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16 June 2021

Choosing the right e-bike for you

With a huge range of e-bike styles to choose from it can feel bewildering, we take look at the key factors to think about when making your e-bike buying decision.

Choosing an e-bike starts with identifying what you intend to use it for. Do you want to replace your car for trips to the shops? In which case you’ll need a rack or way to carry your groceries. May be the e-bike is about improving your fitness and enjoying road cycling, so you’ll want a bike with narrow tyres and even drop handle bars for a more racy feel. If its hitting the dirt tracks and technical descents then a full-suspension e-MTB is going to be your way forward. Whatever you want to do, there will be an e-bike out there that is perfect for you.

Are you taking your e-bike off-road?

If you are only going to ride on paved, tarmac roads you need to head to our City brands. Here you will find a variety of bikes that are best suited to riding around town. With added touches such as start mode to help you effortlessly get back up to speed after stopping and automatic shifting for carefree riding, these bikes will make navigating city streets feel effortless. For those who want to leave the tarmac behind there is the option of mountain bikes or trekking.

E-MTB’s are optimised for tackling the toughest of terrain, powerful yet lightweight motors enable you to tackle even the steepest of technical climbs and intuitive pedal support is designed to complement your riding style. These are bikes for riders who want to push their limits, technically and physically. SHIMANO-STEPS e-bike systems allow you to ride further, challenge yourself more and experience new trails.

Trekking bikes are incredibly versatile, they are just as at home in nature as they are around town. Designed to allow you to relax, they are comfortable to ride and can handle light off-road trails or dirt roads, perfect for exploring. They also make excellent commuting bikes.

You can of course ride your full-suspension e-MTB to work in the city, but whilst it is fun, fast and nimble when you are throwing it down a rocky, mountain trail on city streets its fat tyres and suspension will feel slow and sluggish. More importantly your city bike would struggle to cope with the terrain of an off-road trail, even though it performs brilliantly negotiating busy streets.

Narrowing down your e-bike choices

Once you have identified your primary group you can start to narrow down your choices further. Start by taking a more in-depth look at what you want to do with your bike, here are a few important questions to ask yourself.

What is your budget?

As with any big purchase have a price in mind before you start looking. If you plan to ride frequently its worth spending more on your bike as this generally gets you higher quality components with better durability and smoother functioning. It may also mean an overall lighter bike, which can further help make cycling feel easy. Think of it as a ‘cost per ride,’ the more often you pedal the better the return on your investment.

What are your priorities for your bike?

The frame is the heart of your bike and the choice of frame materials can affect the price, the weight and to a small extent the durability of your bike. Often there are trade-offs – for example you may really want a carbon fibre bike because it’s a lighter frame and it looks cool but a similarly priced aluminium bike may have higher grade components because the frame is cheaper. If you are riding your bike a lot a good rule is to go for the best quality frame you can afford and upgrade parts as they wear out. If you are riding less frequently, and unlikely to wear out components, this choice is less important.

How far do you want to ride?

Battery range is rarely a consideration for day to day riding, even for the biggest endurance enthusiast, ECO mode allows for subtle pedal assistance allowing you to make the most of your battery range.

Do you need to carry a load?

Whether it is riding to work or picking up some groceries having a way of carrying a load on your bike can be incredibly useful. Many bikes within the City and trekking range offer ways to transport goods by bikes, such as racks and panniers. Remember with the help of an e-bike carrying a load is much easier, so if you are thinking of leaving the car at home occasionally make sure your new bike has some carrying capacity.

Do you want to feel ‘sporty’?

If you are looking for a bike to improve your fitness and get you moving fast on the road then a traditional drop handle bar style bike is the way to go. You can select the pedal assist mode to give you as much or as little help as you need, so you can work on developing your own pedal power but still make the hills feel a little easier if you need to.

If you are mountain biking how technical is the terrain?

With everything from hard tails to long-travel trail bikes and even downhill rigs to choose from its time to get down to the dirty details of your riding style. If you love easy off-road trails and cross-country then a hard-tail bike, with no rear suspension, may offer all you need. However, if your reason for riding an e-MTB is to hit more big descents per day, then you will be looking toward the longer travel bikes, with geometry designed to tackle technical challenges. Whatever your style of mountain biking you can be sure that SHIMANO-STEPS e-bike systems will feel natural and intuitive, giving you the boost, you need where you need it, on the trail.

Spending a bit of time thinking about where you will ride your bike, and what you will use it for will help narrow down your choices and ensure you get an e-bike that will slot into your lifestyle. Check out our dealer locator to book  a test ride, then the fun can start!