Electric bike reviews

Test results for 18 electric bike options ranging in price from $1050 to $3299.
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04.What to look for

Accessories such as racks with panniers, lights, mudguards and chain guards, locks and pumps are all convenient to have on board when using any bicycle, although they all add weight.

A throttle is useful if you’re unable to pedal, quite tired from pedalling or taking off from a standing start. However, this drains the battery faster than just pedal-assist. A combination of throttle capability and pedal-assist may be best.

Front hub motor means easier maintenance if you need to remove the wheel for a puncture. Rear hub motors can be quite complex for maintenance.

Puncture-resistant tyres will lessen the potential for repairing the tyres, which is useful if you have a rear hub motor.

Higher watt motor means more torque or take-off potential from a standing start. All will be set from 200-250W for legal reasons, but a 350W limited to 250W will give greater torque than a 250W motor.

Battery and travel distance - As a basic guide, a 36V 10Ah battery (360Wh), which is a very common capacity for an e-bike battery, will take you 50km using the highest level of assistance or 100km using the lowest level of assistance. A 36V 9Ah battery (324Wh) will provide about 40 or 80km and a 36V 14Ah battery (504Wh) should take you 55 or 120km. Hills, headwinds and carrying a lot of weight drain the battery further, and using a throttle drains the battery more quickly than a pedal assist system does.


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