E-Bikes 101

Since the discussion around E-bikes continues to surface, it’s time you educate yourself and take part in the conversation! E-bikes are gaining popularity each and every year and this new recognition doesn’t appear to be dwindling. Studies have shown that e-bike sales have increased more than 91 percent over the past few years and even passed traditional bike sales in the Netherlands in 2018 (and as we know, the Dutch know a thing or two about bikes.)

So, what’s all the hype about? Below are a few E-bike FAQ’s that will help you become well-informed and ready to take part in this new(-ish) cycling trend.

– How does an E-bike work? Electric bikes are complete with a battery powered, pedal assist (meaning the motor engages while you pedal) or, in some cases, a throttle. Both provide a “boost” to help you up hills or across rough terrain without overexerting yourself. E-bikes are meant to enhance human power, not replace it.

– How far can you go on a fully charged battery? This question seems simple, but a variety of factors play into the answer. How much human power is input? What’s the assist level? What type of load are you carrying? Is there wind? What’s the temperature? Three elements help with the solution: Rated Capacity (in watt-hours (Wh)), Voltage, and Amp Hours. Long story short…if you’re riding an e-bike that uses approximately 12-14Wh per mile and you have a 500Wh battery, you can go between 20-40 miles.

– What is the top speed of an E-bike? With a pedal assist E-bike the harder you pedal, the more boost you get – simple, right? Yes, E-bikes will push you down the street at a pretty good clip, however, they have limitations. The motor that helps propel you is capped once you hit 20 – 28 mph (depending on the model.) Again, E-bikes are meant to enhance human power, not turn into a motorcycle. That being said, E-bikes also give you the option of how much assistance you would like. Most are equipped with low, medium, and high assist options. Keeping in mind that the more assist used, the more battery used.

– What if I run out of battery? Can I still pedal? Yes! If your battery runs out, your E-bike is still a bike. Is it as easy as riding a regular hybrid? No, but you won’t be stranded. E-bikes can weigh anywhere between 45-60 lbs, so if they run out of battery the additional weight you’re having to “carry” is your largest restriction.

– How long does it take to recharge the battery? Depending on the battery size, it takes most bikes 3 to 6 hours to fully charge from empty.

– Are E-bikes used on cycling vacations? Of course! E-bikes create a variety of opportunities for bicycle tours. They allow couples or groups with varying levels of cycling experience to travel together. They can provide the extra boost you may need to get up that final climb. Or they can simply make your trip less strenuous, allowing you to enjoy the scenery without being sweaty and short of breath.

Whether they are helping the ease of your daily commute or providing some assistance during your cycling vacation through Tuscany, e-bikes are a great option for avid and novice cyclers alike. Now that you’re well-read on the topic, get out there and ride!

Read more about E-Bikes – a Cycling Tour Guide’s View