I initially wanted to write a post on the top choices for ebikes in 2021, but given how the landscape has changed quite a bit, I believe it might be better to equip you guys with a list of things to look out for when buying a new ebike today (or in the year ahead).
In case you’ve not heard the news, from 1 July 2021, new ebikes being sealed and registered by LTA must comply with the EN15194:2017 standard (you can read more about that here). This means that if you are looking for a new model, you will not be able to choose from a wide range of ebikes (as of December 2021). However, LTA did clarify that ebikes sealed and registered before 1 July 2021 that meet the previous EN15194 standards can still be used on the road – so retailers stocking older models are still up for grabs. Most importantly, ensure that your ebike has been fitted with the orange seal and registered with LTA before purchase.
Range & Battery Capacity
For many ebike users, apart from speed (which is capped at 25km/h), battery capacity or the range of an ebike is of utmost priority. However, we need to understand that not all ebikes are created equal. On paper, we may see that the Ah numbers are higher, but we need to also consider:
- Ah is simply a measure of how many amperes (amps – a measure of current) a battery can delivery in an hour
- Different ebikes consume different amounts of current
- Your usage/riding habits – do you find yourself always on the highest gear? Does your area require you to climb upslope?
- How long will it take to fully charge the battery?
These are some considerations, beyond on-paper comparisons that you may want to look into before making your purchase.
Wheel Diameter & Compactness
Ebikes today come in all shapes and sizes – but which one is the right fit for you? Those with larger wheel diameters of 20″ may require less effort to pedal, but smaller wheel diameters of 14″ often are more compact and more convenient to maneuver in crowded spaces. Climbing upslope may be easier with an ebike with a larger wheel diameter. Additionally, if you park your ebike within your home or bring your ebikes into lifts often, the amount of space available may also affect your choice.
Gears & Controls
While on your search for the best ebike, you might have noticed that there are generally two types of ebike controls – one with multiple ‘gears’ and one without. Technically speaking, all ebikes do not have ‘gears’ in the same way that mountain bikes or road bikes do. On an ebike, these ‘gears’ or modes generally just mean the amount of pedal assist that the motor and battery provides the rider. Those of you who prefer to have more control should consider an ebike with multiple modes, while those who prefer a simpler interface or are fresh from regular bicycles may appreciate an ebike with only a single mode.
Keeping it simple here for both the more seasoned cyclists and those new to ebikes. The most important thing you should do when purchasing an ebike would definitely be to at least test ride it first or rent it short term to see if it is suitable for you. As much as online research and word of mouth can help you on your journey, I believe every rider is different and each of you have unique circumstances (one that I did not mention obviously would be budget!) that would make a particular ebike a better fit over the rest.
Feel free to approach us for ebike rentals – we offer rental prices for as low as $15/day and are able to provide additional riding gear to complete your ebike rental experience!