As Canadians become more and more eco-conscious, it’s no surprise that electric bikes have become increasingly popular in recent years. While they aren’t new, older models of electric bikes were heavy with weaker batteries. They also used to be very expensive to buy. Nowadays, you can buy a decent quality electric bike for as little as $800.
With so many options to choose from, shopping for an electric bike can be daunting. Even the more budget-friendly options are not “cheap” for the average person, so it’s important to really understand what you’re buying. Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of electric bikes. We’ll also help you find the best e-bike for your environment and lifestyle.
What is an electric bike?
The key difference between a standard bicycle and an electric bike is the electric component. Instead of manpower, e-bikes are powered by electricity. Even though they have an electric motor, e-bikes still have pedals that are used in conjunction with the electric engine. That said, e-bikes require significantly less pedal power than a standard bike. For that reason, e-bikes are a much more efficient mode of transportation.
How does an electric bike work?
If you’ve ridden a standard bicycle before, riding an electric bike is quite simple. When you pedal, the bike’s motor starts automatically. There are generally two types of e-bikes; pedal-assist e-bikes and electric bikes with a throttle.
A pedal-assist electric bike allows you to have an experience that is more comparable to a classic bicycle. These types of e-bikes require you to pedal in order to use the motor. The bike will basically detect the force that you put into your peddling and will add proportional power via the motor. The faster you pedal, the more power the engine will provide.
Throttle-based e-bikes are generally less modern, and their designs are often more simple. Instead of adapting to the power of your pedaling, the motor is simply switched on or off by cranking the throttle, similar to an electric scooter.
What are the best electric bikes in Canada?
To help you in your search for the best electric bike in Canada, here is a list of our top picks:
GOTRAX’s EBE2 e-bike is a great budget-friendly electric bike. Indeed, GOTRAX manages to offer high-quality electric bicycles while remaining affordable. The EBE2 model is particularly cool since it resembles a hybrid bicycle. If you are looking for an e-bike that is a hybrid between a road bike and a mountain bike, you will appreciate this model.
The GOTRAX has a rear-drive motor with a power of 350 W. With this power, you’ll easily be able to reach a speed of 25 km/h. Its removable high-capacity 36V 12.5Ah lithium-Ion batteries will allow you to travel a distance of up to 80 km on a single charge. Also, its 350-watt motor is powerful enough to give you decent speed while consuming little energy. It also means that the motor is quiet, which is always a plus.
The bike has front and rear disk brakes and a headlight for late-night rides. A digital LCD screen is located on the handlebars to provide you with all the information you need, such as speed, remaining battery life, and more.
GOTRAX’s Folding Bike is another e-bike worth mentioning. The convenience of an e-bike combined with the portability of a folding bike is something hard to beat. Costing under $1000, it’s also amongst the most affordable e-bikes on the market.
Similar to the EBE2 model, the bike comes with a 350W motor, which is powerful considering the size of the bike. The bike’s high-capacity 36v, 7.5aH batteries allow you to effortlessly travel up to 45 km on a full charge. If you don’t want to pedal and just use the motor, the maximum distance will be 25 km instead of 45 km.
The main advantage of this e-bike is its folding feature. This means you can easily fold it in half for easy transport. You can also conveniently store it in your trunk or closet. When folded, the bike measures 28.7 inches by 25.6 inches.
Similar to the model above, the bike has a built-in LCD display that shows your speed and remaining battery charge. If you want an inexpensive and easily portable electric bike, you won’t regret this purchase.
This bike has landed on this list for many reasons. The first is its unique design. Instead of the classic e-bike look, it looks more like a cross between a beach bike and an electric scooter. It also has much bigger tires than most e-bikes. The second is that it allows you to have a passenger with you, thanks to its long banana seat.
Compared to the previous two e-bikes on this list, DJ Bike’s e-bike is more powerful. With a 500-watt motor and 48V batteries, you can travel around 50 km on a single charge. In addition, the wide wheels are particularly useful for handling a variety of terrains (or potholes).
With a stainless aluminum frame, this e-bike is higher quality than most. Its wheels are made of aluminum alloy and the saddle is comfortably cushioned. The bike features Tun Gun suspension, Shimano gears, and Tektro brakes. Another bonus is that DJ Bikes is a Canadian brand that is well worth supporting.
Sheng Milo’s Electric Fat Bike is perfect for fat bike lovers. The bike is equipped with 26 by 4-inch tires that allow you to ride on all types of terrain, including snow, mountains, and sand. With its very powerful 750W motor, you can quickly reach its maximum speed of 40 km/h. The 48V batteries allow you to ride several kilometres on a single charge.
With pedal-assist mode, should be able to travel between 60 and 90 km on a single charge. Without pedaling, you can travel between 40 and 50 km. It takes about 6 to 8 hours to fully charge the batteries.
Finally, the electric fat bike has hydraulic disc brakes and 21 speeds. Its frame is made of aluminum and comes with a 1-year warranty on the engine. The battery has a 6-month warranty. Sheng Milo’s electric fat bike is certainly the best electric bike for winter in Canada.
HOTEBIKE’s Electric Mountain Bike is a great pick if you’re looking for an e-bike that can handle rugged terrains. It’s comparable to GOTRAX’s hybrid e-bike, but with a motor that’s three times more powerful.
This all-terrain e-bike has removable 48V 13AH lithium batteries that allow you to ride up to 80 km on a single charge. This is much more than most e-bikes on the market. You can also easily reach a maximum speed of 40 km/h. Its built-in smart LCD display lets you access useful information such as speed, battery life, distance traveled, and even the current weather.
The bike has front and rear mechanical disc brakes and a Shimano shifter with 21 speeds. A unique detail is that its taillights blink when you brake. Lastly, the bike’s pedal assist has five levels to choose from in order to get the best experience.
What are the benefits of having an electric bike?
Many advantages come with owning an electric bike. Here is a list of the main reasons why you should consider an e-bike as a means of transportation.
Less physical effort than a conventional bicycle
While getting your heart pumping is obviously recommended to reap the benefits of physical activity, breaking a sweat on your daily commute isn’t always ideal. An ebike gets you from point A to B with significantly less pedal power required. In fact, some e-bikes do not depend on pedalling at all. For that reason, ebikes are a convenient mode of transportation, regardless of hot weather or hills. If exercising daily is on your agenda, but you don’t want to break a sweat on your way to work, e-bikes are great since you can normally choose your intensity level.
More convenient than a car in most cities
An e-bike is a convenient way to arrive at your destination without unexpected delays. For relatively short distances, an electric bike can even be faster than a car, for two reasons.
Firstly, you can avoid traffic that you would otherwise experience with your car. Secondly, you don’t have to worry about looking for parking. You can simply lock your e-bike up just like any other bicycle or fold it and take it with you if your e-bike is foldable.
More eco-friendly than driving
Using an electric bike as a means of transportation has several positive impacts on the environment. By riding an e-bike instead of a car, you are relying on electricity instead of fuel. While electricity still has an environmental impact, it’s much smaller than fuel.
Also, the more people use alternative transport, the less traffic there is on the roads. Traffic is known to increase vehicle emissions. Lastly, since e-bikes are lightweight, they cause significantly less damage to roads than cars. Construction is an underrated pollutant.
It’s a fun experience!
A big advantage of electric bikes that should not be underestimated is that it’s an enjoyable experience. With an e-bike, you can reap the pleasures of a standard bicycle, but with less effort required. You can therefore enjoy the scenery while feeling more relaxed, or go longer distances without having to break a sweat. For that reason, e-bike rentals are increasingly popular for tourists who are sightseeing.
What to consider when buying an electric bike?
There are many electric bikes available on the market in Canada, so it’s important to do your research before committing to one. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing an electric bike for your needs.
The e-Bike’s Price
The price of an electric bike can vary between $800 and $10,000. Luxury e-bikes can be even more expensive. As ebikes become increasingly popular over the years, manufacturers are able to make better-quality bikes at a lower cost. That said, price is always a good indicator of quality. While a $900 ebike is not necessarily poor in quality, it certainly will not provide the same power as a $2000 ebike. It also will not have high-end parts.
Comfort While Biking
Similar to buying a new car, how you feel while riding an e-bike is very important. Comfort is very subjective, so being able to test an e-bike before purchasing is always a good idea. When shopping online, reading reviews can help. Otherwise, specs such as seat cushion quality or suspension can be good indicators of comfort. The good thing about buying an e-bike on Amazon is that you can always return the bike without any hassle.
The e-Bikes’s Power
With many types of electric bikes on the market, power can vary significantly. To know the power of your e-bike, you need to look at two numbers: the battery voltage and the number of amps on the controller. To figure out the power of an e-bike, multiply the voltage by the controller’s total amps. For example, if an e-bike says 36 volts and 15 amps, you’ll have a 540-watt e-bike.
The e-Bike’s Battery Life
The batteries of an electric bike have a direct impact on the power of the e-bike. Just like most bike parts, batteries can be completely different from one bike to another. Their price varies, as does their lifespan. In general, an e-bike’s battery will need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years.
Extended battery life is always preferred, but this detail will always come at a higher price. Storing batteries indoors at room temperature can help prolong their lifespan.
Your Biking Environment
It’s important to take your riding environment into consideration when choosing an e-bike. Will you be riding long distances? Do you live in a city with lots of hills? Both of these factors require a bike with more power and battery life per charge. Remember that an ebike’s battery life is impacted by the type of terrain and the rider’s weight. If the terrain isn’t flat, you might want to opt for an e-bike that comes with an extra battery just in case. Also, not all e-bikes have the power to ride uphill. This is especially true if the hill has more than a 15% incline.
The e-Bike’s Weight
An e-Bikes weight is important if you will be transporting your bike up and down sets of stairs. e-Bikes generally weigh between 40 and 70 pounds. To put this into perspective, the average road bike weighs about 18 pounds. Lighter e-bikes are usually more expensive than heavier models. This is another reason why it’s important to know which criteria are most important to you.