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Electric Bike Buying Guide

Words by Pauls Cycles

on 29/06/2021 15:52:00

Go to:

- How do E-bikes work?

- Types of E-Bike

- Is an Electric Bike for me?

- Things to Consider

- Frequently Asked Questions

An introduction to buying your E-Bike.

You’re considering an e-bike. Great! Let’s start by dispelling some myths - Electric bikes are for everyone, regardless of your fitness level or how much cycling you already do.

There’s a lot of reasons to consider an E-bike - Ride further, ride longer, reduce the strain and enjoy more of the fun bits…

Firstly, What is an E-Bike?

An electric bike is very similar to any regular bike, but with the added assistance of an electric Motor and battery.

As technology improves and cycling brands expand their electric bike ranges, there’s never been more choice with something to suit everyone.

pauls cycles ebike buying guide

How do Electric Bikes Work?

Unlike a motorbike, most E-bikes nowadays are pedelec, also known as “pedal-assisted”, meaning that they require pedalling in order for the motor to work in tandem. However, with a pedal-assisted bike you can also choose your assistance level, giving you the option to cycle completely unaided by your motor, should you wish.

Types of E-bike Motors

When it comes to motors, there are two broad types available for a pedelec/pedal-assisted e-bike. E-bikes tend to have 3 or 4 modes so you can adjust the level of motor assistance to suit.

Hub Motor

The more common of e-bike motors. A hub motor sits at the hub of the front or rear wheel and powers it directly. These are lighter than crank motors and usually more affordable options.

Crank Motor

A crank motor sits at the mid-frame, typically found at the pedals. These tend to come with a higher price tag and a more natural feeling ride.

Which e-bike motor brand is best?

Yamaha and Bosch are widely considered the market leaders, with Shimano’s system also a very reliable option.

Powering your E-bike: E-bike batteries

Your E-bike motor will have a removable battery that powers it. There are several types and sizes of e-bike batteries available however generally speaking the larger the battery, the greater the range and the more torque the motor will have.

How long will an E-bike battery life last?

Battery life is dependant on how you ride and the level of assistance you choose. If you select the Eco mode and put in most of the work yourself, only getting a little assistance on the steepest climbs, then you could get hundreds of miles from a single charge. But if you use the turbo-mode or are riding into a stiff headwind with lots of climbs then your range will be reduced.

The average is generally between 45 and 60 miles. All of our e-bikes have a simple display that shows the battery life so you can adjust your route accordingly.

How do you charge an E-bike?

The battery pack on an electric bike can be removed, and charged in a normal mains plug socket using the battery charger that comes with your bike.

How long will an E-bike battery take to charge?

Charging time will vary based on the size of the battery, but on average e-bike batteries will take 3-4 hours to fully charge from empty.

Types of E-Bike

Giant Fathom E-plus 29 EMountain Bike

Electric Mountain Bike

As with a regular mountain bike, these are best recommended for those who often get muddy on their bike rides! Made for dirt paths, trails or off-road riding and built for absorbing bumps (of varying sizes depending on the bike!) with their suspension forks and wide tyres.

An Electric Mountain Bike can help add boost where you don’t want to be spending your energy, like up those steep inclines… However, it can also offer you versatility as an occasional commuter bike if you’re not looking for any serious speed and not taking baggage.


Cannondale Supersix Evo Neo 3 Electric Road Bike

Electric Road Bike/Electric Gravel Bike

Made for road and tarmac riding with more brands also offering gravel suitable options. As with a regular road bike, an electric road bike is designed with lightweight, speed and distance in mind with the pedal-assist being a great addition if you’d like faster climbs.

A motor will add some weight to your E-road bike, but since they’re designed for a sporty ride, weight saving is paramount so you’ll find E-road bikes not too far off some regular road bikes in weight. Similarly with a conventional road bike, an Electric Road bike will feature drop-down handlebars, narrow tyres and a more aggressive, aerodynamic riding position than other bikes.


Cube Touring Hybrid Pro 500 Electric Hybrid Bike 2021

Electric Hybrid Bike

Built for versatility, the world of Electric Hybrid bikes is ideal for casual leisure riders, frequent commuters and sustainably conscious, urban travellers alike who want added boost where it helps.

What is an electric hybrid bike? Unlike hybrid engines, hybrid refers to the purpose and design of the bike rather than the motor. The battery-assisted version of the regular hybrid bike (essentially a mountain bike/road bike “hybrid”), Hybrid e-bikes are characterised by flat handlebars and wider tyres making them ideal for rides where comfort and practicality are key.


Is an Electric Bike for me?

You should approach buying an e-bike just as you would with a standard bike. It is best to consider the main type of riding you plan on using it for. Whilst most e-bikes are incredibly versatile, our guide will help you decide what type of Electric Bike is best for your lifestyle:

  • Love thrashing downhills? Head off-road or on the trails with an Electric Mountain bike.
  • Going on a staycation? Explore local towns, villages and countryside with an Electric Hybrid Bike.
  • Eating up some miles on the road? Add to your ride with some speed on an Electric Road bike.

For the Journey to Work.

As we all know public transport can be stressful: delays, missed connections, overcrowding and rising costs; and for those outside of major cities (like our humble home in Norfolk), the availability of transport options is patchy, to say the least.

Alternatively, with rising fuel costs, insurance, road tax, parking charges, congestion and emissions - a car journey can make you want to turn around before you’ve even left for work.

How many times have you set off for work only to find the traffic is at a standstill or you’ve squeezed onto a bus feeling like you’re at the front row of a concert that you didn’t ask to go to? An e-bike offers you the option to free yourself from the stress of sitting in traffic or wrestling for that seat on the tube and make your journey a more enjoyable one.

Cheap to run and more environmentally friendly than other forms of travel, the average electric bike journey takes just half the commute time as a regular bike.

For commuting, reliability and weight-bearing capabilities are important as well as fenders, mudguards and panniers - So we recommend looking at Electric Hybrid Bike options first.

For Leisure…and the smiles.

It’s rare to see a sad face on an e-bike. It’s undeniable that electric bikes are fun. Full stop. So no matter your riding style e-bikes are made for more than functionality and fitness.

Easier on the joints and accommodating of different fitness levels - there aren’t a lot of barriers when it comes to enjoying an electric bike, so you may want to consider several different options.

For spending some time out in the country, touring the coast with a picnic or roaming around town then an Electric Hybrid Bike is ideal.

Perhaps you like some long-distance riding at a whizzier pace - then an Electric Road Bike or Gravel will be best.

If more rural exploration, trails or rough hills are your thing, you probably want to look at an Electric Mountain Bike.

For Fitness (including the not so fit).

Don’t think that a motor is cheating. Whilst the added boost may help ease the exertion (ideal times when you don’t want to break a sweat!), with levels of assistance you can choose when you work harder including no assistance at all. Happy to take the pace? An electric bike still allows for a good workout but can help where it matters such as pulling out of a junction or getting up those previously avoided, steep hills.

Studies have shown that riding an e-bike actually makes you fitter than a standard bike. It sounds odd, but if you can get around easier without having to change into lycra or work up a sweat chances are you’ll be choosing to ride more and more often.

Don’t worry we’re not proposing you trade in your lovely carbon road bike, but next time you need to pop to the shops to get some groceries, think about how you could jump on an e-bike, load it up and scoot back without breaking a sweat. You can’t manage that on your Supersix but it seems silly to take the car for just a couple of miles.

For Sending It Downhill!

We’re all about sending it down our favourite trails too, but wouldn’t it be even better if you could get back up to the top in half the time with double the amount of energy?

One of the fastest-growing areas in recent years, electric bikes aren’t just limited to Hybrids -  they’re available as trail slaying Electric Mountain Bikes with 160mm travel as well. Smash it downhill then use the motor’s assistance to get you back to the top over and over again.

But wait... things to consider first.

Let’s cut to it, here are some things to consider when shopping for your e-bike:

  • Weight. Despite technology improving and brands investing more and more into Electric bike development, make no mistake that ultimately, an E-bike is always likely to be heavier than your regular bike with the motorised additions it has to carry. As such, we always recommend testing the bike out where possible - every bike purchase is one of personal preference.

  • The investment. Whilst there is a wide variety of brands and models in the market, generally, e-bikes come with a significant price tag down to their engineering and technology so don’t expect to snag an electric bike at the same cost as a regular entry-level bike.

  • It’ll only go so far, and so fast. It’s not a motorbike, so no speeding down the open road and you will need to charge it every once in a while! A typical range for an electric bike is between 45 to 95 Kilometres… or 30 to 60 miles to you and me.

  • The battery won’t last forever. You will need to replace your battery after a couple of years however, in comparison to the overall benefits and savings that can be made with your alternative mode of transport - it’s fairly insignificant.

  • Maintenance. As we recommend with any bike, electric or not - it still needs love. You should take your e-bike to be professionally serviced once a year.

Read our E-Bike FAQs here