Different features on an e-bike will affect how comfortable it is to ride, what terrain it is suitable for and your overall enjoyment while out on your new electric bike. Unlike traditional bikes, you must get the e-bike set up that is right for you when you purchase the bike because upgrades can be expensive and difficult to come by.
Here are two features you should know more about so that you can find the best e-bike set up for you.
Gearing – What is the difference between 48T, 52T, 56T?
When choosing an e-bike, getting the right gearing ratio is essential.
If you get the option to upgrade the front chainring (the part connected to the pedals), to one with a higher gear, you should consider it. For example, you may have the option to choose between 48T, 52T and 56T gears. The number represents the number of teeth on the front chainring. The “T” stands for teeth. The higher the number, the larger the front chainring will be.
A large chainring such as a 56T will help you to go faster. One more tooth on the front chainring results in roughly 2% higher gearing. A higher gearing means that you can spin the rear wheel more quickly, with fewer pedal strokes. Although this will require more leg strength, the benefit of an e-bike is that you get assistance reaching those high speeds straight out of the box. Therefore the higher the number, the faster you will be able to go.
If you are looking for an “easier” ride, then 48T or lower is your best option. However, do be mindful that you may wish that you chose a higher gear as your legs become stronger. Replacing the chainring and finding the right fit for your bike can be difficult. You could meet in the middle with a 52T front chainring. The best e-bike set up will still a rear cassette, allowing you to change gears, helping build up acceleration from a standing start, even with a larger front gear.
Front Suspension – Air Pressure Shocks vs Oil Shocks
E-bikes are built for speed, convenience and comfort. Finding an e-bike with front suspension will make your ride more comfortable and reduce the risk of hand fatigue from bumpy surfaces on longer rides.
Generally, you will have a choice of air pressure or oil shocks (hydraulic spring) on e-bikes. Air pressure shocks are more effective on more bumpy terrain.
Both types of shocks will make your ride more comfortable. But, if you plan to take your electric bike offroad, you need air pressure shocks, they are more responsive and a lot quicker at reacting to changes on the surface you are riding over, giving you better traction and control of your e-bike. Oil pressure shocks (or hydraulic spring) shocks work great on roads, making them the perfect choice if you just want to dampen the occasional pothole in the road.
Different Features for Different Riders
In summary, the gears you choose will affect how fast you can go and how quickly you can build up speed. The higher the gear, the quicker you can go at high speeds. Front suspension is a must for an e-bike to increase comfort and control, no matter where you need to take your e-bike. If you want the added versatility of taking your e-bike off-road, you should consider air pressure shocks. If you are mainly looking for an e-bike to commute or ride on roads, then Oil pressure shocks will be more than sufficient.