Things You Should Know
Before Buying an Electric Bike
(Do Your Homework)
Before you purchase any E-
You will find E-
What Is the Watt Power Rating?
Those 250 watt Chinese imports were designed primarily for the Asian and European markets where the legal power and speed limits are more constrained than in the USA. They are Ok if you just want to cruise around town, but 250 watts is less than adequate for climbing big hills or bucking strong headwinds, or if you weigh over 175 lbs.
Brushed vs Brushless Motors
Brushed motors represent an old and worn out technology. But you will still see some around, especially on less expensive bikes. Stay clear! Check to be sure the motor is brushless.
Caution: Know both the volts and watts.
Often sellers will quote volts (say 36 volt), .but don’t tell you if they are referring to the battery or the motor. Even if they tell you that, say, the battery is 36 volts, you still need to know the motor’s watt rating, which may be only 250 watts.
Is the Battery Included in the Price?
Often sellers (especially on Ebay) will show pictures of a bike with the battery mounted. You may find out after it is too late that the battery is not included.
SLA Batteries vs Lithium
Lithium battery distributors have done such a powerful job of doubting the advantages of Lithiums and discrediting SLAs that much of the public has been convinced that Lithium is the only way to go. That is just NOT the case.
Volts are volts, amps are amps, and an electric motor doesn’t care where it gets them from–a Lithium Battery, an SLA battery, or a solar panel.
The two most advertised advantages of a Lithium over an SLA is less weight and longer
life. You will find Lithium battery distributors saying that an SLA will last only
a couple of years, while a Lithium will last 6 to 10. Anyone who has ridden an e-
A 36 volt Lithium battery will cost you anywhere from $450 up to $600 and sometimes more. And don’t forget to add $100 shipping. An excellent 36 volt SLA can be
purchased for less than $200. Long Beach Electric Bikes offers their 36 volt SLA for only $150.
Battery Weight Comparison:
A 36 volt Lithium battery including the necessary mounting plate will weigh 10 lbs.
A 36 volt SLA will weigh 25 lbs–a difference of 15 lbs. Now let’s assume a 190-
Same Rider, Same Bike:
With a 25-
represents .09 percent of the total weight–a difference of 5 percent. Is 5 percent less weight and two or three years of longer life worth an additional $450 to $600 more? Only you can decide.
While riding the bike you will hardly notice the extra weight of the SLA. But when moving the bike about by hand or carrying the battery by hand off the bike you will definitely appreciate the lesser weight of the Lithium.
Speed: With comparable volts (Let’s say 36 volts.) the speeds will be the same.
Range: The distance you can travel on an electric bike is heavily dependent upon the Ah rating of the battery. The more amp hours, the greater the distance. Most 36 volt Lithiums are 9 to 10Ah. A good 36 volt SLA will be 12Ah. Go figure!
But What About 48 Volts?
If you insist on 48 volts, which is rarely necessary, than the weight (and size)
become a more important considerations. A Lithium would definitely be the wiser choice.
So think about it. But, keep in mind, however, that over-
Reliability and Service:
There are no Lithium batteries manufactured in the USA–NONE. All are made in China or some other Asian country. If you purchase direct from China, try to imagine a distributor in China servicing your battery is the USA?
Lithium battery technology has come a long way and we are not experiencing the many
problems of just a few years ago. Now a days, the problems associated with Lithiums
is not in the technology but in the quality of of the delivered product. Remember:
They are ALL made in China! A Lithium battery has a number of features not found
on SLA batteries, and happily, not needed on SLA batteries. More features equals
more things that can go wrong–both in the manufacturing process and on your bike.
For example, Lithiums have a built-
An SLA battery does not have BMS, nor does it need it. A 36 volt SLA has only three cells, and each is easily replaced for about $30. And it is a simple matter to determine which one has gone bad. However, with that said, it is usually better to replace all three.
SLA Proven Technology
SLA batteries enjoy a proven technology of many years and they are made in the good al’ USA.
Where to Buy Your E-
If at all possible, and you can find one in your area, we highly recommend that you purchase from a dedicated
If purchasing from a local shop is not possible and you must purchase your E-
What Are the Shipping Charges?
If you make a purchase on line be sure to ask the shipping charges, which may drive the cost up radically. Unfortunately, many sellers get greedy in this area.