A foolproof guide to finding your next electric bike, that's a perfect match for what you need and one that will love you back. After all, finding an electric bike for the long haul is about so much more than choosing the prettiest model and clicking ‘Add to Basket’.
1. Be Honest
We’ve all seen our fair share of questionable bike pairings: the mid-life crisee who insists on the maximum spec to truly dominate his gentle city commute. The Peak District cyclist whose shiny, sexy e-bike offers a ‘subtle’ level of assistance on hills. So since all lasting relationships are founded on honesty, we recommend that you ask yourself: when and where do I really plan to ride? If your answer involves a few serious hills, opt for a rear-hub motor and make sure it’s a powerful, legal 250 watts. Leisurely rides along the canal path? A comfortable step-through frame and trail-ready tyres make for a safe choice. Any lovely e-bike shop will point you in the right direction – just be wary of being ‘upsold’ anything that you don’t think is necessary – after all, you can always upgrade later.
2. Keep it Local
You’re not merely buying into a product when you settle on your perfect e-bike – you’re buying into a long-term relationship with the bike shop. Find one that's local and staffed by at least one friendly e-bike boffin and you’ve hit the jackpot. Flash a smile (and maybe your card – patronage will always plant you on their good side) and you’ll be in a great position to get your questions answered and your new bike cared for. If worst comes to worst and your bike runs into an issue down the line, you can rest assured that you’ve got local experts on call who want to keep you sweet.
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3. Check Reviews
In today’s inter-connected cyber-times it’s simply no longer necessary to take any manufacturer's word for it. Dedicated e-bike reviewers from publications like Electric Bike Magazine and A to B regularly subject new bikes to their expert scrutiny, and the combined experience of hundreds of real customers is easily accessible through the micro-reviews of Review Centre, Facebook and even manufacturers’ websites. And there’s one more invaluable resource for the savvy shopper: friendly electric bike community/mecca Pedelecs, whose denizens will provide you with no shortage of insider knowledge. It’s well worth diving in – learning just a few key terms cuts down on the bamboozling.
4. Test Ride
Despite all of our previous bangings-on about being thorough and well researched, we reckon that ultimately your decision hinges on the one question: ‘Do I love this bike?’.
Fortunately, there’s an easy (and fun) way to find out for sure: jump right the heck on one and check. Not only is test riding the most fun part of the process, it’s also the most telling. Intuition is powerful – even a layperson can tell a lot about the long-term suitability of a particular e-bike from a five minute jaunt around the local area. If you suddenly feel like cycling off into the sunset then you’re probably on to something. If instead you’re left feeling apprehensive or uneasy then ask yourself these questions: Does this bike really fit me? Do I feel comfortable? Do I feel safe and in control? If the answer is no for any of these questions then hop off and reconsider. There are plenty more fish in the sea.