The 3 most common mistakes people make buying electric bikes
The 3 most common mistakes made when buying an electric bike
Buying an e-bike can be an intimidating experience. Dozens of brands, different motor and battery systems, and often different advice from different retailers. How can the average consumer know they are making the right decision? Here are the 3 most common mistakes new e-bike buyers make, and how to avoid making them...
1. Not taking a proper test ride
You wouldn’t buy a car without test riding, and you definitely shouldn’t buy an electric bike without trying it out first. Sizes and styles of bikes vary a lot, and it’s only by getting on a bike that you can decide if it’s comfortable for you. Electric bike power systems also vary widely, and comparing a mid drive with a hub drive, for example, will help you make a more informed decision about which you prefer. It’s also important to test the bike as you intend to use it (i.e. not just around the car park at the shopping centre!). Test the bike on your regular commute, or on that hill that you plan to ride up, then you will know that it does the job you expect it to.
Beware of low cost, direct from factory importers. Products like this folding bike that turned up at one of our stores are often unsafe with no reliable support (note broken frame and potentially hazardous lithium battery very poorly packaged).
2. Not buying from a reputable supplier
There are a huge number of electric bike brands available and it can be confusing for customers to know which are reputable. Do your research and Google the brand name. If the same brand is sold to discerning European and US markets and has good reviews, there's some assurance of quality. If it's only a "brand" in New Zealand (and especially if they claim to have "designed" it in NZ) - be very careful. Such bikes have usually been ordered direct from a factory in China, and quality control and support may be poor. Many of these importers go out of business within two years, leaving customers with a non-functional bike when batteries and other parts fail. Always buy from a brick and mortar retail shop to ensure ongoing service and support.
After sales support is critical for e-bikes. Ensure your retailer has a professional workshop (like this pictured at an Electrify store) staffed by trained specialists.
3. Not taking specialist advice
Salespeople in some stores are incentivised to sell more bikes, but may not have the knowledge or motivation to ensure you get the right bike personally. A knowledgeable electric bike specialist will listen to your requirements first, before suggesting some bikes that might work for you, without pressuring you into buying a particular bike. They will be able to explain the differences in power systems, the range you should expect from a battery and give you tips for getting the most out of your electric bike in the long term. A good e-bike specialist will also understand that the only way for you to understand whether a bike will work for you is to actually try it, and will not try and sell you a bike that you haven’t test ridden. They may even go out on a ride with you to ensure you get the most out of your test ride experience.
Specialists like Electrify NZ can usually offer more knowledgeable advice than general bike stores