Safety Tips When Shopping For Your First Electric Bike
May 1, 2023
When shopping around for an ebike, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. At the end of the day, Aventon is simply one of many brands in a saturated market. While there are some glaring differences between a $100 ebike, a $1,000 one, and a $10,000 electric bike, you might not always be aware of all the nuances to pay close attention to.
We’re not here to sway you one way or another but merely provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the key factors to look for when browsing electric bikes. In particular, when it comes to safety.
While some feel a rush of adrenaline or excitement when they first hit the throttle, for others, riding an ebike for the first time can feel scary. It’s an electric product after all, and as such, some riders may require a little extra preparation before gaining their confidence, both on and off the saddle. Off the saddle, it starts with understanding the electrical componentry and ensuring you’re not only investing in the highest quality but the safest.
While the brain of an ebike is the controller, the heart is the battery; It not only stores large amounts of energy but pumps energy to kickstart all of your electrically assisted rides. The most common type of ebike battery is a Lithium-ion one. Lithium-ion batteries are generally regarded as the safest, but a telltale sign that you’re shopping from a trusted brand that prioritizes safety is whether their ebikes are compliant with UL Certification standards.
Ebikes that have tested to UL Certification standards assure shoppers that they are certified to meet critical electrical and fire safety standards. UL requires an electric bike’s drivetrain, battery, and charger system to undergo rigorous testing to ensure it meets its standards. While a quick method to check for UL certification is to look for the UL logo on the ebike and/or battery, it is ultimately best to check public listings for UL certifications.
Lithium-ion batteries can only pose harm if they’re improperly taken care of. This means first and foremost, always abiding by the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations for ebike usage, charging, and storage. Secondly, avoiding purchasing aftermarket, low-cost, off-brand, refurbished, or bargain batteries for your ebike. Thirdly, only using the intended or included charger to charge your ebike and battery; Ensuring you’re using the same voltage is key to avoiding damage not just to the battery but reducing the risk of fire hazards. Similar to Aventon’s Ultimate Battery Guide, most manufacturers should have a detailed guide or quick how-to to understand not just their battery's basics, but their safekeeping and usage as well.
Sensors are what communicate to an electric bike’s pedal-assist system (PAS) when to engage the motor and propel you forward. There are two main types: cadence and torque. While cadence measures if you’re pedaling, torque measures how hard you’re pedaling.
Cadence sensors are routinely described as easy to use, provide consistent amounts of power, and allow riders to ride as far and fast as they’d like without requiring maximum effort from them. This isn’t to say that cadence ebikes won’t still give you a good workout. Instead, it’s being aware that cadence may likely require less pedal effort from you and instead, give you prescribed amounts of power at each pedal assist level.
Torque, on the other hand, is described as the more natural and intuitive riding style. Since the sensor recognizes how hard or soft you’re pedaling, it adjusts the motor’s level of assistance in real time to match your pedal efforts. This results in a smoother, more natural experience where riders can feel more in sync with their ebike.
The results will give different riding experiences that are important to account for when exploring ebikes. Because of this, it’s imperative to test-ride ebikes with both types of sensors to not only discover what your comfort levels are but to then find something that’s suitable for you. For more detailed information about both sensors, visit our article on Torque vs. Cadence Sensors.
Electric bikes offer pedal assist, a throttle, or both. The top speeds and user functionality will vary for both. Allow us to explain.
Pedal assist is essentially the ebike pedaling with you, to a degree. Ebikes with a cadence-based pedal assist system will have pre-prescribed amounts of power at each level. So you’ll simply toggle between the indicated levels of pedal assist depending on how much extra help you need. Ebikes with a torque-based pedal assist system will instead feel like an amplification of your pedal efforts at each of the varying levels of pedal assist. The top speed for pedal assist will either be 20 MPH or 28 MPH depending on the ebike class.
Throttle is used for moments when you don’t want to pedal. Typically in the form of a thumb lever or twist lever, you’ll simply activate the throttle and the motor will engage, propelling the bike forward for you. The top speed for a throttle will typically be 20 MPH. One of the biggest safety features to be aware of is the proper usage of the throttle. Some ebikes do not have a safety mechanism in place that prevents you from jolting from a dead stop. Having a feature like this in place will not only stop you from accidentally throttling forward when not prepared but help reduce the amounts of needless accidents.
So, when considering an electric bike, we can’t stress test rides enough. This will allow you to truly get a feel for the products' pedal assist and throttle functionalities, and help you determine whether the way they operate is within your comfort.
The mechanical components of an ebike are essentially the same as those of a traditional bike. There is nothing electric or battery-operated here, but that isn’t to say that there aren’t still safety features to be aware of!
Not all ebikes are like Aventon, and we mean that simply in terms of versatility. For the longest time, electric bikes on the market were one-size-fits-all, and we know that one size certainly does not fit all. If there happens to be diversity in sizes and frame styles, it’s imperative you find an ebike that meets your physical abilities. Whether you’re needing a step-through frame because it’s less strenuous to hop on or a traditional one because you simply prefer to look. And if there isn’t a selection to choose from, just go into the experience knowing that your safety, stability, and comfort are key; If the bike doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit!
Most manufacturers provide measurements and a sizing guide to help you understand which size would be best for you, but remember this is merely a guideline. Tall riders can comfortably ride smaller bikes and shorter riders can comfortably ride larger bikes! It boils down to your unique body composition and finding what feels best. Furthermore, when trying traditional step-over or step-through ebikes, exercise extra caution when mounting and dismounting. Because of the additional electrical components, ebikes are traditionally heavier than regular bikes, and this could easily cause an injury if you’re unaware of that extra weight. Mounting and dismounting are where many injuries can happen, so be firm in your posture, find stability, and take your time comfortably getting on and off an ebike. And when you’re on the ebike, make sure it allows for some customization, whether that’s adjusting the angle of the handlebars so you can more confidently navigate your ride or adjusting the seat post so you feel comfortable wherever the road takes you.
Though not all ebikes will come equipped with accessories, both branded and after-market options are available depending on what your needs are! We’ll review some of the most common accessory add-ons and how they can contribute to safe riding.
The number one rule when it comes to electric bike safety is wearing a helmet. It doesn’t matter if you’re just riding for one minute or one hour. A helmet protects your most important organ: your brain. If you don’t have a helmet, buy one at the time of purchasing your electric bike! If you want a ‘cooler’ one than what’s available, shop online! There are thousands of options online, from helmets with integrated lights for nighttime riding to helmets with moderate to full-face coverage. Or, if you don’t know what type of helmet to look for, read our article on how to choose a bike helmet!
If you know you’ll be needing space to carry cargo, goods, essentials, etc., rear racks are the best option. They securely attach to varying parts of an ebikes frame, whether a rear rack or a front rack, and can accommodate any number of baskets or bags for safe carrying. This will allow you to store and transport all that you need without worrying about having extra weight on your back or losing focus off the road!
Fenders aren’t just a great add-on because they look cool. If you know you’ll be riding through muddy, rainy, or other wet weather conditions, fenders are an excellent feature to invest in. They will shield dirt, mud, and debris from splashing on your clothes, your shoes, and more importantly, your face. That way, your eyes can always stay on the road ahead and you won’t have to worry about clearing your eyesight, eliminating this as a potential distraction.
How This Applies At Aventon
At Aventon, we hold ourselves to an incredibly high standard because our customers are the center of our world. We want to provide them with not only the best possible riding experiences as they navigate their corners of the world, but also provide them peace of mind that they’re investing in a brand that’s investing in them.
We put our ebikes through the testing ringer to ensure that our batteries, chargers, and all electrical and non-electrical components exceed the highest standards. This means that Aventon ebike batteries are TUV certified in compliance with UL 2849 standards, and riders can confirm certification. When it comes to sensors, we offer the best of both worlds so riders can find what feels best for them, whether torque or cadence. Lastly, while our electric bikes can throttle on demand (from a dead stop), our safety mechanism in place only allows this to occur if a rider is also in PAS 1-5; If they do not have pedal assist activated, the throttle will not activate.
The versatility in our product line-up means that everyone can discover the joy that comes from motion. With different frame styles, sizes, and color options, our goal is to meet the diverse riding styles of our community. While some of our ebikes come equipped with accessories, shoppers also have peace of mind that they can find everything they’re looking for in one spot. From front and rear racks, fenders, to helmets, we provide everything needed to ride safely and happily!
It’s our job to continuously inform you on all things electric bikes, so that you can be better equipped to make the best purchase decisions possible. As you start to make your holiday considerations and onward, the topics discussed in this article should be top of mind. That way, you not only know exactly what to look for in an ebike, but you can be assured that it’s something that’ll provide you with joy, fun, adventure, and explorations for the long run without sacrificing your or your loved one’s safety.