This e-bikes guide asks you a number of important questions about your biking goals. It will help propel you in the right direction and give you what you need in order to make an educated buying decision at your local bike shop near you.
You just might have heard that e-bikes are the fastest growing part of the biking industry. Did you know that e-bikes were first invented in the 1890’s and were powered by only 10 volt batteries? Not exactly the Grand Prix of performance, but they did exist. Although they weren’t known for speed, power, or performance due to battery technology limitations, we’re in a whole new world of batteries that are getting better every year.
Ebikes feel (and look) like regular bikes but there’s one big difference. Ebikes sport an electronic battery and motor that assists riders in peddling and can sometimes replace peddling entirely! Think of a hybrid between a bicycle and a small moped. Depending on the size of motor, ebikes typically can help propel you up to 30 MPH and generally have a switch that allows you to adjust and toggle the boost/power settings.
Ebikes come in many different styles: road, mountain, hardtail, full-suspension, hybrid and performance. Depending on which style you choose, the battery will typically last anywhere from 35 to 100 miles per charge. We’re not just talking about lithium ion batteries finally getting better and helping a few people to get to work with a low carbon footprint and a little less sweat. The category of biking is being revolutionized one pedal and crank at a time. The e-bike mindset has shifted from “I need an e-bike to get to work or stay active in my golden years,” to “why wouldn't you want to boost your bike experience with some electric boost?”
So if you are interested in getting a new bike, start thinking about an e-bike. They are not just for people of a particular age or ability. Perhaps you or someone you know simply hasn’t ridden in so many years that it feels like learning an e-bike might be too hard. It couldn't be further from the truth. I watched a 73 year old grandmother and her husband try an e-bike last October. After her first 5 pedals she let out a squeal and said “OMG, this is so much fun I can bike again with e-bikes, what fun”!
Regardless of your place in life, if you’re interested in the fun of bike riding, why not boost your fun with a little zip and zest so you don’t hit the wall and run out of steam before you get to that ice cream shop on your bucket list. In all seriousness, whether you’re a daily commuter, a recreationalist, an avid cyclist, or an athlete, there’s an e-bike that’s right for you!
In this hyper controlled world with apps and technology there is one thing that hasn’t been conquered. The whimsical shifts in weather that sometimes throw off your ride. Let’s face it, windy and cold days take a lot of energy out of you and quickly take the fun from a great ride. A strong headwind coming straight off the Flatirons is bigger than a first world problem when you’re behind schedule. Don’t let a stiff wind be your excuse for being late. A good scout is always prepared for anything. E-bikes have that extra piece of preparation so you can go the distance and arrive in style instead of being unfashionably late.
Not sure yet about an ebike for you?
Here’s something that most people don’t know about biking performance and fitness. There’s two factors to consider when determining if an e-bike makes sense. First, are you feeling in less shape than you’d like and you’re hoping that getting back into biking or biking more than your usual is a path to getting there? If the answer is yes, then an e-bike should certainly be on the list of bikes you dig into. So maybe you’re not a biking novice and performance really matters, consider this; did you know that skilled bikers that try out e-bikes just for fun report something remarkable? They feel like they got a better workout because they were able to go further and as a result get a longer and higher cardio burn. Whether it’s the fact that you finally did the 22+ mile Dirty Bismarck in Marshall and Boulder for the first time, or found yourself finally making it up that long big hill at Marshall Mesa. It stands to reason that a little boost at the right time helps you go further and faster thus making you fitter over time if you stick with it.
We here at Louisville Cyclery pride ourselves in our 30+ years of experience, and our ability to give Grade-A recommendations for cyclists of all ages and styles. We’re a bike shop and we’ve got this. We’re here to guide you to an e-bike that matches you with your goals.
Feel free to use our site and others for research purposes, but no matter what e-bike or direction you choose to go with, we highly recommend that you purchase your new bike at a local bike shop near you in order to try it out and get properly fitted.
What factors to consider before buying an e-bicycle?
Whether you’re an avid cyclist or new to the sport, finding the perfect bike for you can be challenging as there are many things to take into consideration.
What terrain will you be riding on?
What are your fitness goals? Do you want a bike for commuting, athletics, exercising, or a little bit of everything? How often will you be riding? What cargo do you want to carry whether it’s a change of clothes for work or a bag of groceries from Whole Foods, Safeway or Alfalfa's that has the right stuff to make that vegan pizza that you heard your friends raving about. The answers come down to you and oh yeah, there’s that little budget question too. Remarkably prices range widely for e-bikes, but there are in line with standard bikes so keep your eyes open as you build your e-bike wish list and budget to suit your needs. Let’s break down the different types of e-bikes that are available today so that you may gain more clarity on what’s best for you.
Mountain bikes of MTBs
Mountain bikes are arguably the most exhilarating and intense style of biking, but you don’t have to rely 100% on your own power. The occasional boost may really help you do the Dirty Bismarck, get up that very long hill or simply enable you to do that double loop with a constant pedal assist. Whatever the reason, the added boost helps you do one simple thing better. Ride longer and ride harder if that’s desired. A few years ago finding trails that allowed e-bikes was harder to do, but now with new state and regional guidelines that have been relaxed to accommodate class 1 and class 2 bikes hundreds of miles of terrain are now open to avid riders on the front range. Not every trail accepts e-bikes so plan ahead to be sure you are riding where it’s allowed. Good trail stewardship helps ensure the maximum number of people can enjoy a trail with minimal environmental impacts.
Generally speaking, mountain bikes are geared lower than a road bike in order to help riders tackle steeper and more intense climbs. Mountain bikes come in both multi-gear and single-speed styles which can cause for a more challenging but sometimes more cost-effective ride. Additionally, you can purchase either full-suspension mountain bikes (suspension on both wheels) or hardtail suspension for the front wheel only.
Is an e-mountain bike right for you?
Book a 1:1 consult with one of our biking experts to talk about what your goals are.
Hybrid / Commuter Bicycles
Do you want to bike on the road? Do you also want to bike on some smaller trails or experiment off-road? Need to haul groceries, kids or a trailer. There are options to add these add-ons and with the benefit of the electric power getting there and back doesn’t require a Tour Du Force. A hybrid or commuter e-bike might be right for you!
Hybrid bicycles combine the ruggedness and durability of mountain bikes, paired with the nimble and speedy features of their road bike cousins. The mixture of these two styles allow hybrid or “commuter” bikes to navigate many different types of terrains and riding styles.
Unlike unpowered hybrid bikes, e-bikes offer more distance, speed and cargo carrying capacity. We find that the added power from e-bikes lets many recreational or beginner riders do the things they wish they could do with greater ease. This may include getting to work faster without the fuss of lights and congestion. It might also be that getting errands done without the hassle of parking and little bit of cargo room fits your style. Let’s face it getting local daily baked bread could be your dream made true with an e-bike that’s stylish and practical for the environment and your taste buds. Is an e-hybrid / e-commuter bike right for you?! Come on down and test one out today.
Due to their high-tech features, ebikes generally cost between $1,500 to $10,000. Want to learn more about electric bicycles (ebikes)? Call or visit us today or click to schedule a 1:1 consultation and let us help match you with the bike of your dreams. Learn more about Louisville Cyclery here.
Selecting A Local Quality Bike Shop
Whether you still need help in selecting a type of bike, or you’re ready to swipe your credit card and purchase, the next step in your journey is to find a local brick-and-mortar shop and go check out your future “soon-to-be” bike.
Things to consider when picking a local shop:
Are the employees responsive and do they take a genuine interest in you?
Do they answer questions and let you get hands-on with the bikes?
Do they have trained bicycle mechanics & maintenance staff?
Questions to ask a local bike professional:
Which brands do customers seem most satisfied with?
What services do you offer for after I make a purchase to help with my bike?
CAN I TRY SOME BIKES OUT? (the answer will 99.9% of the time be “YES”)
Before purchasing a new style or kind of bike, be sure that you take it for a test drive! We can not stress enough how vitally important it is for you to try a bike out before purchasing.
While on your test drive, consider these questions:
Is the bike comfortable and adjustable?
Do you feel stable?
Can you reach the handlebars easily?
Can you easily place your feet on the ground while standing over the bike?
If you’re in the greater Denver or Boulder Colorado area, please consider Louisville Cyclery for your local bike shop of choice.