“Aren’t all electric bikes pretty much the same?”
A customer asked us this question the other day when they were comparing the prices of our range of electric bikes at our Brisbane showroom.
When you spend all day and every day around bikes both electric and traditional, it's very easy to take for granted the subtle and not so subtle differences between electric bike design, specification and price.
To help narrow down the choice, there are three questions you need to ask yourself and we have one bonus tip to help you decide whether you are about to buy the right one for you.
To help narrow the best options for you here are these three key questions you need to answer:
This sounds like an obvious question but electric bikes are pretty versatile machines. Some might say they’re the swiss-army knife of the bike world. We’ve got lots of customers who commute during the week, hit the dirt trails at the weekend and also tow or carry their children on family trips or do the school run on the way to work.
A better question might be what will you use your electric bike for most of the time?
Think about what your primary reason for buying one is and what you will use it for 90% of the time. Most ebikes can handle a little bit of something extra but it will quickly become a dud purchase if it doesn't help you do what you primarily wanted one for in the first place.
We find that our customers tend to want an electric bike that fits into one of the categories that are explained in this article here >>. If you want a bike that can do everything, then just go straight to the 'Adventure' category :)
Now this is where it really does pay to have a clear idea of the functionality you need. Bicycle specifications can get very confusing so if you think about what functionality you need it can help narrow it down.
Typically an electric bike (or e-bike) costs more to purchase than a normal bike. If you think about it you have the regular bike specifications and then the cost of the motor, battery, design, and electrical equipment on top.
Your initial outlay obviously depends on your budget, but generally the old saying “you get what you pay for” is as true for e-bikes and the e-biking world as any other quality-driven, high usage item that you purchase.
Be clear about your budget though as often there are two or three good options to suit what you are prepared to spend.
If you see one ebike that looks pretty much the same as another one and costs a lot less ask yourself why. Where has the money been saved in the cheaper one?
Often it is in the parts that you don't see or aren't on the standard headline 'specifications' lists and it is usually these that cause ebikes to be less reliable and more difficult to ride.
For the key things that influence the prices between ebikes see this article on 'What is a Realistic Budget for an eBike'.
This may seem like an odd thing to do with an electric bike, however at Electric Bikes Brisbane we believe a good electric bike should start out as a good bike in the first place.
Riding a bike without the electric motor gives you a really good feeling for the quality of the wheels, frame, gears and brakes. Even without the electric motor the bike should pedal and ride well.
Manufacturers of electric bikes who are genuine enthusiasts share this philosophy. Adding an electric motor to a badly designed bike with cheap components only makes a faster badly designed bike!
You can’t turn a donkey into a racehorse.
So, back to the original questions. Are all electric bikes pretty much the same? Yes, they have a motor but definitely no. They might look it on the surface but buyer beware.
What you need and what you are looking to spend are the key factors in deciding which one and that is where out team of ebike specialists can help to make this an easier and enjoyable process.
EBikes can open up cycling to a much wider audience than traditional bikes, especially with Brisbane’s hills and summer heat. There are many to choose from these days and we often get asked for good 'beginner' ebikes. Here is our criteria on what makes a good beginner ebike.
Riese & Muller have always been at the forefront of electric bike technology and they work in collaboration with their key suppliers to develop technology platforms that will deliver the best performance. Here is an overview of their core technology platforms to help you understand which of their ebikes might be the best for you.