I’m in the market for an ebike1 and I asked around to
figure out what is important when making a purchase decision. I am not asking
for specific bike recommendations, but rather what criteria are important for
making a decision. The responses were useful and I’m summarising them here,
roughly grouped by topic.
If you (like me) know a lot about “acoustic”2 bikes, all that still applies.
Avoid bikes with custom parts to ensure you have an easier time repairing this
This includes all-inclusive brands like VanMoof, Sushi or Cowboy.
Having lots of gears is less important on ebikes. Some folks prefer even no
gears, even on hilly terrain.
weight is a mobility concern if you ever have to manoeuvre the bike up or down
25kg is not a bad weight for a (men’s) model.
Have a local shop that you trust to stick around for repairs.
Motors are usually custom and there is new tech every ~two years. Go with big
established brands like Shimano, Bosch or Yamaha.
Aim for easy battery removal so you can store and charge it safely.
Avoid rear-wheel motors, pedal-hub it is.
Update: modern rear-wheel motors are getting better and are used in
overall more lightweight bikes, keep avoiding older ones.
Update: Throttles (ask the bike to go on its own) are not classified as bikes in Germany
but might be a neat feature if they are available in your jurisdiction.
Always test drive in situations you are going to use the bike.
Use bike rental shops or bike sharing programmes to get access to a trial
Motor responsiveness varies, try out what suits you better, immediate power or
more delayed action.
“Ebikes changed my life, I even sold my car”.
Avoid secondhand bikes because motors can be shot and they can’t really be
If you want to save some money, go with previous year’s models, but no older
than two years.
Add 1500€ to your “acoustic” bike budget for an ebike.