If you're looking for your first electric bike, we would like to give you some advice and tips to pick the best one! The main question is, what to look for when buying an e-bike?
We should say that you have to check some fundamental requirements and then you can choose according to your needs, budget and personal tastes.
First of all you should choose a legal e-bike that meets all the requirements to be allowed on streets and bike lanes. In fact if you choose a legal version it will be considered as a standard bicycle with no obligations to the rider (insurance, helmet, plate, licence etc.).
These legal requirements are mainly about the power of the electric motor in watts and the maximum speed. If you live in the United States, you will need to check local laws and legislation to understand local considerations for electric bikes, which will help you make the right choice and avoid the expense and hassle.
After that, you must look for a model that will meet your needs in terms of performance and use. Are you looking for a super lightweight model that is easy to carry around, or a sturdy and fast model that can be ridden off-road?
Do you need a long capacity battery, or do you want to ride short distances?
You can find a very wide range of models on the market, each one designed to perform more in certain situations. You don't have to worry, manufacturers will always describe their bikes in detail to show which is the best way to use their bikes.
So let's move on and find out how to pick the best e-bike in the market. Are you ready?
Follow the rules: road legal e-bike
The basic aspect to consider when buying an e-bike is about road legality. As we said before, unfortunately there are still a lot of differences between many states in the US, so you need to check the situation in the state you live in.
The legislation requires electric bicycles to have a motor no more than 750 watts and a speed limit of no more than 28 miles per hour.
So, you must avoid e-bikes with 750 watts or more motors and speeds over 28 mph: in this case they are considered other engine vehicles and they require a special treatment and obligations.
For a deeper understanding, we recommend reading our article "What kind of license do I need for an electric bike?"
Different needs, different products: what do I need?
In the current market you can find a wide range of e-bikes, some e-bikes are fast and comfortable on the tarmac, others are meant for off-road use, others are for those who need to carry a small bike in a van or camper during their vacation, etc.
If you're looking for comfort, it's definitely better to go with a model that has dual suspension. Some models have a very large battery and lots of power, but are they bulky and do you have enough space to store them?
So you have to ask yourself: What do I need to do with my e-bike? Where do I have to ride? These questions are prerequisites to picking the right e-bike for you.
For example, if you live in an apartment and you need to take your bike upstairs or to the elevator for a short ride downtown, then getting a small and light foldable e-bike will do the trick. It will be easy to carry, light weight and compact for storage.
On the other hand, if you like to explore off-road terrain on long rides, you will need a rugged, high battery capacity e-bike. In this case, the weight will definitely be higher because the bike must be tougher and more reliable to handle challenging terrain.
Electric Motor and power
As we said, in order to be legal, motor power cannot exceed 750W, which means your best bet will be an electric bike powered by a 750W motor.
Affordable e-bikes offer a rear hub motor that's integrated in the wheel. The simplest version uses a speed sensor to regulate power flow and assistance, while the more performance models come with a sophisticated torque sensor that provides a more natural feel and efficient power delivery.
In fact, the torque sensor reads the need for power based on the movement of pedal speed and delivers the right amount of power to the rider when needed. It also helps increase battery life for a larger ride and less energy consumption.
If you'd like a more in-depth look at the main difference between Speed and Torque sensor, read on for our dedicated article.
Final tips: accessories are useful
We have already explained that you must choose the best e-bike according to your needs and rules, but we also recommend choosing accessories that can be installed additionally, such as: kickstand, LED lights, rear rack, etc.
These components are very useful to be able to see the bike well on the street and when parked. It is better to buy a bike that is fully assembled with these accessories rather than spending more money and effort on finding them.
If you are looking for your first electric bike for city commuting, you can check out those new Gallop electric bike models that come with a 750W motor and all the city accessories to make your ride comfortable and safe.
What are you waiting for? Pick up your e-bike and have fun!