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Electric Bikes 101

Electric Bikes 101

Electric Bikes 101

Biking has become an increasingly valued option to live a healthier lifestyle and reduce the need to use a car. The advantages of bikes are improved with the use of Electic bicycles. Electric bicycles or E-bikes are, as the name implies, electrically powered bicycles. Through various motor styles, E-bikes can help power riders anywhere. From city streets to mountain trails, there are e-bikes available for every rider’s needs.

 

But how do E-bikes work? What sets them apart from a regular bike or even a motor scooter? Don’t worry; we have those answers and many more in our E-bike 101 article. Read on and begin your crash course on all things E-bike.

Biking has become an increasingly valued option to live a healthier lifestyle and reduce the need to use a car. The advantages of bikes are improved with the use of Electic bicycles. Electric bicycles or E-bikes are, as the name implies, electrically powered bicycles. Through various motor styles, E-bikes can help power riders anywhere. From city streets to mountain trails, there are e-bikes available for every rider’s needs.

 

But how do E-bikes work? What sets them apart from a regular bike or even a motor scooter? Don’t worry; we have those answers and many more in our E-bike 101 article. Read on and begin your crash course on all things E-bike.

What is an E-Bike

First, we should cover what makes an E-bike different from a regular bike or other motorized vehicles. E-bikes are visually similar to regular peddle bikes and can be operated by peddling them. Unlike regular bicycles, e-bikes have an electric motor mounted to boost peddle power. E-bike motors don’t power the bike while not peddling. If you are looking for peddle-free cruising, you will be looking for a motorized scooter.

Are E-Bikes Loud?

No, the electric motor of an e-bike sounds more like an electric shaver than a motor. With the sound of tires on the pavement and the wind in your hair, you won’t be able to hear it at all.

What Types of Motors Go on E-Bikes

E-bike motors have progressed tremendously from the clunky external systems of the early models. While they are still available, most newer models opt for more integrated units that reduce drag and weight. The two most common motor styles for E-bikes are hub and mid-drive motors.

Hub Motors – Hub motors are mounted to either the front for the rear wheel hub and power the bike independent of the rest of the drivetrain. The hub style of motor helps to push the wheel along faster than just peddling would. Hub motors are the most cost-effective and require little maintenance, making them a popular choice for casual bikers.

Mid-Drive Motor – Mid-drives are motor systems integrated with the bike’s crank system. Because of the lower center of gravity associated with this style, mid-drives are preferred by mountain bikers and those climbing steep hills. Mid drives are lighter weight than other motor styles too.

Friction Motor – Friction motors are obsolete with the current crop of motors, but we feel it’s important to understand where E-bikes came from and what it is should you find one of these “in the wild “. Friction motors rotate the bike’s rear wheel externally as one would roll a wheelchair. Friction motors were never very efficient but worked well adapting existing bikes to E-bikes.

Power Classes

E-bikes are grouped by power classes such as 1,2,3. Each class corresponds to a certain speed and power rating. Understanding these ratings while shopping is important because some municipalities regulate them differently. Some classes may be permitted for bike path use, while some may not.

Class 1 – The first class of E-bikes is powered peddling only; the motor assists the biker up to a certain speed. Usually, the speeds are regulated to 20 miles per hour. Class 1 bikes are the most common and are generally excepted anywhere bikes are permitted.

Class 2 – Class 2 E-bikes have a throttle option. This power style is similar to a moped or scooter, where speed can be increased without additional peddling. The throttle is a relief for tiered bikers, but the bikes are often viewed more like mopeds and may not be permitted on bike paths or mountain trails.

Class 3 – Class 3 E-bikes are the fastest and most powerful types of bike. With top speeds reaching 28 miles per hour or more, these bikes are ideal for those who wish to bike with vehicular traffic. They are peddle-power assist only and may or may not be permitted on bike paths.

How Far Can E-Bikes Go?

Depending on factors like battery size, speed, and rider weight, E-bikes can offer anywhere between 30 and 100 miles per charge. Because you can peddle without the motor, you won’t be dead in the water like with a car, but you will be doing extra leg work. To answer the following question, yes, you can purchase and carry additional batteries on most models to keep your trip going. It’s only fitting that the next question to be answered is how long the batteries take to charge.

How Long Do E-Bikes Take Charge?

Depending on the size battery you select, cyclists can have a full charge in three to six hours. If you bring your E-bike to work, this gives more than enough time in the day to charge or “top-off” your batteries.

How Heavy Are E-Bikes

The motor, battery, and drive system on most E-bikes tend to weigh more than regular bikes. Depending on the factors above, most E-bikes weigh between 40 and 80 pounds. Naturally dedicated mountain bikes weigh more than slim road bikes. While 40 or more pounds sounds heavy, the entire unit becomes a breeze to peddle when it gets up to speed. For reference, a peddle bike weighs between 20 and 30 pounds.

E-Bike Styles

Just like traditional peddle bikes, E-bikes come in a variety of shapes designed to work best in certain environments. Knowing what you want to use your bike for is key to picking the right one.

Commuter Bikes – Commuter bikes are the most user-friendly “do-all” type bike available. They offer a decent range and are available with several power options depending on the buyer’s needs. These bikes can handle the average bike trail or cycle to work in most conditions but don’t exceed any one task. Commuter bikes are a great first bike purchase for someone looking to get outside more or cycle to work when the weather is nice.

Road Bikes – Like touring cycles, road E-bikes have down swept handles and ultra-light frames to reduce any possible drag. Many of these models weigh less than 30 pounds, making them a great option for long-range cycling. For those looking to get the most speed from their peddling, the road bike is the option.

Mountain Bikes – Mountain bikes are built with heavier frames to stand up to the abuse of offroad use. Mountain bikes accommodate larger all-terrain tires for better grip in dirt or snow. Most mountain bikes have a front suspension system to absorb even more of the terrain. The motor comes in handy when slogging through soft, slick cover like mud, snow, or sand.

Hardtail Bikes – A step up from the traditional mountain bike, the hardtail bike is designed with the maximum suspension to bounce and “walk” over rough terrain. The frames are built lighter to assist riders in maneuvering on, in, and around obstacles. Hardtails are rated based on their “travel” range: short, mid-level, and long-range. Travel needs should be considered by the type of terrain most often ridden.

Those who can cycle to work can save fuel and vehicle maintenance costs while enjoying the physical benefits of biking. For commuters or those who wish to enjoy biking anywhere, the advantages of an e-bike are apparent.

E-bikes allow users to cycle faster and longer than possible on a regular peddle-powered bike. E-bikes allow cyclists to offset their lack of stamina by aiding in peddling. With the variety of e-bikes available, there is a style designed for your needs. From high-speed cycling to technical trails to cruising around town to run errands, an e-bike style is waiting for you.

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