Electric bikes (e-bikes) have been around for decades but their popularity has really soared in recent years. With the increase in popularity have come a multitude of makes, models, and styles. There are cruiser, hybrid, and step thru styles. You may be wondering what is a cruiser bike? And how does a cruiser versus hybrid bike compare? With so many options, how do you decide which e-bike is right for you? To help you sort it all out, we review these three popular yet different styles of e-bikes. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages. In this article we cover the key differences and discuss features of each to help you select the one that is best for you, your type of riding and your budget.
While sales of bicycles of all types increased during the pandemic, sales of electric bikes increased 145% in 2020. Even before the pandemic, e-bikes were gaining in popularity. Technological advances have made e-bikes much more versatile. Advances in battery technology have significantly reduced the weight of e-bikes making them more efficient and giving them greater range. As a result of these changes consumers find that e-bikes are good for exercise, getting outdoors, commuting, running errands around town, even going off road. With this type of versatility, e-bikes appeal to a large segment of the population. If you are one of these consumers and have been intrigued by the e-bike craze, read on to gain some practical knowledge about the differences between styles and which one just might be right for you.
Cruiser Electrics Bikes
The cruiser style of bike has been around for decades and many people will immediately think of the beach cruiser when hearing of this style. The cruiser is now available as an e-bike. As the name suggests, cruiser e-bikes are designed for easy, short rides around town, the park, or the beach. The cruiser style of e-bike is designed for comfort rather than speed. They tend to have larger and more comfortable seats, riders sit upright, handlebars are curved to conform to the rider’s wrists, and there are no or few gears.
A potential downside for some riders is that the cruiser style tends to be on the heavier side. Because of their limited gears and extra weight, cruiser bikes are generally not the best for going up hills. Although with an e-bike this is less of a disadvantage since you can use the battery power. Doing so will get you up the hill but also use up your battery charge so riders need to keep that in mind. Cruiser e-bikes are also not too good for navigating tight spaces. The shape of the handlebars makes them wider so getting through tight spaces can be a challenge.
Prices for cruiser e-bikes tend to be lower than the other styles. So, if budget is one of your main concerns, the cruiser style might be right for you.
If the cruiser style of e-bike sounds like a good fit for you, consider the Himiway Cruiser.
Hybrid Electrics Bikes
A hybrid bike takes the best of what road bikes and mountain bikes have to offer and combines these features into one versatile bike.
From road bikes the hybrid offers gearing and is lighter weight. From mountain bikes the hybrid offers flat handlebars for more control and stability and can handle a wider variety of road and trail conditions. The hybrid e-bike comes in many varieties to suit varying terrain. Hybrid e-bikes designed for city riding tend to have smoother tires and thinner handlebars. You can also find hybrid e-bikes designed more for off-road or trail riding. These bikes will have knobby tires and a bit more durability built in.
One downside to a hybrid is that it tends to be a bit pricier than a cruiser.
There is much to learn about e-bikes before you buy. E-bikes are not inexpensive so it is smart to read up as much as possible to make sure an e-bike is what you want and then to select the best one for your needs. Don’t be led astray by misunderstandings and reading this informative article about people misunderstanding of E-Bikes.
Step Thru Electrics Bikes
The third style of e-bike is the step thru or comfort. As the name suggests, you can easily step over/thru the frame as opposed to hiking your leg up and over. This style used to be thought of as a “girl’s” bike but we’ve moved beyond that. Today’s step thru is gender neutral. The step thru style usually offers the same performance as step over or high step styles, it is just that they make it easier for you to get on and off your bike. The step thru style of e-bike is often preferred by commuters who need to wear more restrictive clothing and for those who do a lot of city riding that involves many starts and stops.
If comfort is one of your priorities you can’t ignore your bike seat. There has a lot of information you need to consider, like seat texture, type of bike, or posture to ride are all need to check out the ebike seat guide.
While one of the most comfortable styles, step thru e-bikes do have a few disadvantages to be aware of. Because there is no top bar connecting the front and back of the frame, step thru’s may seem like they are not as sturdy. Manufacturers have tried to address this issue by using materials that are more durable but the downside is that these materials weigh more.
Another disadvantage is that step thru’s do not perform as well for riding hills. The step thru design can become unstable when exerting the force needed to climb a hill. With a step thru e-bike this is less of an issue as you can just engage the battery power rather than your own power.
Some riders find that the lack of frame area available to add accessories such as water bottles and small bags a bit of a disadvantage. Manufacturers are working to overcome this by designing accessories specifically for the step thru style.
If a step thru e-bike sounds like a good option for you, be sure to check out the Himiway Cruiser Step Thru.
There are many factors to consider when selecting an e-bike. One of the more important is the style. Three popular styles to choose from are cruiser, hybrid, and step thru or comfort. The e-bike style that is best for you will depend on several factors including the type of riding you do, your riding experience and budget. In this article we have included an overview of what is a cruiser bike, a hybrid bike, and a step thru bike. We have also provided some comparisons to help you learn the differences between a cruiser versus hybrid bike.
Cruisers are great for beginners and those who want to do short, easy rides. Hybrids can be considered a step up from cruisers. A hybrid offers features found on road bikes and mountain bikes, combined into one. With these additional features, hybrids are a good option for the more experienced rider who plans to do longer rides with more varied terrain. However, the additional features usually come with a higher price tag. Finally, there is the step thru. This style is perfect for anyone with flexibility issues or if your riding requires frequent stops and the need to get on and off your bike.
While it is important to consider the style of e-bike that is best for you, there are other things you’ll want to factor into your buying decision. Here are three to incorporate into your research.
Class. There are three classes of e-bikes that differ based on top speed and whether the assist is only when pedaling. Class 1 e-bikes go up to 20 mph and the rider must be pedaling to activate the electric motor. Class 2 e-bikes also go up to 20 mph but the rider doesn’t have to be pedaling. The Class 3 e-bike can go up to 28 mph. Because of the higher speed it gets a bit more complicated as to what the laws are. All Class 3 must have a speedometer. Depending on the state, Class 3 may or may not have a throttle. It is important to note that local laws may differ as to which class can be ridden on certain streets, paths, and trails. It is a good idea to check the local laws related to e-bikes before taking a ride.
Motor mount (crank assist or hub assist). Crank assist is good for hills but can be noisy. Hub assist is quieter but doesn’t perform as well on hills.
Range or the distance you can travel on one charge. If you ride hills, you want to make sure you don’t run out of battery charge halfway up.
Each one of these could have its own article but hopefully this is a start to get you headed in the right direction.