Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s no wonder why; They are versatile, functional and money-saving. With a motor that can help with pedaling – and can be turned off if you want to ride a bike the old-fashioned way – these babies make it easier to cover longer distances and carry heavier loads. That means you can use one instead of your car to run errands or pick up groceries, save on gas, parking costs and vehicle maintenance; and have even more fun doing it.
At the same time, you’re getting a workout — and research suggests it might not even feel like a workout that much. A small study with 33 participants found that riders of electric mountain bikes worked at almost the same cardiovascular level as those on unassisted bikes, but they felt less exerted while riding. Also, many people just found them comfortable to drive.
“E-bikes definitely make getting around easier because you don’t have to worry about having enough physical energy and stamina to do a loop tour when you feel like exploring or doing more errands,” says Kraft- and Conditioning Expert and Certified Cycling Coach Garret Seacat, CSCS. “They’re pretty quick too, and that’s always fun.”
As with other types of bicycles, not all e-bike models are created equal. When choosing the best option for you, consider factors such as what the bike will be used for, the type of surface you ride on and, of course, your budget. Use this quiz feature Aventon E-bikes to narrow down your exact right model:
What you should pay attention to when buying an e-bike
Once you’ve narrowed down your options to a few top contenders, a handful of technical variables can help you choose just the right e-bike for your needs. Certified cycling coach Paul Warloski says the following elements are to be considered:
According to Warloski, an e-bike’s size affects its ability to get on and off comfortably, whether it’s a step-over model with a taller crossbar or a step-through without a crossbar. Some people prefer a step-through because they have mobility issues or simply want to get off their bikes faster when running errands. Others like the look of the classic step-over design. But the fact of the matter is, if your bike is too big for you, you’re going to have a hard time getting off it, no matter the crossbar situation.
Aventon offers e-bikes with step-over and step-through frames in regular (5’3″ to 5’10”) and large (5’10” to 6’4″) sizes, but there are also several Models available in a small size for people 4’11” and taller.
“Your choice should be based on that [size as well as] what you feel will be most comfortable for you,” says Warloski. He adds that reading online reviews and trying out bikes at a local business if possible is important. Once you’re on a bike, you’re likely to notice features that just feel right or wrong.
Another consideration is what accessories are available for each bike, Seacat says. If you shop at farmers markets frequently, you might want one Basket (or two) securely on the front or back of the bike. Riding early morning or early evening? Make sure you can add a bright to light your way after dark. Most bikes have mounts that allow you to mount one water bottle or pocket firmly on the frame. They know your driving habits and know what you like to take with you. So consider whether a bike has enough mounts or luggage options to accommodate the accessories you want, or whether you can easily add them.
The rubber that hits the road is another key factor. Tires may not be as important to e-bike riders as they are to pro racers, but nobody likes a flat tire. If you drive regularly on gravel or rough surfaces, it’s better to opt for more durable and wider tires (like the ones on adventure models) that give you more traction, says Seacat. If you rarely stray from paved bike lanes and city bike lanes, you probably want smoother tires like Aventon’s road + cruise category, which have the advantage of being lighter – a plus if you need to lift the bike, for example to carry it up steps or onto a bike rack. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to have at least one spare inner tube handy if you get that dreaded apartment.
With e-bikes, the battery has top priority for obvious reasons; You should make sure you have enough strength to get home when you need the kick boost. If you’re just going for short jaunts this doesn’t seem like a huge issue, but Seacat does point out that it’s nice to take longer trips occasionally. So make sure you pick a bike with enough battery life for about twice your usual ride length, if not more.
Above all, if you have your e-bike, enjoy it to the fullest. You don’t just have to level up for errands and other tasks. E-bikes are also the go-to choice for high-intensity workouts, leisurely long rides, and everything in between.