Should you ride electric bikes? and other e-bike FAQs

The last few years have seen incredible changes in the way people live and work. Not only How? ‘Or’ What they no longer work, but where – and, as more people work from home and spend more time in their communities, the way they get around is changing just as much. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of e-bikes have exploded.

What does “thriving” mean? Market research firm NPD Group said e-bike sales increased 145% in 2020 compared to 2019, outpacing sales of all bikes, which rose 65% during the shutdowns. They don’t slow down either. For 2021, e-bike sales are up another 64% from January-June 2020, and companies like RadPower and Super73 are planning further expansions in the future, with hundreds of millions of dollars invested in ramping up. of production than industry analysts estimate that more than 12 million e-bikes will be sold in the United States alone by 2030.

That’s a lot of e-bikes and a lot of questions about how they work, how much they cost, and how they can fit into our lives. Let’s start!

Electric Bike FAQs | What is an electric bike?

RadPower City, image by Clean Technica.

In the simplest sense, an e-bike is a bicycle that has an electric motor that helps push it. As simple as it sounds in theory, however, there are a number of different ways to play it in practice.

1. Pedal assist: Pedal-assist bicycles, sometimes called “pedelec,” for “pedals + e-bikes,” are the most common type of e-bike, and that’s exactly what it says on the box. As you pedal, an electric motor helps move the bike forward. You’re still working, you’re still riding your bike as you probably know, but every kick sends you further than before.

“It takes the juice out of cycling,” Aaron Frank, brand manager at Serial 1, said on my Electrify Expo podcast. And, when the hills look flat and you’re passing cars around town without breaking a sweat, it’s hard to disagree.

2. Mopeds: If you’re a 1970s kid, you already know what it’s all about. They are generally bigger e-bikes with more powerful motors, higher top speeds and, of course, you can pedal them, but they really come into their own when running on “pure” electric power.

Some of these moped-style e-bikes have twist-grip throttles, like motorcycles, while others, like the ZugoBike Rhino, have a thumb throttle. Both systems offer similar performance, but the experience is very different and you may have a strong preference one way or the other. If you’re not sure which style you prefer, try both.

Xion CyberX Bike

Image courtesy Xion.

3. INO e-bike: These are “in name only” e-bikes, which are electric motorcycles or Vespa-style scooters with a pair of pedals in place, but they’re there to bypass motorcycling classifications or eliminate the need for special licenses, but not as the main means of propulsion. The Segway C80 falls into this category, as does the nearly 50 MPH Xion CyberX (above).

Electric Bike FAQs | How fast and how far will e-bikes go?

That’s a tough question to answer, because there’s so much variety out there. It seems that most eBike models – even budget ones – offer electric-assisted range in the 15-20 mile range, with high-end bikes like the Serial 1 MOSH/CITY offering up to 50 miles. autonomy. As always, the answer to this one has more to do with your needs and budget than anything inherent in e-bikes as a whole.

As for speed, it’s a bit the same thing. The Xion CyberX (above) and CAKE e-bikes can top 50 MPH with relative ease and can do well over 50 miles in the right conditions. A pure e-bike will usually hit around 20 or 28 MPH (depending on your state’s laws), but that’s assuming you can supply enough muscle to run it. Again, the conventional wisdom here is, “go far, go fast, go cheap…pick two.”

Electric Bike FAQs | Are there different types of e-bikes?

Yes, there are as many types of electric bikes as there are conventional bikes. Are you an aggressive mountain biker? There are budget options and options that cost more than a car. Are you an inveterate roadie? There are also bicycles for you.

pivot shuttle e-mtb electric bikes

Image courtesy of Pivot Cycles.

If you are considering getting an e-bike for yourself, any type of bike that has caught your eye in the past has an e-bike equivalent. Additionally, bikes that may have interested you in the past but seemed impractical or out of reach can suddenly become accessible with a little electric boost. Cargo and touring bikes fall into this category, of course, but even commuters can benefit from folding e-bikes for that “last mile” ride they may have been putting off trying.

If you still can’t find an electrified version of the bike you want, but you like the idea and feeling of freedom that an e-bike promises, you can always ask a local bike shop to convert that cycling on an e-bike. Don’t let “no one does the one I want” stop you. The bike you want is here!

Electric Bike FAQs | What are the advantages of electric bikes?

Cycling, exercising, moving your body has huge benefits, especially if you previously had a much more sedentary lifestyle, commuting between work and work every day.

A friend of ours, Deb Escher, told us that her life had been transformed by e-bikes. She had a serious accident that required spine and knee surgery, and cycling was recommended as a way to help her recover from her injuries. The experience wasn’t entirely positive – like many people, she bought a “cheap” bike and couldn’t get it fixed – but it led to great things, and Deb eventually lost 30 books, became a more outdoorsy person, and became such an e-bike evangelist that she eventually found a career in e-bikes. She is now Head of Marketing at RadPower.

If you’re not one to be driven by this sort of thing, consider the subversive nature of cycling. Being a healthy cyclist is a full-scale revolt against the unhealthy, consumerist lifestyle that cries out “Buy, buy, buy!” at maximum volume. Indeed, there is a widely circulated quote attributed to a managing director of Euro Exim Bank, Ltd. which reads as follows…

how e-bikes can impact the economy

Through Facebook.

…and, yes, there’s something obviously fake/urban legend about it, but it’s food for thought, regardless. And, if you like the idea of ​​speaking truth to power, it’s hard to argue for a more effective form of speech than “retreat from consumerism.”

The benefits don’t stop with a sufficient sense of superiority, either. “A global transition to increased cycling and e-biking could reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions from urban transport by up to 10% by 2050,” says the Institution for Transportation and Development. Policy (ITDP). “Society could save over $24 trillion.”

The ITDP is also not shy about repeating the health benefits of cycling that we have listed. “Globally, one in four adults and four in five adolescents do not get enough physical activity, putting them at high risk for cardiovascular disease,” they report. “Regular cycling reduces this risk, as well as the risk of other conditions like anxiety, diabetes and obesity. It also increases access to jobs, schools and other destinations by 10 times compared to walking. “

The benefits for the planet can be even more substantial. A study by the Energy Research Institute (TERI) states that “substituting 50% of work trips made by cars and two-wheelers over an average distance of 8 km can reduce annual CO2 emissions by 1 million tons “. And that’s just in India! Here in the United States, Cynergy E-Bikes claims that “it takes the carbon footprint of over 60 e-bikes to equal the carbon footprint of a single gas-powered car. In states that are more coal-dependent, that can be around 20-30 e-bikes to one car. No matter how you calculate it, even though an e-bike uses electricity that could come from fossil fuels, the amount of CO2 emitted compared to a car is tiny.

Electric Bike FAQs | Can I ride an e-bike in the rain and snow?

electric bikes in the snow

Image courtesy of Epic Cycles.

The good news is that quality Electric bicycle batteries and motors are able to withstand quite extreme weather conditions. Indeed, while they may be a toy for American shoppers, e-bikes are an essential transportation solution for millions of people around the world, and they’re designed to work in the heat, cold, rain and snow.

the evil The news is that winter conditions can be as dangerous for bikes as they are for cars, but with the right measures cyclists can be as safe as a well-prepared motorist. Make sure your tires have enough tread to clear a layer of deposited snow and check that your brake mechanism is not frozen or blocked by ice or debris. Wear a helmet, weather-appropriate clothing, get a rust remover that you can spray on the exposed metal surfaces of your bike (to protect them from road salt), use common-sense defensive riding techniques, and everything should be fine.

Conclusions on the electric bike

Ultimately, e-bikes offer a lot to the right kind of customer. For city dwellers and near-suburbs, there’s hardly a better way to get around. If you’re in the desert 20 miles from the nearest Walmart? They can still do the job, but that’s a different value proposition, isn’t it? What do you think? Are e-bikes a solid alternative to a car in good condition that will only become more popular as North America starts to look more like Western Europe, or are e-bikes just another fad? Let us know in the comments.

Original content from CleanTechnica.


 

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