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Posted by E-bike Lovers on March 21, 2023 - Latest revision December 18, 2023  Reading time: minutes remaining

Electric Blunders: Here Are the Top 12 E-Bike Buying Mistakes You Want to Avoid

At E-bike Lovers, we're passionate about all things e-bike and meeting fellow riders on the trail. And let's be real; we’ve all made our fair share of mistakes when it comes to buying e-bikes. That's why we're here to share some of the most cringe-worthy and downright avoidable mistakes we’ve seen from fellow e-bike enthusiasts.

  • We see hundreds of e-bike models on our e-biking tours.
  • But even the best e-bikers make buying mistakes.
  • The No. 1 mistake is not test-riding a new e-bike from a bicycle shop.

To help you make an informed decision when purchasing an e-bike, we have compiled a list of the 12 most common mistakes we see people make, which you can avoid.

1 - Focusing on low price over quality and safety

While a quality e-bike is expensive, it will run more smoothly and last longer than a cheap one. Investing in a better-quality electric bicycle will save you money eventually. More expensive e-bikes have better quality components that last longer. Resist the temptation to buy a new $500 e-bike. If you do not have the budget to buy a new quality e-bike, consider buying a quality second-hand e-bike model.

2 - Believing the marketing hype

More is not necessarily better. You don’t need to buy an e-bike with a hub motor of more than 750 watts for most use cases. Most mid-drive motors are not more than 250 watts, which is plenty. All-wheel drive e-bikes (with a motor in each wheel) are most likely unnecessary for commuting or touring.

Remember Simon Cowell's accident when he broke his back on an out-of-class electric vehicle that was initially reported by the media to be an e-bike? He played with a "SWIND EB-01 hyper electric bicycle." It has a 15,000 watts (15 kw) motor and it has pedals - have a look here. This is a motorcycle that does not belong on biking trails.

The SWIND EB-01 hyper electric bicycle

compared with a Specialized Levo Turbo class 1 e-mountain bike and a high-duty Riese & Muller Delite Class 1 e-mountain bike.

Who needs so much power?

SWIND EB-01

15,000 watts

Levo Turbo

250 watts nominal

R&M Delite

250 watts nominal

3 - Not taking a test ride

Just as you would only buy a car by test-driving it, you should only purchase an e-bike after trying it out. A test ride will help determine if the e-bike feels comfortable and meets your expectations. Test ride several brands before making a purchasing decision.

4 - Relying on the manufacturers’ e-bike range numbers

When considering the mileage range of an e-bike, it is important to be cautious about relying solely on the manufacturer's information. E-bike manufacturers' ranges are often based on ideal and specific conditions, which may not apply to real-world riding scenarios. The mileage of an e-bike is based on several factors, including your weight, the terrain you're riding on, and the speed at which you're traveling.

A screenshot of the bosch e-bike motor range calculator

A screenshot of the Bosch e-bike motor range calculator cleverly displays the estimated range of motors and batteries.

The online calculator takes many variables into account, but it lacks information about e-bike models. Bosch does not produce e-bikes, so it can only estimate the range based on its products (motors, controllers, and batteries).

5 - Buying an e-bike with a small battery

One of the most crucial factors to consider when buying an e-bike is the battery size and if it is UL certified. A larger battery means a greater riding range before needing to recharge. At a minimum, buy an e-bike with a 450-500 Wh battery or more to have a range of 22-25 miles or more to avoid range anxiety.

6 - Not buying an established brand

Buying from an unknown brand can present problems, including subpar components or low-quality manufacturing processes, leading to performance issues or safety concerns. Buy from an established brand that discloses the brands of the e-bike's components.

7 - Buying the wrong frame size

E-bikes come in different sizes and often must be aligned with the rider’s height. E-bikes that are too high or too small result in an uncomfortable riding position, which may cause strain on your back, neck, and other parts of your body.

It's important to note that frame size is just one factor in determining a bike's fit. Factors such as handlebar width, stem length, and saddle position can also affect the rider's comfort and performance. This is why test-riding an e-bike is important. Buying the perfect e-bike requires testing and making adjustments.

8 - Buying the wrong frame type

Purchasing an e-bike with the wrong frame is a common mistake. E-bikes have several frame types: step-through, crossbar, and mixed bar.

An example of an e-bike (Gazelle Medeo) with a low step-through frame.

An example of an e-bike (Gazelle Medeo) with a low step-through frame. Picture Courtesy: Gazelle E-bikes.

Many novice e-bikers buy bicycles with crossbar frames, which can cause difficulties getting their legs over the frame. Low-step frame e-bikes have a unique design that allows riders to easily mount and dismount the e-bike without lifting their leg over a high crossbar. This feature can be particularly beneficial for riders with mobility issues.

9 - Ignoring the e-bike's weight

While the e-bike may handle well while riding, remember that a heavier e-bike can be more challenging to lift and transport. You should be able to lift the e-bike without the batteries installed.

10 - Overlooking warranty and after-sales support

Buying an e-bike from a brand without a support network can be risky. Here are potential issues to consider:

  • Lack of local support: If the brand does not have a dealer support network in your area, it can be challenging to obtain assistance with repairs, maintenance, or warranty claims. You may need to rely on online or phone support, which may not be as effective as in-person support.
  • Difficulty finding replacement parts: If your e-bike requires replacement parts, it may be challenging to find them if the brand does not have a dealer support network in your area. You may need to order the parts online and find a bike store to install them (if they agree).
  • Limited warranty support: Without a dealer support network, warranty claims may be more difficult to process. You may need to ship the e-bike to the manufacturer for repairs, which can be costly and time-consuming. Sometimes, the warranty may not cover shipping costs, leaving you responsible for considerable expenses.
  • Risk of fraud: Without a dealer support network, verifying the authenticity of the e-bike or the seller can be challenging. There is a risk of purchasing a counterfeit or inferior product, which may not meet safety or quality standards.

11 - Disregarding laws and regulations

E-bike regulations vary by location, so it's essential to understand your local laws and restrictions before purchasing. Ensure the class of e-bike you consider complies with local regulations to avoid legal issues.

  • Class 1 electric bicycle shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
  • Class 2 electric bicycle shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
  • Class 3 electric bicycle shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour.

12 - Forgetting about maintenance

Like any vehicle, e-bikes require regular maintenance to run smoothly and safely. Ignoring maintenance can lead to costly repairs, an unsafe e-bike, and reduce the lifespan of your bicycle. Consider the cost and frequency of maintenance when making your purchasing decision.

Conclusion

Making an informed decision when purchasing an e-bike is crucial to ensure a positive and enjoyable riding experience. Avoid common mistakes such as focusing solely on price, ignoring test rides, buying the wrong frame size or type, and overlooking warranty and after-sales support.

Keep in mind the importance of battery size, the e-bike's weight, local laws and regulations, and maintenance requirements.

By addressing these factors and learning from the top 12 e-bike buying mistakes, you'll be well-equipped to choose the perfect e-bike for your needs and enjoy a smooth, hassle-free ride.

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