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Transportation electric bike buying guide for starters and professionals | Newsletter Cycling

Electric Bike Buying Guide For Starters And Professionals

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by: Sharai Hoekema
electric bike buying guide for starters and professionals | Newsletter

Few trends have caught on so well in recent years as the electric bicycles, or e-bikes. It feels like only yesterday that we had to rely on our own two legs and pure muscle strength to power our trusty two-wheelers. Yet ever since the introduction of the first electric battery-powered bike, more and more people have quite literally made the rather smooth transition. Not only does it require less effort and physical exertion to get from A to B, it might also get you there faster.
Most e-bike owners will praise the freedom of choice that an e-bike brings to their lives. It really does add an extra dimension to your trip. You can choose to switch the battery on or off at any given time, meaning that you can start off by peddling ferociously and turn on the ‘engine’ as soon as you get tired, are facing an uphill road or just a rather hefty head wind. This will allow you to travel further and to different places, safe in the knowledge that you can always get back home.

Decline of the regular bike

All kinds of bicyclists have switched to the e-variety in recent years. This trend is clearly visible in the sales numbers of ‘regular’ pedal bikes, that have fallen flat or declined steadily. Bike stores are scrambling to get their inventory sold, often relying on specific target groups - such as students (who need a cheap means of transport), sporters (who require sport bikes or mountain bikes) or young children (who are just learning how to ride a bike).

Yet the market has not nearly been as profitable as it has been in the past. Combined with the double or even triple digit growth seen in the e-bike industry, it is not surprising that more and more retailers are putting their money - and store space, indeed - on the electronic bikes instead. When walking into a bike store, you will find yourself dazzled by the available options. Extra powerful battery? Sports edition? E-city bike? Or perhaps the e-carrier bike?

We have come a long way in a very short time. From a half-dozen producers back in the early 2010s, producing only a handful of models, we now find ourselves choosing between thousands of different types. Are you one of the unlucky consumers, having found yourself in this jungle of e-bikes? Are you considering buying one but are you blinded by the overwhelming choice? Then read on, as we might just have some helpful tips on how to narrow down the playing field.

Start by setting your budget

One of the best pieces of advice that we can give you, is to start by determining a realistic budget. And by ‘realistic’ we mean a budget that both fits your wallet and the average market prices. Roughly, the e-bike market can be divided in 5 price categories - ranging from budget to luxurious. The price will mostly be representative of the quality of the bike, although ‘quality’ in this mainly refers to the actual bicycle components, not so much the electronic elements.

To give you a better idea of brands and prices for each of those categories, we will break them down one by one.

Budget e-bikes: $300-$500 (€269-€448)

Realistically, if you are looking to get an e-bike for anything less than $300 (€269), you better reconsider the whole idea to start with. But if your budget falls within the $300-$500 (€269-€448) range, you will be happy to find some very affordable e-bikes. Pretty much all of these are imported from China and other Asian countries.

Xiaomi electric bike

Xiaomi is a big name that has recently gotten into the e-bike game

One of the brands that you could consider is Xiaomi, a relatively new face in the e-bike industry. In their native China, they introduced some models that are available locally for some $261 (€234) and $375 (€336), although when imported, prices are more in the range of $400-$500 (€358-€448).

Another remarkable entry on the list is Amazon; although it is somewhat dubious whether their products can still be classified as being a bike. The Amazon e-bikes do not have any actual pedals, although they have the physical appearance of a bike. Perhaps it would be better to refer to them as scooters instead, although they are priced economically at $399 (€357).

Yes, those e-bikes are very cheap. This low price does, however, come at a cost - pun intended. You do pretty much get what you pay for. The bike parts are subpar and of relatively low quality, meaning that these bikes will inevitably break down - sometimes faster than you would like them to. The battery cells are rather cheap as well, providing a rather limited range.

Economical e-bikes: $500-$1.000 (€448-€896)

If you are looking for slightly more “bang for your buck”, you would do well to look at the slightly higher price categories. Economical e-bikes are priced between $500 and $1000, yet this will buy you a bike of a significantly higher quality and with a much larger range. The parts used are better, simple as that - allowing you to get more out of your precious bike.

One of the bikes that fall in this category is the Swagtron EB-5, retailing at the lower end of the range, at $500 (€448). Although its range is pretty good and it boosts sufficient power, you will find it to be a rather limited vehicle with just 1 gear in pedaling mode. This makes it tricky to really ride your bike on uneven terrain or when faced with a strong headwind; despite the relatively low gear you will find it in. On the other hand, you will want to switch to battery power when riding faster than 10 mph, to make sure that you are not spinning out of control.

Another brand that falls into this category is Ancheer, offering e-bikes for some $600 to $700 (€537-€627). At this price point, you cannot expect too much from the two-wheeler, although it is a pretty decent option. It will definitely do what it is supposed to do: help you get around town in a fairly efficient manner. Yet most parts will still be of lower quality, meaning that their lifespan will be limited and that the frame might feel a bit wobbly.

Are you still unsure whether e-bikes are for you? Then this would be a good category to get started with, as the options are still relatively affordable and the bikes are good enough to last you for quite some time, provided that you use them responsibly.

Mid-range e-bikes: $1.000-$2.500 (€896-€2.239)

The Rayvolt Cruzer electric bike

The Rayvolt Cruzer electric bike

Already decided that you are serious about e-bikes? Then a budget between $1,000 (€896)and $2,500 (€2.239)would be feasible for getting a bike that is both qualitative and economical. Generally, bikes that fall in this category use both electrical and bicycle components that are of a really good quality, meaning that they will live up to all the expectations of experienced e-bike users.

So whereas doubting consumers would do well to start off in the economical e-bike category, more experienced and convinced users are probably doing well to take a close look at this mid-range category. As soon as prices rise above the $1,000 (€896)mark, you will notice that the bike’s parts - including brakes, tires and frames - will be produced by more well-known manufacturers. This serves to confirm that the bikes are indeed much more ‘complete’.

Companies that you will find offering e-bikes in this price category include Rad Power Bikes and Blix Bikes, brands that combine an attractive price with very decent and acceptable mainstream e-bikes. Paying this little extra will also pay off in the time you get to enjoy the bike: they can easily last up to 5 years, provided you take good care of them.

Premium e-bikes: $2.500-$5.000 (€2.239-€4.478)

Got some extra money to spend? Then you will find yourself spoiled for choice in this relatively wide price range. You cannot go wrong with an e-bike over $2,500 (€2.239), as the quality will undoubtedly be good. All the parts used for premium e-bikes are carefully developed and tested, guaranteeing their effective functioning; no budget, entry-level parts to be seen here.

Some of the big name brands that have developed motors for these bikes include Bosch, Shimano, Yamaha and Panasonic. These respectable names in the industry guarantee a powerful bike with a good range; which especially becomes obvious when comparing them to some of the hub motors that are used for the mid-range and budget e-bikes. These cheaper motors do not usually have whole a lot of options available, while the more exclusive motors used for this category are more suitable for cyclists hoping to combine their electric power with active pedaling.

E-bikes that you might want to check out if this is your budget range are the Priority Embark, Raleigh Redux, Trek Supper Commuter, Cero One and Yamaha Wabash. All great bike options that provide both comfort, quality and price-effectiveness.

Priority Embark with its Gates Carbon Belt Drive system

Priority Embark with its Gates Carbon Belt Drive system

A small note of caution, though. Yes, bikes in this price range do fall in the category ‘premium’ - but it does not necessarily make them tick all of the ‘premium’ boxes. There are some manufacturers who have traditionally charged relatively high prices for an e-bike that is not living up to the general quality standard upheld by its peers. High innovation or R&D fees might force some of them to set prices that do not realistically reflect the quality of the bike. Always check general reviews for e-bikes and pay special attention to the price-quality aspect.

Luxury e-bikes: $5.000-$10.000 (€4.478-€8.955)

Ok, so unless you count yourself lucky enough to be able to spend the same amount on your e-bike as some would on a small car, this category might not necessarily be for you. Granted, it will buy you an e-bike that is made using components of the highest end of the market. Yet most of the electrical work will be pretty much similar to what you would get for a $3,000 e-bike. So, what makes up this difference in price?

a $7,000 Haibike downhill electric bike.

A $7.000 (€6.272) Haibike downhill electric bike. 

Well, most of it goes towards really expensive parts that boost your bike’s luxury level. This includes electronic shifters and belt drive options, as well as luxurious handles, saddles, suspension and tires. A $10,000 (€8.955) e-bike will surely be a royal ride: especially when driving on a rocky surface or mountainous area. Brands to consider include the Stromer ST5 or the Haibike.

Continue deciding on the bike type

Decided on a price that you are comfortable with? Then you can narrow down the search by browsing the different types of bikes available. Roughly, the available e-bikes can be divided in the following categories:

  • Electric commuter bikes: The most commonly used bike all around the world, the type that people will ride around their town to get from A to B. To work, school, the supermarket, the gym. Commuters will normally stay on the streets, meaning that the bikes are not high-maintenance. Instead, they should be efficient and light - making sure that pedaling is smooth and parking is easy. Tires are typically narrower, just like the saddles. These are not made for long trips, anyhow: just like the electric option is a nice add-on when biking home after a long day of work, but not requiring a large range. Brands include the Raleigh Redux, Yamaha Wabash and GenZe 200.
  • Electric folding bikes: Although some might argue that this category can be grouped with the commuter bikes, we thought it was worth pointing out as a separate option. E-folding bikes are extremely portable and compact, often capable of being folded up to a small package the size of a suitcase. This makes them perfect for those who want to bring along their bikes on public transport, in the car or on holidays. On the downside, it is more likely for compromises to have been made in the bike design, opting for smaller and more compact parts - even if that means that they are of a lower quality. Provided that you do not ride it for long periods at a time, this should not bother you too much. Make sure to look at Oyama CX and E8D II if you are interested in this option.
  • Electric cruiser bikes: As the name implies, cruiser bikes are designed for fun cruising trips. For taking out your e-bike and going on lengthy tours in a leisurely fashion. Whether you are cruising down the coastline and boulevards of beachfront towns or enjoying the flowing landscapes, this is for you. E-cruiser bikes are designed to look stylish while providing optimal comfort through a plush seat and high handlebars. Pedals are mounted forward, once again adding ergonomic benefits for the rider. This comfort does take a slight toll on the maneuverability and weight of the bike, although this should not matter if you are in for the low-action, enjoyable bike rides. Pedego and Rayvolt are some names that you should definitely check out if this sounds like your type of bike.
  • Electric mountain bikes: These bikes will be great if being outdoors and going off the beaten path is your main plan for the e-bike. E-mountain bikes on the lower price ranges are actually just fine for regular street travel too, while the high-end versions (including Haibike and Greyp) can even let you drive down mountains and making drops and jumps of several meters while making you feel as if you are driving down a well-paved road. That is the benefit of paying for the extra suspension and thick, strong tires.

        Full suspension Haibike on left, hardtail Magnum Peak on right

        Full suspension Haibike on left, hardtail Magnum Peak on right 

  • Electric cargo bikes: Cargo bikes were never meant to be flashy or particularly eye-catching in a fashion sense. Instead, they are meant to be hauling cargo - both live cargo, like children or pets, and actual stuff. Some bikes include front buckets or covered pods, while others have side-platforms next to the back wheels, allowing for a better distribution of weight. If you want, options like racks, bags and child carriers are available to further customize your bike to your exact liking. Just keep in mind that these definitely will not be the lightest, nor the most agile e-bikes out there. Brands worth your consideration include the Yuba Supermarché and CERO One.
  • Specialty electric bikes: A pretty wide category that encompasses everything that does not fit in any of the previously mentioned categories. This includes electric tandem bicycles - boasting two seats and two sets of pedals as a fun way of biking for couples -; electric tricycles - for those with disabilities or problems balancing their two-wheeled bike -; or electric recumbent bikes - where the rider relaxes back in a seat instead of perched up on the saddle, almost as if driving a kart. If you are interested in those, you will be happy to know that they are already available to the market as e-bikes.

Final consideration

Eventually, it is essential that both price and bike type match up if you are hoping to find your perfect e-bike. Using our guidelines above, you will be happy to find that you are able to quickly narrow down the playing field to only a handful of suitable bikes that both fit your preferences and your wallet. After that, our best advice is to compare all remaining options and read user reviews - perhaps even visit a store or two for a test ride. And soon, you will be whizzing around town on your own perfect electric two wheeler!

https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/transportation/cycling

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Breaking News, as the world changes…

In our world, WhatsOrb refuses to turn away from the changes in our society and environment which succeeds each other at a rapid pace.

For WhatsOrb, publishing on the environment is a priority. We give reporting on climate, nature, waste, lifestyle and sustainable solutions the prominence it deserves.

At this turbulent time for ‘all’ species and our planet, we are determined to inform readers about threats, consequences and solutions based on facts, not on political prejudice or business interests.

WhatsOrb Breaking News will be published as soon as urgent events from around the world and startling sustainable innovations reach us.

If there is anything we should know and publish about, please send a note to: [email protected] or write your own story on: www.whatsorb.comthe only news site which gives you a ‘sustainable voice!’

Electric Bike Buying Guide For Starters And Professionals

Few trends have caught on so well in recent years as the electric bicycles, or e-bikes. It feels like only yesterday that we had to rely on our own two legs and pure muscle strength to power our trusty two-wheelers. Yet ever since the introduction of the first electric battery-powered bike, more and more people have quite literally made the rather smooth transition. Not only does it require less effort and physical exertion to get from A to B, it might also get you there faster. Most e-bike owners will praise the freedom of choice that an e-bike brings to their lives. It really does add an extra dimension to your trip. You can choose to switch the battery on or off at any given time, meaning that you can start off by peddling ferociously and turn on the ‘engine’ as soon as you get tired, are facing an uphill road or just a rather hefty head wind. This will allow you to travel further and to different places, safe in the knowledge that you can always get back home. Decline of the regular bike All kinds of bicyclists have switched to the e-variety in recent years. This trend is clearly visible in the sales numbers of ‘regular’ pedal bikes, that have fallen flat or declined steadily. Bike stores are scrambling to get their inventory sold, often relying on specific target groups - such as students (who need a cheap means of transport), sporters (who require sport bikes or mountain bikes) or young children (who are just learning how to ride a bike). Yet the market has not nearly been as profitable as it has been in the past. Combined with the double or even triple digit growth seen in the e-bike industry, it is not surprising that more and more retailers are putting their money - and store space, indeed - on the electronic bikes instead. When walking into a bike store, you will find yourself dazzled by the available options. Extra powerful battery? Sports edition? E-city bike? Or perhaps the e-carrier bike? We have come a long way in a very short time. From a half-dozen producers back in the early 2010s, producing only a handful of models, we now find ourselves choosing between thousands of different types. Are you one of the unlucky consumers, having found yourself in this jungle of e-bikes? Are you considering buying one but are you blinded by the overwhelming choice? Then read on, as we might just have some helpful tips on how to narrow down the playing field. Start by setting your budget One of the best pieces of advice that we can give you, is to start by determining a realistic budget. And by ‘realistic’ we mean a budget that both fits your wallet and the average market prices. Roughly, the e-bike market can be divided in 5 price categories - ranging from budget to luxurious. The price will mostly be representative of the quality of the bike, although ‘quality’ in this mainly refers to the actual bicycle components, not so much the electronic elements. To give you a better idea of brands and prices for each of those categories, we will break them down one by one. Budget e-bikes: $300-$500 ( €269- €448) Realistically, if you are looking to get an e-bike for anything less than $300 (€269), you better reconsider the whole idea to start with. But if your budget falls within the $300-$500 (€269-€448) range, you will be happy to find some very affordable e-bikes. Pretty much all of these are imported from China and other Asian countries. Xiaomi is a big name that has recently gotten into the e-bike game One of the brands that you could consider is Xiaomi, a relatively new face in the e-bike industry. In their native China, they introduced some models that are available locally for some $261 (€234) and $375 (€336), although when imported, prices are more in the range of $400-$500 (€358-€448). Another remarkable entry on the list is Amazon; although it is somewhat dubious whether their products can still be classified as being a bike. The Amazon e-bikes do not have any actual pedals, although they have the physical appearance of a bike. Perhaps it would be better to refer to them as scooters instead, although they are priced economically at $399 (€357). Yes, those e-bikes are very cheap. This low price does, however, come at a cost - pun intended. You do pretty much get what you pay for. The bike parts are subpar and of relatively low quality, meaning that these bikes will inevitably break down - sometimes faster than you would like them to. The battery cells are rather cheap as well, providing a rather limited range. Economical e-bikes: $500-$1.000 (€448-€896) If you are looking for slightly more “bang for your buck”, you would do well to look at the slightly higher price categories. Economical e-bikes are priced between $500 and $1000, yet this will buy you a bike of a significantly higher quality and with a much larger range. The parts used are better, simple as that - allowing you to get more out of your precious bike. One of the bikes that fall in this category is the Swagtron EB-5, retailing at the lower end of the range, at $500 (€448). Although its range is pretty good and it boosts sufficient power, you will find it to be a rather limited vehicle with just 1 gear in pedaling mode. This makes it tricky to really ride your bike on uneven terrain or when faced with a strong headwind; despite the relatively low gear you will find it in. On the other hand, you will want to switch to battery power when riding faster than 10 mph, to make sure that you are not spinning out of control. {youtube} Another brand that falls into this category is Ancheer, offering e-bikes for some $600 to $700 (€537-€627). At this price point, you cannot expect too much from the two-wheeler, although it is a pretty decent option. It will definitely do what it is supposed to do: help you get around town in a fairly efficient manner. Yet most parts will still be of lower quality, meaning that their lifespan will be limited and that the frame might feel a bit wobbly. Are you still unsure whether e-bikes are for you? Then this would be a good category to get started with, as the options are still relatively affordable and the bikes are good enough to last you for quite some time, provided that you use them responsibly. Mid-range e-bikes: $1.000-$2.500 (€896-€2.239) The Rayvolt Cruzer electric bike Already decided that you are serious about e-bikes? Then a budget between $1,000 (€896)and $2,500 (€2.239)would be feasible for getting a bike that is both qualitative and economical. Generally, bikes that fall in this category use both electrical and bicycle components that are of a really good quality, meaning that they will live up to all the expectations of experienced e-bike users. So whereas doubting consumers would do well to start off in the economical e-bike category, more experienced and convinced users are probably doing well to take a close look at this mid-range category. As soon as prices rise above the $1,000 (€896)mark, you will notice that the bike’s parts - including brakes, tires and frames - will be produced by more well-known manufacturers. This serves to confirm that the bikes are indeed much more ‘complete’. Companies that you will find offering e-bikes in this price category include Rad Power Bikes and Blix Bikes, brands that combine an attractive price with very decent and acceptable mainstream e-bikes. Paying this little extra will also pay off in the time you get to enjoy the bike: they can easily last up to 5 years, provided you take good care of them. Premium e-bikes: $2.500-$5.000 (€2.239-€4.478) Got some extra money to spend? Then you will find yourself spoiled for choice in this relatively wide price range. You cannot go wrong with an e-bike over $2,500 (€2.239), as the quality will undoubtedly be good. All the parts used for premium e-bikes are carefully developed and tested, guaranteeing their effective functioning; no budget, entry-level parts to be seen here. Some of the big name brands that have developed motors for these bikes include Bosch, Shimano, Yamaha and Panasonic. These respectable names in the industry guarantee a powerful bike with a good range; which especially becomes obvious when comparing them to some of the hub motors that are used for the mid-range and budget e-bikes. These cheaper motors do not usually have whole a lot of options available, while the more exclusive motors used for this category are more suitable for cyclists hoping to combine their electric power with active pedaling. E-bikes that you might want to check out if this is your budget range are the Priority Embark, Raleigh Redux, Trek Supper Commuter, Cero One and Yamaha Wabash. All great bike options that provide both comfort, quality and price-effectiveness. Priority Embark with its Gates Carbon Belt Drive system A small note of caution, though. Yes, bikes in this price range do fall in the category ‘premium’ - but it does not necessarily make them tick all of the ‘premium’ boxes. There are some manufacturers who have traditionally charged relatively high prices for an e-bike that is not living up to the general quality standard upheld by its peers. High innovation or R&D fees might force some of them to set prices that do not realistically reflect the quality of the bike. Always check general reviews for e-bikes and pay special attention to the price-quality aspect. Luxury e-bikes: $5.000-$10.000 (€4.478-€8.955) Ok, so unless you count yourself lucky enough to be able to spend the same amount on your e-bike as some would on a small car, this category might not necessarily be for you. Granted, it will buy you an e-bike that is made using components of the highest end of the market. Yet most of the electrical work will be pretty much similar to what you would get for a $3,000 e-bike. So, what makes up this difference in price? A $7.000 (€6.272) Haibike downhill electric bike.  Well, most of it goes towards really expensive parts that boost your bike’s luxury level. This includes electronic shifters and belt drive options, as well as luxurious handles, saddles, suspension and tires. A $10,000 (€8.955) e-bike will surely be a royal ride: especially when driving on a rocky surface or mountainous area. Brands to consider include the Stromer ST5 or the Haibike. Continue deciding on the bike type Decided on a price that you are comfortable with? Then you can narrow down the search by browsing the different types of bikes available. Roughly, the available e-bikes can be divided in the following categories: Electric commuter bikes : The most commonly used bike all around the world, the type that people will ride around their town to get from A to B. To work, school, the supermarket, the gym. Commuters will normally stay on the streets, meaning that the bikes are not high-maintenance. Instead, they should be efficient and light - making sure that pedaling is smooth and parking is easy. Tires are typically narrower, just like the saddles. These are not made for long trips, anyhow: just like the electric option is a nice add-on when biking home after a long day of work, but not requiring a large range. Brands include the Raleigh Redux, Yamaha Wabash and GenZe 200. Electric folding bikes : Although some might argue that this category can be grouped with the commuter bikes, we thought it was worth pointing out as a separate option. E-folding bikes are extremely portable and compact, often capable of being folded up to a small package the size of a suitcase. This makes them perfect for those who want to bring along their bikes on public transport, in the car or on holidays. On the downside, it is more likely for compromises to have been made in the bike design, opting for smaller and more compact parts - even if that means that they are of a lower quality. Provided that you do not ride it for long periods at a time, this should not bother you too much. Make sure to look at Oyama CX and E8D II if you are interested in this option. Electric cruiser bikes : As the name implies, cruiser bikes are designed for fun cruising trips. For taking out your e-bike and going on lengthy tours in a leisurely fashion. Whether you are cruising down the coastline and boulevards of beachfront towns or enjoying the flowing landscapes, this is for you. E-cruiser bikes are designed to look stylish while providing optimal comfort through a plush seat and high handlebars. Pedals are mounted forward, once again adding ergonomic benefits for the rider. This comfort does take a slight toll on the maneuverability and weight of the bike, although this should not matter if you are in for the low-action, enjoyable bike rides. Pedego and Rayvolt are some names that you should definitely check out if this sounds like your type of bike. Electric mountain bikes : These bikes will be great if being outdoors and going off the beaten path is your main plan for the e-bike. E-mountain bikes on the lower price ranges are actually just fine for regular street travel too, while the high-end versions (including Haibike and Greyp) can even let you drive down mountains and making drops and jumps of several meters while making you feel as if you are driving down a well-paved road. That is the benefit of paying for the extra suspension and thick, strong tires.                   Full suspension Haibike on left, hardtail Magnum Peak on right  Electric cargo bikes : Cargo bikes were never meant to be flashy or particularly eye-catching in a fashion sense. Instead, they are meant to be hauling cargo - both live cargo, like children or pets, and actual stuff. Some bikes include front buckets or covered pods, while others have side-platforms next to the back wheels, allowing for a better distribution of weight. If you want, options like racks, bags and child carriers are available to further customize your bike to your exact liking. Just keep in mind that these definitely will not be the lightest, nor the most agile e-bikes out there. Brands worth your consideration include the Yuba Supermarché and CERO One. Specialty electric bikes : A pretty wide category that encompasses everything that does not fit in any of the previously mentioned categories. This includes electric tandem bicycles - boasting two seats and two sets of pedals as a fun way of biking for couples -; electric tricycles - for those with disabilities or problems balancing their two-wheeled bike -; or electric recumbent bikes - where the rider relaxes back in a seat instead of perched up on the saddle, almost as if driving a kart. If you are interested in those, you will be happy to know that they are already available to the market as e-bikes. Final consideration Eventually, it is essential that both price and bike type match up if you are hoping to find your perfect e-bike. Using our guidelines above, you will be happy to find that you are able to quickly narrow down the playing field to only a handful of suitable bikes that both fit your preferences and your wallet. After that, our best advice is to compare all remaining options and read user reviews - perhaps even visit a store or two for a test ride. And soon, you will be whizzing around town on your own perfect electric two wheeler! https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/transportation/cycling
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