Seven things to know before buying an e-bike


Allowing you to respect social distancing and avoid public transport, the electrically assisted bicycle is attractive during this back-to-school period, in the context of the health crisis. But not all are equal, far from it. Here are seven tips to avoid making mistakes before investing in one of these two-wheelers.

It allows you to do some physical activity, avoid public transport, leave your car in the garage or even sell it… back-to-school period, in the context of the health crisis.

Yes but here it is. All are not equal, far from it. Motor in the bottom bracket or on the rear wheel? Removable  battery or not? And what budget should I devote to it?

Here is a list of seven questions to ask yourself before setting your sights on your new mount.

1. What use?

This is the first question we must ask ourselves. How will I use my bike? How many kilometers will I travel each day? For what types of trips? City-countryside, countryside-city, intercity journeys?

Calculating the number of kilometers will help you determine the type of battery you need. An essential choice, since their autonomy can go from simple to triple and even more, for a range of 60 to 200 kilometers.

2. What kind of bike?

In the electrically assisted models on offer, there are more and more mountain bikes, even beach cruisers, these XXL bikes with oversized frames and tires. If at first glance the idea seems attractive, the Nantes user association Place au Vélo recommends, in town, to invest in a city bike or a VTC (all-road bike), more suitable for daily use.

“You shouldn’t hesitate, either, to switch to an electrically assisted twin-carrier, which allows you to install one or two people in the front and drop off your children at school, for example”, advises the vice- president of the association, Daniel Daoulas.

3. What budget?

If you can afford it, “don’t bet on the entry-level ones that we see from €600 in department stores”, further advises Daniel Daoulas. Indeed, you might be disappointed by the quality of the material and the driving experience.

“The electric bike is much cheaper than a car, so it’s worth investing properly,” insists the vice-president of the Place au Vélo association. Especially since this new means of transport could quickly become your best friend, leaving your favorite car gathering dust in the garage.

“To be sure of having the correct quality, you have to spend 1,200 to 1,500 €”, suggests Daniel Daoulas. A budget to plan, therefore, which can be amortized by seeking help from your City or Metropolis (500 € for the inhabitants of Greater Lyon or Île-de-France for example). Government aid, up to €200 for the purchase of an electric bike , has also existed since January 22, 2019.

4. Which support system?

In the world of so-called “electric” bicycles, there are mainly two electric assistance drive systems. They influence the price, the weight of the bike and the way of riding.

“In my opinion, the best are those with the motor in the crankset which have so-called “proportional” assistance. The assistance adapts to the effort provided, and this gives less jolts, believes Daniel Daoulas. With others, it’s all or nothing. »

“The motor in the crankset also has the advantage of balancing the bike by lowering the center of gravity. Piloting is facilitated,” notes the consumer association UFC Que Choisir.

5. Removable battery or not?

Can it be plugged directly from the bike into an electrical outlet? Check that you can remove and replace it with a simple and quick gesture, because you will repeat it often!

“For some of their ranges, brands have chosen non-removable batteries (such as VanMoof brand models). If you opt for this system, make sure you can recharge in good conditions, ” warns UFC Que Choisir.

A matter of practicality, but also of security. To avoid theft, some cyclists will choose, once their bike is parked, to carry the battery in their backpack. Indeed, an electrically assisted bicycle without a battery is necessarily less a source of covetousness…

6. And the tires?

“You also have to check that you have good tyres. In the cities, there are still quite a few pieces of glass on the roads. And with the assistance system, it can be complicated to remove a rear tyre,” warns Daniel Daoulas.

7. Try before you buy

You can also choose your derailleur. “Compared to cassette derailleurs, hub-gear systems (typically Shimano’s Nexus) have the advantage of being low-maintenance, not dirtying trouser bottoms and, most importantly, the chain never jumps ! “, underlines the UFC Que Choisir, which advises against buying your bike on the internet.

“Testing the bike before making a choice is essential. Preferably go to a large sports area, a chain specializing in the sale of cycles or an independent store, ” recommends the consumer association

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