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When you first come into our shop to browse for an electric bike, if you haven’t done research on electric bikes and you're not sure what kind of electric bike you’d like to buy, our team members will ask you a few questions to narrow down the options. Before we get into electric bike motors and battery sizes and torques and direct drive motor vs planetary geared hub motors, there are a few very important basic things to know:
Know your riding position
One of first things we will ask first time customers, is very simple stuff:
What kind frame do you prefer - a low step or high frame?
What kind of riding position and handlebars do you like - cruiser style? Straight handlebars? Drop-down road style?
Before we get into electric specifications of a bike - what motor it has, how big is the battery and so on- it’s very important to know what kind of frame design and riding position you’re looking for. Because, if you're looking for certain bike brand with certain motor, but the geometry of the bike doesn't feel comfortable, then you're not going to like riding that bike anyway. We can make some alterations, like swap out handlebars, saddle and all other removable components, but we can't modify the frame. If a person has bad knee, or for whatever reason they can't lift their feet up high, then high entry bikes would not be appropriate. So it's very important to know what frame and riding position works for you.
Know how far you want to go on one charge
After we’ve determined the frame, handlebar style and geometry of the bike, next thing to know is how far do you want to go with motor assist before you have to recharge the battery. We sell bikes that are short range (up to 20 miles on one charge), we also have medium range bikes (up to 40-50 miles) and we have some long range bikes that can go up to 100 miles on one charge.
Most short range bikes that you’ll find in our shop are also super light weight. Typically, greater range in e-bikes requires larger batteries and motors, which means more weight. Try to think about how you’d use your electric bike - for short commute that’s just 2 to 3 miles? Then maybe a light weight bike will work for you.
Motors and Batteries
After we’ve determined the riding position and the range, we can start talking about the electric specifications of the bike - motor and the battery. Generally there are 2 kinds of motors - mid drives and hub motors and they both work and feel different. For the first time rider, before we get into any technical aspects of motors and how they work on bikes, all you need to know is that typically, mid-drive motor bikes feel smoother and more like a bicycle. On the other hand, most hub motor bikes have more "oomph" in acceleration. You can read more about motors and batteries in our motor and battery articles.
Time to test ride!
After we’ve narrowed down the options for you, it’s time to test ride! Test rides are free in our shop and you can test ride any bike you want. No paperwork is needed, we just need your ID and you’re good to go. We normally allow 5 minute test ride around the block. We also have big parking lot where you can give it a quick spin. Test rides are very important to get the feel of bike and it’s also a good way of knowing the difference in the feel of mid drive vs hub drives.