You’ve seen them on the road or maybe know someone who recently bought one, but what is an electric bike and what should you look out for when it comes to buying one? a ?
An electric bicycle, or e-bike, is a bicycle equipped with an electric motor to assist you when you pedal.
The motor will be powered by a rechargeable battery mounted on the bike. To be classified as an e-bike, the motor must help you rather than propel you on its own. Therefore, you have to pedal to get this assistance.
The power delivered by the motor is regulated according to the force with which you pedal and the level of assistance you have selected. E-bikes have been around for a while, but recent years have seen a surge in popularity, with Forbes magazine predicting e-bike sales will hit 17 million a year by 2030.
There has been an increase in the number of companies producing drive units for e-bikes. This has resulted in more reliable technology and better looking e-bikes. The main players are Shimano, Bosch, Yamaha, E-motion and Fazua.
When it comes to e-bikes, battery support can come to you in three forms:
– Front wheel (front hub)
– Rear wheel (rear hub)
– Bottom bracket/crank (pedal assist)
Our advice would be to choose a bike that receives assistance via the bottom bracket/crank. This style of bike is easier to maintain and reduces rear hub wear.
A front hub bike can tend to spin in wet conditions. Whichever style you choose, our advice will always be the same when starting out. Make sure the bike is in one of the easiest gears to pedal and you are at the lowest battery assist level.
The vast majority of e-bikes will come with a control panel on the handlebars. As well as giving you information about battery life and range, it will also allow you to change the level of assistance you receive from the battery. Most e-bikes will have four levels of assist, eco, touring, sport, and turbo.
All e-bikes will come with a 250w drive unit. However, what differentiates one bike from another is their torque.
Torque is measured in Nm (Newton Meters). The higher the number, the better traction you will get, making it easier to start and climb. Another factor to watch out for is battery range. This is usually measured in amp-hours. The higher the number, the more range you will get from the battery.
However, the range of e-bike batteries should come with a health warning. There are several external factors that will affect battery range. They can include the terrain you’re riding on, the weight of the riders, and the level of assistance you receive from the e-bike. A great tool for identifying battery range can be found on Bosch’s e-bike range assist. Answer a few simple questions about your trip and it will give you an estimated range
Maintaining an e-bike is much like maintaining any bicycle. You still need to inflate the tires and apply chain lube. However, there are still a few maintenance tips that will help you get the most out of your e-bike.
Avoid extreme temperatures
Do not charge a battery that has been exposed to freezing. Let it come to room temperature before plugging it in. Do not expose the battery to direct sunlight or fire.
Avoid low battery
Try to avoid the battery dropping below 10% capacity, as this will cause the battery to wear out faster. When storing your bike, make sure your battery maintains a 30-60% charge. The e-bike battery does not need to be fully discharged before recharging. A lithium battery has no “memory” and can therefore be charged at any time. It is perfectly acceptable to recharge the battery after a short trip so that the battery is fully charged before the next trip.
Washing your electric bike
It is safe to wash an electric bike. With all bikes we strongly advise against using a pressure washer as the extra water pressure can damage the battery and motor system. Before you start washing your bike, remove the battery and avoid spraying directly on the connectors. When fitting your battery, make sure the connectors are dry and clean
Transporting your electric bike
If you use a bike rack to transport your e-bike, we advise you to remove the battery and store it in the car during the journey. The carrier should always be hitch-mounted and you should check the carrier’s weight limit before you begin your journey.
Storing your electric bike
If you know in advance that you will not be using your e-bike for an extended period of time, it is imperative that you charge the battery before storing it and then recharge it once a month to avoid deterioration. When it comes to storing your e-bike, batteries don’t like high humidity or extreme temperatures. Store the battery indoors at room temperature
Content provided by Cycle Superstore. See their full range at Cyclesuperstore.ie