What are e-bikes you ask? They are similar to traditional bicycles in appearance but have a motor to assist you pedal with ease and obtain more power if required. You pedal as usual and use the motor to get additional power when going uphill, competing with friends, and cycling when tired.
An electric bicycle is different from a motorcycle and scooter in that it requires manual power and is slower than the two. You can buy an e-bike or convert your regular bicycle into one by using e-wheels or a kit.
So why are they getting a lot of attention? They are faster than normal bikes, healthier to use, cheaper to maintain than vehicles, and more environmentally friendly. But before deciding to get one for yourself, it is good to keep these six facts in mind.
1. Electric Bike Types
a. Road Bikes
Motorized road bikes are designed to move around towns and cities. While their power cannot match that of a motorbike, they have decent speed, good braking, and acceleration that is well enough for managing traffic lights. Road bikes might or might not be legal to ride on streets, bike lanes, and bike paths, depending on your municipality.
Folding e-bikes are technically road bikes that can fold, which ensures that you transport and store them easily. However, keep in mind that they have considerable weight.
c. Pedicabs and Tricycles
Three-wheel bikes and pedicabs are popular among tourists since a driver drives them around. Most pedicabs are powered by pedaling, which is deemed as a novelty. However, its power can be enhanced by a small motor to increase its speed.
d. Mountain Bike
Hobbyists might consider installing a motor on a mountain bike cheating, but it helps you to go places you might otherwise have not been able by just pedaling. Electric mountain bikes have above-average power and a decent battery that allow for prolonged mountain biking. They are well known in countries such as Switzerland where people bike the Alps.
2. Simplified Pedaling
The mechanics of e-bikes is what makes them easy to pedal. For instance, pedal-assist electric bikes work by you pushing the pedals and the motor engaging you and offering you a boost. This allows you to effortlessly ride uphill and overcome rough terrain with ease. Similar to traditional bikes, you are able to control the speed of the electric bicycle with your feet.
Also, there are e-bikes that have more than the pedal-assist feature. They possess a button that when pressed, a throttle engages the small motor. This function is seen in a different category of electric bicycles that fail to provide a pure cycling experience. They are even prohibited in particular municipalities.
3. Various E-bikes Serve Different Roles
For whatever type of riding you are into, you will find an electric bicycle for it. While electric road bikes are highly popular, some people also go for e-cargo bikes with high-capacities of up to 400 pounds and that can still cruise at 15 mph. They also come in various styles, including performance road, full-suspension mountain, recreational, fat, commuter, hardtail, and cargo bike styles.
4. Difficulty in Accessing Trails
E-bikes have been controversial for some time now in mountain biking circles. Currently, there are numerous non-motorized trails that forbid their use. But the political wind has started blowing in the opposite direction. According to IMBA, pedal-assist e-bikes that have a maximum speed of 20 mph can access some trails. Moreover, due to the popularity of e-bikes and manufacturers increasing their production, more access will be granted with time.
5. Replacement of Driving
According to research, 28 percent of people are purchasing electronic bikes to reduce dependence on car driving. Other reasons like carrying children and cargo, environmental concerns, and avoiding traffic and parking show people’s attitude towards avoidance of driving cars. These bicycles remove a lot of the effort needed for cycling, which makes them convenient as you won’t get exhausted and break a sweat.
What’s more, studies show that over 50 percent of driving trips are under ten miles, and the average trip is only 5.95 miles. This distance is so short that an e-bike would suffice. Hence, electric bike owners are opting to use these bikes for 30 percent of driving errands and 46 percent of car commutes. With a good commuter bag, you are set.
6. Battery Size and Life
Electric bikes come with various sizes of batteries whose voltage can be anywhere between 250W and 500W. The battery’s size can affect the distance covered on a single charge as well as the amount of assistance offered by the motor. On flat terrain, a 400W battery will take you further than a 250W battery. It will also offer more assistance when you are going uphill. Therefore, if you are looking to bike in a hilly area, or if you live in a mountainous region, then be sure to consider a battery with higher wattage.
Lithium-ion batteries are very popular and are now powering e-bikes. But more costly electric bicycles possess high-tech batteries that last longer, charge quickly, and are lighter. It is said that lithium-ion batteries can last 800 complete charge cycles, which is around three years of daily commuting. However, when you take better care of them, they can last for 1000 full charge cycles. It is also possible to find batteries that last for several years. A full charge normally lasts from two and a half to six hours, depending on the battery chemistry, battery capacity, and manufacturer.
Life cannot get easier than with electric cars and e-bikes. With the world going green and looking for ways to be efficient, e-bikes are likely to continue being in high demand in the future. Their myriad of benefits shows why they can be used in place of cars. But they cannot fully replace cars as the weather can be quite disrupting. When it gets very windy or rainy, cars come in handy. On the other hand, cars cannot access narrow paths. So, instead of replacing cars, e-bikes can effectively supplement car transportation.