Key Questions for Your E-Bike Investment: Ensuring a Smooth Ride and Peace of Mind
Looking to join the exciting and rewarding world of e-bikes? You've come to the right spot! Despite the e-bike concept dating back almost 130 years, recent decades have witnessed a rapid evolution in technology, providing consumers with a diverse range of options and innovations like the Bosch Smart System connecting to your smartphone. What will the future hold? Maybe they'll be able to fly or do our taxes. You never know! With so many e-bikes to choose from, arm yourself with these questions to transform your e-bike investment into an enjoyable experience.
What Will I Use this E-Bike For?
E-bikes are built to accommodate a wide range of lifestyles and tasks. E-cargo bikes are built to replace cars in urban environments and can haul up to 440lbs (that’s rider, bike, and cargo). "Go Anywhere" commuters can be just as at home on pavement as exploring forest service roads. Folding e-bikes give the camping, RV and sailboat crowd and easy-to-transport option that's great for getting from point A to B while on a trip. Electric mountain bikes, or eMTBs, make singletrack trails a blast going down and up, allowing riders of differing ability and fitness to stick together. So ask yourself, "what type of environment am I going to ride in the most?"
Mid-Drive Pedal Assist or Rear-Hub Motor?
One of the best parts of e-biking is the boost. Where that boost comes from - the middle "Mid Drive" or wheel hub "Hub". Both do the job of getting you around town, however, finding someone to work on a rear-hub motor can be very challenging. Getting the rear tire off and back on requires specific wire connections to be separated and are incredibly difficult to reattach successfully. This is also worth considering in the case of changing of a flat tire!
How Much Assist Do I Need?
Since we are an exclusive Bosch dealership, we are very familiar with the different motors they produce. Available torque options range from 40 nm (newton meters) to 85 nm. Why is this relevant? If you commute in an area with lots of steep hills, you should opt for a motor with 65 nm to 85 nm. A motor with 40 nm of torque or the “oomph” as we like to say, will struggle on those hills. Also, if you plan on hauling kiddos, dogs, or groceries, you will need a motor that can handle the weight of your bike, your cargo, your passengers, and yourself.
Testing and Certification - Is this E-Bike Safe?
E-bikes are powered by lithium-ion batteries, a marvel of the modern world that I suspect will become more efficient and powerful as time goes on. Lithium-ion batteries also have the potential to become ticking time bombs. Testing and certification of these batteries by UL Solutions or other nationally accredited testing labs is vital in making sure your lithium-ion battery does not spontaneously explode. Seriously. They don’t smoke or smolder, they just explode. To dive further into this topic, check out the UL Solutions blog post here.
Does this E-Bike Come with Customer Service Support?
Want to talk to someone face-to-face, on the phone, or via email? Will they care about the issues surrounding your e-bike? Even if you don’t have access to a manufacturer's sales representative or service rep, make sure the sales staff at your bike shop do. This goes for online direct-to-consumer e-bike manufacturers, as well. Make sure they have an organized (preferably human!) customer service department that you can contact for warranty, parts, and service issues.
Can I Get Parts and Service?
E-bikes aren’t perfect and even the highest quality e-bikes can experience malfunctions. Ensuring you have a reliable source for parts and service is a very important conversation to have with the sales team before purchasing your e-bike. If you find yourself running into dead ends or are thinking about purchasing online and you can’t get anyone to return an email or phone call, run away! This might sound dramatic, but these indicators are symptoms of a much larger problem to come. Who wants to buy an e-bike from a manufacturer that throws up their hands and says, “Good luck!”
Will I Be Able to Replace the Charger?
I know this sounds very specific, but it’s important. The e-bike system consists of the motor, battery, and the charger. It’s the charger I consider to be the achilles heel of the e-bike system. If you can’t charge your e-bike then what’s the point, right? I had a customer who's motor and battery were just fine, but he needed a new charger. This particular e-bike manufacturer that will remain nameless (not a Bosch bike, by the way!) was out of stock for chargers for the rest of the year. This happened right at the beginning of summer which, as you can imagine, was a major bummer! Determining whether you will have reliable access to chargers, and if they are covered by warranty, is a very important box to check off.
Invest wisely by arming yourself with these crucial questions, transforming your e-bike ownership into a source of joy rather than unexpected headaches. Happy riding!