Electric bikes – also commonly referred to as e-bikes – are all the rage at the moment. E-bikes are an ideal option for cyclists wanting a little help on hill climbs and for commuters looking for an economical, sweat-free mode of transport. Lately I’ve seen curious passersby stop at the cycling store just to check these beauties out. So just how do electric bikes work?
How do Electric Bicycles work?
Firstly, electric bikes use a rechargeable battery that powers a small electric engine to provide some “go” when you need it. Some models have a pedal sensor that determine how much help you need depending on the effort you use. Other types have a motorcycle-like throttle on the handlebars that let you decide how much power to use.
This is all fantastic if you intend to carry some groceries up a hill occasionally or need to arrive at your destination without being drenched in sweat!
Since, e-bikes are in fact bicycles, they are limited to a top speed of 15mph with it’s motor running and an average power of 200W.
Here are some factors in to consider in choosing your electric bike.
Electric Bicycle Weight
The motor, frame and battery are the heaviest parts of an electric bike. Cheaper e-bikes will tend to have heavier motors and batteries. This might be alright for more petite Chinese commuters who weigh around 50-60kg but not so great for the average 70-90 kg Western adult. After all, the heavier the electric bike is, the harder it is to pedal unassisted.
Electric Bicycle Motors
Motor power will determine how fast the bike will go. Speed varies according to the rider’s weight and the wheel size. The latter is a factor as the same motor attached to a 20″ wheel has to turn faster when attached to a 24″ wheel to reach the same speed.
Electric Cycle Batteries
The battery supplies power to the electric motor. A fully charged average battery’s range is normally between 12 to 30 miles with gentle pedaling, the actual distance varying according to weight and size of rider and the terrain being ridden. Smooth, dry pavement, for example, will give a much higher range than wet grass or loose dirt.