Roseville Cyclery | Choose an Ebike

How to Choose Your First Ebike

Every day, more and more riders are buying their first ebike. Some are dedicated cyclists who want the chance to ride farther and faster. Others are looking to an ebike to keep up on rides that were previously too far or too hilly. Whatever your reason, choosing the right electric bike can feel a bit overwhelming at first. The rising popularity of electric bikes brings a wide range of options. So, how do you choose your first ebike?

How Will You Use Your Ebike?

The first thing to consider when choosing an ebike is how you will use it. Just like conventional bicycles, ebike are available in various styles:
  • Electric mountain bikes
  • Electric cruiser bikes
  • Electric road bikes
  • Electric cargo bikes
  • and many more

Electric Mountain Bikes

Tired of getting shuttled to the top of a mountain? Maybe an electric mountain bike like the best-selling Santa Cruz Heckler is your answer to getting yourself to the top of the peak.  Some electric mountain bikes will do double-duty on the street as a road bike, too. Others, like downhill electric mountain bikes, are better suited for extreme dropoffs and hitting jump after jump.

Electric Cruiser Bikes

Electric cruiser bikes are all about comfort. From their seats to their handlebars and even pedal position, an electric cruiser bike is perfect if your ideal day of biking is a leisurely ride around town.

Electric Road Bikes

Electric road or electric commuter bikes belong to a broad category that covers any ebike meant for road riding. This includes commuter bikes that are more lightweight, racing bikes, and hybrids. Most ebikes in this category are more forward-leaning, have narrower tires and saddles, lack of suspension, and an emphasis on lightweight design.

Electric Cargo Bikes

Electric cargo bikes can help you take it all with you on the go, helping you haul it all with innovative solutions ranging from large front baskets or pods to rear cargo boxes and a wide range of cargo accessories. Cargo ebikes trade lightweight design for the extra cargo capacity.

Other Electric Bikes

Portable folding ebikes, large-tired fat ebikes, tandem ebikes, and even electric recumbent bikes are more examples of the wide range of electric bicycles available.
Once you’ve settled on how you’ll want to use your e-bike, it’s time to decide on the mechanics of the bike.

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Choosing a Motor

A basic understanding of how an ebike works can help you decide what type of electrical components you’re looking for. An electric bike motor supplies power to either the front hub (pulling the rider along by the front wheel), the rear hub (pushing the rider from the rear wheel), or the drivetrain. Mid-drive motors that send power to the centrally-located drivetrain are very popular, offering a more natural feel to riders.

Price Point

Like standard bicycles, electric bikes come in price points ranging from low to ultra-premium. The bicycle components themselves will factor into the price of an electric bike. Then the electrical components (motor, battery, drivetrain) will further contribute to the price of an electric bike.

State Regulations

Primarily for regulatory reasons, ebikes are also categorized into classes that denote their level of motor assistance.

Class 1 eBikes, or low-speed pedal-assisted electric bicycles, are legal on any paved surface that a regular bike is allowed to operate. Class 1 ebikes are equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and stops assisting when the bicycle reaches 20 mph.

Class 2 eBikes, or low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycles, are legal on any paved surface that a regular bike is allowed to operate. Class 2 throttle assisted ebikes are equipped with motors that can exclusively propel the bicycle, but that cannot provide assistance when the ebike reaches 20 mph.

Class 3 eBikes, or speed pedal-assisted electric bicycles, are prohibited from Class I multi-use bike paths unless specifically authorized by a local ordinance. Class 3 ebikes are equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and stops providing assistance when the ebike reaches 28 mph.

Most new riders start out with a class 1 e-bike. Class 1 ebikes are the most affordable and, from a regulatory standpoint, the most universally accepted. You can ride one on city streets, bike paths, and even a growing number of mountain bike trails.

To keep up with ebike regulations in your state, check out People for Bikes’ state-by-state guide to e-bike regulations around the country, and check with local cities where you plan to ride.

Need Help Choosing an Ebike?

If choosing an ebike still feels like an overwhelming task, let Roseville Cyclery help guide you. We’re Northern California’s premier ebike sales and service shop and our team members can help you find the right bike for your needs and budget. Call us today to schedule a demo and you can ride before you buy to ensure you’re getting the perfect ebike for you.