Nowadays electric bikes are increasingly popular modes for transportation in cities. They’re fast efficient, eco-friendly and fun to ride. However, there are certain disadvantages too. This article outlines the advantages and disadvantages of electric bikes in order to aid you in deciding whether electric bikes are suitable for you. I’ll also provide some important points to keep in mind when purchasing one.
What is an electric Bicycle?
Electric bicycles, also referred to as e-bikes are bicycles equipped with motors that are electric and batteries that can be used to propel. The motor is normally placed close to the crank or on an hub. The battery is mounted on the seat tube, downtube or on an rear rack. A majority of electric bikes have a maximum velocity of around 20 miles/hour (32 kilometers/hour) and the range is 20 to 35 miles (32-56 km) per charge.
A variety of electric bikes are available. Some are only pedal assistance. That means you need to pedal when you ride. The motor aids you. Certain models are similar to mopeds, where you can use the motor to push you forward without pedaling, in the event that you want. The capacity of the battery, the position of the motor and the size of the motor are also different.
Eco-friendly- This is among the primary reasons why people opt to ride an electric bike rather than driving around in a vehicle or taking a bus. E-bikes are powered by electric motors and do not emit polluting emissions to the air similar to internal combustion engines. They’re among the most eco-friendly and sustainable methods of transportation accessible. E-bikes are an ideal way to lower the carbon footprint of your vehicle. The most efficient option is to take a walk or ride on a bike that is not powered.
You do not sweat as much. One of the primary reasons why more people do not bike for work, is because of the discomfort that comes from being in sweaty clothes all day. No one wants to be soiled or smelly. The majority of employers don’t provide showers or changing your clothes once you get to work each day can be a pain. Electric bikes can solve this issue. When you ride an electric bike your heart rate is lower since the motor takes care of most of the task for you. The pedal assist feature will help you climb the hill. In some models, you won’t need to pedal if do not want to. This means that you sweat less. You’ll feel clean and dry upon arrival.
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A lot less expensive than driving – On average the cost is approximately 50 cents for every mile of driving a compact car. A e-bike is priced at 5-10 cents. The initial cost is cheaper, too. If you’re working on a tight budget, you could buy an e-bike that’s decent for just $1500. A reliable commuter vehicle costs more than twice as much. In addition, you’re not paying the cost of insurance for your vehicle when you ride an electric bike. Repairs and maintenance are considerably less expensive as well.
Also, you don’t need be charged for parking.
E-bikes let you explore more terrain in one day. The range of e-bikes has significantly increased in recent years thanks to the advancement of batteries. E-bikes typically have an endurance of 20-35 miles (about 32-56 kilometers). If you choose to cycle a portion of the way without the aid of electric motors you will cover more distance. This lets you travel farther than you would with a standard bicycle.
It’s faster than a traditional bikeThe majority of e-bikes are restricted to a maximum speed of either 20 or 28 miles an hour (about 30 or 40 km/h). Most cyclists cannot achieve those speeds on their own ability. It’s not possible, at least for a long time. The average speed will be more rapid on an electric bike and you’ll reach your destination quicker. In cutting your commute you will be able to sleep an extra hour.
Silence- Electric bicycle motors operate almost completely silently. While riding, you’ll listen to what’s going on around you and take in the surrounding environment without having be able to hear the loud sound of engines. It’s also less disruptive to other people in the vicinity with your noise pollution. Motorcycles and cars are more blaring.
Very little maintenance is requiredThe majority of the time electric bikes require about the exact amount of care as other bikes that are not powered. The most you have to do is ensure that the tire pressure stays in check, clean and lubricate the chain regularly and replace the tires and brake pads when they get worn out. You’ll be able to handle all of the maintenance yourself using some basic tools and some expertise. The battery and motor do not require any additional maintenance, other than maintaining the battery’s charge and changing it every couple of years as it gets worn out. E-bikes require less maintenance than cars and motorcycles.
There is less regulation to worry aboutIn many areas, electric bicycles are treated the same way as bicycles that are not powered. It is not necessary to have an operating license to use one. There’s no age limit or minimum or testing requirements and there aren’t any hearing or vision rules. There is no need for registration, and you don’t require insurance. It is enough to purchase an electric bike and get started riding.
The use of an electric bike reduces the wear and tear of your vehicle. Having cars and an electric bike lets you pick the most suitable vehicle for each journey. If you’re just going to the supermarket or local coffee place, take the electric bike. If you want to take a trip through town, you can use the car. When you decide to ride an electric bike over the vehicle and save money, you’re not paying for fuel and maintenance
The cons of electric bikes
It is essential to have electric power. Most e-bikes are able to travel between 20 and 35 miles (about 32-56 km) with a charge. In the end, you’ll need to locate a place to recharge your bike again. In the event that your bicycle has enough range to cover a full round trip, it’s not an issue. You’ll be able to plug your bike back in the moment you get back to at home. If you use more than 50% of your battery while on the journey to your destination, you’ll need to charge your bike prior to returning to your home. Most offices and companies don’t have charging facilities for electric bikes at the present time. Because of this, electric bikes aren’t the best choice for long-distance rides. Most times you won’t have the ability recharge the batteries until you return home.
Long time to charge – Many electric bike batteries require 3.5-6 hours for full charge. This is a long amount of time to wait for if you have to travel to a place. However, of course you could continue to ride on a part charge, but the range of your ride is reduced. Certain e-bikes have quick charging, which lets you reach the 80% capacity within 2 hours using a 10 amp charger. This is great, but it’s difficult on your battery.
A short range- Many electronic bikes can cover between 20 and 35 miles (about 32-56 km). This is adequate for rides and shorter trips to the shop and return. The battery should last for 3 to 5 hours, depending on the speed you are riding and the terrain. It’s not enough for an entire day of cycling. Therefore, the e-bikes aren’t ideal for cyclists or bicycle couriers. However however, there are electric bikes available with enormous batteries with ranges of over 100 miles.
Costly – An e-bike cost is around $2000-$3000. A middle-range, non-powered bike will cost about $1200 to $1500. A e-bike is about two times more than the non-powered bike. The cost of the extra is mostly through the cost of the battery. The battery alone is priced between $500 and $800. The motor is an additional expense also. If you’re on a strict budget, it’s best to go using a standard bike that doesn’t have motor.
Heavy- An average electric bike weighs between 40 and 70 pounds (about 18 to 32 kilos). The battery and motor are a major contributor to weight. A normal bike without a motor weighs between 25 and 35 pounds (about 11-16 kilograms). The additional weight won’t affect your riding experience until your battery is dead and you’re forced to pedal up a hill with no assistance. E-bikes are also difficult to transport and store. You don’t want to carry a 70-pound bike up three steps to your home every single day, for instance.
Expensive battery replacements- E-bike batteries cost $500-$800. The price varies based on the dimensions and the model of the bike. The price of proprietary batteries is usually higher than conventional batteries. A majority of electric bikes use lithium-ion batteries capable of holding charge for about 800-1000 cycles if maintained properly. If you regularly ride you’ll likely get a couple of years of use from every battery. You’ll have to think about the cost of replacing batteries when calculating the price of owning your e-bike.
It is not possible to fly with an electric bicycle- According to the FAA lithium batteries that you carry included in carry-on or checked baggage must be less than 100 watts. Certain airlines allow batteries that exceed 160 watts. These are generally only allowed for medical devices. The majority of e-bike batteries fall within the 300-500 watt-hour range. They are too large for an plane. The limit of 100 watts is simply too small to be an electric bike. If you want to fly using your bike, you might be able to send batteries to your self, and then fly around with the bike. You may also be able to lease or buy a battery in the location you are heading to.
Some e-bikes are equipped with exclusive parts – these are components that are unique to your specific model of bike. They can only be purchased from the manufacturer. A lot of e-bikes come with proprietary components that are in the motor, drive system or battery. There are a variety of issues you could encounter with these components. They make replacement parts difficult to find since you have purchase them from the manufacturer or a dealer. They don’t adhere to an ISO standard. If you’re not close to an outlet, you may not be able to find the components you require. The second reason is that proprietary parts tend to cost more than regular-sized parts. Manufacturers may charge more because they realize that you’ll are stuck with no choice in order to continue riding your bike. In addition, the parts that are proprietary to the manufacturer could be difficult to locate in the event that the manufacturer is shut down in the near future.
Electric Bike Designs
Electric bikes are available with a range of styles. Some of the major differences in design include design of the motor and its location as well as the battery’s size and position and how the power is managed. Each electric bicycle has its own unique set of drawbacks and advantages.
In this article I’ll go over the two major designs you’ll need to make when purchasing an electric bike. I’ll also discuss the most significant and expensive component the battery.
1. Pedal Assist (Pedelec) Versus Electronic Bicycles with a Throttle Controlled
These systems let you regulate the power output of the bike. There are three types of electric bicycles:
Pedal assist E-bikes with Pedal assist (class 1)In this type of method, the motor is propelled as you ride. When the electronic assist system is on the motor begins to work once you begin pedaling. When you stop pedaling the motor ceases to function. A pedal assistance system helps you pedal more easily. This is the most popular category of electric bikes. They typically have 20 mph maximum speed.
Throttle controlled electronic bikes (class 2)They function as an automobile or a scooter. A button or a twist-grip on the handlebars lets you to regulate the power. There’s no need to pedal if there’s no reason to. Most e-bikes feature the ability to throttle their bikes along with electronic assist. This kind of system is popular across America and Asia. US and Asia however, it is banned in a large portion of Europe.
Speed pedelec E-bikes (class 3)They function exactly the same way as regular class 1 pedal assist ebikes. The only difference is in the maximum speed. Class 3 e-bikes typically have speeds of around 28 milliseconds or 45 kph. They have powerful motors to attain the higher speed.
2. Hub Motor Vs Mid Drive E-Bikes
The design of this bike is based on the spot where the motor’s electric power is located to the bicycle. In this article I’ll discuss the major distinctions.
Hub motors are installed either in the rear hub or the front one in the middle of the wheel. They are utilized instead of a normal hub. Hub motors function independently from the other components of the bike’s drive system. Hub drive bikes typically make use of a cadence sensor pedal-assist or an throttle.
Hub drives are popular on bikes with lower price points since they are less expensive and less complex mechanically as mid-drive engines. They typically require less maintenance, too. They can also be used with most bikes if intend to convert your existing bicycle into an electric bike.
The most significant drawback with hub motors lies in the fact they typically only come with only one speed. They are therefore less effective. They also weigh a lot, that makes the process of changing tires or fixing flats a bit more challenging. Hub motors also limit the wheel components you can choose from because of how big the motor is.
Mid Drive Motors
The mid-drive motors can be placed on the front of the bike, near the crank. The motor unit is in conjunction with the bottom bracket as well as the crankset. Sometimes, the frame and motor are integrated too. The majority of mid-drive motors utilize sensors to measure torque to control the pedal assist system.
The primary advantage of this design is that it allows you to make use of the bike’s gears since the motor drives the rear wheel using the chain. This increases efficiency because it allows the motor to run at the right speed. It also helps to prolong the life of your motor since it is possible to reduce the gearing so the motor doesn’t need to be as efficient. Additionally, mid-drive motors provide more torque and have better distribution of weight. They are also lighter and smaller than hub drive motors.
The biggest drawback with the mid-drive models is they can be extremely damaging to components of the drive. The reason for this is because the motor produces greater power and torque than humans could. The chains that are cheap can’t cope to the pressure. Motors with mid-drive are more complicated and costly.
The battery capacity of E-bikes
When you are choosing a battery one of the primary aspects to be considered is the capacity. This is the most important factor in the performance you’ll get from your electric bike. The best method of assessing the battery’s capacity is to measure it in watt-hours (Wh). A battery that has more than watt-hours typically has more range.
Sometimes, watt-hours don’t appear in the specifications of your bike. To determine the watt-hours of your battery simply divide the voltage of your battery (V) by the number of Amp-hours (Ah). Once you have figured out the watt-hours you can evaluate the power of various battery types for e-bikes.
I prefer to think of watt hours as the amount of watts batteries can run for an entire hour. If, for instance, an battery has 500 watt-hours that means it could run at 500 watts continuously for an hour. The same battery can run at 250 watts over two hours. This will give some idea on how long the battery can last depending on the motor size of your electric bike.
Of course there are plenty of elements that affect the performance of your bike. These include the weight of your body and your baggage as well as wind the terrain, hills battery age as well as temperature, speed and your riding posture, tire pressure and much more.
Electric Bicycle Kits for Conversion
If you already own a bike you enjoy or are on a tight budget, you could save cash by installing an electric bike conversion kit. There are a variety of options offered, such as mid-drive and hub drive as well as throttle-controlled as well as pedal assistance.
The basic kits are usually priced about $200 to $300 and include everything you need , such as the controller, motor, the handlebar-mounted display, the pedal-assist sensor, throttle, brake levers, the safety switch, torque arms the installation hardware, as well as the manual.
The only thing that’s not included in the converter kit, includes the battery. They typically cost between $200 and $400 based on the quality and size. In all, you’ll be in a position to convert your bike into electric power for about $500. When selecting an e-bike battery, be sure that the voltage is within the voltage range the motor was designed to.
Final Thoughts on the pros and cons of Electric Bikes
Nowadays, e-bikes are more well-known than ever before. They’re a great option for commuters and people who are casual, and those who exercise. In comparison to an automobile or motorcycle they are more eco-friendly and more sustainable for the planet. They’re also much less costly to maintain and operate.
However, they do come with a few disadvantages that need to be considered. In comparison to a traditional bicycle electric bikes cost more and can be a little more difficult to maintain. They are also constantly charged as their distance is still very limited on most models.
Personally, I am a fan of e-bikes and am eager to see how this industry grows in the coming years. I’m excited about faster charging as well as a longer distance as battery technology advances. I’m expecting to see increasing numbers of e-bikes on the roads in the next few years. They are a popular choice for cyclists because they seem sensible.