Guide on How to Buy an Electric Bicycle in India? Here’s What You Should Look For

by | Sep 15, 2023 | Tips & Guide, Electric Bicycle

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Electric bicycles, also known as e-bikes, are gaining popularity in India due to their many benefits. Many cyclist enthusiasts want to ride and buy it but don’t know where to begin. This guide on how to buy an electric bicycle in India will help you.

E-bikes are bicycles with an integrated electric motor that provides pedal assistance or power on demand. They are eco-friendly, convenient for short trips, promote health benefits, and can lead to significant cost savings compared to motorbikes or cars. With the growth in e-bike options in India, it can get confusing to pick the right one.

 This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to buy an electric bicycle in India – covering the key types, e-bike best for you, and features to consider.

This guide will help you make the right choice while Choosing Best Electric Bicycles in India based on your needs and budget.

5 Types of Electric Bicycles (E-Bikes) Explained

1. Pedal Assist Or Pedelec Electric Bikes

Pedal assist or pedelec electric bikes can be powered completely by pedaling or have the motor assist with the rider’s pedal force.

The rider operates the bike normally, but the electric motor can be activated to assist, increasing the power given to the back wheel.

This helps make cycling easier, especially on terrain with hills or severe inclines. The motor only assists the rider while he or she is pedaling. When the rider quits pedaling, the motor stops assisting.

This function prevents the motor from pushing the bike ahead if the rider is not pedaling, preventing accidents, restricting the bike’s top speed, and allowing the bike to be used in places where traditional bikes are used.

The motors on pedelec electric bikes frequently contain settings that allow the user to increase or reduce the amount of assistance provided by the motor.

2. Throttle Controlled Electric Bikes

The term “power-on-demand” is occasionally used to refer to electric bikes with throttle controls. These electric bikes come in a variety of styles, some with the same power motors as pedelecs, while others have more powerful motors and can achieve higher speeds.

The ability to engage the electric motor whenever the rider needs the motor’s help is the main distinction between pedelec bikes and throttle-controlled bikes.

The easiest way to engage the motor is using a twist throttle on the right-hand grip of the handlebar, similar to a motorbike.

The turn of the throttle rotates to activate the motor and increase or reduce the power sent to the back wheel by the motor.

There are several additional ways to start the motor, including a throttle lever or button control, although these alternatives are less common.

3. Speed Pedelec or S-Pedelec Electric Bikes

Speed pedelec electric bikes have the same design, structure, and setup as regular pedelec electric bikes, but their motors are significantly more powerful.

Because the higher powerful motor may push the bike at speeds of up to 28mph or 45kph, these electric bicycles are categorized as Class-3 electric bikes.

Because of their more powerful motors and greater speeds, electric bikes are frequently categorized as motor vehicles, usually in the same class as motorcycles.

4. Mid-Drive Electric Bikes

There are various ways that the motor power can be used to drive electric bikes. The motor of a mid-drive electric bike is located on the bike’s bottom bracket and directly drives the pedal crank.

It is the most common pedelec bike design since the motor power is directly related to the user pedaling the pedals. With this setup, sensors can be mounted on the crank to provide the motor with various engagement sensors, such as cadence or torque sensors.

The ideal choice is to use torque sensors, which measure how hard the cyclist is pedaling and change the motor’s output accordingly. Cadence sensors on the crank of lower-end pedelec bikes control the mid-drive motor.

Another benefit of mid-drive motors is that they drive the back wheel via the chain, allowing the motor to use the gears of the bicycle more effectively and efficiently.

The center position of the motor and the low position of the bike allow for improved weight distribution. Because the center of gravity is not altered, the bike handles better.

5. Hub-Drive Electric Bikes.

Hub-drive The motor of an electric bike is positioned on the hub of the rear or front wheel. These electric bikes feature specially constructed wheels with the engine built directly into the hub.

On an electric bike, front-hub drive motors are the simplest to install, but they are also the least efficient and cause the most problems. They add weight to the front wheel, making steering difficult and time-consuming.

Because the majority of the weight on the bike is carried on the backside, front-hub motors might cause traction issues. Because of these issues, this form of motor drive on electric bikes is the least popular.

5 Best Tips on How to Buy an electric bicycle in India

When purchasing an electric bicycle in India, there are 5 key features you must evaluate to make the right selection:

1. Range

The range refers to the maximum distance the electric bike can cover on a single full charge. For regular single-speed e-bikes, the typical range is between 30-40 km. Multi-gear models generally have a higher range between 40-60 km per charge.

The range depends on two main factors:

  • Battery power: Higher voltage batteries (48V vs 36V) and higher capacity measured in Ampere Hours (AH) can deliver a longer range.
  • Riding conditions: Factors like rider weight, terrain, speed, use of pedal assist vs. throttle only also impact range.

Before choosing a particular e-bike model, analyze your regular daily usage – your average trip distances and riding routes. This will help you pick an appropriate range to suit your needs. A longer range means higher battery capacity and costs.

Related Article: Pros and Cons of Owning an Electric Bicycle in India

2. Battery Voltage and Capacity

Most electric bicycles in India use lithium-ion batteries, which are light, long-lasting and efficient. Popular battery voltages are 36V and 48V. Some key points:

  • Higher voltage (48V) batteries allow higher speed and range compared to 36V.
  • The battery’s Ampere Hour (AH) rating also affects range. Higher AH batteries can store more charge.
  • Higher voltage and AH mean a more powerful battery but also higher cost.
  • Lightweight lithium-ion batteries are preferable to cheaper but bulkier lead acid batteries.

When prioritizing range, choose a 48V battery with higher AH rating. But for regular short city rides, a 36V battery could suffice.

3. Speed

E-bike motor assist and throttle can provide speeds ranging from 16 km/hr to 25 km/hr typically. However, the legal maximum speed limit for e-bikes in India is 25 km/hr as per government regulations.

  • If speed assist exceeds 25 km/hr, the e-bike is classified as a motor vehicle and requires a license/registration.
  • Look for e-bike models that offer max speed aligned to the 25 km/hr limit to avoid legal issues.

Higher speed may be appealing, but it comes at the expense of faster battery drainage. For 

safe commuting on city roads, a max speed of 25km/hr is adequate.

4. Motors

E-bike motors are available in two primary types:

Hub Motors:

  • Located around the wheel hub, commonly rear hub.
  • Cheaper and easier to install. But drain battery faster especially under load.

Mid-Drive Motors:

  • Mounted centrally around the pedal crankshaft.
  • Provide better weight distribution and balance between power and battery usage.
  • Preferred for hill rides or heavy loads.

Under Indian regulations, the motor power for e-bikes is restricted to 250W maximum. More powerful motors will drain the battery faster – so 250W is optimal for city usage.

5. Maintenance

E-bikes have more components requiring routine maintenance compared to normal cycles. Key aspects to keep in mind:

  • Battery, motor, brakes need servicing every 1000 km or so.
  • Replacement battery cost should be factored in – may need replacement every 2-3 years.
  • Component warranty should be examined – battery warranty is especially important.
  • Overall e-bike service costs are higher than a regular bicycle.

Must See: Can you ride an electric bicycle in the rain?

Which E-Bike is best for Me?

1. Regular city electric bicycle

A normal electric bike with a 250W engine is the ideal choice for routine tasks and the surrounding area riding. There are no electric cycles in India that have motors larger than 250 watts.

Your journeys will be quite simple and smooth if you use a normal e-bike with a 250w powerful motor and pedal assistance. Additionally, the majority of city electric bikes can be charged at relatively low costs, making them incredibly useful for daily city riding. A normal city e-bike is the perfect match for all, from grocery shopping, tutoring, and running errands to evening rides with friends.

2. Electric mountain bikes

In addition, many riders favor electric mountain bikes as one more option. An electric mountain bike is the ideal bicycle for you if you’re looking for racing, weekend adventures, and other activities.

With a maximum power output of 700W, a mountain electric bike can support your unpredictable tail adventures with ease. However, due to Indian government restrictions (ARAI), all sorts of electric bicycles must have a 250w motor or fewer.

Additionally, the wide, thick tires with suspension and the pedal assist feature not only improve your ride but also guarantee your safety. There are other elements to consider before investing in an electric MTB, which we have addressed more, but you must have a compelling reason for doing so.

Older bikes without frames that can support a mid-drive motor are frequently retrofitted with rear hub motors.

3. Folding electric bicycles.

Living in a high-end metropolitan setting makes it tough to bring such huge and heavy cycles up and down the lift on a daily basis, let alone maintain them in your flat. If you find yourself in a similar circumstance, a folding e-bike is an excellent solution.

A folding, lightweight, portable e-bike with a top speed of 25 kmph and shock-absorbing suspension is a must-have. They are simple to maintain and inexpensive, but they are not suitable for riding in villages or on hilly roads.

4. Cargo electric bikes or cycles

Since they are made to transport more than just the rider, cargo e-bikes are the most popular and practical in India, a country with a large population. Carrying racks, baskets, and storage attachments are included exclusively to maximize load carrying capabilities. Even after that, these cargo e-bikes are quite fast and easy to operate, with reliable motors and long battery life.

If you want to transport dogs, drop off children, carry those bulky grocery bags you get every month, and utilize them for product delivery services like Zomato or Swiggy, cargo electric bicycles are ideal!

5. Cruiser electric bicycles

This category was created for the leisure rider who prefers comfort and control. You’ll sit upright, have a wonderfully comfortable saddle, be positioned to see the sights, and have a great time doing it!

 It’s ideal for doing some exercise or running a short errand. There are two frame styles in this category: the standard diamond-shaped frame and the “Step Through” frame. The “Step Through” frame makes getting on and off the bike a breeze. There’s no need to raise your leg to get on and off the bike. 

The ideal option for anyone with a disability that can make lifting your leg difficult. Now you can just “Step Through”.

Features and Specifications of an Electric Bicycle

1. Motor power and Positioning

The motor is the brain of your electric bicycle. It determines your e-bike’s power and performance. Motors can be installed in a variety of locations, including the hub (back or front) or within the frame.

Importance: Select a motor that is appropriate for your intended use. High-powered motors are better suited to mountainous terrain and higher speeds, whilst mid-drive motors offer better balance and efficiency.

Also using a high powered Motor which makes power more than a certain standard will require you to get an license for your electric bicycle.

2. Range and battery capacity

Explanation: The battery determines how far you can travel on a single charge. It is measured in watt-hours (Wh), and a higher capacity usually equates to a longer range.

Consider your usual commute or riding distance when selecting a battery with enough capacity. A greater range is especially important if you intend to go on longer rides.

3. Frame Material and Dimensions

Explanation: The frame material impacts the weight, durability, and comfort of the bike. Aluminum, steel, and carbon fiber are all common materials. The right size is essential for a pleasant and efficient riding experience.

Importance: Choose a frame material and size that are appropriate for your riding style and body type. Aluminum frames are desirable because they are lightweight and corrosion-resistant.

4. The Braking System

Brakes are extremely important for safety. Mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes are commonly found on electric bicycles. Hydraulic brakes provide improved stopping power and modulation.

Importance: Choose a braking system with dependable stopping strength, especially if you ride in heavy traffic or on steep hills.

5. Modes of Pedal Assist

Pedal-assist modes control how much assistance the motor offers when you pedal. They frequently come in numerous levels, allowing you to select the level of assistance you require.

Importance: Having multiple pedal-assist modes gives you more control over your journey, allowing you to save battery or get a push when climbing hills.

6. Display

Explanation: The display serves as your command and control center. It displays critical information such as speed, battery status, and help level. Some screens additionally include navigation tools.

Importance: A clear and easy-to-read display improves your riding experience and allows you to monitor the functioning of your e-bike.

7. Lights

Explanation: Lights are necessary for visibility, especially in low light or at night. Some electric bicycles include built-in lights, while others may require aftermarket upgrades.

Importance: Make sure your e-bike has enough lighting to ride safely in all conditions and consider integrated lights for added convenience.

FAQs on Buying an Electric Bicycle in India

Is it safe to ride an e-bike in the rain? 

Yes. Many Electric bikes Brands made bikes that are designed to be rideable in the rain and are waterproof right out of the factory. However, if the motor or battery gets soaked in water, it can be damaged. High water pressure can also allow water to enter the circuitry within the devices, creating issues. Water is fine for a typical bike but should be avoided if possible. Water never “assists.”

How fast can an electric bike go?

The majority of electric bikes have a top-aided speed of 18 to 28 miles per hour. It will be determined by the system. The motor will switch off if you exceed the bike’s maximum speed. However, if you have the strength or are heading downhill, you can pedal as quickly as you can. 

How far can I travel on a single charge?

The range of an electric bike varies from 15 to 60 miles depending on the model. The distance you can travel on a single charge is also determined by your weight, the weight of your cargo, the terrain, the steepness of slopes, and the wind. The range is also affected by how much you pedal and which power setting/mode you select.

Are there electric cycles in India that cost less than 10,000?

NO! In no way. In India, nobody will sell you an electric bicycle for less than 10,000 rupees. Why? since bicycles without motors can be purchased for this amount. Avoid those adverts since they are false.

Conclusion on How to Buy an Electric Bicycle in India

Purchasing an electric bicycle in India is a significant investment that requires careful consideration. This guide has provided a detailed overview of all the key factors to evaluate when buying an e-bike.

Here are some key tips and recommendations to summarize:

  • Analyze how you plan to use the e-bike to choose the right type – city, mountain, folding, cruiser etc.
  • Prioritize key features like desired range, battery power, max speed based on your needs.
  • Opt for trusted brands and read reviews before purchasing online.
  • Account for long-term maintenance and service costs.
  • Confirm e-bike model follows regulations for max speed and motor power.
  • Consider battery warranty of at least 1-2 years for reliability.

By following these tips and evaluating all the aspects covered in this guide, you can make a well-informed e-bike purchase suited to your requirements and budget.

The aim has been to provide a comprehensive buyer’s guide to simplify the process of purchasing an electric bicycle in India. We hope this outline gives you greater clarity to pick the ideal e-bike and start enjoying the benefits of electric cycling.

Riding e-bikes is the future of sustainable transport. Make the switch from regular bicycles to e-bikes safely by utilizing this guide. Wishing you many happy rides and fun adventures ahead on your new electric companion!


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