Electric bikes are a fun way to stay active and enjoy fresh air, but they’re also great for commuting or running quick errands. They’re also more affordable than most cars, making them a cost-effective option for those who ride regularly or want to save on gas costs.
Generally, electric bikes are powered by an electric motor and battery that offer varying levels of pedal-assist that make riding easier. They’re a great alternative to traditional bicycles and are especially useful for long rides, crowded streets and difficult hills.
1. Pedal-Assist Bikes
Pedal-assist bikes are popular with people looking to make the most of their cycling experience. These e-bikes use pedal-assist to enhance the rider’s effort while they are pedaling, making it easier to push through rough terrain.
Often called pedelecs, these e-bikes have a sensor that senses the speed at which the pedals turn as well as the force of the rider’s pedal stroke. These sensors can also detect the activation of the brake and disable the motor if necessary.
The pedal-assist settings vary on each bike, and you can choose the level of assistance that’s best for you. Some bikes also have torque sensors that allow you to control the power of your motor based on how hard you’re pedaling.
Another important feature to consider is the number of poles on a basic PAS sensor, and the higher the number of poles, the more quickly the e-bike’s pedal response system will respond. Early PAS sensors had only five or six poles, and there was a significant lag between when the cranks turned and when the pedal assist would kick in.
Fortunately, most modern pedal-assist systems have a 12-pole or higher sensor that can detect the number of PAS poles and send a signal to the drive system immediately. Some e-bikes even have 24 pole PAS sensors.
Some pedelecs also feature power-on-demand, which uses a throttle like a motorcycle to enable the motor to help you get around without pedaling. The throttle is activated by either a twist grip or a button on the handlebars, and can be used to get to speeds greater than 20 mph.
These electric bikes are ideal for riding long distances, but can be a bit tricky to master. They’re not as stable as conventional bikes, so you might find yourself veering out of your way and falling over or off the bike.
Most pedelecs have a cadence sensor, which is built into the drivetrain and senses how fast you’re pedaling. It then sends a signal to the motor, which determines the level of assistance you receive based on your chosen pedal assist setting.
2. Cruiser Bikes
Cruiser bikes, sometimes called beach cruisers or motobikes, are popular with casual bicyclists and vacationers because of their easy-to-ride, stable designs. They typically feature balloon-style tires, an upright seating posture and a single-speed drivetrain.
These bikes are great for commuting, shopping and tooling around the neighborhood. The soft seats and thicker tires offer a comfortable upright riding position, while some come with racks to help carry your bags. They’re also a good choice for exploring national park dirt trails since they have tough tires that handle sand and snow.
Some cruisers have an added electric pedal assist motor, which can be helpful for hill climbing and long distance bicycle trips. The swept-back handlebars ensure comfortable steering, but not so relaxed that you’re prone to whipping through alpine hairpin bends.
The bike’s sloping frame, along with its long top-tube and relaxed head tube angle, helps keep the rider steady when they’re not in a high speed or on a steep climb. This is especially important if you’re riding in the city and don’t want to be bogged down by traffic.
They also feature a wide range of colorways, which is a great way to add some personality to your commute. Linus, a Californian bike brand, offers Dutchi-style cruisers with slim and sleek frames.
Many of these bikes use a sloping front wheel for traction on rough terrain, while others come with a rear hub-mounted hub motor. They also have more power than commuter e-bikes, which means they can make up for a lack of top-end acceleration when riding downhill.
Another reason to consider a cruiser bike is that they’re easier on the knees than some other sports bikes. They’re usually low-slung and have wide, padded saddles, making them less painful for those with weak or inflamed knees.
In addition, they’re much more able to get you up hills than other sports bikes because their lower center of gravity makes it easier for you to reach the brakes and accelerator. Inexperienced cyclists can start out on these bikes and enjoy the ease of use, before moving on to a more sophisticated design when they feel ready.
3. Commuter Bikes
Whether you’re a student or simply someone who travels in the city regularly, it’s important to have the right bike for your commute. Having the correct type of bike and components will make the trip easier, safer and more enjoyable.
The best commuting bikes will have a riding position that’s comfortable, safe and allows you to ride quickly and safely over varied terrain, from smooth roads to rough paths. You should also consider the length of your commute and whether you’ll need to ride over hills or through traffic.
If you’re commuting less than a mile to or from work, a single-speed bike that puts you in a more upright riding posture is likely sufficient for your needs. However, if you’re expecting to be riding through heavy traffic or over steep terrain, you may need a geared bike that places you in a more aggressive riding position.
These bikes tend to have geometry that is similar to road bikes, but with more upright seating positions and flat bar designs. They are great for a variety of commutes and are popular with young people and women looking to get a more comfortable and stable ride in the city.
Hybrids are another good choice for a city commute, offering the speed of a road bike and the sturdiness of an upright cruiser. They have a more comfortable riding posture than a standard city bike and often include fenders, pannier racks and other practical features to make them ideal for long errand trips.
They typically roll on 20-inch wheels and come with mechanical or electronic brakes. Both offer adequate stopping power but mechanical brakes are a little less powerful than hydraulic discs.
For commuters who are unable to fit their bikes into their car, folding bike models are an excellent option. They fold up into compact packages that are easy to carry, store and lock when not in use.
E-bikes are another popular choice for commuters, offering a more affordable alternative to a pedal-assist bike. They don’t require a large amount of training and can cover long distances with ease. But they do have some drawbacks; the motor takes up a lot of space in the frame and the batteries can be quite heavy.
4. Kids Bikes
Whether your child is just learning to ride or has already mastered balancing and pedaling, there is a bike out there to meet their needs. These bikes range from low-seat, 12-inch-wheeled balance bikes to pedal-assisted and cruiser bikes for older kids.
While many big-box store brands produce bikes designed with a cheap price tag as their focus, the best kids’ bikes are built to provide kids with a fun and safe experience while helping them develop cycling skills. These brands are also passionate about their products and are committed to providing excellent customer service.
One of the most popular options in this category is the Woom NOW, which is a great option for children that need a reliable commuter bike. It can be purchased with or without stabilisers and features a chain guard to protect little fingers while riding. It can be ordered in a variety of sizes and comes in a bright, fun color scheme that kids love.
Another popular choice in this category is the Frog 44, which features a lightweight frame for easy pedalling and offers a range of fun colors and designs. It’s an ideal bike for ages four and five and is perfect for cruising around town, commuting to school and practicing their biking skills.
Finally, there’s the Pello, which is a simple choice for parents who want their kids to have an affordable, high-quality bike that will perform well both on and off the pavement. Its lightweight frame and 2 1/8-inch Kenda tyres make it ideal for riding up hills or heading to the pump track.
Choosing the right bike for your child can be tough, especially when they are still learning how to ride. But with a bit of research, you’ll be able to find the right bike for your child and help them learn to ride safely.
Thankfully, there are plenty of quality bike brands that are dedicated to making the best kid’s bikes available. These brands are all passionate about bikes and they are experts in kids’ bikes, which means that they have a deep understanding of what it takes to build a bike that your child will love. They also focus on building quality bikes that will last, so if you choose one of these bikes, it’s likely that you can recoup at least half (or more) of your investment when your child outgrows it.