Your First Electric Bike – Tips for Buying Kits, Batteries, and Fully Assembled Electric Bicycles
As gas prices rise across the globe, so does the interest in electric bicycles and other Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs). These LEVs are perfect for those who are tired of sitting in traffic or being cramped into crowded public transportation. But like any major purchase, it’s worth doing right. Here are three things you should keep in mind before making your purchase.
Bike or Motor Kit?
One of the first questions you’ll face when upgrading to an electric bicycle is whether to buy a separate bicycle or upgrade your current one. To upgrade your current bicycle, you can purchase a motor kit designed for this purpose. This might seem intimidating – but don’t let it be. All the best electric bicycle motor kits come with easy-to-follow installation instructions. Installation is quick, too. You could get your kit and be riding your new bike in the same day. For those who prefer to be hands off, there are plenty of options for buying ready-to-go bicycles. Both of these options function just like a normal bicycle except with some extra battery assistance. You won’t be getting the same speed and power as you would from a motorcycle.
Know Your State’s Law
If you’re planning to purchase an electric bicycle to use in the United States, you need to be aware of your own state’s laws. Most states hold up the national policy that electric bikes must operate under 20 mph and have a limit of 750 watts. However, the companies who produce these bicycles are not regulated. This means they could produce a bicycle or motor kit that could be illegal. Also, most states don’t require you to get special insurance for your electric bicycle. But you’ll want to check the Internet for any changes in policy that might occur. Since electric bicycles are relatively new, the laws and regulations around them could change very quickly.
Choosing a Battery
When purchasing an electric bicycle or a motor kit, you’ll come across various options for the battery power. More than anything, the choice of battery depends on how you will be using your bicycle. Riding in hilly areas or adding additional weight by pulling a trailer will drain battery power faster. Your best selection would be a Lithium Ion (Li Ion) battery as it surpasses all other battery types in the number of recharge cycles it can go through. Basically this means that you can go longer without having to purchase a new battery. Also, just like all other batteries, these batteries come in different voltages. Though the higher voltages will cost you more money, they will last longer and perform better.
Purchasing an electric bicycle for the first time can be a confusing experience. However, deciding whether you want a new bike or a motor kit, knowing your local laws, and choosing the best battery for your needs will help you make the best purchasing decision possible.
Jacob Mathews is a writer and entrepreneur based in Raleigh, North Carolina.
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