Frequently Asked Questions
An e-bike is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor offering some form of assistance to a rider in propelling the bike forwards. This assistance typically comes in the form of either throttle assist or pedelec assistance.
A pedelec is by far the most popular option and simply works by adding measured powered assistance as you pedal the bike. While a throttle-assist e-bike is more similar to a motorbike, you have a throttle for the motor, and an option to pedal, if you wish.
Treat an electric bike just the same as a normal bike. You can ride an electric assisted bike anywhere you can ride your regular bike. Be it on the road commuting to work or at your local trail center, electric bikes & regular bikes are governed the same.
While eBikes are significantly heavier than regular bikes you won’t notice this extra weight when you ride one. Most pedal assisted eBikes also have a push assist button so the bike won’t even feel heavy when you walk with it.
Averaging around 20kg/44lbs you will however notice the extra weight if you need to lift one onto a car rack. Of course you can always remove the battery to reduce the weight before you lift it.
No, e-bikes are surprisingly quiet! When the rider pedals and the motor turns on to assist the rider’s power, you can only hear a low hum.
You should have your e-bike serviced just the same as your regular bike. Just because it is electric assisted doesn’t mean it requires more frequent servicing. In most instances an annual service is enough, however customers using their bikes more frequently or in more extreme environments may require more frequent servicing. Generally you can feel when your bike needs a look over.
A lithium ion ebike battery that is fully depleted will take 3.5 to 6 hours to recharge. Batteries that still have a partial charge when you start charging will take less. In addition, the last hour or so of a charge is used to “top-off” the cells, and you don’t have to wait for that process to be completed. So some batteries can be 90% charged in 2.5 hours or less.
It is hard to say exactly how far you will be able to ride on a single charge but most eBike cyclists have no problem reaching their destination on a single charge. The actual range of an electric bike will vary depending on many things including; the gradient of the road or trail, your average speed, the capacity of the battery and the power mode that you use.
Most e-bike batteries sold in North America are lithium-ion, which will provide a minimum of 500 full charge cycles at which point the battery will hold about 80% of its original capacity. Some batteries can deliver up to 1200 charge cycles. If you recharge the battery when it is only 50% depleted, that counts as only 1/2 of one charge cycle. If you usually use your e-bike in pedal-assist mode, combining both pedal power and electric power, you can expect to go 10,000-30,000 miles before replacing your battery. That is a lot of miles on a bicycle.
Depending on the capacity of the battery, it will usually take 500-800 watt hours (0.4 – 0.8 kilowatt hours) to charge the battery. Assuming a rate of $0.10/kWh, it will cost you 5-8 cents for a charge that will last you 20-80+ miles.
If the battery runs out you can still pedal and get home safely. Depending on the terrain you are riding, it could be more difficult as e-bikes are a bit heavier than your normal trekking or mountain bike.
Electric bikes are many things to many people, some use them as a vital tool for commuting, saving fuel, cutting transport costs and time. Whilst some people enjoy recreational rides, where you can go out traveling all day without the aggravation of steep hills. On the other extreme we have hardcore mountain bikers using an electric bike to beat up lifts. Of course whatever you ride up you get to hurtle back down. Generally you can get a lot more use in a day and cover more ground on an electric bike.
It depends on your riding preference. Some people like throttle because it allows them to cruise along with or without pedaling. Pedal assist adds assist as soon as you start pedaling and people who are used to riding conventional bikes tend to prefer this system. Many e-bikes in the U.S. have both throttle and pedal assist so you may not have to choose between the systems. If you have to choose between them, make sure you spend a significant amount of time riding both systems to determine what works best for you.
They both have their benefits. Hub motors tend to be a little easier to operate if you are a less experienced cyclist, because they require less shifting of gears. Mid-drives tend to get a little better range for equivalent battery capacity, because you’ll get more efficiency by shifting. While theoretically you get better hill climbing with a mid-drive, you’ll usually find both types will climb just about any hill. Finally, it’s usually easier to change a rear tire with a mid-drive.
Definitely! There are many electric bike kits on the market that can add electric assist to your current bike. This can be an economical way to test the “e-bike waters” before you dive in and buy a whole new e-bike.