What Are The Different Types Of Electric Bikes On The Market Today?

Last Updated on March 26 2021 by Shine

Are There Different Types Of E-Bikes To Choose From - Our Guide!

When looking into electric bikes, you may be faced with a few different types to choose from, you've got some models with PAS or throttle power and designs such as mountain bikes or commuter bikes.

Each type of e-bike has there advantages and disadvantages depending on what you are looking for in a bike, with some commuter bikes being the best for long-range, and PAS giving a more natural feel to your ride.

The main types of electric bikes on the market today are; mountain, folding, commuter and hybrid. These e-bikes will also come in three different classes and three different motor placements. 

To understand more about these e-bike types, as well as how to choose the best type of e-bike, we have put together an informational guide below with everything you need to know.

What Are The Three Different Classes Of E-Bikes?

When it comes to talking about different electric bike types on the market, you should first start by understanding there are three different classes to choose from out there which will affect the type of power that your electric bike has.

Class One

A class one type e-bike is the most popular kind of electric bike on the market and uses a PAS system that assists you according to how you pedal on the bike. This type of assistance typically has a speed limit of 15.5 mph and can be used without a license in most countries.

The assistance on a class one bike can additionally be changed via the settings on the bike depending on how much help you want when pedalling, class one type electric bikes are the best for a more natural ride.

Class Two

Class two electric bike types have throttle power which allows the bike to push you forward with its power without any pedalling required on the bike. Having a class two bike with throttle power is not legal in a few places as the throttle can reach very high speeds like a scooter.

Most bikes on the market tend to have a mix of throttle power and PAS.

Class Three

A class three e-bike is not legal to ride without a license as its classed as a motorcycle and scooter. This type of electric bike is also known as a pedelec and can some times even get to speeds of 28mph.

Which Class Is Legal In The UK?

It is legal to have a class one electric bike in the UK as long as its speed is limited to 15.5mph and it has a 250W motor. You have to be 14 and over to ride one too, but no license is needed.

E-bikes that comes with a twist throttle type power may need to be checked before they can be used out on the roads.

How Does The Motor Hub Effect The Electric Bike Type?

When choosing the electric bike type which is right for you, most (likely being a class one e-bike), you will also have to pick where you want the motor to be on your e-bike.

Having the motor hub placed on different areas of your electric bike can cause it to feel different when you ride and determine what your bike can or cannot do.

Mid-Drive Motor

A mid-drive type motor on your electric bike is one of the most popular types on the market and is located by the bottom bracket of your e-bike and its cranks. This type of e-bike will always have a PAS system due to its placement and has a great weight distribution too which gives it a more stable feel as you ride.

Front Hub Motor

A front hub type electric bike is less common on the market due to the fact it makes pedalling harder and doesn't give as smooth of a ride. This type of motor placement is commonly found in e-bike conversion kits as it is easy to DIY but does not give the best assistance.

Rear Hub Motor

Along with a mid-drive motor, you will also find rear hub motors on most electric bike types as they give the most natural and powerful assistance on an electric bike due to their position on the rear wheel. More weight will be distributed to the bottom end of your bike and this system can be used with a class one type or a class two type of assistance.

What Different Types Of E-Bikes Are There?

Now we know the types of power and motor placements to look for in your electric bike, we can get into differentiating between the main types of e-bikes on the market and what they do so as you can see which type of e-bike might be suitable for your use.

Commuting/Road/City/Cruiser E-Bikes

Commuting electric bikes are the type of e-bike which is suited for road use and long-range distances so as they can be suitable for commuting. These bikes typically aren't suited for the incline or off-road use and sometimes have the additions of throttles to make pulling away from traffic quicker.

You will often find that these bikes come with front and rear taillights, as well as a horn to make them suitable for road use, they normally have an upright sitting position too and have medium-sized tyres.

Folding E-Bikes

Folding electric bike types can be folded up into a small footprint and stored away after use, with some being small enough to fit under your desk and having lightweights of only 16kg. Foldable e-bikes will often have small wheels to compensate for size but can still be heavy to carry.

You should additionally check if these bikes come with gears too, as many simplified models don't and will be hard to use on inclines without.

Mountain E-Bikes

A mountain bike is often much heavier than a commuter bike and will be more suited to tackling inclines and rough terrains, they tend to come with a durable suspension and gears to allow for more control. These bikes often now have a mid-drive motor as they can deal with hills better than the other hub motors.

Hybrid E-Bikes

Next up we have the last electric bike type which is hybrid e-bikes. These types of electric bikes are best suited for people who want a mix of a mountain bike and road bike, they tend to be a little more expensive because of this versatility and might or might not come with suspension.

Which Features Should I Look For In The Best Type Of E-Bike?

When you have decided on which type of electric bike is right for you, you should ensure it comes with the right type of features too.

We have listed out the essential features to consider in your new electric bike below.

  • The motor - Make sure you get an e-bike with a decently powered motor and check where this motor is, whether you want a mid-drive unit or a rear unit. For UK legal use, ensure this motor is 250W continuous.
  • Battery size - If you are looking to do long-range commutes or go on adventures with lots of inclines you need to ensure you get an e-bike with a large enough battery. You will be able to see the power of your battery by a look at the voltage and how far it can go by seeing how high the amp hours are.
  • PAS levels - Check how many assistance levels your bike comes with, also see if your bike has a throttle or not if you think you might require the extra boost on your bike.
  • Display - Most of the best e-bike types will come with a display controller where you can view statistics such as speed and time, as well as change the PAS and see how much charge your battery has left.
  • Design - Ensure you choose the right e-bike design type for you, whether that's a mountain bike, commuter bike or hybrid bike. You will often find using the wrong type of e-bike for a certain use will impact its performance and reduce battery life greatly.
  • Frame - Your e-bike should have a durable frame, now depending on the type you choose, your mountain bike should have a frame with suspension, for folding bikes you would want to ensure that this frame is lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Brakes - Most electric bikes will come with a set of disc brakes but some higher quality bike types may have brakes like Shimano XT which have better-stopping power.
  • Gears - Having some gears for more control over your e-bike is important if you are looking to take it on hills and rough terrain, some great shifts to look for are Shimano.

Frequently Asked Questions About Different Types Of E-Bike

What are the benefits of e-bikes? 

E-bikes are gaining popularity more than other transport as they are eco-friendly, keep you fit, save you time and can help you whizz up those nasty hills on your commute home.

Are there different types of batteries that come with e-bikes? 

The most popular type of battery that comes with an electric bike is a lithium-ion battery. Other battery types you might find in e-bikes are lead-acid but these tend to be rarer nowadays as they add a lot more weight to the e-bike.

How much do electric hybrid bikes cost?

This will all come down to the brand and quality of the hybrid bike you buy, but for an average, they can range between a price of £500-£2000.

Final Words

We hope you enjoyed our guide to explaining the different types of electric bikes on the market and have figured out which type of e-bike will be best for you, whether its a road bike or a tougher mountain bike. Always ensure that the type of bike you decide on is legal for use on the roads too, sometimes hidden throttle options may make your bike illegal without you knowing.

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E-Bike Reviews

The electric bike, sometimes called an e-bike, is in many respects a regular bicycle. The exception is that it is fitted with a motor and a battery.
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