Bikes come with a range features that may or may not be important to you. Some of these things can be added on and some of these should be selected when buying a bike.
Brakes - There are 3 major types of mechanisms used to operate brakes
Rim - These are common on city bikes and apply pressure to your rims to stop. They are an effective system with a strong rim brake.
Disk - Brakes use a disk attached to the hub (middle of the wheel). They use calipers to apply pressure onto a disk to slow or stop the rotation. These are a popular choice for mountain bikes and offer a great deal of versatility with upgrade options.
Drum brakes - work by applying pressure to two pads outwards against the braking surface on the inside of the hub (middle of the wheel). These are often found on Ebikes where space becomes an issue due to a conflict with a hub motor. Drum brakes were common on early ebikes however are uncommon now.
These systems can be used by hydraulic or cable application systems. Cable brakes are usually more cost effective and use a cable to apply the braking system. Over time, cables will stretch and need to be replaced. Hydraulic brakes use oil in a hose to send pressure to brakes which usually is more powerful than cable brakes. The maintenance on hydraulic brakes will be occasional fluid replacement and a bleed.
Brakes can be replaced however are a costly exercise - it would be advisable to find the right bike with the brakes that will be fit for purpose.
Gears - There are two major different types of gear systems on ebikes. These are derailleur gears and internally geared hub gears (planetary gears).
In a Hub Gear system, the gears are enclosed within the bicycle's rear hub. When "3 Speed" or "8 Speed" is mentioned in relation to a hub gear, it means that the hub has 3 (or 8) distinct gear ratios.
There is a seperate type of hub gear system which uses CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) principles in which there are no distinct fixed ratios; the gear ratio is variable anywhere between a lowest and highest ratio. At the time of writing, there is only one company manufacturing such a gear system (NuVinci) and they are not particularly common.
If you want a variety of different gear ratios, derailleurs are the commonest solution.
In a derailleur system, the gear ratio is altered by increasing or decreasing the size of either the front chainring or the rear sprocket. It is the derailleur which performs this action, pushing the chain off one sprocket/chainring and on to another - hense the name... the chain is derailed.
In a derailleur system, there are either one or two derailleurs added into the transmission line.
Gear systems can be replaced however like brakes, this can be costly.
Saddles - The right saddle can make a world of difference. No two people are the same. Which is why there are so many different saddles available. In the first place, the shape of your saddle depends on your gender. Usually ladies sit better on a wider, specific female saddle. Saddles are a very easy change you can make to make your bike more comfortable.
Lights - Many ebikes come standard with lights however these are a relatively simple upgrade on many ebikes. Almost all mid drive ebikes have a port on the motor which allow for lights to draw power directly into the battery. Don't like the light that is on an ebike? Change it! Refitting a light is a very simple thing to do and is a great way to personalize your bike.
Mudguards - Mudguards come in a range of shapes, sizes and colours and can be fitted to any type of bike. These can even be colour matched to your bike.
Pannier Racks - are great for carrying luggage around. Many bikes that don't have pannier racks have mounting points for them. If this is not an option, there are systems to retrofit panniers to your bike. Not all racks are created equal and the weight they are designed to carry will vary. Re-enforced panniers may be fitted to a bike to increase the carry load.
Pedals and Shoes - are two of the most underappreciated components that are overlooked on bikes. Replacing your pedals with pedals that provide more grip will allow you to get more power out of your pedal strokes. The ultimate way to get the most out of your pedal strokes and make you feel secure on your bike is to purchase shoes that are going to grip to those pedals well. Come talk to us about shoe and pedal options that will work for you.
Tyres - are a very easy way to change the way your bike rides and are a very simple change. A wider tyre with large tread will work great for mountain biking where as a tyre that has as little rolling resistance will work great on road. The Schwalbie Smart Sam is an example of a tyre that is a jack of all trades and provides a ridge line for your bike to roll along when on road with knobs on the side to give you traction when the trail turns to dirt.
Dropper Posts - are not just for full suspension bikes and can be added to nearly any bike. A dropper post will allow you to adjust your seat height from your handlebars and can transform the way you ride.
Suspension seatposts - are an effective way to provide a more comfortable ride to those who don't need the full function of a full suspension ebike. They are a simple addition to most bikes.
What Cant Be Changed?
The three things that usually can not be changed are the frame, the motor and the battery - although some manufacturers may have multiple battery options that are sometimes interchangeable. If you are unhappy about any of these three things on a bike, you may wish to continue your search for the perfect bike. That being said, there are some changes that can be made to components to provide a better fit - these include adjustable stems, changing seat tubes and changing handlebars.
For any questions about customizing your ebike drop us a line here: