Sunday, October 2, 2022

Is It Easy to Ride an Electric Bike? 12 Riding Tips for Beginners

Looking into buying yourself an electric bike but unsure how complicated it will be to ride? Don’t worry! 

Riding an e-bike is almost as easy as riding a traditional bike. However, there are several differences beginners should be aware of that can make riding an electric bike more challenging. Primarily, these have to do with the electrical components, heavier weight, and riding style. Once you understand the differences and learn how to manage them, riding an e-bike will be easy.

So, I’ve compiled some tips from experience and additional research which will help beginners learn how to easily ride an e-bike.

Here are 12 tips to make e-bike riding easy (and fun!) for beginners:

1. Ride an E-Bike That Fits Your Weight and Size! 

Finding the right physical fit for you is the first thing you should consider, as riding will be so much easier if you’re comfortable on your e-bike.

So, pick one that fits your size. If you’re a tall electric bike rider, make sure the seat and handlebars can adjust high enough so you don’t have to ride hunched over or can’t stretch your legs out when you pedal. Alternatively, if you’re on the shorter end, you’ll want to make sure the pads of your feet can touch the ground when seated but that you can still comfortably reach the handlebars.

You can also pick out a bike with low-step that lets you easily get seated without having to swing your hips and legs up and over. Step-through e-bikes also make it easier to balance when getting on and off the bike and provide more stability while riding. 

Read this article to find out more about e-bikes for shorter riders:

The Best E-Bikes for a Small Woman: 5 Affordable Low-Step Options

You’ll also want to consider the weight of the bike. E-bikes are definitely heavier than standard bikes and they can be a bit bulkier. Most e-bikes range from 45-70 pounds, so if you are a smaller person on an e-bike or lack strength, you might want to consider getting and riding one that weighs less.

2. Don’t Get an E-Bike That’s More Powerful Than You Need

Be aware that some e-bikes can have a lot more power than others! Their wattage can be as low as 250W and high as 1,000W, with the higher watt e-bikes being faster and more powerful. The higher the wattage, the more careful you should be when starting out on one, as it can take off very quickly and you can end up going much faster.

If you’re just want to take leisurely rides or don’t like to go fast, you may need a bike with only 250W. But, even if this is the case, you might want to go up to a 500W e-bike if you’ll be riding hills or fighting wind.

However, if you plan on going fast and far, you might consider an e-bike that has 750W. I have an e-bike with 750W and have no problem getting up any hill I need to. Be careful going any higher than a bike with 750W because you may limited where you’re allowed to ride it legally.

Find out more about where to ride legally in the USA:

Legal E-Bike Riding: Where to Ride in the USA

3. Practice Using Pedal Assist Around Your Neighborhood

E-bikes can have a bit of a learning curve, as traditional bikes would! However, it may take more time to get used to pedaling and adjusting to the different speed settings on an e-bike.

Further, because of the speed and weight of the bike, braking can be a bit more difficult than on a standard bike. And you’ll need some time to test out the different pedal assist modes and gear shifting. It might be hard to believe it, but you’ll probably need some time to adjust to the speed as I did… it feels really fast at first!

This is why it’s a great idea to take your bike for a spin around your neighborhood, or somewhere less populated where you don’t have to worry about traffic while you get used to the feel of the bike. You can always take riding the bike in steps as well and eventually progress your way up to riding on a busy street, as long as you feel comfortable and take basic safety precautions.

4. Ride With Others 

Riding with others on any type of bike can always make the experience more enjoyable! Having a riding partner can also make things feel safer, as you’ll be more visible to cars with two of you and it’s helpful to have someone there to help if things go wrong… like if your battery runs out or you get a flat tire!

It’s also nice to ride somewhere together to pick up dinner or run errands. This can also help to pass the time or motivate you to get the full e-bike workout that you want.

Want to get more exercise on your e-bike? Read here:

Do You Get Any Exercise on an Electric Bike?

5. Remember Basic Safety 

While e-bikes can feel almost like a small motorcycle and you may get caught up in the speed and ease of pedaling, it’s very important to remember your basic safety!

  • Always wear a helmet while riding, especially with e-bikes since they are much heavier and are a bit harder to brake smoothly
  • Make sure to stay hydrated and bring plenty of water on your ride, even if you think you’ll be going for a short ride
  • Check your tire tube pressure before and after riding to ensure the best ride
  • Ride in low pedal assist modes more often to prevent injury.

Find out now if you should wear a special helmet for electric bike riding!

6. Pay Attention to the Battery!

As mentioned above, some bikes have less battery power than others and will need to be charged slightly more often.

This e-bike battery sits under the seat
Image of an e-bike battery that attaches under the seat.

Most e-bikes can travel for 22-50 miles on a single charge and will need about 3-6 hours to fully charge. Make sure you know just how far yours can go on a single charge.

One of the good things about e-bikes is that if it does run out of battery, you can always continue to pedal like you would a standard bike. However, it will be much more difficult and take a lot more strength to pedal without the electric assist.

It’s always best just to remember to charge your bike after each ride and keep track of the miles you travel. 

7. Make Turning Easy Instead of Cludgy

Electric bikes tend to have a lower center of gravity than standard bikes. Because of the extra weight of the bike and the motor being low on the bike, it makes tighter turns more difficult. And, if you’re going at a fast speed, turning a corner will take much more caution because you can end up more towards the middle of the road you’re turning onto.

One of the best ways to do this is to stop pedaling as you enter the curve and try and gently apply the brakes before you go into it… just as you would when taking a tight turn in a car.

Another way to make a turn is to carefully take your bike out away from the turn coming up (but first check traffic on either side), which then allows you to turn tightly onto the road or path you’ll end up on. This can be compared to how a large truck or trailer makes its turns.

Just be aware of how fast you’re going when a curve is visible in front of you, so you can slow down as you need to. Practicing turns in low-traffic areas will make it easy to venture into traffic eventually.

8. Brake Slowly and Early on an E-bike

Be careful braking as well, as braking too suddenly while going downhill or going at a high speed can cause you to be thrown over the front of the handles or the bike to skid. Brake earlier than you might think as well! 

This is especially true if you’re riding on dirt or gravel. Braking while going downhill may cause an unwanted skid (this happened to me the first time I rode downhill on dirt and it was a little scary). And if it’s a steep hill, or you’re going fast, this could lead to an accident.

9. Go Easy on the Throttle

Some e-bikes will have a throttle, which is a tool that will allow you to accelerate without pedaling. This can be very useful if you are struggling to make it up a large hill, if you just need a break, or if you need to accelerate quickly to get out of the way of a car.

Twist throttle on an Electric Bike
Twist Throttle

However, keep in mind that using this too much will wear the battery down quicker and you won’t be able to go as far on a single charge.

The throttle can also cause the e-bike to make a sudden lurching motion, so it’s best to have a light hand and be aware of jerky motions when first using it (and be careful not to accidentally rest your hand on it if it’s a twist throttle… it may take off without you being prepared).

But there’s no doubt that using a throttle makes riding an e-bike super easy!

Learn more about using a throttle and riding without pedaling here:

How to Ride an E-Bike Without Pedaling: Pedal Assist vs Throttle

10. Read Your LCD Display as You Ride!

If you have an LCD display on your e-bike, then use it! It’ll show you your current speed, total miles traveled, and the battery power that remains, at the least. 

This is a great way to keep track of how long you’ve been riding or how far you’ve gone. If you want to push yourself to ride a certain amount of miles, you can use the trip odometer to show your progress! 

The LCD display can also showcase the watts your e-bike is putting out. So, when your bike says it puts out up to 750 Watts (e-bike Watts usually range from 250-1000), you can see if you’re maximizing the bike’s power. Watch the display as you continue to pedal up a hill and you’ll quickly see how fast you can accelerate.

And finally, the LCD display can tell you how fast you’re riding (current miles per hour), which is really just for fun.

11. Adjust Your Seat and Handlebars Before You Take Off

Getting comfortable makes riding an e-bike easy.

Adjusting your seat and handlebars to fit your legs, arms, and torso will allow you to maintain better posture while riding. As for the handlebars, you’ll be most comfortable in an upright position, so you see if you can reach your hands to the handlebars just below your shoulders. Many e-bikes allow you to adjust the height of handlebars as well, making riding even easier.

If your seat doesn’t adjust properly or is still uncomfortable, you can always buy a new seat and replace it yourself.

12. For an Easy Ride, Know Your Terrain

Before you head out, consider where you should take your e-bike out for a ride. Some bikes are built to take on more rocky and bumpy terrains while others are only built for standard street or concrete riding. Many electric bikes are a hybrid of both and have tires that can easily be ridden on most terrains.

So, if you take out an e-bike meant for the road but instead try to ride it on a rocky dirt trail, it won’t be easy!

Further, you might enjoy riding more if you can avoid large crowds of people or other fast-moving bikes or vehicles. Not only will you be more relaxed, but you also won’t worry as much about having to brake suddenly, especially since e-bikes are much larger, heavier, and more difficult to stop than a standard bike. 

Riding an E-Bike is Easy Once You Learn How

In conclusion, yes, riding an electric bike is easy but somewhat different than riding a traditional bike. You just need to know how the electrical parts help you to ride, how to handle a heavier than a normal bike, and how to ride in comfort.

But if you follow the 12 tips for beginners above, you’ll be pedaling around your city in no time.

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