We on eBikeBC enjoy electric rideables. Hoverboardsand skateboards mopeds, motorbikes tricycles, unicycles… You can name it, we’ve been on it. However, electric bikes are to a category distinct from other bikes because they’re not just an interesting tech trend. They could become the next generation of transport.
However, e-bikes aren’t the first or only option, and they’re not without controversy. Many are worried about the increasing popularity of electric bikes, like the idea that standard bikes will disappear like a penny-farthing after everyone is electric. Be assured that e-bikes will not eliminate human-powered mobility. They could actually improve it.
There’s really no better time than now to begin shopping for an electric bike.
There’s an ideal time now to begin shopping for an electric bicycle. There’s a plethora of batteries-powered bikes in various sizes and shapes. Smaller startups are competing for funding through Indiegogo or Kickstarter and a few of European firms are pushing the boundaries with a range of innovative designs. While major bike manufacturers are beginning to realize the potential for profit from electronic bikes and have begun to launch their own ranges. Prices fluctuate however, you can find sturdy, reliable electric bike for less than $1000.
There’s plenty to pick from You don’t want to be swindled by a scam, so here’s what you should be aware of.
E-BIKES ARE FINALLY catching on in the US
E-bikes, as I mentioned, aren’t brand new, they’ve been around for years. If you’re from China or Europe the possibility of e-bikes is already part of the daily routine for those who live there. But it wasn’t always the way.
For a long time, European e-bikes were used mostly by those aged 65 and over. For people who were dependent on their bikes in cities such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Berlin, e-bikes provided an opportunity to ride for a long time. In this way, e-bikes earned the unpopular reputation of being only for older people. Manufacturers of e-bikes have been trying to change this perception and it appears that they are succeeding. Urban commuters who are young and across Europe are now giving electric bikes their due.
The US doesn’t have this perception PROBLEM. However, it does have a CAR and INFRASTRUCTURE PROBLEM
The US isn’t plagued by this issue of perception, but it has a car and infrastructure issue. Therefore electric bikes are relatively rare and only make up just 4 percent of all bicycle sales. Compare this to bicycle-friendly countries such as the Netherlands in which, last year, there were far more bicycles with e-bikes than traditional bicycles. Experts believe that sales worldwide will reach $23.8 billion by 2025.
E-bikes make up a tiny portion of the total market for bikes in the US however, bike enthusiasts are slowly coming to. best electric bike list of 2022 sales increased by 91% from 2016 to 2017, and then by another 72 percent from 2017 until 2018 and reached an astounding $143.4 million according to company that conducts market studies, NPD Group. The sales of electric bikes within the US have increased more than eightfold in the past year.
The big brands are taking note. Waterloo is a Wisconsin-based company. Trek launched their first electric bike back in 1997 but it was not a success. Today, the company is planning to unveil a full line of high-tech and powerful e-bikes.
“IT’S GOING TO BE MASSIVE, BECAUSE IT’S SUCH AN AMAZING PRODUCT”
“Where will e-bikes be in ten years if I had to wave my wand right now?” I asked John Burke, CEO of Trek during a recent interview for eBikeBC. “I’d estimate that e-bikes are at around 35 percent. It’s going to be huge due to the fact that it’s an incredible product.”
It took a long time arrive at this stage. The first patent for a bicycle powered by batteries was filed on 1895 an inventor called Ogden Bolton Jr. The idea was straightforward but very interesting that of an electric motor that could be powered by DC on the bike’s rear wheel hub. The motor could draw up 100 amps from an a 10-volt battery, which was mounted under an elongated tube on the side of the frame. There was no gearing system , nor pedals.
Bolton did not end up selling or making one of the bikes. Amazingly, many of the same design features are found in modern e-bikes that have a rear hub motor and an electric battery that is centrally located in the frame.
MOTORS, SENSORS AND EVERYTHING ELSE IN BETWEEN
In general, e-bikes are bicycles equipped with batteries to provide an “assist” that comes when you pedal, or in certain cases, using the throttle. By pushing the pedals, you activate the motor in a tiny way, which provides a boost which allows you to speed up steep hills and cruise through rough terrain without sweating. A throttle twist does exactly the same, but the pedals not needed.
There are two major kinds of motors: middle-drive which have the motor placed at the center of the bicycle, typically between the pedals, and hub-drive motors that are situated in the center of the rear wheel or the front (usually at the rear).
Pros and Cons for both. Hub-drives have been in use for a long time and are usually less expensive and more adaptable. They’re great motors for those looking for a reliable electric bike for long, flat commutes. Mid-drives tend to be lighter and smaller, and they can offer more torque than hub-drives, which makes them especially suitable for areas with hills and off-road usage. The central position of the bike creates a more stable ride and changing tires on a bike with a mid-drive is generally less difficult.
“MID-DRIVES ARE MORE EFFICIENT.”
“Mid-drives are more efficient, and are usually able to deliver more torque without expanding nearly as much battery capacity,” said Steven Sheffield, product manager at Bosch which manufactures top-of-the-line drivetrains for e-bikes. “So if you’re climbing hills, definitely if you’re off road, you want to have to get a mid-drive for that efficiency uphill and the torque.”
E-bikes typically use various kinds of sensors to decide the best way to distribute the power. There are two typesof sensors: cadence sensors and torque sensors. The torque sensors regulate the motor in accordance with how hard you press the pedals and cadence sensors operate on the speed you pedal. The majority of top bikes have torque sensors, and the low-enders have cadence sensors only. Many bikes employ both.
I strongly recommend trying the two types of motors prior to purchasing an e-bike in order to determine which one is best for your needs. Consider how you intend to use the bike: for commute or off-roading, as well as touring. The best e-bike manufacturers usually align the proper motor position to the model of bike they’re offering. Most mountain bikes are equipped with motors of mid-range, whereas the majority of the commuter bike that are sold in urban areas with hills such as Amsterdam use hub-structured hubs.
I’M GOT THE POWER!
Let’s discuss power. The primary measurement of power is Watts (W) and Volts (V) along with amp-hours (Ah). In addition, the things may be a bit sloppy.
Manufacturers usually provide “power ratings” in their specifications sheets. San Diego’s Juiced For instance is a motor manufacturer that rates their new Scorpion electric bicycle at 775W. However, this could be confusing as the power rating isn’t necessarily the same as peak power, or power output. Some companies are able to creatively calculate their power ratings to stay clear of EU rules that go into effect at 250W or more. Therefore, it’s better to avoid it completely.
“Attempting to compare e-bike power ratings is a great way to lose your sanity,” Dan Roe writes in Bicycling magazine.
“ATTEMPTING TO COMPARE E-BIKE POWER RATINGS IS A GREAT WAY TO LOSE YOUR SANITY.”
For a better understanding of how much power you’ll experience look up if the manufacturer’s specifications include the voltage of an e-bike’s battery and the continuous amps (measured in amp hours) generated by the motor control. Add these numbers to calculate the watt-hours, or amount of watts which can be produced within one hour. This gives you a clear idea of the range you’ll be able to get from the bike.
For instance, Rad Power Bikes’ cargo bike, the Radwagon is rated with a power capacity of 750W. However, it comes with the battery packs are 48-volt and 14 amp-hours of power: 48 + 14 = 672 watts. If you’re careful when it comes to energy use each mile will cost you around 20 watts. So a pack of 672-watts can provide you with an average of 34 miles. (Rad Power Bikes states that the Radwagon will have the range of 25-45 miles.)
Be aware of your classes
There are three categories of e-bikes available in the US. Class 1 is pedal assist with no throttle . Class 2 has a throttle-assisted system with the speed limit of 20 miles per hour. The Class 3 is pedal-assist onlywith with no throttle, but an maximal speed of miles per hour.
In Europe pedal-assist electric bikes that have 250W motors, which are capped at 25 km/h are considered regular bicycles. Beyond that there are two controlled classes that are L1e-A and L1e-A. These bikes be equipped with up to 1,000W of motor power. However, they are required to register and have insurance in certain regions. This category also includes electric cargo bikes that are popular with families. L1e-B electric bikes have 1000W+ motors and are able to travel at 45 km/h. They’re basically mopeds , which require the use of a helmet, and cannot be used on bike tracks. In general, electric bikes that can travel at speeds of speeds up to 25 km/h are referred to as”pedelecs” (from “pedal electric bikes”) and the more powerful vehicles that go 45 km/h or more are known as speed-pedelecs. Of course, like the majority of things European the member states enjoy certain flexibility when it comes to how rules are implemented, causing confusion for manufacturers.
The US isn’t quite up to speed with regards to laws and regulations. According to the group People for Bikes in 2019, the year began with 11 states with three-class definitions of e-bikes. In June 19th in 22, states have now defined e-bikes in these three categories, increasing the number by six months.
Where can you purchase an electric bicycle? The local bike shop is the best choice because you’ll get an assortment that’s been carefully selected by the store’s owners and the staff there will be able to answer any of your queries regarding the performance of your bike and repair. Amazon is another option to shop, however there are some very significant trade-offs. As an example, your bicycle may arrive damaged or even damaged. In addition, some businesses who sell their bikes on Amazon are more fragile: they’re you can be here one day and then going the next.
It’s not only Amazon It’s not just Amazon, of course. A lot of e-bikes that are sold in the US are made with a selection of parts that are available in catalogs. If it sounds simple you’re right and that’s the reason there are a myriad of E-bike businesses with their own websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo hoping to impress you with their innovative technology and cutting-edge designs.
A LOT OF E-BIKES AVAILABLE IN THE US are simply cobbled TOGETHER from a range of Off-the-Shelf parts found in a CATALOG
They don’t include warranties or support for customers. Many are overpriced. There’s a good chance that you’re purchasing the Chinese model that’s been rebranded using Western marketing, so it could be sold with a markup. If you see a bike on the internet and you are interested in it, a good test is to look up the specs of the bike on Alibaba and determine if there’s a similar model available in Asia. You might find it cheaper.
E-bikes come in an array of sizes and shapes including city bikes with large tires and fashionable design to cargo bike that have enough power to carry large loads or even a few youngsters. There are some great retro designs, as well as some amazing space age designs. My personal favorite are the taco mini bikes with big wheels and long seat.
A few words of caution regarding crowdfunding: websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo can be a mess. Sellers promise big things and sometimes, they don’t meet their promises. According to an study conducted through Kickstarter during 2015 about 1 in 10 “successful” products that reach their goals for funding don’t actually produce benefits. In the cases where they are successful delayed deadlines, delays or ideas that are overhyped result in disappointments to be expected from those which do succeed.
A few e-bike businesses don’t have a choice, however. The bike makers have said that cash from investors is hard to find these days due to scooter-sharing companies like Bird and Lime have made the VCs suspicious about investing in new startups in mobility.
How E-BIKES CAN CHANGE TRANSPORTATION
E-bikes make it easier to get started with biking, making it more accessible for those who are older or are more concerned about the strains and stresses of biking to justify the need to. It is more likely that you will ditch your vehicle or remove the Uber app if you’re confident that you’ll be able to get the destination faster and with less effort without becoming exhausted or sweaty.
Additionally, e-bikes are able to help cities escape the grips of automobile culture. As reported by the Curbed‘s Alissa Walker:
An 2017 study conducted by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities which surveyed nearly 1,800 e-bike riders discovered that they ride more often, make longer rides, and take various types of journeys in comparison to those who ride pedal bikes.
The survey also found that more participants feel more secure riding an e-bike than riding a bicycle The percentage of riders who felt safe riding an e-bike increased when respondents were females older than 55 or were physically challenged.
“E-bikes are making it possible for more people to ride a bicycle” according to this study “many of whom are incapable of riding a standard bicycle or don’t feel safe doing so.”
If you’re worried that the use of electric motors will take all enjoyment and fun from cycling Well, you’re mistaken. An additional study focused on the psychological and cognitive effects of cycling outdoors and came up with similar results for traditional bikes and electric bikes. Are you feeling down about climate change? E-bikes are more eco-friendly than electric cars and will assist in eliminating congestion in traffic and make cities more liveable. Additionally, you can stop the motor when you’re seeking a bit of exercise.
As cities get more crowded certain businesses are turning on e-bikes for deliveries. Domino’s uses Rad power Bikes for delivery of pizza across a number of cities. UPS has cargo bicycles to deliver pizza in Seattle. German delivery service DPD plans to utilize these adorable miniature trucksthat can actually be e-bikes hidden in disguise. The city of New York City, e-bikes are used almost exclusively by food delivery employees.
Don’t get fooled by the fact that the US isn’t far ahead of the other countries in the field of bicycles. They are more of a leisure vehicles than alternative transportation options that you can use only in good weather, not snow and rain as the Dutch. But , hey you know that we have seen the US female national team defeated Netherlands Netherlands during the World Cup, so surely we could compete on the field too?
The streets throughout the US are built for automobiles, while bikes and pedestrians are typically an incidental consideration. This has led to an alarming rise in pedestrian and cyclist deaths throughout the nation. E-bikes will not reverse this trend until enough drivers abandon driving and take to the pedals. Then, cities will be faced with the option of either continuing to operate as they are or making their streets more walkable, livable and bike-friendly.
Electric bikes enable getting around much more accessible to everyone, even elderly people as well as those who have different abilities. It’s true that everything is awful and obviously, electronic bikes will not solve anything unless more people get on. However, there’s something I’m able to assure you that when you begin riding, you’ll be able to put down your bike.