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The Ultimate Guide to Electric Bikes for Seniors: Everything Seniors Need to Know About EBikes

Seniors, here's your introduction to e-bikes. Stick around. Hey, everyone. I'm Dustin. I have nearly 20 years of experience in the bike and e-bike industry. And today seniors, I'm going to introduce you to electric bikes, walk you through everything you need to know so you can get comfortable and make a decision if you should decide that you want an electric bike down the road. Now before we get into it, hit that subscribe button below.

Stay in touch with us here at Sixthreezero for all the new content we're putting out, giveaways we do, and of course new product releases. We do a lot of senior-focused content with first-time rides, and other senior riders. You can see firsthand other people in the senior category riding and experiencing electric bikes. Now right here also have the Simple Step-Thru e-bike with a very low step-through, which is a great option for senior e-bikers.

If you want to check this out, go check out the description. There's a link in there to find it. Also, a link in the corner of the video if you want to go ahead and see more information about the Simple Step-Thru e-bike. Okay, so if you're a senior over the age of about 60 and you're in the market for an e-bike, there's a lot of information to digest, a lot of information to know about.

So today I'm going to try to summarize it and translate it in the best way possible I think is easiest for the senior group to digest. I see a lot of other videos out there that are focused on really high-powered off-road e-bikes or e-bikes for even younger generations in their twenties and teens even. I've done hundreds of e-bike rides now and a lot of first-time e-bike rides with many riders over the age of 60.

And I see firsthand what their questions are, what they're wondering. So in this video, I want to try to just summarize and give you guys a tour of an e-bike so you can fully understand what you're jumping into and everything you need to know. Now, if you've been off of a bike, a regular bike for years and years and years, the first thing I'm going to say to you is that e-bikes are not that different from electric bikes.

Or sorry, e-bikes are not that different from standard two-wheel bikes. Now there have been a lot of e-bikes that have come out onto the market, so the frame styles and the tire sizes can vary greatly. But if you're somebody looking to get back into cycling and now you're considering getting an e-bike as your new bike, you can find e-bikes that will resemble regular bikes. You don't have to go with something that has smaller tires or fatter tires.

Those options do exist, but if you want to go with something that resembles maybe the bike that you had 10, 20, or 30 years ago, those options do exist. So like the bike that's right here, our Simple Step-Thru. This is a 26-inch wheel electric bike. And by looking at it, you may look at it and say, "Wow, it doesn't even look like an e-bike." That's because the motor's contained in the rear hub here and it's not that noticeable all in all.

Now you do have a battery right here on the back rack, but again, that's built into the rack and pretty streamlined, very hard to notice. And we've got handlebars and a frame shape that resembles that of a regular bicycle. The wheel sizes are 2.125 inches, which resembles a lot of beach cruisers from the fifties, and sixties, and the handlebar style as well. Now the one difference is you have this very low step-through frame, which we've designed for seniors to make it very easy to get on and off your e-bike.

But my point is that if you want something with a similar riding position like the bike that you had years and years ago, those options do exist. You don't have to get one of these new fat tire 20-inch motorcycle-looking e-bikes if you don't want to. So get what you are comfortable with and just know that there are options out there for any style that you're interested in. And if you should choose that you do want the small fat tires, by all means, that is a great option as well.

We at Sixthreezero make fat tire 20-inch e-bikes as well. And again, whatever you're comfortable with and whatever you think is best for you. I guess, I just say this because I don't want you to look at a lot of these e-bikes that maybe you're seeing around town that are being ridden by teenagers or early twenties, and to you that might look like an e-bike or a bike that you would never get on.

And I agree, and a lot of those e-bikes I would never get on either. But just know that the options are out there and you can find something I'm confident that would accommodate your body and the riding habits that you would do. So when you get on an e-bike, most times it's going to feel no different. Now they are a little bit heavier than standard bikes because you do have the battery on here. The battery can be located in several places. It can be on the back rack here, it can be in the middle of the frame here, it can be inside the frame.

It can be really in all places. As the design of e-bikes continues to expand and there are different types of e-bikes, I'm finding the battery location to be in more and more places. The batteries are typically going to weigh anywhere from five to 10 pounds depending on the size of the battery. Batteries can vary in size and they measure them in what's called amp hours. Now really for you, you're most curious, how far will it take me?

So the one thing I will say about e-bike batteries, is if you're looking to get something, there's going to be advertised ranges of batteries. We advertise a range as well. These are just that, they're ranges. The range depends on a few different factors. One is how heavy the rider is, and two is where are you going to ride the e-bike. Three, how fast are you going to be traveling and how much are you using the electricity when you ride?

So if you get an e-bike and you don't use the motor that frequently, obviously the motor will last longer. If you get onto an e-bike and you use the motor at its fullest power for your entire ride, you're going to drain the battery very quickly. So it's important if you're looking for an electric bike to have some sense of how far you'd like to ride. And if most of your rides are going to be, say, under 10 miles, I will say most e-bikes out there should be able to accommodate a range of up to 10 miles as a minimum.

We say up to 50 miles, but if you're going to start to want to do 50, 30, 40, or 50 miles, you may want to start to look at very big batteries. But I would say 90% of e-bikes out there should be able to accommodate a range of up to 10 miles or 10 miles should I say, for a ride. Okay. Now when we talk about e-bikes, there are usually two primary functions that they offer. There's something called a pedal assist, and there's also what's called a throttle, which I'll also nickname the gas pedal.

I say throttle because it's up here on the handlebars, but essentially it's a gas pedal for your thumb that you would use just like you'd use a gas pedal in a car. And in that situation, if you opted to use the throttle, you wouldn't need to pedal at all. So let's talk about the pedal assist. The pedal assist is exactly what it's called. It's an assistance given to you by the motor when you pedal.

So as you pedal and after you make one full rotation of the pedals, the motor will come on, so long as you continue to pedal, the motor will come on and it will assist you as you pedal. So as you pedal, you will get assistance from the motor, which will help you turn the pedals. This is a great feature for a lot of seniors who maybe have hip issues, knee issues, or maybe your leg strength has just gotten to be a little bit less than what it used to be, and if you were worried or struggled to turn the pedals under your power, the assistance will kick in and help you.

Now on many e-bikes, you're going to have different levels of assistance. You could usually have as little as three, and on ours, you can have up to five levels of assistance. And so you're going to have a display on your handlebars, which I'll get into a little bit more in detail in a second here, but you're going to have a display up here which is going to have plus, minus buttons on them.

At any point during your ride, you can press the plus or minus to change the level of assistance that you are getting from the motor. So when you pedal, it's not just one level of assistance, there's levels one, two, three, four, and five. Level one is going to give you the least amount of assistance, level five is going to give you the most amount of assistance. So you can decide how much power output you need in any given circumstance on any given ride.

If you're on flat ground, maybe you keep it on level one. If you're on a big hill, maybe you put it all the way up to level five. Now this is a 500-watt e-bike, which can reach speeds of 20 miles an hour by just using the throttle and 28 miles an hour with pedal assist. So in level five, the pedal assist is very powerful. And this is only a 500-watt motor.

There are motors that are 750 watts as well, which are very large and very powerful. And generally, I don't recommend seniors go with 750-watt motors, but again, it depends on your riding habits and also your body weight. So you can choose at any point what level of assistance you are in, one, two, three, four, or five. You can also put it into level zero, and so when you're riding, if you choose to just put it in zero and you are the person powering the bike fully, you can do that as well.

So you can ride this e-bike or most e-bikes, actually all e-bikes at any point without the motor on at all and just under your power. And, under most circumstances, you won't notice the weight or the difference in riding by yourself. If you were climbing major hills without the motor on an e-bike, you'd start to notice the difference because the weight will be a big factor in how difficult it is to climb that hill.

But on flat ground, as you're cruising along at a normal couple miles an hour, like four or five, six miles an hour, you really won't notice the weight of the e-bike having much impact on you if you're riding without any sort of assistance. Now in addition to pedal assist, a lot of e-bikes, like I said, come with a throttle up here and we're going to call this the gas pedal, and there are two locations where a throttle can be located.

One is by your thumb where you would push it or you would push it down, somewhere located by the grip where you use it with your thumb. The other place it can be located is a twist throttle like on a motorcycle where you would twist the throttle to go and you twist your wrist back to go. Now, depending on if you have bad wrists or arthritis in your wrist or your thumb, one or the other option may be good for you.

I've heard some people that have wrist arthritis where it's hard to twist like that, so they prefer the thumb throttle. I've heard other people that have arthritis in their fingers and they prefer the twist throttle. So it depends on what you're comfortable with. I will say of all the rides that I've done, the senior demographic loves having the throttle because in any situation you can give your legs a break. So if you're going up a big hill and your legs are just exhausted, you can switch to the throttle, at which point you do not have to pedal at all.

Again, this is the gas pedal of the e-bike, so you can either push your little thumb throttle or do your little twist, and at that point stop pedaling completely and let the bike do the work. The other thing is if you take a long ride, let's say you're out 10 miles, even 15 miles, and your legs are tired, you can switch to the throttle and let the e-bike do the work. So it's cool because what I've seen in the senior community is two things.

One, a lot of people over 60 take much longer e-bike rides than they ever did on a regular bicycle. Secondly, it's allowing people to ride from their homes more frequently as opposed to having to transport their bike because there possibly was some terrain or hills between them and the trails they liked to do that they couldn't ride up or down on their bikes, so they'd have to drive their bike to where they want to ride.

Well, now with an e-bike, you could probably tackle those hills and still have energy left to go to your trail and come all the way home because of the electric assist that you can get. So that will all be located up here. And then you'll have your display up here. Now, the display is going to tell you how fast you're going, and what level of pedal assist you're in. The display can be located either usually by your left hand on the handlebars or it can be located in the middle.

There are different size displays, bigger ones, smaller ones. We chose a slightly smaller one for this because we like to keep it inconspicuous and simple for this e-bike, so it doesn't look like it's an electric bike. But if you want something bigger, you can have that right in the middle mounted to your stem, so you can look down, and see how fast you're going, and how much battery life you have left.

Also, you can see the pedal assist level you're in and also the power output, the power you're outputting, and sometimes the weather. There are other features that are on the display as well. Okay. Now let's get into the motor. So you can have three locations of the motor, the rear hub, the mid-drive, and the front wheel. Now, if you're a senior who just wants to do some very easy cruising, I recommend the rear hub or even the front hub motor. They're going to be less expensive than the mid-drive motor.

In my experience, it provides more than enough torque and more than enough power. The other thing too is the sizes. So in the state of California, 750 watts is the largest e-bike motor you can have where it still is street legal and classified as an electric bike. Please take a look at our other YouTube videos. You're going to see a lot of seniors riding e-bikes for the first time.

And when they feel that initial surge, they always express to me, "Wow, that's a lot of power even in level one." And I'm talking about them experiencing it on a 500-watt e-bike. If you move up to 750 watts, that initial surge of power is pretty powerful. Now, it can be nice to have that 750 watts if you're going up very big hills. So like I said, if you have a lot of hills on your ride or you're a heavier rider, I would say heavier is 250 pounds and over, 750 watts may be something you'd consider.

But for anybody under 200 pounds or under 250, I think 500 is enough. And if you're light, even in the 120s, and 130s, 250 watts is going to be enough for you. And the key for me, I always say this with senior riders, my goal as we develop products for the senior community is to develop them safely, make them safe, and comfortable so riders can feel confident on their e-bikes. So part of the safety element to me is not giving a rider over 60 a really powerful motor.

Now they exist and if you want more power, by all means, I just think in most cases I've found that it's not necessary to just have an exorbitant amount of power. You're going to accelerate faster, it can cause more issues. Again, unless you need it. The most common type of e-bike you're going to find is a rear hub motor. That's going to be sort of the best value for around-town cruising, and things like that.

Mid-drive is going to be more expensive. If you have a lot of hills you're going to do, and again, you're over 250 pounds and you need more torque, mid-drive motors are usually on mountain bikes because they provide more torque when going uphill. And they're driven from the crank, so they allow you to torque harder up the hill and it's driving through the middle of the bike versus the rear wheel.

But again, they're going to be more expensive and in most situations, if you want to save a hundred, 200, or 300 dollars, the rear hub motor is going to perform perfectly for that sort of normal around-town riding with hills. So mountain bikes, off-road, things like that, mid-drive is going to be a no-brainer. Okay. And then you have front wheel hubs as well. We have one on our electric tricycle with a 250-watt motor.

Those are great. They're very simple. They can be replaced easily. If you think you don't need more than 250 watts, you could look for a front hub motor. Now they're not super common. I would say on two-wheel e-bikes, the most common is a rear hub. We do offer 250-watt options with the rear hub motor as well, and also a lot of 500-watt options. Now, I think one of the most important things as a senior looking for an e-bike that I think is overlooked in the e-bike market right now is the riding position of the person.

Now, we strive for ergonomic riding positions on all of our e-bikes, and you can see here when I get on my back upright, the handlebars come into my body and I'm sitting upright, so there's no tension on my lower back, on my shoulders, and I'm not leaning forward like this. Right? I'm sitting back and everything's in line and I feel ultra comfortable. A lot of e-bikes are designed more for performance.

So as a senior, I think it's important, especially because what I see is from the over 60 riders that jump into e-bikes, they end up riding much further than they ever anticipated. So now they're starting to tackle rides that are 10, 15, 20, 25 miles that they never even did when they were in their twenties. Now, the key to that thought is you want to find something comfortable on your body because you may find now that if you're going to start sitting on a bike for 20 miles, you might have a little bit of back pain, shoulder pain, arm pain.

So find something that's going to be easy on your body, find a seat that's going to comfort you in a way that is good for your body as well. Because again, you don't want to experience pain as a result of the riding position. Having your legs sore because you exercised a little bit harder is a great thing, but we don't want to start to experience pain in our knees, in our hips, and things like that.

That's something we take into account here at Sixthreezero with all of our riding positions we want to make sure riders are in an ergonomic position and they can be comfortable in the saddle for extended periods of time. Okay, a couple of other things to touch on. Braking is another thing. That's important. The brakes, most e-bikes are going to have front and rear disc brakes. They provide the kind of power that you need to stop appropriately.

In some situations, if it's a very low-powered e-bike, 250 watts and under, they may have standard caliper brakes, which for that size motor may be okay depending on the riding that you're going to do. But I would say look for the disc brakes because those are going to give you the most stopping power. Now, the other thing I skipped over I wanted to tie into the riding position was the frame. And this is something I see many times a lot of the e-bikes out there don't accommodate a very low step-through frame.

The mounting and dismounting of an electric bike are some of the things I see seniors struggle with the most because a lot of e-bikes have very high tubes, and a lot of seniors are still used to the old swing-the-leg around. And I find when people walk up to an e-bike and they've been off of a bicycle for 20 years, they go to swing their legs around and they find that they can't get their hips as high as they once did.

So something to be aware of is that if you're looking for something easy to mount, find a step-through frame like this, the Simple Step-Thru has the lowest step-through frame on the market for a two-wheel. It's 11 inches off the ground. You can step your foot through very easily, making the mounting safe and easy.

And like I said, we're focused on safety, and comfort so all seniors can ride confidently on their e-bike. Okay, moving on to the remaining things. E-bikes also may have gears. Now, let me explain this. When I say gears, I mean gears like on a bicycle. When we talk about the motor and the pedal assist, we're talking about levels of assistance. So one, two, three, four, five. When I say gears, I'm not talking about gears for the motor at all. I'm talking about gears on a bicycle.

So if you look here, this is your derailleur. And this is the mechanism that will change your gears on a bicycle. This is the same derailleur you would find on a standard non-electric two-wheel bicycle. And you have gears on your e-bike, like a regular bicycle that are functioning independently of anything the motor does. So you can turn the motor off and use these gears like you would on a bicycle.

Now, I know it's a little bit confusing when I say gears and I say assistance, but the pedal assistance levels are independent of that. Now, the gears will help you. As you use the pedal assist and you start to go faster, you want to try to match the gears on your bicycle to how much output you're giving in the pedals. Now, it's a little bit confusing, but as an example, if you're in level five on your pedal assist, you're getting the most power from the motor.

You want the gear on the bicycle to be in the highest available gear, which in this case is gear seven. And that's because as you're getting a lot of power from the motor, your legs are going to start to spin faster. So you want to make it more difficult to pedal so you can match your pedaling cadence with the output of the motor. I know that's a little bit confusing, but I'm trying to do the best job to explain that.

But basically, if you have the gear in level one, which means it'll be easier to pedal. If you're ever going up hills, you want your bicycle in level one. And when you're trying to reach top speeds, really go fast, you want to get to the highest gear. In this case, it is level seven. So if you are on flat ground and level five pedal assist, you want to be in gear seven of the bicycle, so you're matching the cadence of your pedaling with the power output.

If you have your gear in level one while you're in the output of five, you're going to be spinning your legs fast, but the motor's going to be doing all the work if that makes sense. So something that you can trial and error and get used to, and you'll get a feel for it as you ride your electric bike more and more.

And again, trust me, it'll get easier. Now, the last thing I want to touch on with seniors and e-bikes, if you're thinking about it, all the seniors that I've done test rides with, figure it out. The other thing I will say is there are three-wheel e-bike options available. So if you decide to get on a two-wheel e-bike and all of a sudden you're like, "I don't have the balance, I can't do it," there are three-wheel e-bike options out there.

I've got lots of other videos on our YouTube channel about all the models that we carry, but something can exist for you fully. And every senior that I've done a test ride with has loved e-bikes. We just had to find the right product for them, whether it was a three-wheel or a two-wheel, we had to get the positioning right.

But there's a huge benefit to them and there's so much enjoyment and you can get so much exercise if you can find the right product for you and just take your time, do your research, and make sure that you can find the right product for you, that'll work for your body and your capability so you can be safe, comfortable, and confident when you're riding.

All right. Well, that was a lot of information. If you have any other questions at all, please comment below or reach out to us, at or call us at (310) 982-2877. And don't forget, Simple Step-Thru's are lined in the description below, or you can check out all of our e-bikes for seniors on our website. Follow the link and you'll see all of them.

In addition to that, we have a 30-day test ride for your E-bike policy. If you don't love your e-bike in the first 30 days, send it back, no questions asked, no money out of your pocket. In addition to that, we're going to warranty everything for the first year. Anything goes wrong. We're going to take care of parts and labor to ensure that you'll be up and riding in no time. Lastly, we have a Facebook group called Sixthreezero Pedalers, and we also have an app in the app stores.

The Pedalers group has thousands of members, so before you purchase, ask them questions, and see how they like their bike. Find out all the information from real riders that you want to know before you jump into getting an e-bike. Then once you have your e-bike posted in the group, make friends. It's so much fun. And then you can also download our app, track your rides, and compete on our leaderboard. That is a lot of fun as well. So thanks for sticking around. And don't forget, it's your journey, your experience. Enjoy the ride.


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