E-bikes made easy: A buyer's guide for Seattle commuters
When it comes to purchasing an electric bike in Seattle, there are several factors to consider to ensure you find the perfect fit for your needs. From hilly landscapes to damp conditions, understanding the key aspects of e-bike selection, such as motor power, battery capacity, durability, and weight, will help you make an informed decision.
We'd like to highlight 3 models that are ideal for commuting in Seattle. Before we compare these models lets breakdown some key terms.
Demystifying E-Bikes: Key Terms and Concepts
Classes and drive types:
- Class 1: These e-bikes provide pedal assistance up to a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. They are equipped with a motor that only provides assistance when the rider is pedaling.
- Class 2: Class 2 bikes also have a top speed of 20mph. But along with peddle assist, they are have a throttle that accelerates without the rider pedaling.
- Class 3: Class 3 bikes also provide pedal assistance with a top speed of 28mph. Class 3 bikes are not equipped with throttles
Torque and watt hours:
- Torque: Torque is the rotational force generated by the e-bike motor, determining its power and acceleration. Higher torque means more power, leading to better acceleration, particularly on hills and during starts.
- Watts: Watt hours is a unit of energy commonly used to measure the capacity of an e-bike battery. A higher watt hour rating generally indicates a larger battery capacity, which translates to a longer riding range.Keep in mind that larger batteries add weight to the bike.
- Mid-drive: Positioned in the middle of the e-bike frame near the bottom bracket, they utilize the bike's gears for efficient power transfer and optimized torque. They offer balanced weight distribution for improved handling and stability. We only stock mid-drive motors for their superior handling and overall ride experience.
- Hub-drive: Hub drive motors are integrated within the hub of either the front or rear wheel. Hub drive motors affect the weight distribution of the e-bike. Rear hub motors increase rear-wheel weight, while front hub motors can impact steering and handling to a lesser extent.
Tale of the tape Giant vs. Specialized
Best e-bike for you?
All 3 of our featured models are class 3 mid-drive options with all the accessories you need for a comfortable commute.
We recommend the Giant Fast Road Ex-Pro for cyclists looking for the longest range and willing to sacrifice cost and weight.
For riders who prefer a lighter bike that's easier to transport, either of the Specialized Vado SL options is ideal.
If you want to save a little $$$, try the Vado SL 4.0. You get the same battery range and lightweight build but lose a little performance on the bicycle components (shifters, derailleurs, wheels, brakes.)