How to choose your electric bike in 2021?

The bicycle is the second most used means of transport after the car. Like scooters or skates, it too has benefited from a welcome electrification. With a plethora of choices and such a vast offer, here is our guide to help you see more clearly. In the saddle !



In Spain, he sells a bike every 15 seconds, that is 6 bikes per day or 600 bikes in 2. A real passion links the Spaniards to the little queen and this is not new. If you are currently looking for a new steed, you can also consult our guide to the best electric bikes of the moment.


A little history of cycling

From the balance bike, the ancestor without brakes and pedals, to the large bi and its gigantic front wheel, to the modern velocipede, the bike has gradually evolved to become the one we know today. A simple, economical and pleasant way of getting around town and country.

“Lawson's bicycle, first bicycle with a chain and crankset under the rider” // Source Wikipedia


If the classic bicycle has reached the age of reason, its little brother, the electric bicycle, is entering its early teens. Lower prices, increasingly efficient battery technology, the entry of new players, everything is in place to democratize the 2.0 bicycle.

If the price of a good electric bike remains, generally, two to three times higher than its traditional equivalent, the advantages are also much more convincing. The latest generation processors, combined with increasingly dense batteries, offer surprising ease of use without weighing down the bike too much.


"Evolution of the bicycle since the balance bike of 1818" // Source Wikipedia

However, to choose it well, it is important to first consider the bike as a whole and not just its electrification. This non-exhaustive guide provides you with the elements to buy your next electric bike.


Anatomy of a bicycle

Contrary to what one might think, a bicycle is much more than a frame and two wheels. Each element of the bike plays a very precise role and if it is possible to "upgrade" your bike as you go, it is better choose your original outfit.

The major components are: the frame, the fork / handlebar pair, the crankset, the wheels / tires and of course the brakes. On an electric bike, it will obviously be necessary to add the motor, the battery and the controller. Finally, depending on its use, it will be possible to add a whole range of accessories to your bike: mudguard, luggage rack, saddlebags and even a phone holder.


“The Vanmoof X2 and its X-frame! "// Source Vanmoof

If the following paragraphs speak of bicycles in the general sense, this applies of course to electric bicycles.

The framework

It is the skeleton of your bike, all the elements will be added to it. The frame can be steel, aluminum and even carbon for the more high-end models.

An electric bicycle undergoes stronger acceleration and deceleration than its “classic” equivalent. The choice of frame will have a direct influence on road behavior, in addition to the cyclist it will also have to support the battery and the motor, which weighs down the whole.


"The Saturday 28 of Mustache uses a hydroformed frame" // Source Mustache bikes

If steel costs cheaper, it is also much heavier, which will quickly be felt in the climbs, or if you have to carry the bike. It is mostly found on entry-level models and very rarely on an electric bike already weighed down by its battery.

Aluminium

Aluminum has become very usual, an aluminum frame will be lighter and stiffer than the same steel model, a good point. These precious kg gained allow better recoveries and above all easier transport. Downside, aluminum absorbs less shocks and if your bike doesn't have shock absorbers you're going to (really) hate cobblestones.

The aluminum frame remains a excellent price / weight / performance compromise and accounts for the majority of sales today. Ah and if you are asked "alu 6061 or alu 7005? »At the same price, choose the first one.

“A full carbon frame in an electric bicycle? The Sierra FuroSystems ”// Source Furo Systems

Coal

Carbon fiber frames represent the very best of the genre: ultra light, super stiff and… really expensive. If the gains are real, its price remains a huge barrier to buying. To ensure maximum strength, the fibers are braided in two different directions to withstand all stresses. Problem, this process extends the production time and the quantity of fiber required, necessarily increasing the final price.

If your budget is large, indulge yourself with a carbon frame, but in 90% of cases, an aluminum frame will be more than sufficient !

The wheels

We can't repeat it enough, but the wheels are the only element in contact with the ground on a two-wheeler. It is therefore a major element that requires a thoughtful choice, even more on an electric bike, heavier.

"Mavic Crossmax Pro Carbon wheel: the brand's top for MTB" // Source: Mavic

The diameter

In terms of wheel sizes, there are several formats depending on the type of bike and the size of the rider. The smaller the wheel, the more manoeuvrable the bike is at low speed and the more uncomfortable at high speed.. It is therefore a question of making the right arbitration according to its use.

26-27,5 ″: the basic wheel diameter for an ATV or VTC

A 24 ″ diameter wheel will require less effort when starting and offers a smaller turning radius, practical in town for example. At high speed, that's another story. It will make the control of the bike much more hazardous, if you regularly do long distances, they are not recommended.

A 29 ″ diameter wheel will require a serious pedal stroke when starting. Its large inertia and large turning radius will not make it the best city bike. On the other hand, its large diameter will erase imperfections in the ground and allow high speeds to be reached without risking losing control.

The most common formats are:

  • 18-20 ″: a diameter mostly used by folding bikes, underneath the bike starts to get really unstable at high speeds.
  • 26-27,5 ″: the basic wheel diameter for an ATV or VTC, the 27,5 ″ becoming more democratic. A good speed / inertia compromise, it will be suitable for 90% of situations.
  • 28-29 ″: Large wheels are mostly used on road bikes or racing bikes. Thanks to their large diameter, it is possible to drive quickly and for a long time without having to relaunch too often. In mountain biking, this allows easier crossing of cracks and faults.

“20 ″ is the minimum diameter for comfortable daily journeys” // Source Décathlon

For an electric bike, a large diameter wheel will not be a problem, pedaling being assisted by the electric motor. I will tend to recommend a minimum 27,5 ″ wheel, averaging 25 km / h will make rides more comfortable.

The Tyres

The choice of tires is essential, it will have a massive influence on road behavior, comfort and even speed. Little tip: the thinner the wheel, the faster the bike goes. The wider the wheel, the better the bike grip, question of contact surface.

In the event of a puncture, it will be necessary to change the inner tube and sometimes the wheel with

The classic tire is made of rubber (more or less hard) and has an air chamber. Everything is associated with the rim thanks to the bead of the tire. Depending on the diameter of the wheel, we will obviously choose a suitable inner tube, so that the tire is fully filled.

This system is the most common, there are almost all diameters and all wheel widths. In the event of a puncture, it will be necessary to change the inner tube and sometimes the wheel with it, a more or less simple operation depending on the bikes.

“Schwalbe balloon tires are used more and more in electric bicycles” // Source Schwalbe

Tubeless tires do not include the inner tube, what makes them lighters and theoretically more resistant to punctures. The pressure naturally blocks the escape of gas if the situation arises. Fitting a tubeless tire requires the right wheels and a little bit of a knack.

In the same genre, we also find the tubular on road bikes. Completely closed, it offers better performance and better comfort, more flexible it adapts perfectly to the road. Here again, it again requires precise know-how for its assembly.

Finally, be aware that if your bike does not have shock absorbers, an oversized tire such as "balloon" tires can be a great alternative. Thanks to their low pressure, they absorb shocks admirably well and are perfectly suited to the city. Dutch bikes have adopted this unusual tire for several years.

Frame geometry

Quick little point on the geometry of the frame, depending on the end use, the frame will offer a more or less leaning seat.

City bike

A city bike has a high handlebar, a mixed (i.e. low) center bar and a relatively low saddle. This configuration allows you to keep your back straight, which will more comfortable on city trips with many stops.

 

“Monday 26th is the perfect example of a city bike: handlebars raised and luggage rack” // Source Mustache Bike

Road bike

A road bike will have a saddle at the same height, or even higher, than the handlebars. The cyclist then adopts a "plunging" position, a little surprising at first. You have necessarily crossed a bicycle courier or an experienced cyclist, practically parallel to the ground, a position characteristic of this type of frame. Best if you like speed or take long journeys, beware of cars though!

MTB and VTC

Finally, the last type of frame is also more popular: the MTB / VTC frame. Straddling the race and city position, this geometry has extended to all circles. She offers a good compromise between comfort and speed and allows you to keep a center of balance slightly behind.

Concerning the male / female executive debate, there are now mixed executives: female, but not too many. While the women's frame was originally designed to allow women to ride a bike without lifting their dress, many men have adopted this frame, which is more practical on a daily basis.

 

“The Samedi 27 SX 9 lends itself much better to downhill than to the city. "// Source Mustache

Folding bike

A separate category, the folding bike must play with particular constraints. The folding system making it often (a lot) heavier than its non-collapsible equivalent. And this is even more true with an electric folding bike, the vast majority happily flirting with 20 kg... In terms of comfort, there is everything, but plan a solid budget to really make you happy.

Fork and stem

The fork is a movable element connected to the front wheel and the stem. It is a major element that undergoes significant efforts, after the front wheel it is he who supports the bumps of the road. It can be changed over time, in the event of an accident or simply wear.

Fixed fork

The simplest bicycle fork and the fixed or rigid fork. Its simplicity has made it a real visual differentiator on certain models. Robust, it does not require any particular maintenance which is a definite advantage. The only downside comes from its rigidity, all the roughness of the road will be transmitted directly to the handlebars, therefore to the arms.

"BH Emotion Neo Carbon a full carbon electric bike, even La Fourche" // Source: BH Bikes

It can be in:

  • steel, heavy, but more comfortable than aluminum;
  • aluminum, light and stiff, but less comfortable than steel;
  • carbon, ultra light and ultra rigid, it is found especially on high-end models.

Road / racing bikes hardly ever have shock absorbers with their fork, they are built for speed and endurance. Donkeys, potholes and sidewalks will quickly become your best enemies.

An electric bike with a rigid fork will prove to be extremely nervous, the Cowboy or the X2 from Vanmoof are very good examples.

Suspension fork

A fork with shock absorbers (or suspended) will be more comfortable, but will also prove to be heavier. The shocks can be spring or gas for more advanced models, almost all ATV / VTC models have them as standard.

A shock absorber will absorb part of the cyclist's efforts, the bike sinking a little with each pedal stroke. To overcome this pitfall, some forks are equipped with a lock system to block the shock absorber, practical on road trips for example.

On an electric bike, the suspension fork is very common. It allows you to withstand acceleration and braking, which is more intense than on a conventional bike. It is quite possible to choose an electric bicycle with a fixed fork, but, from experience, you will quickly feel the difference in the arms.

“A single-sided suspension fork on an electric bicycle? The MASS Starck Bike Snow had it ”.

An electric mountain bike in town is like a 4X4 in town: it's big, it's heavy, but it's comfortable… and it goes everywhere. In doubt, get in touch with a reseller to take the test : comfort or speed?

Stem and handlebars

Potence

The stem can be plunging - they dive into the head tube - or ahead-set - they hook directly onto the fork. The former is found mainly on road / racing bikes and can be easily adjusted in height, a good point for the position of the back. These jib cranes are heavier than their ahead-set counterpart.

"The ahead-set stem is very common on an MTB" // Source: Citycle

The ahead-set stems are much more recent. Yes they do not allow the height of the handlebars to be adjusted, they are also much lighter. They are mostly found on mountain bikes, but they are more and more common on modern bikes.

The length of the stem directly affects your riding position, the longer it is the more the rider will be stretched out, not very comfortable, but perfect for intensive use on the road. A short stem will make the bike very manoeuvrable, but will not allow it to lean more than it should.

"The plunging stem retains a certain charm, especially on a vintage bike" // Source monsieurpignonmadameguidon

A good compromise is a stem about 100 mm long. As for the angle of the stem, it's very simple: straight stem = speed, inclined stem = MTB. A gallows with an angle of 10 degrees is perfectly suited to the city, leaning, but not too much. This will allow you not to be thrown off when the electric motor is activated, while not being with your nose in the handlebars each time you brake.

Handlebar

As for the handlebars (yes I know we can also say hanger), several schools coexist. They can be in aluminum or carbon, more rarely in steel, and above all adopt several forms:

  • straight or slightly raised handlebars: basic among the basics, it is very common and also very uncomfortable in town. This handlebar offers excellent handling, but will prove to be tiring on a daily basis for city or road use, the outside of the wrists undergoing an unnatural position. Several lengths exist and the wider the handlebars, the more manoeuvrable the bike (and the more complicated it will be to pass between two cars, but that ...)

"The classic straight up handlebars are very common on mountain bikes" // Source: Haibike

  • road handlebars: you must have already seen it, its convoluted shape with curved ends making it unique (the famous casseroles). This handlebar is one of the most comfortable, the position of the hands allowing a grip, all in all, quite natural. If they require a little time to adapt, once adopted it is hard to go back. Narrower than straight handlebars, they are also less manageable, attention.
  • flat curved handlebars: very common on city bikes, they are more comfortable than straight handlebarss while being less "technical" than road handlebars. A very good compromise in town or for daily trips.

Freins

An essential and even essential safety device for electric bikes: the brakes. An eBike can go relatively fast and suffers from greater inertia than a conventional bicycle, so braking must be stronger. If there's one thing you shouldn't compromise on, it's the brakes..

"The brake light that comes on when braking, that's the class" // Source Vanmoof

Rim brakes

Brakes can be separated into two distinct families, rim brakes and disc brakes. The former use rubber pads that will rub the rims of the wheels of the bicycle. This friction will gradually slow the two-wheeler until it comes to a complete stop. There are three sub-families:

“Shimano's V-Brake remains the most widely used around the world” // Source Shimano

  • calliper brakes: two callipers fixed on a central pivot, actuated by a steel wire connected to the handlebar controls. The brackets can be central pull (two cables) or side pull (one cable). These brakes are mostly found on older bikes or road / racing bikes.
  • cantilever brakes: almost all such brakes are now V-Brakes, the calipers are fixed on the Fork and a steel wire brings them closer to the rim. Safe and simple, they have become the gold standard.
  • hydraulic brakes: quite rare, they are more powerful than other models, but also cost more.

The fault of these brakes? The skates lose some of their grip in rainy weather and if the rim is warped, their efficiency is greatly reduced.

Disc brakes

More expensive, disc brakes are also found on modern bicycles. The operation is similar to cars, a metal disc, integral with the axis of the wheel is "bitten" by the pads until the complete stop of the two-wheeler.

The advantages of this system? He is not afraid of inclement weather : Even covered in mud, the disc brake will work without a hitch. It is not dependent on the condition of the rim and above all, it is much more powerful than the rim brake.

It can be mechanical: a steel wire activates an arm which brings a movable plate closer to the disc, the opposite plate forming a “sandwich”. These systems are not necessarily better than good v-brakes, the use of a steel wire does not allow greater pressure than conventional v-brakes. That is why it is recommended to install hydraulic disc brakes, rather than mechanical. An incompressible fluid replaces the steel wire and allows a much (much) more powerful braking, a very light pressure allowing to multiply the force.

“The disc is almost always perforated to let the water escape” // Source Shimano

Personally, I find it to be the most comfortable brake and also the safest. Only flaw, it will be necessary to do be careful to purge them once a year, an operation not necessarily simple. On an electric bicycle, a hydraulic disc brake is a must.

More marginal, you will also find drum brakes, but I will not dwell on them!

Derailleur and fixed gear

And yes, even if the electric bike has a motor, we still find gears on this type of bike. At least… for those who have a derailleur!

The fixie

Hipster of the day, hello. In recent years, the fixed gear has made a comeback. First among couriers because of the simplification of the bike, allowing to reduce costs and breakdowns (if we do not count the punctured wheels). Then among hipsters always looking for an alternative to the standards of the genre.

“The B2Bike is a real electric fixie, an electrified hipster” // Source B2Bike

The fixed gear does not have a derailleur and therefore does not offer gears. You can modulate the power by choosing a high or low ratio pedal / pinion. Depending on this choice, the bike may go faster or slower, but will require pedaling harder.

The more hardcore will choose the real fixed gear, that is to say without freewheel, which requires backpedaling to brake. It's class, it's technical and it's extremely difficult. But what is class.

“The Cowboy is a surprisingly affordable electric fixie” // Cowboy Bike

There are several electric bikes in fixed gear, the absence of speed and derailleur allowing an interesting synergy. The presence of a single speed allowing further modulation and maximum engine torque with a suitable chain (carbon for example).

Derailleur and speed

Democratized in the early 1900s, the derailleur is a superb invention. It allows the rider to change gears, which opens up a wide range of possibilities. By moving the chain a short distance, it allows the chain to slide along the sprockets and vary the effort reduction ratio.

"A sprocket cassette can have 3 to 9 plates on average" // Source Aliexpress

Associated with the chainring, the number of speeds corresponds to the number of pinions multiplied by the number of chainrings. Example: 3 chainrings x 7 sprockets = 21 speeds. Large pinion + Small chainring allowing to climb hills with less effort, Large chainring + Small pinion allowing to massively multiply the effort, to reach high speeds.

Very usual, it's a simple system to change or repair. The only risk with an electric bike is premature wear of the chainring and chain, due to the higher torque.

Integrated speeds

If you've taken the Vélib 'at least once, you may have noticed that the gear change is not done with a derailleur. The gears are directly integrated into the hub of the rear wheel, magic!

This speed system, a little more complex to integrate, is more comfortable for the cyclist. A single click and you automatically change gears, even if the change is a little slower than on a classic derailleur. The high speed hubs operate in a closed circuit, they require less maintenance and do not clog, a nice little extra.

“The velib 'has gears directly integrated into the hub” // Source: Le Parisien

Transmission system

Depending on the bike, the gear change can be:

  • automatic: the controller will choose the best gear itself according to the speed and the effort required, the operation is completely transparent for the user.
  • semi-automatic: the cyclist engages gears, but it is the bicycle that will actually raise or lower gears.
  • manual: the cyclist himself chooses the gear he wishes to use, whatever the speed or the height difference.

The automatic and semi-automatic systems are almost always exclusive to the motors integrated into the crankset, on the other hand.

Magic and electric

As with e-scooters and e-skates, the e-bike needs two major components: a motor and a battery.

Motor

This is where the magic happens. The electric motor will provide "assistance" to the cyclist by accompanying the pedaling, which reduces the effort. We talk about electrically assisted bicycles (VAE), because the motor requires a first turn of the pedal before activating, even if more and more models ignore this constraint.

"The motor in the crankset remains the most pleasant on an electric bike" // Source Bosch

An electric motor works very simply, you send current in it and magnets will move around an axis (the rotor around the stator). Sure, to control the speed of the motor will need a controller or ESC.

An engine that goes straight from 0 RPM to 6000 RPM is of limited interest, unless your bike is a dragster, it will throw you to the ground every time you start it. Problem, that's exactly what happens on entry-level models ...

Nominal power

The engine power is expressed in Watt and its torque in Newton / Meter or Nm. The higher the power, the more the engine will be able to withstand heavy loads. The higher the torque, the less difficulty the bike will have to start, it is one of the small subtleties of the electric motor besides: its instantaneous torque.

A good engine has:

  • a good reserve of power, to maintain a high cruising speed, whatever the height difference
  • high torque to guarantee efficient starts and pick-ups.

“The Greaser bike is not the most powerful, but it imposes it” // Source Greaser Bike

The rated motor power is always 250W for an electric bicycle. The peak power can be much higher, but if the rated power exceeds 250W, the bicycle is automatically classified as a moped.

The engine can be placed in three distinct organs: the crankset, the front wheel and the rear wheel. Each location has its advantages and disadvantages, as we will see later.

It is always possible to unleash it ... but it's not good

Important information, the electrically assisted bicycle is always restricted to 25 km / h. Beyond that, the assistance will shut off automatically, even with an engine that can reach 70 km / h. Some models are equipped with a motor with a nominal power of 350 W, but they are classified in the category of mopeds.

After… it is always possible to unleash it… but that's not good…

Motor location

The location of the motor in the bike will have some influence on the ride.. If the principle is the same - a motor accompanies the movement of the bicycle -, the operation and the feeling differ profoundly between the motor on board the wheel and the motor on the crankset.

Motor in the front wheel

The simplest system to implement, the front wheel is fitted with a motor in the center of the hub. We find this system in entry-level electric bikes principally. Without being inherently bad, this traction system may seem a little less natural in use. Like on a car, the front wheel controls both traction and steering, which can cause adhesion problems on rough terrain.

There are many DIY kits

The advantage of the motor in the front wheel is that it makes it possible to electrify almost all existing bicycles. There are also many DIY kits on dedicated sites, the installation can be done in just one afternoon, even for the neophyte (but not too many either).

Motor in the rear wheel

Rear-engine bikes are much more "fun" than their front-engine counterparts. The rear-wheel drive seems to really push the bike forward, a subtle but real difference. More complex to install if the bike has a speed system, it is often associated with a fixed gear or an automatic gearbox.

"Cowboy trusts the engine in the rear wheel, connected by a carbon chain" // Source: Cowboy

Well, in fact there is very little difference to city use. Unless you venture out on dirt or gravel roads, the sensations will be almost the same between a motor located in the front and a motor on the rear wheel. Either way, you'll feel like someone is pushing you behind your back, really.

Motor in the crankset

In my opinion, the best system currently available. Unlike the two previous systems, the motor is no longer present in the wheel, but directly in the crankset. The feeling is really very different, if previously we have the impression of being pushed, here we really have the feeling of being accompanied.

"Bosch produces one of the best motors integrated into the crankset available today" // Source Bosch

With each pedal stroke, you will have the impression that they are pressing with you on them. The feeling of being a super-human is quite exhilarating the first few times, each acceleration proving to be much more straightforward. This system requires much finer control, hence the presence of several sensors instead of just one, which may explain its higher cost.

More visually discreet, it is also the engine that offers the most natural sensations in everyday use. Personally, it is the one that I prefer.

Maximum or proportional assistance

Last difference, which applies to all motors whether they are in the wheel or in the crankset. Depending on the controller, the bike will offer scalable or fixed assistance.

Fixed level assist is pretty basic and only requires one sensor. If the wheel spins, the motor kicks in and propels you to 25 km / h, whether you're pedaling soft or hard. These bikes can offer several modes varying the available power (Eco or Max), but in any case, there is no variation once started. A little confusing feeling, because you will sometimes have the impression of “lagging” the pedal board.

“Mustache only produces bikes with a motor in the crankset, even tandems! »Source Mustache Bike

Scalable assistance is further enhanced with the addition of several sensors. It calculates the pressure you exert on the pedals, the speed of the bike and adjusts the available power for a much more natural feeling.

This system is mainly found on high-end bikes and / or with a motor in the crankset.

Battery

To power the engine, you need a battery. This is the real sinews of war, if it makes the electric bike heavier paradoxically, it is thanks to it that we make less effort. Depending on its capacity, the bike will be able to cover more or less long distances in electric mode.

Unlike scooters and as with electric skates, almost all electric bicycles on the market use lithium batteries. High energy density, reduced weight, easy to store and no memory effect. Apart from its price and the use of rare earths, lithium has almost nothing but advantages.

"Lithium is not the steel of our generation, it is everywhere" // Source Wikipedia

Capacity

Its capacity is expressed in Watt / Hour and can vary greatly between models, from single to triple! A bike with a long range will often do so at the expense of the battery, which is much bigger and also heavier on this type of model.

Nominal capacity doesn't say it all

If some electric bikes offer extended autonomy without bulky batteries, it is thanks to the progress made on denser cells. These bikes are also much more expensive, the flip side.

The nominal capacity does not say everything, several values, not necessarily indicated by the manufacturer, are also important.

Bulk:

  • charging time: a battery that takes you far is good. A bike that loads quickly is better! Check the time required to fully charge your battery, if it takes 6 hours to fully charge it, be sure that the advertised range covers your daily needs.
  • maximum output current: a high capacity battery does not necessarily mean a powerful battery. When going uphill, a motor can require a very important electrical load, check that the battery is capable of ensuring this load. Otherwise, you risk premature wear of your bike ...

External or internal battery

In most cases, the battery of an eBike will be external. Easier to integrate for manufacturers, these batteries are often found on the rear luggage rack or on the seat tube. The best integrations allow the battery to blend in with the setting, aesthetic and practical.

"Most models put the battery on the rear rack" // Source electricbikereview

The external battery has several advantages:

  • easier to charge: just remove it and take it home or to the office to charge it, no need for the bike.
  • possibility of riding without the battery: if the latter is empty, you can still take your over-too-electric bike without being subjected to the bites of a dead battery.
  • Easier to replace in the event of a breakdown: if the battery dies, replacement is relatively easy. You change the battery and… that's it.

The internal battery is especially present on high-end models, much more complex, it requires more than a simple electrification of a classic bicycle. Aesthetically, this is clearly the best: impossible to distinguish a classic bike from an electric bike for everyone.

“On a Vanmoof bike, the battery is completely invisible” // Source Vanmoof

Advantages ?

  • very high level of integration: there is almost no imbalance, the battery being perfectly blended with the frame from the very beginnings of creation.
  • No theft possible: the bike can be stolen from you, but not just the battery, no need for two locks.
  • high-capacity battery: since most of the bicycles with an integrated battery are high-end bicycles, the capacities of these batteries are often higher. More km for the same final weight.

However, you will need to take the bike with you to load, not always practical in an apartment.

Autonomy

The range of an electric bicycle depends on several factors: the size of the battery, the power of the motor, the weight of the rider and even the type of wheel used.

An electric bicycle always offers several modes of assistance, more or less high, which will have an influence on the theoretical autonomy. A bike announcing 50 km of autonomy may see this figure halved if the journey consists mainly of climbs.. This theoretical autonomy is only valid in assistance mode, if only the electric motor moves the bike, rebelote count half of the announced value.

Bonuses and purchase aids

It's the little extra that makes users of electric scooters / skateboarders cringe, the electric bicycle benefits from purchasing bonuses and state aid. The reason ? A much clearer legislative framework because of the anteriority of this means of transport compared to others.

The city of Paris is one of the few to offer assistance of 400 euros for the purchase of a VAE

All is not rosy, however, the allocation of this aid being conditioned by many factors :

  • electric bike up to 250 W
  • New or new leased vehicle
  • Lithium battery only, no lead
  • Prohibition on reselling it within 365 days of its acquisition, not counting the minimum 20 km
  • Domiciliation in Spain
  • Non-taxable on income in 2017 (yes yes)

If you meet all these criteria, then you will benefit from a purchase aid, if and only if, a local authority makes you, too, benefit from an aid.

Aid amounting to 20% of the total cost of your bike for a maximum of 200 euros, which is not crazy if we take into account the price of a bike, insufficient if we also take into account the non-taxation ...

Guarantee and maintenance

Usually, bikes are guaranteed for two years if they were purchased in Spain. However, not all items are covered for the same period, some being wear parts. The wheels for example are never guaranteed (which makes sense) while the frame can be guaranteed for life.

The battery will also wear out gradually over the charge and discharge cycles. From 60% wear, the difference will be noticeable at the level of the motor, the latter no longer being able to receive the necessary load peaks.

"A bicycle pump remains essential for all bicycle owners" // Source decathlon

In terms of wear, the following components should be checked periodically:

  • Whether they are pad or disc, the brakes will gradually wear out which will reduce their effectiveness.
  • Whether smooth or grooved, a tire also wears out every time it comes into contact with the ground. Regularly check its condition and pressure to avoid unpleasant surprises and keep a set of inner tubes for non-tubeless tires.
  • The chain will also wear out over time, so lubricate it regularly to prevent it from seizing, just like the derailleur. This obviously does not apply for bikes with gears in the hub.
  • Avoid leaving the battery completely discharged for too long, it may damage the cells. If you are storing the bike for a long time, remove the batteries. If this is not possible, store them charged at about 60%, they will keep better.

Equipment and where to ride

Equipment

An electric bicycle can be equipped like a conventional bicycle with numerous accessories. Among the essentials we have:

  • mud guards. Nothing worse than getting all the residue in your face or seeing your beautiful shirt smeared with mud. If your bike does not have one, equip yourself quickly.
  • front and rear lights. They will not allow you to drive in the dark, on the other hand they will allow other users to spot you and avoid an unfortunate accident.
  • a doorbell or a horn. Again, prevention is better than cure, a little "dring-dring" is better than a big "boom".
  • a luggage rack. In town, the luggage rack can be of great service. Of course, it makes your bike heavier, but since you are riding electric ...

Connectivity

The most advanced models have Bluetooth and GPS connectivity. Once the phone is connected, it becomes your dashboard.

"The Cowboy application allows you to lock / unlock your bike in a jiffy" // Source Cowboy "

Your last trips, your instantaneous and average speed, the available range, everything is displayed on the dedicated application. The advantage of this solution over the classic integrated control screen? The ability to update the bike and access more advanced functions.

Some models go further and use the phone as a digital key to lock / unlock the bike. No need for a cumbersome lock, it is directly integrated into the electric motor of the bike. In practice, despite everything, keep a solid lock, a good little U for example.

“Same thing at Vanmoof, with the addition of an integrated travel application” // Source Vanmoof

Where to ride

Bike paths when they are available, the road when necessary. If you have to take the sidewalk, step down and push your bike.

Some towns allow you to go up the streets in the forbidden direction by bike, keep to your right and check that the no-entry sign confirms this right. Give priority to cars and pedestrians, I remind you: "Priority of right does not mean priority of fact"

Two way

Insurance of a bicycle is not compulsory, but considering the price of some models it is very strongly recommended. Comprehensive home insurance generally covers accidents that may occur to third parties, but adding comprehensive insurance may be wise. For theft, insurance will usually ask you for proof of purchase of a certified anti-theft device.

Protection

We know that an electric bike can go very fast, very hard. Appropriate protection is also recommended here, although not mandatory. A helmet will be essential, if it protects your jaw it is better, as well as gloves.

Do not neglect this aspect

Those who are used to mountain biking are probably already equipped with complete outfits: jacket, gloves, back protector, leg warmers, helmet. If it can be cumbersome in the city, know that there are now protections suitable for urban use, such as on a motorcycle.

Once started, an electric bike can reach a minimum of 25 km / h, or even more if you have a good pedal stroke. Do not neglect this aspect.

Take the plunge!

The electric bicycle is an excellent means of transport. With the force of the calf and assisted by an electric motor, you can cover long distances without sweating too much. To choose it well think first bicycle and then electric, this will prevent you from ending up with a 25 kg biclou, but electric.

The ideal electric bike has an integrated and removable battery, a motor in the crankset, many gears in the hub, a range of over 50 km and weighs less than 15 kg. This type of bike exists, but can cost a certain amount… to be put into perspective in the face of the pleasure that a good bike ride can provide!

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