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E-bikes take the work out of biking, but are they worth the cost?

New electric bikes can "flatten the hills"
Electric Assist Bikes
Posted at 6:30 AM, May 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-01 08:40:00-04

Electric bikes, or E-bikes, are one of the hottest trends for people looking to spend more time outdoors. But before you buy, you want to make sure it's right for you.

Lindsay Keith loves riding her E-bike, and nowadays, selling them too at Reser Bicycle Outfitters. She says the appeal of E-bikes is simple: Less work.

"An e-bike flattens those hills," she said.

They're a big help in hilly areas, especially for older riders.

"So you are still pedaling like a regular bike," she explained, "but it is up to doubling your power."

How much you will have to pay

Her bikes range from $1,000 to over $6,000. She says paying more gives you lighter weight and longer-lasting batteries.

According to Consumer Reports,E-bike sales went up 38% from 2020 to 2021, and another 20% in 2022.

Consumer Report's Benjamin Preston said while there are affordable options on the market, in the $500 range, you want to proceed with caution if you find a very inexpensive model.

"You don't want to get stuck with something that's of poor quality," he said, "or is just a bicycle with an electric motor attached to it, and maybe the brakes aren't up to par."

In recent Consumer Reports tests, top performers came from manufacturers that specialize in E-bikes, so spending more for well-known brands may be worth it.

Test ride it, know the return policy

Preston adds while it is tempting to order one online to save money, an electric bike is something you should see in person and test ride before you buy, especially if it's secondhand.

"If it's a pair of pants, you can return it, but a bicycle is a little more complicated, and you really need to make sure that it fits and that it meets your needs and it's comfortable," he said.

Lindsay Keith says you should deal with a local bike shop that can help if something goes wrong.

"You want a shop that cares about you, and is selling you something safe, but also something that comes with a warranty," she said.
Sure, E-bikes cost more, but can make former cyclists love bicycling again.

That way you don't waste your money.

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