Buying an eBike: What Size Electric Bike Do I Need?

What size electric bike do I need?

With so many ebikes out there, there is bound to be one perfect for you. But which of the thousands of iterations and models is it?

If you’re just getting started, consider a few factors before buying one.

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Factors to Consider When Choosing eBike Size

One of these is your height – because it affects your ride. The ebike needs to offer stability and give you more comfort. If you have a smaller frame, you may find that a smaller ebike is easier to maneuver.

But if you’re tall, riding a smaller ebike can be challenging. This may also interfere with your riding experience. This doesn’t mean that smaller riders can’t drive a larger ebike. It’s a matter of personal choice.

It is important to never compromise on performance, safety, and comfort. Take the ebike for a test drive and see if it aligns with your lifestyle choices.

Experts believe that other factors include saddle height, pedal position, accessories, frame size, and weight.

You also need to consider price differences, maneuverability, and safety. Bigger ebikes offer additional space for accessories and offer more battery capacity.

By contrast, smaller ebikes can be more maneuverable, affordable, and efficient. This makes them an ideal option for a leisurely ride.

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Why You Should Not Choose an Incorrectly Sized eBike

Electric bikes in Florida are equipped with a motor that offers pedal assist. This means you can pedal for longer without running out of gas (literally and figuratively).

The motor and battery make your biking experience smooth and comfortable. However, it won’t be nearly as fun when you have an incorrectly sized ebike.

Often we opt for the biggest ebike on the off chance of needing extra space. Sometimes we buy bigger, because well, it sounds more impressive on paper.

When the smoke clears, we’re left with an ebike that isn’t well suited to us. We sacrifice convenience, maneuverability, and battery capacity for storage space we rarely need. It also comes in the form of a higher purchase price and maintenance costs.

If you must buy a larger ebike for more storage space, buy it. But if you don’t need a larger ebike, you can go for smaller alternatives.

The Disadvantages of Choosing an Incorrectly Sized eBike

Buying the wrong ebike can be potentially dangerous and lead to problems. For example, it isn’t uncommon to encounter fatigue, wrist pain, and back pain. To avoid these health issues, you should be careful when buying your ebike.

Back pain, in particular, is a big problem when riding an incorrectly sized ebike. It becomes more pronounced when hitting high speeds or covering steep uphills. Riding an ebike that is the wrong size will lead to pain in the back.

And no amount of adjusting the handlebar or seat angle will compensate for the ebike’s frame. You will also get tired much quicker because of lower pedal efficiency. The battery will get drained quickly, and the motor will struggle to keep up.

The worst part is that you are more likely to lose control and crash. This is why it is important to choose the right eBike size.

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Choosing the Right eBike Size

eBike size will also affect motor power, battery life, and distance covered. Here is a list of things you should consider when buying the perfect ebike.

Frame Size

Frame size is one of the first things to consider when buying an ebike. This is because frame sizes cannot be changed once set by the manufacturer. You could take the eBike to a garage for customization. But that is an extra expense and it could void your warranty.

Choosing the wrong frame size is a potential injury waiting to happen. This is especially true for anyone using ebikes for commuting and not just recreation.

So how should you choose the frame size?

Here is a simple table that makes it easier to find the right frame size.

Your HeightBike Size (in inches)
4’10” – 5’2”12-15
5’2” – 5’6”15-17
5’6” – 5’11”17-19

Another method is to measure your inside leg length.

Here’s how it’s done.

  1. Take your shoes off
  2. Stand with your legs 6 to 8 inches apart
  3. Measure the height from the ground to as close to your crotch as possible
  4. Record the measurement in cm
  5. Multiply this number by 0.66 for a mountain ebike (0.883 for a mountain bike)
  6. The result is your frame size

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Handlebar Height and Size

The handlebars should be as high as the seat or higher. This will allow you to ride upright. Any lower and it will push your seat into your handlebars. This will put stress on your arms, neck, back, and wrists.

Most manufacturers allow their handlebars to be adjusted by loosening the screw. Consult the manual that came with your ebike or contact the manufacturer for more details.

Most mechanisms for adjusting the handlebars are very similar. You use an Allen wrench with a hammer to release the handlebar. Follow the vertical hash marks to safely adjust the handlebar height.

Note that raising the handlebar height by a lot can be unsafe. This is because it may compromise the braking mechanism of the ebike. You may need to install new shifter cables and a brake. Always ask a professional to do this for you.

Many beginners are prone to setting the handlebar excessively high for an upright seating position. While there is nothing wrong in theory with this practice, it can reduce your speed. This is because an upright seating position prevents you from leaning forward to increase speed.

In any case, handlebar height is a matter of preference. Also note, a totally upright position will place more pressure on your spinal column. All the shocks and vibrations from the ride will be transmitted to your spinal column. This will be more noticeable on longer rides.

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Saddle Height

The saddle height is an important metric that decides how comfortable your ride will be. The most simplistic method is to use the heel-to-pedal method.

Sit on an ebike as you usually would. Now pedal backward until you get to the six o’clock position. There should not be any bend in your knees while in this position.

If your knee is not entirely straight, you can adjust the height in small increments. You’ll need to lower the saddle if the heel loses contact with the pedal. The heel to pedal method helps you get closer to finding the ideal saddle height.

However, it doesn’t account for other factors such as pedaling style and cleat position.

The saddle height of the ebike is a major factor in comfort and pedaling efficiency. It also plays an important role in injury avoidance. We recommend testing the ebike to learn about saddle height before buying it.

Seat Angle

It’s tempting to tilt the seat down to relieve the pressure from your crotch. But this is not a good idea. If the seat angle is too low, it will place you in a disadvantaged position. Gravity will pull you off the bike and into the handlebars.

You will be constantly fighting to stay on your seat during your ride. This will reduce your riding experience and stress on your fingers, arms, and wrists.

Instead, keep your seat level for the best ride experience possible. You can tilt it one or two notches up.

Note: For long biking durations, you are bound to get sore for long biking durations. This is why it is recommended to get a recliner bike instead. Or you could try some ergonomic seating pads instead.

Handlebar Style

Handlebars on mountain ebikes make it easier to sit upright without hunching over your handlebar. Hunching over can be bad because it affects your visibility and makes the ride uncomfortable. In fact, you are more likely to be displaced from the ebike at higher speeds.

It’s no surprise that most riders prefer mountain eBike handlebars.

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Measurements You Need to Make for the Right eBike Size

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In this section, we’ll discuss different measurements you need to make before buying an ebike.

These can improve your riding experience with the ebike.

Inseam Measurement

This was discussed earlier but we’ll go into more details here. The inseam is the distance of your innermost thighs from the floor.

Here’s how to properly measure your inseam.

  • Stand upright against the wall with your feet six inches apart. Bonus points if you wear your cycling shoes.
  • Take a measuring tape and find the distance from the ground to your innermost thigh. This is ideally as close to your crotch as possible. Another alternative is to place a book between your legs and against the wall. Take a pen to mark the top of the book. Now measure the distance from the floor to the top of the book.
  • This is your inseam measurement.

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Standover Height

This is the height from the ground to the uppermost tube of the ebike frame. Calculating your standover height can be a little difficult. Here are the steps you can take to calculate the standover height:

  • Take a pen, tape measure, a book, and ask a friend for help
  • Stand bare feet with your back against the wall. This is very similar to how you would measure your inseam.
  • Take a book and place it between your legs.
  • Use it like you would the ebike saddle.
  • Make sure the book is level.
  • Place a mark on the wall against the top of the book.
  • Measure the distance from the floor to the mark using a tape measure.
  • This measurement is your standover height.

These measurements should be taken a few times to rule out any errors. Take an average of the readings for greater accuracy.

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Your Real Height

The problem with our height is that it changes by several inches throughout the day. We gain an inch or two when sleeping because of spinal decompression.

For some people, this could be an increase of up to 3 inches! This is why we are taller when we wake up. We shrink again throughout the day as we go about our daily life.

However, it is important to know your average height.

  • Stand upright against a wall with your feet flat on the ground
  • Make sure you are barefoot
  • Take a book and place it several inches over your head
  • Now gradually lower the book until it reaches the top of your head
  • Take a pen and mark the position of the book
  • Measure the distance from the ground to the marker
  • This is your height

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Should You Buy eBikes from Online Stores?

Ordering an ebook from an online store is convenient. Besides, you may not be able to find an ebike store near you.

But should you worry about size incompatibility? Not really. With a guide like this one, you can easily find the right ebike for you. The sales staff are usually eager to answer your questions.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it, our guide on ‘what size electric bike do I need”.

Finding the right eBike size is not difficult when you have the right measurements. You can take advantage of the table we’ve provided above.

However, we believe it may be necessary to go out and sit on the ebike. Your first-hand experience with the ebike will rule out any incompatibility issues.

This doesn’t mean that buying an ebike online has to be an error-prone process. As long as you have your measurements, you should find the right ebike. The sales staff may be able to guide you in the right direction.

It is also worth noting that the ebike size is not written stone. Every person has their own preferences, which will require some trial and error.

Have you bought your ebike from an online store? If so, did you encounter any problems with ebike size? What step did you take to ensure that the ebike size was ideal for you? Let us know your thoughts and opinions to inform the reader!

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