What will you be doing on your e-bike? Will you be:
- Riding around town on paved surfaces only? In this case you don’t need a more expensive mid-drive motor, you don’t need high-spec suspension, you don’t need off-road tyres and you don’t need hydraulic brakes.
- Riding around town, but also on light off-road trails. In this case you need tyres that are suitable for both purposes, you may need slightly beefier suspension, and a battery of 500 watt-hours or more should be considered to give you ample range.
- Riding more serious one-day or multi-day trail rides. Range for you should be a primary consideration. Look for a bike with a battery larger than 550 watt-hours. Hydraulic brakes, suspension with 100mm of travel, and knobbly, puncture-resistant tyres are important. The torque (turning force) of the motor is also important. The greater the torque, the more help you will get out of your motor. Choice of saddle is important. And, if you’re not splurging for a full-suspension bike, consider adding a quality suspension seat post.
What is the maximum distance you need to be able to achieve?
As a rough guide, someone making full use of mechanical gears and using moderate leg energy can expect to use around 7.5 watt-hours per km riding around town; 12 watt-hours per km riding on hilly off-road trails. So, a 500 watt-hour battery should deliver in the vicinity of 42-66kms of range. However the distance you get on a full battery depends on a number of factors including:
- How much leg energy you use
- How efficiently you use the mechanical gears on your e-bike
- How hilly the terrain is
- Whether you’re riding on paved or unpaved surfaces
- The size of the battery (measured in watt-hours)
Mid drive or rear hub motor?
If most of the riding you will be doing is around town and on light trails, then a bike with a rear-hub motor will be perfectly fine and will cost you less money. Mid-drive motors shine in hilly off-road situations.
The torque (turning force) of the motor.
A motor with higher torque (70 newton-metres or greater) will apply more turning force (i.e. do more of the wheel turning work for you) than a motor with lower torque.
The brand of the electric system.
The most common and reputable brands available on e-bikes in NZ are Bosch, Brose, Yamaha, Shimano and Bafang. Consumer Reports NZ did an in-depth review of these 5 brands in 2019. You can read the review here.
Click here to download a printable version of this and take it with you when you go shopping for an e-bike.
You may also wish to download our “Buyer’s Guide to E-Bikes.”
View MeloYelo ebikes here.