Spring is enticing all of us to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. Maybe you are considering a new electric bike to help you get out and ride. There are so many options for you to consider as you search for your new electric bike. It can be overwhelming.
We understand that the price of your new ebike is important; staying within budget and getting the best deal are smart shopping goals. However, we want to share some of the hidden risks that you may encounter if you choose to purchase your new ebike online.
1. quality of assembly and tuning
Many years ago my wife and I invested in a new piano. We love the sound of music in our home and spent many hours shopping for just the right piano. The right size, color, and shape was important but, more than that, we were looking for the right sound. After the piano was delivered it needed to be tuned by a professional, a few times, in order to get it working the way it was designed to work and the way we wanted it to work. Without the professional tuning we would have been disappointed in the piano and wasted our money.
Just like a piano, all bikes need to be "tuned" before they should be ridden. This should always be done by a professional bike mechanic. All ebikes come partially assembled in their box with some brands coming almost completely assembled. In almost all cases this assembly is being done at the factory, generally in Asia or Europe. The assembly done at bike factories is not meant to be the final assembly.
If you choose to purchase an electric bike online always make sure you can take it to a local, experienced, and professionally trained ebike mechanic in order to have it tuned to you. Don't ride a bike "out-of-tune," it's not good for the bike and it isn't safe for you.
2. Service and warranty
We've all purchased a car before. It's nice knowing that if I purchase a used or new car I can get warranty work done at any dealer of that make of car. It doesn't matter where I purchase it or from whom it is purchased. If I buy a Ford from a dealer in Oregon I can have warranty work done by a Ford dealer in Utah.
This is NOT the way it works with ebikes. Almost all ebike manufacturers require you to have warranty work done at the store where you purchased your bike. If you purchase an ebike from a store in Wisconsin and you live in Utah you will need to take it back to Wisconsin for all warranty work.
Why? Ebike manufactures want to ensure that you have the safest riding experience. This is why they require professional assembly and tuning. Most of the problems we see in our store with ebikes have nothing to do with warranty, rather most problems result from improper assembly and tuning.
3. get the right fit
We have all been through experience of buying new shoes. You pick out a few different styles you like and ask the sales person to bring them all to you in your preferred size. Even though they are technically all the same size, each shoe fits you very differently.
The correct fit of any bike is crucial. A bike that is not the right size and is not set up for you can lead to a lot of pain while riding and even lead to long-term damage to your body.
There are no standards in the bike industry for sizing. All frames are not created equal. This is why it is so important to actually ride the bike you are going to purchase. Each brand of bike can fit differently and ride differently, even if they are both listed as being the same size. An experienced ebike store can help you find the right fit for your body shape and type of riding you want to do.
4. not all watts are created equal
Volts, watts, amps, watt hours, amp hours.... It can all get confusing when so many numbers are thrown at you. It's tempting to simply look at the power of the motor (watts) and the capacity of the battery (volts x amp hours) and make comparisons based on these numbers. Unfortunately, doing this does not produce an accurate understanding of the quality of ebike systems.
There is so much more that goes into a good ebike system. Some of the worst ebikes I've seen have the biggest batteries and most powerful motors. There is a broad range of quality when it comes to battery cells, motors, and their respective management systems.
The RISK IS HIGH when it comes to the varying quality of ebike systems. Poor quality battery cells and management systems can lead to unnecessarily short battery life and higher risk of fire. If the battery is poorly assembled, even if they say they use high quality cells, it can result in a battery fire (click here to read about recent example).
I've never found an ebike manufacturer that markets their "low-quality battery and motor system." This is why it is so important to talk with an experienced ebike dealer who is familiar with the many technologies, systems, batteries, and components that are available. They can help you navigate all the numbers, systems, and risks and make sure you purchase the ebike that truly accomplishes what you want it to do while avoiding unnecessary risks. Many advertise "high quality batteries". Know the truth.
In conclusion, seek out experienced, local ebike dealers who guarantee professional ebike assembly and tuning. Ask your dealer about how they honor manufactures' warranties. Ensure your correct ebike fit by sizing your bike in a reputable store with a knowledgeable dealer. Be educated in ebike systems.
To make an appointment with an eSpokes Ebike Expert, please call (801) 666-7644 or visit us at 11277 Kestrel Rise in Daybreak.