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The “e” in eBike could also stand for “equalizer” – you stand up better to tougher terrain, to longer distances, and even against other riders. Hailed as the most significant innovation in bicycles since the mountain bike, the eBike makes cycling easier for all types of riders. The benefits are applicable to three types of cycling:
- Exercise – the eBike is still very much a bicycle, but you choose how far and how hard you want to ride, and how you approach different types of terrain – the eBike flattens hills and carries you home against a stiff wind;
- Social – if you ride in a group and find the pace uncomfortable, you can let the eBike do the extra work to keep up – you only have to pedal as hard as you want to; and
- Transportation Alternative – you can travel further and faster with an eBike than on a bicycle. You can also carry a greater ‘payload’, which makes the eBike an ideal, alternate vehicle – without such automobile-related headaches as parking.
Q: What is an eBike and how does it work?
A: An eBike is a bicycle with an electric motor that assists with pedaling. The motor is usually mounted midway in the frame (connected to the crankset), or on the rear wheel hub – both are typically powered by a lithium ion battery. Some earlier models had throttles, but most units today do not, and even with those, you still have to pedal.
Q: How many types of eBikes are there?
A: All types of bicycles are represented in the eBike category, from mountain bikes and road bikes to comfort bikes and trikes.
Q: Can I ride an eBike as a regular bike – without the electric power assist?
A: Yes, and switching back and forth is simple – especially if you want to conserve power for going up hills, or against the wind.
Q: How much are eBikes and how much does it cost to charge them?
A: The prices range from $900 to over $10,000, but the average range is between $1800 and $4000. Tri-A-Bike’s eBikes come from major bicycle manufacturers. Assuming a rate of $0.16 kwh it will cost you between $0.06 & $0.09 per charge.
Q: How much heavier are eBikes?
A: A typical eBike motor and battery add 30 pounds to the weight of the bicycle, which is why eBikes are favoured over electric scooters which weigh about 150 pounds.
Electrical And Mechanical
Q: How powerful are eBikes?
A: Better quality eBikes are rated by torque and range from 50 to 80 Newton/meters (Nm) that is equivalent to one horsepower, and is the maximum power allowed to still be considered a bicycle.
Q: Are throttle eBikes available?
A: Yes, they can be special-ordered, but people who are used to pedaling tend to prefer the power assist system. Throttle-assist eBikes are intended more for people with mobility restrictions.
Q: How do I service an eBike? Can I do it myself?
A: Since an eBike is a standard bicycle with an electric motor, you take care of it as you would your bicycle – cleaning and lubing can be done by most people, but the electronics should be left to Tri-A-Bike’s manufacturer-certified experts.
Q: What is the range of a full battery?
A: Battery packs come in a varitey of models, so, the range depends on the rider’s weight, riding conditions (such as terrain and wind velocity), and the power setting selected. If riding between the mid and high power settings, you can expect to get between 25-50 mi of range depending on the terrain and wind conditions. On a low power setting with a typical watt battery pack, it is not uncommon to get upwards of 80 mi on a single charge.
Q: How long will a battery last?
A: Most manufacturers indicate that you can expect 1000 charge cycles which should be about three years of normal use. Tri-A-Bike’s suppliers use lithium ion batteries that have no ‘memory effect’, so, if you recharge when the battery is only 50% depleted, that counts as only ½ of a charge. Your riding style – primarily the power setting that you use – affects battery life. Of course batteries are removable and easily replaceable.
Q: Does the battery charge when I pedal?
A: No. The power is derived solely from the battery pack, and can only be charged back via the battery’s charging cable.
Q: Can I leave an eBike out in the rain, or ride it through water?
A: Yes. The motor and the battery are sealed to protect them from rain. However, we do suggest prudence when transporting an eBike on an external vehicle mount. Travelling at highway speeds in heavy weather is much the same as pressure-washing the equipment. Also, remove the battery to reduce the load on your carrier.
Regulations In California
Q: Do I need a licence?
A: No. None of Tri-A-Bike’s models require a licence, and eBikes are not subject to the registration, licensing or insurance requirements that apply to motor vehicles.
Q: Are eBikes regulated nationally?
A: Yes, and California is considered to have model legislation governing eBikes. Many states regulate eBikes under laws primarily aimed at combustion engine vehicles, such as mopeds, or scooters. California regulates eBikes like bicycles and the same rules of the road apply to eBikes as strictly human-powered bicycles. For more information: https://peopleforbikes.org/our-work/e-bikes/
Q: How are eBikes regulated in California?
Q: How will I know if an eBike suits my needs?
A: If you can ride a bicycle, an eBike is good for you. You certainly get the exercise, but you also can ride farther, and over more difficult terrain, without as much effort. Tri-A-Bike has rental and demo units – try one and see for yourself.