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What to Look for When Buying an Electric Road Bike

E-bikes are a game changer for all types of riders. Check out below to learn what makes a great e-bike and why.
robb dorr
Written by Robb Dorr

Electric road bikes can help budding road cyclists tackle previously insurmountable mountain ranges or get back on two wheels after an illness or injury. A road e-bike enables you to ride longer distances, climb hills faster, and become more fit and healthy.

Like their traditional cousins, electric road bikes are distinguishable by their dropped handlebars, racey design, and low-weight build. However, with more manufacturers releasing new road bikes, selecting the right electric bike for you is increasingly challenging. So below, we give you a checklist to look out for on what makes a leading road e-bike and why.

What Should I Look For In A Road E-Bike?

Selecting the right road bike is a personal decision depending on how you plan to use it, the distances you intend to travel, and more. Here are our top tips for buying an electric road bike:

A Punchy Motor

The motor powering your e-bike is a critical first consideration in your decision process. Road e-bikes typically have smaller motors than other e-bike models, as they’re not designed to be used continuously. But they pack enough power to push you up steep inclines and an extra punch as required. Road bikes are legally limited to 20mph in the US, but some models pack a punch that takes you to 28mph and beyond.

Battery Capacity

Battery performance will significantly affect which road e-bike you purchase. A good quality battery will take you over 50 miles on a single charge, and some offer up to 100km per ride. However, road e-bikes typically have lower capacity batteries than other models, such as hybrid or folding e-bikes, as they’re generally used for spurts of power in challenging situations rather than long periods of assistance.

It’s also important to consider how reliable the battery is, as the last thing you want is for it to lose power when you start riding.

Bike Weight

The bike’s weight needs to be a top consideration, as it’ll determine how much work you have to put in while riding it. A heavier bike demands more work from your muscles and tendons while climbing hills, and a lighter model requires less exertion. That said, a heavier bike will likely have a more powerful battery and motor.

If you’re edging towards the lower end of the scale, some road e-bikes have impressive low weight, so it’s almost impossible to differentiate them from regular road bikes. For example, the Orbea Gain M20i weighs just 25 lbs, and Bianchi’s Aria E-Road Ultegra Di2 and the LOOK E-765 Optimum come in at under 30 lbs.

Top Quality Components

The ideal road bike for you will also depend on the build quality of its components. For example, hydraulic disc brakes are crucial for high-speed bikes, helping you to safely stop as quickly as possible. Other features to consider include lightweight carbon frames and wheels, a top-quality drivetrain, suspension that absorbs the impact of potential bumps in the road, and high-performance tires.

Some e-bike manufacturers will offer built-in components, such as front and rear lights, LCDs, power meters, wheel sensors, bottle cages, integrated apps, and the option for a removable battery.

Buy Your Perfect Electric Road Bike

Road e-bikes are ideal for maximizing the fun of cycling, giving you an extra power boost over challenging inclines and the ability to ride longer distances than ever before. Buying your ideal electric road bike will depend on whether you plan to use the bike to tackle mountain ranges, commute to work, or make casual Sunday afternoon rides through the countryside. But with more manufacturers releasing new models, there’s now a road e-bike out there for everyone.

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About Our Editorial Team

robb dorr
Written by Robb Dorr
Robb is a massive cycling enthusiast who has more than 20 years of non-motorized cycling experience. He started to lower the barrier of entry to cycling and reduce the intimidation people can experience when getting into the cycling world.

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