Commuting by electric bike is a great way to actually enjoy your time traveling to and from work and/or school. It can also be a great way to save money, especially with the currently high gas prices!
In this article we will give you a good list of gear to help make your eBike commute to work or school easier, safer, and more fun.
Make sure you check out this article for tips on picking good routes, range extensions, riding techniques, and more. Alright, let’s check out the gear!
Start with a good quality eBike
This seems pretty obvious but a good quality electric bike (eBike) is the foundation for a reliable and fun eBike commute. A good rule of thumb is to start your budget at a minimum of $1,000 to $2,000 for an electric bike of good quality and features.
Higher priced eBikes will generally provide higher quality, features, accessories, and in some cases a lighter weight eBike. This higher quality will be noticeable in longer lasting components and the way the systems operate more smoothly.
Below $1,000, it's hard to find bikes that are reliable, serviceable, and worth fixing and maintaining when something does go wrong. Regular commuting by eBike will consume tires, chains, brake pads, and other consumables, so make sure the eBike you choose is worth fixing when it comes time for repairs. It should have a sound, strong frame and fork and components like handlebars, saddles, and shifters that meet industry standards. Sadly, some of the most inexpensive eBikes are "throwaway" models that can cost more to repair than they're worth.
Features of a good commuter eBike
While you can commute to work or school on any eBike, you'll have a better experience on a model specifically designed for bicycle commuting. Many electric bikes that are purpose-built for commuting are on the market, and they generally feature:
- a comfortable riding position
- puncture-resistant tires so a flat tire doesn't make you late for work
- efficient tires, capable of higher pressures that roll well on pavement
- enough range to get to and from work without charging
- accessories for convenience and safety like racks, fenders, and integrated lights
Don't let the lack of the perfect bike stop you from giving commuting by eBike a try. The cool thing about an electric bike is the assist allows for almost any type of eBike to be a good commuter, with the right gear and setup. For instance, some people prefer a fat tire electric bike because the large tires offer a stable and comfortable ride and they have a unique look.
If the eBike you select doesn't come with the full accessory package it is pretty easy to add that gear after the purchase of your eBike.
Next up is a helmet that fits you well. It is very important to get a helmet that fits your head well while being comfortable.
There are a wide variety of helmets available to provide good protection in case of a crash while also being comfortable and good looking. Modern helmets have a lot of adjustments for a good fit and ample ventilation to keep your head cool.
Technology has also made its way into helmets to provide additional safety features and connectivity. Built-in front and rear flashing LED lights on the helmet have an attention-grabbing effect when riding day or night.
“Smart helmets” have built in speakers and a microphone for communication between riders and connectivity to a smartphone for calls, directions, and more. Additionally, some have an SOS feature that will alert an emergency contact in the event of a crash.
If you really don't want to wear a helmet there is an alternative for keeping your head safe, its an airbag! Checkout the Hovding airbag:
Humor aside, please wear a helmet - everyone at Bike.com does.
Locks and Tracking
Keeping your eBike secure while at work or school is made easier with the wide variety of locks available. Common locks like U-Locks And Cable/Chain Locks can provide a solid amount of protection from theft.
There are also a variety of specialty locks such as foldable locks, adjustable band locks, zip locks, wheel locks, seat locks, and handlebar locks.
GPS tracking units are becoming more prevalent as the technology improves and some eBikes come stock with a GPS tracker, while others can have a tracker added to an existing eBike. Some riders hide an Apple AirTag on their bikes for an inexpensive (if imperfect) anti-theft solution!
Light technology has improved a lot with the bright LED bulbs and small lithium batteries. Modern bicycle lights are brighter and have much longer runtimes compared to the bicycle lights from just a few years ago.
It's a good idea to have bright front and rear lights for being seen day and night as well as a bright front light for seeing the road at night.
If you want to add some additional style to your eBike, there are some cool looking lights that attach to the frame, wheels, valve stem, or pedals. Some of them create unique patterns as the wheels turn for extra eye-catching attention!
Bell / Horn
A bell or horn with an “on your left” is a friendly way to let other riders or pedestrians know you are passing.
Fenders are a great way to stay dry when riding on wet roads while adding some style to your eBike. There are the basic plastic fenders that are economical and do the job as well as fancier, more sturdy metal or wood fenders if you'd like to add some style.
Front and rear racks are the foundation for carrying extra cargo or kiddos on your electric bike. There are racks that can have cargo attached directly to them with straps as well as the ability to add bags, baskets, and kid seats.
Check out this article for more ideas on carrying cargo on your electric bike. It's easy to setup an eBike for commuting while carrying a change of clothes, lunch, laptop, or other items for work or school.
There are a lot of bike bag options for carrying your work or school gear.
Backpacks and messenger bags are a convenient way to carry your gear with you on and off the bike. These are a good option if you make a couple stops along your commute so you can easily carry your gear with you. If you don't have much to carry, a messenger bag that goes over your shoulder is a great alternative to adding racks to your bike.
Bags that attach to a front or rear rack are a nice way to carry your gear without having the weight on your back, though, and are better for carrying more items and heavier loads.
There are also a lot of other smaller bags that attach to the frame, handlebars, or seat post for carrying smaller gear. You can use these for tools or a cell phone, while keeping the larger space available in the primary bags for a laptop, sport coat, or dress shoes.
Front or rear baskets are a good way to carry larger items. Some of these have a quick release mechanism for easily carrying the basket into work or school.
If you need to transport large items to and from work/school a trailer is a good way to go.
There are cargo trailers and kids trailers. A kids trailer can work well for transporting the kids while also offering the cargo option when you need it.
One way to extend the range of your electric bike on the commute to work or school is to bring your charger with you or have an extra charger at work/school.
This is a great way to top off your battery while you are at work/school for a full range ride home. You'll never regret having an extra charger!
It's good to have an assortment of tools for quick adjustments or fixing a flat tire. Bring them with you even if you don't know how to use them - another cyclist might be willing to help if you've got the right gear with you.
Tools that would be good to have are:
- Multi tool
- Inner tube
- Patch kit
- Tire levers
- Wrench for removing a wheel (if applicable)
Water Bottle & Cage
Having a water bottle and carrying cage on your electric bike is a great way to stay hydrated on the ride. You could also carry a water bottle in a bag but it usually is not as easy to grab a drink while riding.
Keeping an eye on other riders or cars behind you is another way of staying safe out on the road. Mirrors usually attach to the handlebars or the helmet. You can use a single mirror that fits on the left-side of the handlebar (in countries where bikes right to the far-right of the road) or add mirrors to both sides for an extra measure of security.
A suspension seatpost is a nice upgrade to smooth out the ride on your electric bike. Most eBikes come with rigid seatposts, but a few come with suspension seatposts. If your eBike came with a rigid post, upgrading to a suspension model is inexpensive and easy to install.
Suspension seatposts usually have an inch or so of travel to take the edge off of bumps and cracks in the road, and they're especially nice if your commute involves bad pavement or even dirt/gravel roads.
Along the lines of a smoother ride, if your existing saddle isn’t all that comfortable then upgrading to a saddle that is more comfortable and fits you well is a good investment.
Like the saddle, the grips are a pressure point and having quality grips can be a big improvement.
There are some grips with an ergonomic design that supports the wrists well for a more comfortable ride.
High Visibility Clothing
Being seen out on the road is the name of the game and clothing with high visibility colors and reflective materials really helps to grab the attention of others.
In addition to clothing, some bike bags and backpacks have these bright colors and reflective materials so you can double up this safety feature with cargo carrying gear.
If you live in a place with a fair bit of rainy days then investing in a rain kit is a good idea.
Invest in a nice rain jacket that keeps you dry both outside and inside. Some jackets have pit zips and breathable material keeping you dry on the inside while still being waterproof on the outside (GoreTex for example). A big benefit of an electric bike is that you can set the assist higher so that you don’t sweat much, if at all.
Rain pants are also a good investment for rainy days and some of them even feature built in covers to keep your shoes dry. Keep an eye out for zippers and other adjustment features that make it quick and easy to put the pants on and take them off at your destination. Like the rain jackets, it's a good idea to find rain pants that are made of waterproof and breathable material.
A helmet cover is easy to install/remove and really helps to keep your head dry and warmer on cold days.
With the right gear commuting by electric bike can be easy, fun, and add a highlight to your day.
This list of gear should help with planning out a successful commute and make sure you check out this article with even more tips on eBike commuting.
Enjoy your rides!