How To Choose an Electric Bike: Buying Guide

Are you looking for an electric bike? Confused with so many options? Let’s find the right e-bike for you together.

Buying the right bike can be a challenge. Add motors, batteries and displays to the mix, and the choices seem endless. Luckily, they’re not. Our Electric Bike Buying Guide will help you choose an electric bike and get rolling in record time. We’ll look through:

What is an electric bike?

How do electric bikes work?

Types of e-bikes

Choosing the right electric bike

Electric bike batteries

Electric bike motors

What is an electric bike?

An electric bike is a bicycle with an electric motor. It’s ridden like a regular bike, but when you pedal the motor helps you along.

In New Zealand law, an e-bike is a ‘power-assisted pedal cycle’ – and this just about sums it up. An electric bike, or e-bike, is a bicycle that uses battery-power to assist you.

But why should I buy an electric bike?

Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are designed to help you get uphill easier, go further on your rides, and get there quicker. What’s not to like?

How do electric bikes work?

When you pedal an e-bike the built-in electric motor automatically helps propel you. So you still have to pedal an electric bike? Well, yes. But the motor helps to drive you forward so that you can go faster, further and higher with much less effort.

Electric bikes use a battery pack (sometimes more than one) to provide power to a motor. All our e-bikes use a Bosch mid-drive motor that integrates with the bike frame. 

E-bikes have a visual display that monitors information like speed, distance, power and range. Think of e-bike displays like the dashboard of a car. Some high-end displays can show maps and route plans, whereas others show only vital information. 

Types of e-bikes

Where there’s a regular bike, there’s an electric bike version. E-bikes are so popular that electric bikes are available for almost every discipline, from cargo-hauling to efficient commuting.

There are three main types of e-bike: 

1. Commuter electric bikes

2. Electric mountain bikes

a. Electric Hardtail Bikes

b. Full-Suspension Electric Mountain Bikes (eMTB)

3. Electric Road Bikes

Choosing the right electric bike

Finding the right e-bike is quite easy. Just ask yourself: ‘where will I be riding?’. This is the starting point that will help you decide what frame-types to look for. 

“You get what you pay for” – Be honest with yourself when you’re thinking about where and how much you’ll ride. I’ve bought bikes for decades and I’ve learnt one thing. Buy a quality bike that suits your purposes and you won’t regret it.

There are no hard-and-fast rules to choose what type of electric bike you should buy. A commuter electric bike will be ideal for most urban adventures. If you commute through farms and natural trails then an electric hardtail mountain bike would be a better option.

Get in touch and we can help you find the right electric bike for you. [LINK]  

Electric bike batteries

An electric bike battery provides power to the motor. All Cube electric bikes use Bosch batteries and motors.

Cube bikes use two different types (# links to types) of Bosch e-bike battery and are available in 4 different capacities (# link to capacities).

[Cube Ella Hybrid and Cube Touring Hybrid Images]

Types of Bosch e-bike batteries

Bosch PowerPack Batteries

PowerPacks are mounted onto the bike frame. Mounting the PowerPack close to the middle of the bike provides a stable ride. Some easy-entry frames, like the Cube Ella Hybrid above, mount the PowerPack to make getting on and off easier.

PowerPacks are more affordable than an integrated battery design and come in smaller capacities. This makes them an ideal power source for urban and commuter electric bikes. 

Bosch PowerPacks come in 300wh, 400wh and 500wh capacities. Our electric bike battery charging-time calculator will show you how long your e-bike battery will take to charge: 

[Charging time table]

[Cube Ella Ride Hybrid 400 2020 & Cube Touring Hybrid One 500 Image]

Bosch PowerTube Batteries

Bosch PowerTubes are batteries that integrate into the bike’s frame. Most Cube bikes use an integrated PowerTube battery design because of their outstanding performance and clean aesthetics.

Cube bikes with PowerTube integration are a robust option with typically higher power capacity. This makes them the ideal e-bike battery for electric mountain bikes.

PowerTube batteries come in 400wh, 500wh and powerful 625wh capacities. Our electric bike battery charging-time calculator will show you how long your e-bike battery will take to charge: 

[PowerTube charge times table]

Electric bike battery capacity

Electric bike batteries have different capacities. They’re measured in Watt hours. These are normally indicated by a number: 300, 400, 500, 625.

Smaller electric bike batteries around 300-400wh are typically lighter weight but have shorter run-times. They are ideal for urban e-bikes and commuter electric bikes. 

Larger electric bike batteries like the Bosch PowerTubes are now available in 400wh, 500wh and 625wh capacities. These provide enough power for long and mountainous rides. 

Which battery is best for an electric bike?

Typically, the best e-bike battery is the biggest one available. Larger batteries are capable of covering bigger distances and more challenging terrain between charges.

However, you might not need to travel a huge range, or you might be riding on easier terrain with fewer hills. If this is the case, then a smaller capacity battery will be lighter and could be a good choice.

Use the Bosch Range Assistant [LINK] to figure out how far you’ll be able to travel on a single charge.

How much is a battery for an electric bike?

All Cube e-bikes come with a battery. We can source replacement Bosch e-bike batteries from our supplier. Contact us for more information.

How long does an electric bike battery last?

Bosch electric bike batteries carry a 2 year guarantee (or 500 charge cycles) but in reality they’ll last for a LOT longer. You should expect 1500 charge cycles or 10 years use from of an authentic Bosch e-bike battery.

Remember, all Lithium Ion batteries will naturally degrade over time, even when not it use. Follow these simple steps for extending the life of your e-bike battery:

  1. Store between 0ºc and 20ºc
  2. Store your bike between 30-60% charge
  3. Park you e-bike in the shade or cool on hot days
  4. Don’t store your e-bike in a fully charged or drained state

Are electric bike batteries interchangeable?

Yes and no. You can’t replace a Bosch battery with anything other than an authentic replacement. However, if you want to upgrade battery capacity then it’s simple to purchase a bigger e-bike battery of the same model

PowerTube and PowerPack batteries are not interchangeable.

Can you overcharge an electric bike battery?

Technically, you cannot overcharge an electric bike battery. Bosch e-bike batteries use Lithium Ion battery cells that function best when kept between 20-80% charge.

Storing your bike in a fully charged, or discharged, state will decrease its lifespan.

Electric bike motors

An electric bike motor delivers power when you pedal. All Cube e-bikes use Bosch motors and batteries.

Bosch e-bike motors, or Drive Units, use power from the battery to assist you when pedalling. A Bosch Drive Unit monitors pedal power, cadence and speed to create a seamless integration between rider-power and electric assistance.

Mid-drive electric bike motors

All Bosch motors are mid-drive electric bike motors. The newest 4th generation motors are almost half the size and weight of their predecessors.

Mid-drive motors offer many advantages on an electric bike:

– Centralised weight improves handling and balance

– Smaller design for seamless frame integration

– Smooth integration between pedalling and electric power

– Suspension remains effective

– Doesn’t affect any other bike components

– Gear-shift detection technology for smooth gear changing

Bosch e-bike motors comparison table 

[insert table here]

How powerful is an e-bike motor?

Legally in New Zealand an e-bike motor cannot exceed a maximum power output of 300 watts. This not the same as Australia, Europe and the UK, where pedal-assisted power output is limited to 250 watts and 25km/h top speed.

All Bosch e-bike motors are NZ law-compliant. You can find more information on the NZTA website

Electric bike motors FAQs

Are 250 watts enough for eBike?

Yes. A 250-watt e-bike motor is capable of producing enough force to get you up some pretty steep stuff.

How long does an electric bike motor last?

An electric bike motor will last for a very long time. Bosch offers support for Drive Units for at least 10 years.

Electric Bike FAQs

How do I choose an electric bike?

With the right information. Hopefully, this e-bike guide has helped you find all the answers. Still unsure about e-bikes? Get in touch, we’d love to help. LINK

Are electric bikes worth the money?

We think so. The benefits of buying an e-bike depend on where and when you want to ride. Trust us, you’ll never look back. Unless you wave goodbye as you’re cruising away.

If you’re still not sure, just remember that e-bike owners ride twice as often and much further than regular cyclists. It’s that good. 

Do electric bikes charge as you pedal?

No. Electric bikes that charge as you pedal would take more effort to ride than a normal bike. You’ll need to charge your e-bike at a mains power outlet.

Can you ride an e-bike without the battery?

Yes. You can ride an e-bike without a battery. It’s not something we’d recommend doing all the time but if you’re in a pickle it is possible. 

An e-bike with a flat battery will be harder to pedal. Take the battery out and stow it safely if you’re stuck and need to pedal home. 

Removing the battery will reduce the overall weight of your e-bike considerably. This might be a good thing. However, it could negatively affect the bike’s handling and manoeuvrability, which is especially important for eMTBs.

What are the disadvantages of electric bikes?

E-bikes are typically more expensive than a regular bike. Aside from that, the disadvantages of owning an e-bike depend on you. 

We often get asked if electric bikes are worth it. We’re sure you’ll love it. As long as you choose the right e-bike.

Is it hard to pedal an electric bike?

No. In fact, an electric bike is designed to make it easier to pedal.

This makes e-bikes the perfect transport for hilly commuting and mountainous adventures. They’re great if you’re recovering from an injury, or just don’t have as much power in your legs anymore.

Do you still get exercise on an electric bike?

Yes. The battery and motor on an e-bike will assist you. They don’t do all the work. This makes an e-bike the perfect choice for those with limited mobility who want to get outside more. You’ll save energy on the uphill so you can enjoy the descent.

Can you ride electric bikes in the rain?

Yes. E-bikes are designed to weather the same conditions as a regular bike. 

Water, mud, gravel and ice are not good for any bike. Make sure you follow a regular maintenance schedule to prolong the life of your bike frame and components.

Aren’t e-bikes for lazy people?

Absolutely not. Electric bikes are the perfect gateway to getting out more. In fact, statistics show that e-bike owners ride more frequently and for longer than other cyclists.

Why are e-bikes limited to 25km/h?

Technically, they’re not. In some countries e-bikes are only legal if they travel at a maximum speed of 25km/h but not in New Zealand.