How to choose an urban electric bike
More and more cities are becoming bike-friendly and well-designed for cyclists. Electric bikes have more advantages than regular bikes. Riding an electric bike is not tiring. You can win almost any cityscape you want and still win.
How to choose an electric bike for urban riding?
Choose an e-bike with high handlebars and an upright seat position. Consider models with medium to large wheels. Make sure the seat is comfortable and the battery life is sufficient. It is useful to install a basket or rear rack to help carry sacks or backpacks.
Yes, you still need to ride a bike. Electric-assist bikes don’t ride on their own like mopeds. Nonetheless, e-bikes can still provide a more relaxed exercise experience compared to regular bicycles. As my wife once noticed, you can ride an e-bike on any terrain, just as you would on a flat, flat street.
If you decide to buy an electric bike, you might be wondering, which one should I choose?
What should cities pay attention to when choosing electric vehicles? what size is right for me? What cycling gear do I need to consider? These are exactly the questions I faced when buying my first electric bike.
Yes, there are e-bike models designed for urban riding. In addition, with the increasing popularity of e-bikes, the number of models continues to increase. In this article, I will not recommend any specific e-bike model. Model selection will vary depending on where you live, local dealer and availability. In addition, new models with improved specifications are frequently introduced.
We’ll list some important factors to consider when choosing an electric bike for city use. There is no one electric bike on the market today that is suitable for every use.
Electric Bikes for City Travel – Recreational Riders
For city trips, you might focus on recreational rides lasting 1-2 hours. When running errands in the city, you need to be able to leave your bike in a parking lot or strap it to a metal fence for hours.
Easy E-Biking – Women who ride electric bikes in the city, make electric bikes practical and fun.
You may also be interested in child seats to be able to ride with your child. You may be looking for a comfortable and relaxing ride that won’t make you sweat when you get out of the car.
If the above describes some of your urban electric bike needs, consider the following factors when shopping for a new electric bike.
Medium to large wheels
For city bikes, medium or large wheels are a better choice because they allow less pedal movement per distance traveled. This is especially true if your city has well-designed dedicated bike routes where you don’t interact with many cars or pedestrians. 24” to 28” is a good wheel size option for city bikes.
Some bike models have smaller wheels (under 24 inches). These models shouldn’t be your first choice for city bikes, but if you opt for an e-bike for commuting, they might work just fine.
Enough battery life
You will need adequate battery life, which doesn’t necessarily need to be too long (which will save you cost and weight). You should look for an e-bike with a range of around 25-50 km on a single charge. The battery capacity of most e-bike models starts in this range. Longer distances are usually not required as there are usually recharge points within the city or at your final destination.
Some batteries can last 100 kilometers or more on a single charge. As technology advances, batteries are getting better and better. However, batteries are still quite expensive.
Easy E-Biking – Urban Electric Bike Battery, Power E-Bike Practical and Fun.
Also, advanced and longer-lasting batteries are generally heavier. You may want to consider this when making your choice. For casual urban riding, long battery life is usually not a primary consideration.
For a pleasant city ride, a comfortable seat is essential. You want a smooth and enjoyable ride. For you, your city bike is a means of transportation and fun. Make sure your bike seat is soft and comfortable so you can move around.
Seats are often replaceable, widely available, and inexpensive. If seat comfort doesn’t meet your requirements on the e-bike model of your choice, you should have no trouble purchasing a new seat or cushion cover.
High handlebars and upright seat position.
I recommend high handlebars and an upright seat for urban e-bikes. The tall handlebars keep your body upright, while the sport version has to flex your back to reach the handlebars.
The upright seating position also allows you to better look around while riding. Sport handlebars make you look mostly on the road. This is usually not the most pleasant front view and head position when traveling around town. Changes in sports make it harder to see other cyclists, pedestrians and other potential obstacles, which is certainly a lot on often busy city streets.
During movement changes, you have to bend your neck to look forward. When sitting up straight, you can easily look forward.
Electric bike speed number
Similar to regular bicycles, e-bikes also have different speeds. You want a city e-bike to have at least four levels/speeds of electric assist, including zero speed with electric assist turned off. This is usually more than enough if your city isn’t too hilly.
Zero speed means that the electric assist is not activated. This speed is usually the default speed when you turn on the e-bike. At zero speed, there is no electric assist. You can still ride a bike. You will pedal as fast as you can.
The first speed will serve you well on flat streets, or when you want to get some exercise on hills that aren’t too steep. On second speed, you can climb small to medium hills without a hitch. Third speed is usually just in case you want to go faster or hit a steeper hill.
Child seat installation
A family ride on an electric bike is a fun adventure. Bring your child and she will definitely appreciate the trip! If your child is under 7 and she doesn’t have her own e-bike (and not many 7-year-olds have theirs!), it’s a good idea to consider installing a child seat option.
Easy E-Biking – Electric bike with child seat that makes electric bikes practical and fun
Not all e-bike models are designed to carry child seats. Make sure you ask this question at the store or dealer. Depending on the model, the child seat can be installed in the rear of the bike (above the trunk), in the middle of the bike (above the frame) or in the front of the bike (on the handlebars).
Shopping basket or suitcase
When traveling in the city, it is often necessary to carry extra items on the bike. Whether it’s your shopping list, a bouquet of flowers for a loved one, or a bag for a friend. Often something needs extra space.
Many e-bikes designed for urban travel already come with a clip-on/clip-on basket (or luggage), or a trunk, or both. Just don’t forget to ask if your bike is already equipped or you can additionally buy and install such accessories.
Quick Tip: Don’t miss my list of favorite electric bike accessories.
Foldable electric bike
Foldable e-bikes might be a great solution for urban commuting, but not so much for casual urban riding. Why? There are several details to consider.
Yes, foldable e-bikes are great if you need to carry one on the subway or train or leave it in the office during the workday.
However, foldable e-bikes will almost certainly have smaller wheels. So you will have to pedal more for your distance. Also, the foldable model is unlikely to have a child seat installation option.
For the rest, if you don’t need a child seat, or you can pedal more and faster, a foldable e-bike might suit your needs.
Keep in mind that e-bikes generally weigh twice as much as conventional bikes. So, if a conventional bike weighs around 10-13 kg (22-28 lb), a full-size e-bike weighs around 22-25 kg (48-55 lb).
If you live in a house or townhouse, weight is usually not an issue and you can roll out the e-bike directly from the garage. If you need to ride an e-bike up and down stairs in an apartment building without an elevator, weight becomes a bigger issue.
Foldable e-bike models are generally smaller and lighter. A lighter and smaller model will give you more flexibility in traffic, crossing roads, parking and taking public transport such as the subway, bus or train.
Always try before considering a purchase
There is usually an option to try before buying. At the very least, you can try out various models at your local professional e-bike shop or local dealer. There are often e-bike rentals where you can try your favourite model (or similar) for a few hours or even a day trip.
Pay attention to the details we discussed above, have fun, and make better buying decisions.
Electric bicycles and other types of nature-friendly electric assisted transportation are fast becoming the new standard in cities. If you choose an electric bike for the city, try a few and go buy it. Happy riding! I am sure you will not regret your choice.
If you are looking for a new way of commuting or want a healthier lifestyle, we are here to help you. Visit our website to learn more about electric bikes and electric scooter or please leave information to us.