Click Here

The obvious reason to buy an eBike online is the significant price savings to be had. For the same money that you would spend  in an “offline” store, you will get more eBike for your buck buying online and much more of a huge range to choose from. On the other hand if you are into DIY you can save even more money building your own eBike or converting a regular bike to an eBike.

But before you spend any money you need to ask yourself 8 questions before choosing and buying an eBike online especially if you are a complete beginner to eBikes.

Buying an eBike online can be a relatively easy process for experienced eBikers. For newbies though, it can be potentially overwhelming because there are so many factors to consider.

cruiser style ebike how to buy an ebike online

1. What type of electric bike is best for me?

To determine the type of eBike that is best for you, you need to know the various types of eBikes that are available. Most of these are very similar to those in the regular bike markets.
The types of eBikes are 
  • Mountain bikes tend to have wide flat handlebars, knobbly tires and decent suspension. They are generally used for off-road riding and trail riding.
  • Road bikes sometimes known as commuter bikes have either dropped handlebars like a racer bike or flat handlebars which are not as wide as a mountain bike. They tend to look fairly sporty, are well specced and have smooth tires built for the road.
  • Cruiser bikes or “sit up and beg ” style bikes are built for comfort and leisurely riding rather than speed. The name “sit up and beg” comes from sitting upright on the bike with handlebars curving towards the body. Feet can be flat on the ground when seated.
  • Folding bikes are designed to be very portable. They’re easy to take on the subway or put in the trunk of your car. Traditionally, they have very small wheels. Nowadays you can also get them with large wheels at a premium . The downside to folding bikes is that to keep costs down the bicycle components themselves can be of lower quality.
  • Cargo bikes are specifically designed for carrying heavy loads, whether that’s young children, crates or lumber etc. They are much longer than other bikes. They come either as front loaders or rear loaders. Front loaders are a little hard to manoeuvre as they are very long in the front. Rear loaders are long at the back allowing for extra seats to carry children, some have floorboards on either side of the rear where you can load your cargo. 
  • Fat bikes can ride over any terrain. They almost look like squat mountain bikes with very big knobbly tires. They are particularly great on snow and sand as well as off-road trails. They tend to be quite heavy in weight.

2. How much should I spend on an eBike online?

This depends on your budget, the type of eBike you want and the quality of that eBike. Prices range from roughly $300 for ultra budget eBikes right up to $10,000 upwards for top of the range serious machines.
Entry level $300 to $500 – At this price point you’re generally looking at cheap Chinese imports. They’re a fun and cheap way to zip around. They tend to be small in size and not designed for serious riding. The bike and battery components tend to be cheap, unbranded and not of the greatest quality.
Budget  $500 – $1000 – This would be the beginner friendly level for those who want to try out serious eBiking for the first time. At this price point the quality of the bike and electronic components improves and you get a choice of larger eBikes with better quality frames. A lot these eBikes will have entry-level branded parts such as Tektro or Shimano brakes, Panasonic batteries and disc brakes etc
You can buy eBikes at this price point and under from generalist online stores such as Amazon, Walmart, and Ebay.
Mid-range $1000 – $2500 –  At this level bike components are even better. Full suspension is now available. You get a wider range of frame materials including hydroformed which is a special process that makes the frame much lighter in weight. You get branded quality tyres eg Kenda. Displays may be built into the bike itself. Better choice of motors eg Bafang mid-drives and better warranties. Examples of eBikes in this range include RipCurrent by Juiced Bikes, Blix and GenZe.
Superior $2500 – $5000 – At this stage you are now getting superior lightweight bike components and a wider choice of mid drive systems from the major players like Bosch, Brose, Yamaha, Shimano and Panasonic. Additional features in this price range include belt drives and hydraulic brakes. eBikes in this range include the range of Orbea Gain road bikes and the Wilier Cento1 hybrid aimed at seriously committed riders available from Jenson USA .
Top notch $5000 – $10000 upwards – This is the “money no object” territory, the realm of the superbike. eBikes with extremely expensive bike components. eBikes in this range include the Tesla of eBikes – the Stromer ST5 and the downhill mountain bike the Haibike xDuro.
Click Here

What else do I need to consider?

So you’ve worked out your budget and decided on the type of eBike you want. If you’re into protecting your head you should also include the cost of a decent helmet designed specifically for eBikes in your budget.

Next you’ll want to consider what combination of motor and battery you want for the type of eBike you’re thinking about. You’ll also want to choose which system – pedal assist or throttle – to activate the motor.  

3. Pedal assist or throttle?

eBikes are basically broken down into two categories – pedal activated also known as pedal assist and throttle activated. The common differences come with how electrical power is initiated in the different bikes.
 
As the name suggests, pedal assisted eBikes or pedelecs will start the motor when you pedal and will stay running only while you are pedalling. If you stop pedalling the eBike will just coast along.
Once you reach the maximum speed allowed (between 15.5 and 20mph) in whatever country you’re in, the motor will cut out.
 
There are more powerful pedelecs that reach speeds of up to 28mph. Known as speed pedelecs or s-pedelecs,  they work the same way as standard pedelecs but for legal purposes are treated as motorized vehicles. Read this article on how speed pedelecs are treated in the UK.
Throttle or Power-on-demand eBikes come with a throttle on the handlebars similar to a moped. The throttle is operated either with a twist motion on the handlebar or flicking a switch with your thumb.
Unlike a pedelec the throttle will move the bike forward whether you are pedalling or not.
Laws vary on how the throttle can be used. For example in the UK and most of Europe, the throttle can only be used for starting the eBike and will cut out at 6km/h thereafter you have to pedal. In the USA the throttle can be used to ride the eBike at the maximum speed allowed without ever using the pedals.
Mikey from Blue Monkey Bicycles explains in the video below the pros and cons of pedal assist and throttle

4. What about the battery and motor power?

The battery is responsible for giving power to the motor therefore the capacity of the battery is another consideration to be taken into account.The motor will either be built into the center of one of the wheels (this is known as a hub motor) or it will sit between the pedals and crankshaft – this is known as a mid-drive motor.
The main differences are that the hub motor is much cheaper and therefore more readily available than mid-drive motors.
 
The geared hub motor is lighter and smaller in size compared to the gearless or direct drive hub motor and unlike the direct drive is good for climbing hills. The direct drive tends to be faster on the flat compared to the geared.
 
The mid drive motor is seen by many as superior to both types of hub motors because they have a better gear ratio, offer more control and power, a more natural riding feel and most of all are excellent at climbing hills. Because of these many benefits, mid drive eBikes tend to be much more expensive than hub motor eBikes. This simple flowchart  at electricbike.com can help in deciding whether to go for a hub or a mid drive motor.
 
The power of the motor is measured in watts. The higher the watts the more powerful it is and the more juice it needs from the battery. The smallest wattage is 250 which is the legal maximum in the UK and most of Europe. 500 watts is standard in the USA with 750 watts being the legal maximum.
Batteries are often measured in watt hours eg 300 watt hours or 400Wh. Wh is the number of hours a battery can run 1 watt of power before running out of juice. So a 250 watt motor paired with a 500 watt hour battery will run longer than a more powerful 500 watt motor paired with the same battery.
Watt hours are calculated by multiplying the volts with amp hours.

The higher the number of amp hours (Ah) the greater the range of the eBike ie how long or how far your eBike will travel before it runs out of juice.

Common types of battery packs include 36v 10Ah (ie 360Wh) – not very powerful but will work well with a 250w motor; 36v 15Ah (ie 540Wh)  which will take you further and 48v 15ah (ie 720Wh) – much more powerful with better range.
However these figures can only be used as a guide when it comes to eBikes because the different variables such as your weight, the type of terrain you’ll be riding on, how many and how steep the hills you’ll be climbing will all affect the life of the battery.
Therefore you need to choose the most powerful battery for your specific needs. You can learn about extending the life of your battery here

5. What size eBike frame should I get?

The last physical thing to consider is what size eBike frame you need.

The basic measurements you need are your height, the length of your arm measured from your shoulder to your wristbone and your in-seam measured from the top of your inner thigh down to the floor.

The height of the frame will be a combination of your inseam measurements plus 2.5 – 5cm above the top cross bar.

The length of your arm will determine your reach to the handlebars fromthe saddle

One of the easiest ways of finding the right size eBike online is by using a size chart similar to that found on Amazon. This will give you a good guide as to the eBike frame size you’ll need for your height.

6. Is the eBike sent fully assembled?

Once your eBike finally arrives you will need to do some basic assembly before you can start riding it. This will include anything from putting the front wheel on, attaching the pedals and straightening the handlebars.

For an extra fee some companies will assemble the eBike for you or will send it to a local bike shop for you to pick up.

7. What are other people saying?

If you’ve seen an eBike online that you fancy, read as many reviews on the eBike and the company as you can on external sites such as Amazon, TrustPilot, SiteJabber, ShopperApproved. This is especially true if you are a complete beginner to eBikes.

Concentrate on those eBikes that have an average approval rating of at least 4 stars and above. Look for companies with good customer service and decent return policies. Speaking of which…

8. What are the return and warranty policies?

If you’re not happy with your eBike when it arrives most companies will allow you return it within 15 to 30 days. Unfortunately many of these companies state that the eBike must be returned unused before they refund your money. However, some companies such as SixThreeZero will allow you to test the eBike thoroughly for a generous 90 days of usage and offer a lifetime warranty for the duration of your ownership.

Most eBike online companies offer a 12 to 24 months warranty for the electric components eg the motor, controller, display, brake lever switches, throttle, battery. In addition the frame itself will also be covered. Tires and inner tubes are generally not covered. Canyon who only sell online offer a guarantee of 6 years for the bike frame and forks.

In most cases, the warranty coverage only applies to the original registered owner of the eBike and cannot be transferred if resold.

Summary

So there you have it. 8 questions you need the answers to before choosing and buying an eBike online.

In summary you need to know what type of eBike is best for you, how much power you want from it and what you can actually get for your budget. You’ll also need to know what your frame size is, what the company’s reputation and it’s policies are and what other people are saying before you make a final decision.

If you prefer to build your own eBike you might be interested in the eBike Conversions for Beginners series. Details are in the box below.

eBike Conversions for Beginners series

External source – electricbike.com

Related Posts

BEST eBIKE HELMET FOR S-PEDELEC | REVIEW Abus vs Giro vs Met

Not all eBike helmets are made equal. Wearing the wrong helmet can have serious consequences. A review of five of the best eBike helmets for speed pedelecs

Newbies Guide to Speed Pedelecs in the UK. Worth the hassle?

Newbies Guide to Speed Pedelecs in the UK. Worth the hassle? Learn how many hoops you have to jump through simply to own and ride a fast eBike in the UK.

Complete Beginners Guide to eBikes

What’s the difference between an eBike and a bike? Are they legal? How can I get one? Not sure of the answers? Read the Complete Beginners Guide to eBikes

Beginners Guide on How to Convert a Regular Bike to an eBike

Part 1 of eBike Conversions for Beginners series – 5 reasons to convert a normal bike to electric. Differences between wheel hub motor and mid drive kits.

Click Here