 24-36 Volts, although now they begin to emerge from 48V. Our recommendation is that a quality urban electric bike should have at least 36V. And this is the minimum required even for 16 "folding electric bicycles. The 48V voltages we leave for the field.