Here at Greater Mercer TMA, we are encouraging everyone to go green in 2023 by adopting behaviors that can reduce harmful pollution related to transportation greenhouse gas emissions. Whether you’re looking to cut down on pollution or make biking a better option for yourself, an electric bike makes sense. It is more affordable than an electric car, more efficient, and more fun. These bikes are great for people who want an affordable way to commute but maybe the distance to work is a bit too far or the terrain is too hilly to be practical for a traditional bike. Or maybe a knee or joint injury prevents someone from using a conventional bike daily. Overall, an e-bike is a fun way to get out with ease.
Before you make the investment, we suggest researching the bike that is best for you. In this blog post, we will share tips to help you choose the right e-bike for your needs and help you familiarize yourself with the nuances of riding one. Before you purchase an e-bike, you should clearly understand what kind of riding you’ll be doing and where. The big difference between these bikes compared to traditional ones is that they can be more powerful and travel at speeds of 20mph. That makes them extremely useful if your commute involves lots of hilly terrains. Most people enjoy riding an electric bike because of its freedom and ease of use. But there are some things you should know before making a purchase.
- Just like conventional bikes there are different types of bikes to consider. Mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrid, cargo bikes, folding bikes, and even tricycle bikes. Choosing the right one for you will depend on how you intend to use your bike.
- The investment of an e-bike can range between $2,000-$6,000 depending on the bike’s make and model.
- Some e-bikes are only pedal assist, some just have a throttle, and some have both. Pedal assist is when you pedal, the bike’s motor is going to assist you. Most bikes offer three or four assist levels to choose from. If you don’t pedal, for example when you are coasting, the motor’s not going to kick in. Some bikes come with a throttle. So not only will the motor operate when you’re pedaling, but you can push or twist the throttle and the bike will go without pedaling. Some have both pedal assist and a throttle. This is a great option if you ride in an area with a lot of hills the throttle will effortlessly climb the hill. Check out this video to explain the differences.
- Not all batteries are equal. There are lots of different battery size options on the market. The battery size greatly contributes to the cost of an e-bike. E-bike battery sizes range anywhere from five-amp hours up to 21-amp hours. The length of time a battery will last depends on the distance of your ride and the terrain you ride on. For example, riding over a lot of hills versus riding on flat ground. When it comes to e-bike batteries consider the phrase, “buy nice or buy twice.” This saying isn’t always true but in this case, it is. Panasonic, LG, and Samsung are a few of the most known battery manufacturers with great reputations. Buying a cheaper off-brand battery will likely not last as long and will have you replacing the battery way too soon. For more details on e-bike batteries click here.
- E-bikes come with a charger that uses a standard household plug. It does take some time to charge an e-bike battery, roughly 4-6 hours. On average an e-bike can go around 30-60 miles on a charge which all depends on the number of hills, amount of pedaling, speed, and size of the battery.
- Similar to batteries, motor sizes also vary. Motor sizes can range from about 250 watts up to 1000 or 2000 And again, the price is going to fluctuate based on motor size. 500 watts is a great mid-range starting point for a motor. 250 watts are really for smaller e-bikes, great for short trips under two to four-mile rides. There are also two different types of motors, hub motors, and mid-drive motors. Hub motors are located in the center of the wheel and provide power directly to the wheel. Mid-drive motors are located near the pedals and provide power to the drivetrain, which then powers the wheels.
- We have all heard stories about e-bike batteries exploding. We want to reassure you that more often than not, these explosions are preventable. Lithium batteries, commonly found in phones, laptops, and e-bikes, store a large amount of energy, therefore proper care is very important. Here are some ways to prevent fires:
- Do not use aftermarket and off-brand batteries for your bike.
- Follow the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations
- Don’t leave the battery charging for an extended period of time. Once the battery is fully charged, unplug the charger from the wall. Do not just unplug the charger from the bike.
- Do not leave your e-bike charging overnight without supervision.
- Avoid keeping your e-bike battery in extremely cold or hot temperatures.
- Avoid charging the battery in extremely cold or hot temperatures.
- Laws and regulations that surround e-bikes might vary from state to state. The NJ Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center have all the information to help you understand the e-bike laws in NJ. Laws usually depend on which class the e-bike is in. In NJ there are three classes:
- Class One: Bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph.
- Class 2: Bicycle equipped with a throttle-actuated motor, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph.
- Class 3: Is defined as motorized bicycles. A motorized bicycle is subject to different rules than traditional bicycles. There is a 15-year age minimum for motorized bicycle use. Motorized bicycle riders must carry an operator’s license and are subject to registration and insurance requirements.
- Before jumping into purchasing an e-bike test one out first. Some shops offer half-day and full-day e-bike rentals. This will give you a better sense of what it is like to experience an e-bike.
- Be prepared for repairs. Similar to cars, e-bikes require attention and maintenance to keep them running to the best of their ability. Purchasing an e-bike with a certified technician at a shop will be your best bet for keeping your e-bike in great condition.