How to Choose an Electric Bike

Electric bikes have overcome several limitations of traditional bikes, while preserving their essence, and this is allowing many more people to take up cycling. Here, we’ll give tips on how to make the right choice when shopping for an e-bike.

How to choose an electric bike Image: Scott Spain

Benefits of Electric Bikes

Let's briefly look at the main benefits that are making riders in all areas of cycling choose electric-assist bikes.

  • The rider chooses the level of effort, as the assistance is adjustable. This makes ebikes suitable for all types of cyclists, from the most demanding to recreational cyclists looking for the more tranquil side of cycling.
  • They allow you to overcome your limits, whatever they may be. For some this will be the limits imposed by an injury, illness or lack of time to train, for example, and for others it will mean reaching higher, faster or getting more downhill mountain rides.
  • They allow cyclists with different levels to share cycling routes: couples, parents and children, friends with limitations due to lack of time or illness, etc... Electrical assistance evens out the differences making it possible for everyone to get greater enjoyment.
  • Excessive sweating can be prevented with electric assistance, which makes it especially suitable for urban cycling in your work clothes.

Legal Regulations on Electric Bikes

Electric assistance bikes, known as Pedelecs, are legally equivalent to conventional bikes, as long as they meet these requirements:

  • The power does not exceed 250 W
  • Pedalling is required for the auxiliary motor to assist.
  • The assistance cuts off when the speed exceeds 25 km/h.

Ebikes are certified by the UNE-EN 15194:2009 standard and, they must also comply with the same regulations as conventional bicycles and they are exempt from registration, insurance, driving license and motor vehicle tax..

It is important to note that some electric bikes exceed these limitations of speed and power and may even have a throttle so that the bike can move without pedalling. But, for legal purposes, they are considered mopeds, not bikes, and require registration, insurance and a driver's license. Nor can they be ridden on bike lanes or forest roads and tracks, where Pedelecs. can be ridden. They are an interesting option for urban use or as a means of transport on roads where their use is permitted, as they are a much less polluting alternative to vehicles with combustion engines, but as they cannot be considered as bicycles, they will not be mentioned further in this article.

Types of Electric Bikes

Electric bikes are featured in all categories of bikes, with a wide range of prices. The first thing to assess is the use you plan to give, to choose the most suitable type according to your needs and then decide on the characteristics and components.

Urban Ebikes

If it is only for urban use, we recommend you choose an urban-specific bike and consult our article on “How to Choose a City Bike”.

Scott Sub Cross eRide 10 2020 Image: Scott Sub Cross eRide 10 2020

Folding Ebikes

If you have a problem with space or have to combine urban cycling with other means of transport, a folding bikes is a great choice.

Brompton ebike M6LE Image: Brompton ebike M6LE

Road Ebikes

There are excellent options for electric road bikes with exceptionally lightweight and aesthetic designs, that would have been unthinkable in an electric bike, not so long ago. You can see these in our Mammoth road ebike section.

Specialized Creo SL Comp Carbon 2020 Image: Specialized Creo SL Comp Carbon 2020

Gravel Ebikes

If you are a gravel fan or are just beginning to look into this booming new discipline, you can find specific gravel ebikes, developed by top brands, that perfectly integrate the motor and the battery, to increase their possibilities even further. You can check out the best options in our Mammoth gravel bikes section.

Specialized Creo SL Comp Carbon Evo 2020 Image: Specialized Creo SL Comp Carbon Evo 2020

E-MTBs / Electric Mountain Bikes

The versatility of mountain bikes makes them the most popular discipline and it is here, where electric assistance shows its most entertaining side, making climbs more enjoyable and descents more exciting

The wide range of eMTBs covers every need, although the ease of pedalling provided by electric assistance means that the different types are not as restrictive in their use as conventional bikes. For example, an electric bike designed for trail or Enduro can also perform very well on flatter, rolling terrain. Let's take a look at the different types:

Hardtail eMTBs

Suitable for non-technical terrain and even for touring or urban use. They are usually fitted with 100 mm forks and are the entry point for many new electric MTB users.

Scott Aspect eRide 910 Image: Scott Aspect eRide 910
Full-suspension / XC

Like conventional bikes with full-suspension, ebikes are the most versatile with suspensions between 100 and 130 mm. However, most users tend to prefer more generous suspensions and for this reason there are fewer models to choose from in this category.

Scott Spark eRide 920 Imagen: Scott Spark eRide 920
Full-suspension Trail

This type is the undisputed bestseller in the mid and upper ranges, most probably because of the versatility we mentioned earlier. These bikes have a generous 130-150 mm travel and thanks to the electric assistance, give very good performance. So why give up the safety and fun that their geometry and suspension provide?

Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp 2021 Image: Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp 2021
Full-suspension Enduro

These ebikes have revolutionised the concept of Enduro, making possible climbs that were previously only achieved with a ski lift or by carrying it over your shoulder. They boast the essence of Enduro bikes but go further, higher or allow more repeats of the same ride. Featuring up to a 180 mm travel, models to note are the Specialized Turbo Kenevo or the Mondraker Level RR Super Enduro.

Image: Specialized Turbo Kenevo Comp | Mondraker Level RR Super Enduro

We hope that this helps you decide on the type of electric bike that suits you best. We are now going to look at the main components.

Ebike Motors

Specialized Turbo Kenevo Image: Specialized Turbo Kenevo

There are two types of hub electric motors, those that use brushes, which are cheaper but heavier and noisier, and brushless motors, which are more modern, lighter and quieter, and are the ones equipped on most quality ebikes. The most popular motor brands include: Bosch, Shimano, Broser and Yamaha.

Nominal Rating

The nominal rating of electric bike motors is limited by law to 250W and almost all motors have this wattage, except for the most economical ranges of urban bikes, where it may be lower. Another factor to take into account is the maximum torque, which is the maximum force the motor can deliver. It is measured in Nm (Newtons/meter) and is usually between 50Nm and 90Nmon ebikes. A high torque makes the start of the bike more agile and faster, but it will not influence the maximum speed and consumes more battery, so it is advisable to find a balance between torque, the needs of the bike and the desired range. Bikes designed to tackle steeper gradients and changes of pace, such as MTBs, tend to have higher torques.

Location of the Motor

The motor can be located in the centre, front or rear. In the latter two, the motor is integrated into the wheel hubs.


This location is the most widespread and it offers the best performance on almost all bike types. Its location on the bottom bracket has several benefits: the integrated electric assistance and the force generated by the cyclist is more fluid and direct and the riding sensation is similar to a conventional bike, with greater stability and safety., It also allows the assistance sensor to start by torque, and this means that it is activated almost immediately, resulting in a more agile bike. We consider this position essential for MTB bikes and highly recommended for road and gravel bikes, leaving the other options for urban, folding or mixed bikes.


This location puts more weight on the front axle, which is a disadvantage as it alters the behaviour of the bike. The benefit is that the motor is independent from the drivetrain and this makes it possible to fit a conventional wheel onto some models when you do not want to use a motor. However, it works very well on folding bikes and it does not alter the behaviour of these bikes so much on urban roads.


This location integrates the motor into the rear wheel hub, where the weight does not affect the behaviour of the bike as much as the front position, which also makes it more stable and safer. Both positions have the disadvantage that the sensor activation of the assistance is usually by movement, delaying the entry into action of the motor. But both leave the frame free, allowing the same aesthetics of conventional frames. Without reaching the performance of the central motors, their behaviour allows them to be mounted on urban and road bikes with satisfactory results, as is the case with the Orbea Gain, for example.

Orbea Gain M10i 2020 Image: Orbea Gain M10i 2020

The software is just as important as the quality and power of the motor and it is usually the deciding factor between models with the same motor. The power delivery, torque, assistance levels and even range depend to a large extent on computer and electronic systems. Specialized was once again a reference with the development of its own exclusive software system for their Brose motors , and Mision Control App, which allows you to customise the configuration of their electric bikes with exquisite precision, as well as diagnose the system or have a navigation assistant with maps and recording of your routes, in connection with your Smartphone. It sets the standard that has been followed by other manufacturers, such as Shimano and big brands like Scott, which mount their motors.

Navigation, the choice of assistance levels and settings are controlled via on-board displays or computers or with a compatible device such as a smartphone or GPS. These elements are also deciding factors between quality bikes and more economical models, so you will need to assess their quality and complexity if you are looking for high performance.

Specialized Mission Control App Turbo Levo Image: Specialized Mission Control App Turbo Levo

Ebike Batteries

Battery capacity is as important as the motor for the range and performance of electric bikes. Let's take a brief look at the values that define this capacity.

The charge capacity or energy stored in a battery is measured in Watt-hours (Wh) and is obtained by the amount of energy supplied in one hour to the electric circuit measured in Amp-hours (Ah) and the voltage or tension expressed in volts (V). By multiplying both values, you obtain the charge capacity in Wh which, normally, in medium and high-end electric bikes, ranges between 300 and 700 Wh. Solutions for carrying additional batteries on the bikes are also becoming more widespread, which considerably increase this capacity and can easily reach up to 1200/1300 Wh

The usual voltage ranges for electric bike batteries are 24V and 36V, although there are now 48V batteries. The batteries used for medium and high-end bikes, especially MTBs, are usually 36V, leaving the 24V for urban bikes..

Batteries that are easily removable are advisable, so that they can be charged away from the bike and spare batteries can be used to extend the range. The charging time, is also important and this usually ranges from 2.5 to 5 hours, but lower quality batteries can take considerably longer. And finally, the battery life , which is measured in charge cycles. Medium and high quality values are usually between 700 and 1,000 charge cycles.

Battery Range

Most riders consider the battery range to be the most important issue, i.e. how many kilometres you can ride on your electric bike.

There are formulas for calculating the theoretical battery range in kilometres, but there are so many factors involved that we are not going to get into charts and tables of little or no use.

The battery life depends on its capacity, age and how well it is maintained, as well as other factors, such as the weight of the cyclist, the level of assistance used, the hardness of the terrain, the gear ratios used... too many parameters to establish standard data. Even so, we are going to give some average references as a basic guideline, which you can contrast with your personal experience.

As a reference, taking varied routes with positive gradients of approximately 1,000 metres every 50 km, using a moderate assistance, and the correct use of the bike's gears, we would define the average range for the most common power ratings as follows:

  • 300 Wh 40 km.
  • 400 Wh 50-60 km.
  • 500 Wh 60-70 km
  • 700 Wh 70-80 km.

But on flatter terrain with a moderate use of assistance, a lighter weight and the correct choice of gear ratios depending on the gradient, these ranges can be extended considerably and exceed 100 kmby far. In the same way, they will be shortened if you do the opposite and abuse hard gear ratios without changing and frequently use maximum assistance.

The battery life and range can be considerably extendedby taking the measures mentioned the following video on our Youtube channel with Tips for battery range and use for electric assistance bikes.

To close the section on motors and batteries, it is worth mentioning that there are very economical bikes that use 12V batteries and capacities well below 300 Wh, but their performance is so low that they can hardly go beyond short urban rides. It is important to bear this in mind in order to know what you are buying and not be seriously disappointed.

Other Components

For non-electric components, you can use the same selection criteria as for conventional bikes, choosing the appropriate ranges for the intended use and, inevitably, the higher quality will influence the budget, which will have to be consistent with your expectations.

Conventional components are used on urban and even road bikes, however, specific components have been developed for electric MTB bikes due to the special demands of riding, bike weight and power delivery: chains, suspensions, wheels, brakes and transmissions guarantee durability and ride quality. It is important to consider these components especially on trail and enduro bikes.

Final Recommendations

We hope you now know what needs to be taken into account when choosing an electric bike. We suggest you make a list of your preferences and needs, set the approximate budget you want to spend and narrow down the options you find by reviewing the sections above:: the type of bike depending on the use you plan to give it (urban, folding, MTB rigid, MTB double), and the motor and battery capacity regarding the range you need.

At our Mammoth stores and online store, you will find specialists and a huge range of electric bikes from brands, such as Specialized, Scott, Giant, Liv, Orbea, Cube, Mondraker, Cannondale, Santa Cruz, Mérida, Conor, Megamo, SixBike, Brompton, Ryme Bikes, Bergamont and Xiaomi.


You’ll be sure to find a suitable bike for your needs!

For more information, check out these related articles and videos

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