Whether you are a seasoned biker or a newbie cyclist, you must have heard about electric bikes and how they are taking over the cycling game by storm. However, not many people understand the concept of e-bikes, how it works, and how to acquire this state-of-the-art equipment.
Unlike the ordinary two-wheeled bike you come across every day, bikes incorporate new features such as batteries, a motor, and a sensor, that promise extra fun and ease when riding. Although its look is similar to that of an ordinary bicycle, e-bikes prove to be a superior mode of transport.
Electric bicycles are relatively new in the e-vehicle industry, so they enjoy a wide acclamation among bike enthusiasts and commuters. Read on to understand how e-bikes operate and why you should consider acquiring one.
The Technology Behind Electric Bikes
Interestingly, you will realize the functionality of e-bikes is not as complicated as it sounds- at least after reading the technical details I've set out below.
Typical e-bikes are fitted with batteries that enable pedal-assisted cycling. These batteries are light and feature a compact size to enhance cycling efficiency. Generally, e-bicycles include lithium-ion batteries, which feature a lightweight design and have a general output of about 350 to 500 Watts of power. Besides preventing the possibility of slowing you down, the lightweight lithium-ion batteries can supply you with about 16 to 32km/h for around 20-64km.
The battery in electric bike power the motor, thus resulting in ease of cycling. This attachment, which is placed in a lower position at the center, is what makes the bike heavier than ordinary bicycles. Finally, with a more powerful battery, you will cover longer distances with your e-bike.
Electric bikes rely on compact motors, which boost the cyclist's riding ability. Electric motors are typically inbuilt and are located either on the front or rear wheel. However, there are instances when they are fitted at the bike's center. The motor, which is powered by the battery, helps to rotate the wheels of an e-bike. Thus, pedaling becomes an effortless task.
Battery-assisted cycling may come in handy but may not always be necessary, especially when riding downhill. As a result, an electric bike requires sensors to detect when necessary to switch on powerful batteries.
The sensors measure your cadence, speed, and torque input to determine whether your cycling journey could do so with the batteries' assistance. Measuring the torque input is vital for the rider since harder pedaling relates to a higher speed. Additionally, the inbuilt sensor prevents the electric bike from traveling too fast.
Upon establishing the need for assistance, the sensor stimulates the battery pack to release the power that charges the electromagnets in the e-bike's motor. This results in an augmented cycling experience that seamlessly enables you to travel less strenuously while conquering obstacles.
Electric bikes employ a state-of-the-art regenerative braking technology that enables the spinning tires to turn the motor in reverse, thus recharging the batteries whenever you ride downhill. Although not as practical on e-bikes as it is on electric trains or cars, regenerative braking is a remarkable display of ingenious engineering.
An e-bike should be as light as possible to achieve the much-needed travel efficiency. This is largely because a heavier frame will demand that you recharge the battery more frequently. As a result, electric bike manufacturers use a lightweight aluminum alloy to get the most from battery-aided riding.
Reasons Why You Should Buy An e-bike
By understanding the working of e-bikes, their key benefits, and their potential, you will be more inclined towards investing in one. Having already covered the former, let's delve into why you should get yourself an e-bike.
- Ride Faster and Longer
It is no surprise that e-bikes are generally faster than regular bicycles. Electric bicycles allow you to utilize throttle controls to boost and propel your bike's speed. Moreover, it eliminates the need for extensive pedaling, which is akin to the traditional bike.
Additionally, thanks to battery-assisted cycling, you can cover a greater distance quickly when riding an electric bike. Typically, with an e-bike., the harder you pedal, the more boost you get from the motor. This enables you to attain a maximum speed of up to 28 miles per hour within no time while still enjoying the view that cycling offers.
While it is possible to attain a higher speed, you would have to forfeit assistance from the motor. The motor will no longer be useful if you wish to ride faster, which forms a basis that people use to support that riding e-bike isn't necessarily cheating.
Since you are traveling faster, riding an e-bike enables you to travel farther and longer than an ordinary bicycle, which may prove handy when you are late or in a rush. Those looking for an alternative to driving a car should consider purchasing an electric bicycle.
- Enjoy Seamless Riding
An e-bike features a battery that provides electrical energy to the motor, which then transforms it into mechanical energy that boosts the bicycle whenever you pedal. Depending on your e-bike, you can choose a different level of battery-assisted pedaling based on how soft or hard you pedal.
This pedal-assist feature helps you achieve efficient cycling by reducing knee and leg impact, thus improving your overall riding experience. Additionally, you enjoy sweat-free rides since you'll be cycling more comfortably and seamlessly.
- They Are Environment-Friendly
Electric bicycles are more eco-friendly than public transport since they don't emit any harmful chemicals that can impact the environment. Researchcarried out by ECF estimated that a cyclist riding on an e-bike produces only 21g of CO2 per kilometer, compared to 271g produced by a passenger covering the same distance in a car ride.
Since global warming and climate change poses a major threat to our existence, everyone should play their part in conserving the planet. A simple yet effective way is to switch to environmental-friendly transport modes such as electric bicycles.
While ordinary bicycles are considered zero-emission vehicles and are generally preferred over conventional fuel-powered cars, they can drain your energy and make you sweat profusely. Achieving a greener environment needn't be a painstaking venture. Thus, it makes e-bikes specifically suitable for this purpose.
- Enhanced Physical Activity
Contrary to popular belief, using electric bikes doesn't result in less physical activity. Riding an e-bike is similar to riding an ordinary bike, except that you won't get exhausted quickly. The ease of cycling provided by an e-bike will ensure that you pedal for prolonged periods, thus burning more calories.
- Efficient Mode of Commuting
Besides leading a healthier and more fit lifestyle, riding electric bikes also spare you from the unbearable and dreadful highway traffic. Most countries consider e-bikes as bicycles, thus permitting riders to utilize bike lanes. You needn't have to worry about dreadful traffic jams with such a privilege since the lanes are more convenient. E-bikes are considered the best alternative to driving cars since you arrive at your destinations more seamlessly.
- Ebikes Are A Cheaper Alternative
By investing in a quality e-bike instead of a fuel car, you will have to cut down on your petrol or diesel budget, thus saving your hard-earned money in the long run. With a fully charged battery- which costs less than a dollar in typical electricity rates- your electric bike can cover about 18-50 miles which is cheaper than the high fuel cost in most countries. Moreover, unlike other motor vehicles, e-bikes are still fully operable even when the battery drains off, thus eliminating the need to recharge. As a result, you save money and save time when using an electric bike.
Another major perk cycling enthusiasts enjoy the exemption from the pricey and tedious registration process and obtaining driving permits. Since e-bikes are acknowledged as bicycles, you will enjoy these benefits too.
- Suitable For On And Off-Road Trails
In addition to being a great vehicle for commuting on smooth trails and highways, electric bikes have stood the test of time and proven to be great for extreme rides. Off-road trails shouldn't bother you since e-bikes come in various ways to meet different needs.
For instance, electric hunting or mountain bikes are perfect for off-road adventures. These bikes feature a high-capacity battery and powerful motor than enable you to concur some of the impossible terrains. On the other hand, electric road bikes are suitably designed for smooth trails, including pavements.
- It is a Safer Mode of Commuting
Ebikes deliver the right amount of speed that matches the flow of other vehicles such as cars. As a result, you will be able to ride alongside other drivers without the fear of being pushed further to the side of the road, especially on highways that do not include a designated bike lane. Moreover, speeding cars can no longer intimidate you, which minimizes the possibility of an accident. Moreover, with their massive features and additional weight that lowers the center of gravity, e-bikes improve your balancing and stability, thus allowing for better control and safer maneuverability.
- Added Fun And Excitement
The technology employed by e-bikes has brought new life to cycling by making it less strenuous and more enjoyable. Besides enabling you to traverse the harshest terrains seamlessly, electric bicycles allow you to enjoy the panoramic view of nature when riding by. Moreover, you rarely get bored with an electric bike due to its unique features that elevate your cycling experience. These features include the widely acclaimed battery-assisted pedaling and the intuitive display and control system.
- They Come In A Variety Of Designs
Are you wondering whether there is a perfect e-bike that suits your requirements? Chill out since the modern electric bike industry has got you covered. Ebikes come in a wide range of designs that meet your specific needs. Everything is just but a click away; thus, it is easy to find the perfect bike from the already saturated market.
Types of Ebikes Available for You
Different companies produce different types of e-bikes in terms of design and functionality. Finding and settling for the perfect model from the wide array of bikes is a walk in the park. Here are some of the most common types of electric bikes.
Commuter/ Hybrid Bikes
This is the most popular type of electric bicycle and is suited for various purposes, including leisure rides, commuting, and running errands. Hybrid e-bikes typically feature flat handlebars and front suspension that ensure a smooth ride even on mountainous terrains and off-road.
SDREAM X750S Electric Bikes
SDREAM X750S bikes feature impressive motors that enable riders to concur terrains that may seem impossible to ordinary bicycles. They are mostly employed as delivery vehicles on the road. Moreover, since they have zero emissions, they positively impact the planet by making our environment cleaner.
As its name suggests, folding E-bicycles can be folded up and stored in small areas, thus saving a lot of space. Similarly, you can store several of them in your car or a tiny garage. Another advantage of buying this e-bike is the ease of storage when brought to your workplace or shop. No longer will you have to worry about losing your bike since you can bring it along with you instead of leaving it in risky places.
Buyer's Guide: How to Choose the Best Ebike
Although electric bicycles are relatively new in the transportation industry, e-bikes have garnered a lot of attention, especially in the last year- and for the right reasons. With many people opting for electric mobility, including electric bikes and cars, it is vital to understand the aspects to consider when selecting an e-bike. Below is a comprehensive guide that will enable you to decide when picking an e-bike that meets your specific requirements.
Style And Design
Ebikes, like most other products, come in various styles and designs. As a potential buyer, these are essential factors to consider before purchasing. Depending on your taste, you could opt for a sleek, contemporary bicycle or a more vintage and classical look.
Ergonomics is a design factor that ensures the bicycle is comfortable for the rider. When choosing an e-bike, examine the bicycle's frame curves, geometric, pedal, seat, and handlebar position to ensure its comfort and performance are not compromised. Ensure that the seats are adjustable to your preference to ensure that the bike satisfies your expectations and meets your specific requirements. Consider analyzing elements such as the saddle, suspension fork, handlebar, and tire type to guarantee a comfortable and quality ride.
It is no surprise that most governments regulate the power and speed of e-bikes. As a result, most e-bikes offer maximum street-legal power even though riders are not required to present a driver's license.
Nevertheless, speed is a crucial aspect to consider when picking an e-bike. Purchasing an underpowered bike will likely result in an unsatisfying riding experience. Consequently, I recommend checking the bike's top speed- which should range between 70-90 km/h- before settling for one. A slow speed e-bike usually attains a top speed of between 50-60km/h
Nonetheless, torque at the wheel, exclusively in e-bikes, is an important element unregulated by the government. It can be used to discern a powerful bike from another.
The torque, which depends on the design of the motor, controller, and nature of transmission, can determine how easily an e-bike climbs hills. Although hub motors are considered more reliable than their mid-drive counterparts, they may vary differently in terms of the torque generated or power density. On the other hand, mid-drive systems can deliver high or lower torque depending on the gears and other motor characteristics.
Range and Efficiency
As you might have guessed, the battery is the most expensive component of an e-bike. So, before purchasing an e-bike, look into the battery type and capacity. Generally, lithium-ion batteries are preferred over nickel and lead batteries since they provide a better life.
Also, a battery with a higher capacity will offer more range per charge. Unfortunately, having more battery cells will unescapably make an e-bike heavier, thus affecting its range. Moreover, besides the bike's weight, the range varies depending on the road condition, the weight of the rider, wind resistance, speed, temperature, tire pressure, and pedal-assist power.
When choosing an e-bike, consider design parameters such as the battery's capacity and efficiency, motor power, tire roughness and width, motor power and efficiency, hub bearings, and the pedal-assist system.
Monitoring and Controls
This refers to the parameter settings, visualization, monitoring, and diagnostics featured in the e-bike's interface. This includes the accuracy of the interface, data, and user-friendliness of the bike. When comparing e-bikes, consider the pedal-assist technology used and power-on-demand throttle.
While e-bikes may feature similar designs, their quality, durability, performance, and strength differ greatly. As a result, consider the build, quality of the tires, battery model, and transmission before purchasing, among other component grades. Moreover, up-to-the-minute eco-friendly electric bikes use aluminum to promise a longer service span to commuters. However, e-bikes with a higher component grade generally cost more, so you must get value for your money.
Most e-bikes utilize a braking system known as a disk brake. Depending on your model, disk brakes can be hydraulic or mechanical and are further categorized depending on the disk rotor's size and the brake brand.
Typically, the larger the rotor size in hydraulic brakes, the more effective the braking performance. As a result, this ensures your safety and that of other road users. Compared to other mechanical braking systems, the only downside is how complicated they can be to repair.
E-bikes are heavier compared to ordinary bicycles available on the market. Lighter e-bikes are desirable since they feature more enhanced handling, balance, storage, range, and efficiency and are safer in the case of an accident.
Being a relatively new industry, e-bike users may sometimes find it difficult to access services or part dealerships in most parts of their country. As a result, ensure that you acquire an e-bike that is easy to maintain and service with minimal intervention by a mechanic. Therefore, you should look for a simple and modular e-bike that you can self-diagnose with DIY videos and manuals.
Besides limited access to service centers, accessing spare parts during repair is another challenge that must be planned for before acquiring a complex and exclusive e-bike. Even if you order parts online, you might lack local service support well-versed with the spare parts. As a result, it is important to settle for more common brands, at least for now.
Ebikes accessories are costly, and acquiring them may require digging deeper into your pockets. Subsequently, ensure that the e-bike comes with as many accessories as possible to avoid future spending. Similarly, ensure that your electric bicycle is universal to accessories to eliminate purchasing a custom-design one.
Transportability and Storage
In terms of transportability and storage, vital aspects include wheel size, wheelbase, and frame foldability, among other factors. These aspects are essential since they enable you to easily hook your e-bike on a bike rack, bus, or car.
Contrary to popular opinion, a higher price doesn't translate to a higher quality electric bike. However, you can easily arrive at a well-rounded decision to ensure you pay the money for value by considering the parameters above.
Does Riding An Ebike Benefit Your Health?
Whether riding an e-bike for fun or commuting, it can significantly positively impact your health. From improving how the brain functions to enhancing cardiovascular conditioning and helping you burn excess calories, among other benefits, e-bike riding induces a more natural exercise that ensures you remain fit. Here are some of the benefits of physical activity induced by e-bikes.
Enhanced Heart Health
In 2017, a team from theUniversity of Glasgow conducted research that revealed that cycling to work lowered the risk of premature death. The research aimed to demonstrate the association between cycling and improved heart health. It studied 264,337 people for about five years. The findings revealed that covering about 30 miles every week on a bicycle resulted in a lower risk of developing heart disease by significant levels.
Another study conducted by UPMC Pinnacle revealed that people who rode bicycles frequently lowered the risk of having a heart attack by 15% compared to non-cyclists. Thus, it was revealed that spending even small amounts of time cycling resulted in lower rates of developing heart diseases.
Work On Your Cardiovascular System
Just like taking vigorous walks or riding an ordinary bicycle, cycling your e-bike regularly every week can improve your overall health and cardiorespiratory performance.
Moreover, cycling is the perfect cardio exercise for all body types and age groups. You burn calories to manage your weight when riding an e-bike and build stamina by increasing bone and muscle strength. With e-bike riding, cycling becomes a low-impact exercise that is soft on your joints. Additionally, unlike strenuous gym training sessions, riding an electric bike doesn't expose you to sprains or injuries. As a result, I recommend this bike to elderly people suffering from arthritis.
Strengthens Your Immunity
Regular exercise such as riding an e-bike reduces the risk of contracting respiratory tract infection (RTI) by about 29%. According to the research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, people who tend not to exercise regularly are prone to developing an upper RTI sometimes in their lives.
Additionally, according to research carried out by the University of California- San Diego, adding 20 minutes of exercise to your fitness level can boost your immunity, thus enabling the body to fight off diseases.
Lowers The Risk Of Developing Type-2 Diabetes
Another research carried out by the University of Bristol involved monitoring participants who were diagnosed with type-2 diabetes by subjecting them to ride electric bikes. The 18 subjects in the study cycled an average of 13 miles per week for five months on their electric bikes. The results included a 10.9% increase in predicted maximal aerobic power, with the participants attaining 74.7% of their maximum heart rate when riding an e-bike compared to 64.3% when walking. The study concluded that cycling on an e-bike is enough to reduce the risks that result in type-2 diabetes and aid remission those results in weight loss.
Helps To Burn Excess Calories
Riding an electric bike or a conventional bicycle improves general health by enabling the cyclist to lose weight.
Improves how the brain functions
Riding an e-bike regularly can improve the brain's functionality in adults above 50 years. As a result, it reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's disorder and vascular dementia, among other age-related neurodegenerative diseases.
"The effect of Cycling on Well-being and Cognitive Function in Older Adults," a pa[er released in the cycleBOOM study, revealed that beneficial outdoor exercise doesn't have to be strenuous to achieve the required results. Instead of running, a sixty-year-old could ride an e-bike to improve brain function.
Achieve Enhanced Sleep
Regularly riding an e-bike, among other exercises, has proven to contribute to enhanced sleep experiences and fight insomnia. People who exercise more by riding e-bikes are less likely to wake up at night than those who don't. It is also worth noting that adults who rarely exercise are more likely to encounter and complain about sleep disorders.
Reduced Stress Level
It is believed that exercise stimulates the brain to release neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that improve one's moods and emotions. As a result, after a rigorous exercise such as cycling, you are likely to feel better and less stressed.
Who Buys Electric Bikes?
Although e-bikes are relatively new in the electric mobility niche, they have garnered a lot of use among the following groups of people
- Commuters- Popular customers of electric bikes commute to and from work. Such people mostly live within 40kms away from their workplace thus do not find the need of using a car or taking a bus. Besides beating time by avoiding traffic jams, commuters riding bikes save money on fuel which is costly in most countries. Moreover, you won't incur parking costs.
- Conventional cyclists- Regular bicycle riders who wish to ride uphill or conquer off-road terrains without breaking a sweat could also appreciate technology and purchase modern electric bikes.
- 3. Grey Nomads- This group forms the biggest category of electric bike buyers. They purchase the e-bikes, load them on their van, and ride the bikes whenever they come across a town to explore a new area. Grey nomads travel a lot and would not want the exhaustion and stress typical with ordinary push bikes. Moreover, they have the financial muscles to purchase whatever they need.
- People with health conditions- People with serious health conditions prefer electric bikes to help them maneuver through harsh terrains such as steep hills without experiencing fatigue.
- Fun seekers- The majority of the people who purchase e-bikes are in it to experience the fun and thrill of riding a powered bicycle. The e-bike proves to be useful when going to shops, visiting nearby friends, or seeking fresh air while enjoying a close look up at the scenery around you.
Should I Get An E-Bike Or A Normal Bike?
It would help to consider several factors before buying a conventional bicycle or an electric bike. Nevertheless, a major factor that stands out from the rest is using the bike. If you are more likely to use the bike for long-distance travel or commuting, I recommend purchasing an electric bicycle for a smoother ride. Ebikes feature a pedal assist that makes cycling faster, simpler, and less stressful.
Electric bikes are different from normal bikes due to an added motor and battery pack that provides an assist that propels the bicycle forward when pedaling. Similarly, besides the pedal assist, e-bikes feature thumb throttles that enable you to ride uphill more seamlessly.
Can I Ride An Electric Bike Like A Normal Bicycle?
You can ride your electric bike just like you do with an ordinary bicycle. When the battery is completely drained off, e-bikes save the rider by allowing them to cycle just like the way they cycle a typical standard bicycle. However, since the battery makes the bicycle heavier, I recommend taking it out if you plan to ride your bike like a normal bicycle.
Are E-Bikes Faster Than Regular Bikes?
Contrary to popular opinion, this isn't necessarily true. Typically, low-speed e-bikes do not exceed 20 mph under motor power alone. To achieve higher speeds with such e-bikes, you'll have to pedal faster and harder or ride downhill. While federal regulation limits the speed of e-bikes, there are certain instances where pedal-assist e-bikes attain speeds of 228 mph when the rider pedals rigorously. This is most common in Europe, where speed pedelecs are becoming popular for commuters.
Moreover, when riding an e-bike, efficiency drops drastically as you gain speed due to drag. This is the force that acts opposite to the motion of the bike. In short, once you go beyond 15 miles per hour on an electric bike, drag can affect the range making a high speed less effective.
Can I Perform DIY Maintenance on an Electric Bike?
Depending on the level of maintenance required, you'll have to be savvy enough to fix issues with the battery or motor. As a result, I recommend that you buy your bike locally to attain serviceability even when on the go. Moreover, this will make it easier to access spare parts whenever repair arises. Performing complex maintenance by yourself may impact the bike's range.
What Are The Best Ebikes For Newbie Cyclists?
Today, you can comfortably dive head first into ebikes without worry of being disappointed. However, there are also electric bikes for renting to those who wish to dip their toe first to taste the waters. Nevertheless, if you are a newbie biker, I recommend purpose built electric bikes and not conventional bicycles that have been converted to electric. As a result, ensure that the ebike you purchase is designed and sold as electric and not a product of several twerking and tuning.
Purpose built electric bikes are tougher, more capable, and even lighter. With the wide array of ebikes in the market, there is certainly something for you. Whether you want a folding ebike that you can pack and carry with you or a mountain bike for smooth riding on mountain trails, you can’t miss an ebike that is fully capable.
Ebikes are becoming more popular by the day, and it would be a shame not to ride in a wave that aims to make our planet greener. However, many people are still unsure whether they should buy an e-bike and abandon their good old conventional bicycle. Besides offering an efficient means of commuting, e-bikes feature numerous health benefits that make them a must-it accessory. By using the parameters above, you will make informed decisions before spending your hard-earned money on an electric bicycle.
As much as I appreciate the technology of ebikes and their usefulness to our everyday life, they too, like every other product you know, have their fair share of limittions. For instance, some people consider it cheating when you use an ebike to race against conventional bicycles. While this is not entirely true, using an electric bike offers more leverage since you don’t wear out quickly