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What to look for if you're thinking of buying an e-bike
TORONTO -- The COVID-19 pandemic has given sales of electric bicycles a jolt as more people look for new ways to travel and avoid public transit.
Daymak Inc., which sells e-bikes in East York, said its sales jumped 60 per cent in April and May after they sold more 500 e-bikes to customers.
“People are looking for different means of transportation and e-bikes have become very popular," Aldo Baiocchi, the president of Daymak Inc., told CTV News Toronto.
Edward Busk traded his daily car commute for an electric bicycle and says it’s a great “green” way to get around.
“You get all the fun of riding a bike, like fresh air and everything else, without any of the irritation like hills and headwinds. It really just allows you to enjoy your cycle ride,” Busk said.
Overall, industry wide sales of e-bikes grew by 85 per cent over last year in the industry, but before you buy one there are some things you need to know.
“They're legal to own and to sell, but they're not legal to ride on public streets everywhere, so you need to do your homework,” Bernie Deitrick, with Consumer Reports, said.
Generally speaking you can ride them on most residential roads and streets where regular bikes are permitted and you don't need a licence or insurance.
You do have to be least 16 years old and wear a helmet. The battery can't be more than 500 watts and its maximum speed can't be more than 32 km/h.
Testers looked at performance factors, including acceleration, handling and braking. Bicycles with dual-disc brakes perform better in all kinds of weather.
Another key consideration is the battery range. In tests with the battery at maximum capacity, on a hilly course, the bikes went between 25 and 50 kilometers before running out of juice.
You'll get more range if you pedal more and use the battery less.
“Most can be ridden like a normal bike, but some single speed models if the battery runs out they're very hard to ride. So try them out without the battery,” Deitrick said.
E-bikes sell for between $500 to $5,000 dollars and Daymak expects to sell a lot more of them.
“We haven't had to lay anyone off and in fact we are hiring right now" he said.