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A Guide for Buyers: Choosing Between Two and Four Wheels for Ebikes

In a short period of time, electric bikes have become ubiquitous, transitioning from a niche recreational activity to a rapidly expanding sector in the international transportation industry.

These vehicles are influencing the amount of carbon emissions. A recent report from Bloomberg revealed that the number of electric two- and three-wheelers in the world is 11 times higher than electric cars, reducing oil consumption by almost four times.

If you are thinking about replacing or decreasing the emissions from your car with an ebike, here are some factors to take into account.

What do you plan to use it for?

Prior to beginning your search, determine the primary purposes for which you will use your bicycle. Consider the distance you may desire to travel, the desired speed, and most importantly, the items or individuals you may need to transport. These factors will significantly impact your purchasing decision.

The price range for Ebikes is typically between $600 and $20,000, however Dr Elliot Fishman, director of Melbourne’s Institute for Sensible Transport, advises caution when considering anything under $2,000. While this may seem like a high price, it is important to note that the average yearly expenses for operating a car are over $10,000.

The essential elements of an ebike include the battery, motor, and brakes. A throttle allows for non-pedal use of the bike when necessary.

The cost of a mid-mount motor, which is situated beside the cranks where the chain is located, is typically higher than a front or back wheel mounted motor. However, it offers better efficiency and a smoother riding experience.

Watt hours (Wh) are considered the best measure of the battery’s energy capacity and generally range from 250 to 750 watts. Anything over about 400Wh should get you more than 80km of level riding on medium pedal-assist mode. Consumer group Choice recommends you should budget for a replacement battery every three years.

If you plan on carrying heavy loads, it is recommended to opt for hydraulic braking when choosing brakes.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a used bicycle, make sure to have it inspected at a reliable bike store. These shops often have programs that can assess the usage and quality of important parts. For a small cost, this will ensure that you are not purchasing a potential problem.

Two children and a case of beer

You have probably encountered them while out and about – electric cargo bicycles designed for families, equipped with a spacious front cargo rack and side panniers for extra storage.

Cargo bicycles allow you to transport a maximum weight of 125kg, or according to Fishman, enough for two children and a case of beer.

According to Fishman, these cargo bikes are causing people to either choose to live in a household without a car or to use the bike as a substitute for their second car. This not only benefits the environment, but also makes financial sense when considering the high cost of owning a car.

When deciding on a freight bicycle, the motor’s strength is crucial as it needs a powerful torque and turning ability. Additionally, opting for a bike with smaller wheels closer to the ground can offer a lower center of gravity and increased stability.

Fortunately, it is simple to test out before making a purchase. In addition to the popular city rental programs, there are several Australian businesses that provide subscription and lease options for cargo bikes.

Find yourself a comfortable ride

Riding an ebike may not offer the same level of comfort as cruising in your car with music on, but the benefit is that you will never have to suffer through long traffic delays again. Unlike traditional racing bikes, ebikes do not need to have thin tires, making them more pleasant and secure for riding over uneven surfaces or tram tracks.

To maximize the replacement of car trips, it is important to have an ebike that fits your body for optimal comfort. The critical elements to consider are the frame geometry, seat comfort, and handlebar shape.

The decision largely depends on personal preference and body type. Approach purchasing an ebike as you would buying a car, by test riding various models on different types of terrain (including hills to evaluate the motor’s performance).

Avoiding danger

The majority of ebike users claim to feel more secure compared to riding a regular bike due to increased control over acceleration. According to Fishman, this is especially evident when navigating through traffic and being able to quickly maneuver away from potential danger while stopped at traffic lights with multiple cars behind.

Ebike riders have the luxury of being more selective with their route choices due to their energy-saving mode of transportation. They may opt for longer routes in order to avoid hazardous road conditions or to stay on designated bike paths.

If you are worried about safety on the road, Fishman recommends choosing a bicycle with a more upright design to improve your visibility to drivers.

Maintaining ownership of your electric bike.

Reducing the risk of theft is challenging, but there are measures that can be taken.

It is crucial to choose a lock that matches the worth of your bike. If you reside in an apartment and consistently lock your bike in the same spot each night, it may be beneficial to have a second, sturdier lock kept in that area.

According to Fishman, if you have specific worries, it might be beneficial to purchase a lock that sounds an alarm and has a tracking feature. This would notify your phone if someone tries to tamper with it and allow you to locate the bike if it gets stolen.

  • Every Saturday, Change by Degrees shares life hacks and tips for sustainable living in order to decrease your household’s carbon footprint. Do you have any questions or tips for reducing household emissions? Feel free to email us at [email protected].

Source: theguardian.com