Why would I use an e-bike over a regular bike?
There are many reasons:
Get to where you need to go faster and easier than on a regular bike. Depending on how you choose to ride, you can travel without significant effort at up to 20mph on some bikes even higher.
Climbing hills is a breeze… and we aren’t talking about the breeze from huffing and puffing
No sweat. Even though you can ride much faster, you won’t feel like you have to take a shower once you are there.
Safer. That might seem counter-intuitive, since you can go faster than on a regular bike, but you also get an easier start from stopped positions, allowing you to get through an intersection steadier and quicker. When climbing steep hills with cars nearby you can focus more of your energy on controlling the bike instead of propelling the bike.
Easier on those joints. Use the electric assist to ease the pressure on your knees and hips.
Staying together. You may have a riding partner that rides at a different pace than you. An e-bike can even out the pace for both of you.
Ditch the car. The convenience, the ease and the speed of an electric bike make it an alternative to an automobile more often than a regular bike. A study by Portland State University shows that e-bike owners ride more frequently and farther than when they relied on their traditional bike. This was the case for all age groups.
It’s FUN!!! Just try one and you’ll see. Or catch a friend coming back from their first test ride with a big smile on their face.
Do I need a license?
E-bikes are referred to by Ontario legislation as “power bicycles” and the laws around them are consistent with the federal definition of “power-assisted bicycle.” However, the province stipulates that operators must be 12 years of age or older and all operators are required to wear a helmet.
Where can I ride my e-bike?
First and foremost, make sure your bicycle with an electric motor is classified as an e-bike. The definition of an e-bike and rules on where to ride will vary from province to province. For provincial land the rules vary depending on the branch of government.
For Ontario, you can ride an e-bike on:
Any bike lane on the street.
Shared use paths that are reserved for bicycles and pedestrians
For provincial parks, you can ride on paved trails that allow bicycles, but check with the individual park’s management for their rules for unpaved trails. It varies from park to park.
Any trail where motor vehicles are permitted, such as unpaved forest service roads.
In Ontario, you must be at least 12 years old to ride an e-bike on public property.
What about theft?
The best ways to protect your bike from theft are:
Get a high-quality bike lock. Cable locks are way too easy to cut. High-quality u-bolts and folding locks are better.
If you are parking your bike in your garage, lock your garage. It’s probably the #1 location we’ve seen bikes get stolen from.
When in public, lock your bike in a visible location.
Do I need special insurance?
Aren't electric bikes heavy?
As one of our customers told us, “E-bikes might be heavy to lift, but they are heavenly to ride.”
Electric bikes are typically heavier than regular bikes. But the weight of any bicycle (electrical or non-electrical) is felt the most when climbing hills. The electric assist on an e-bike makes up for the additional weight many times over. Where weight does matter is if you need to lift the bike. That’s one of the many reasons why e-bikes are favored over electric scooters, which often weigh 150 pounds or more.
If you have to climb several flights of stairs to store your bike, we strongly suggest finding a more accessible storage location.
CHARGING, BATTERIES & RANGE
Do electric bikes recharge when applying brakes or going down hill – like a hybrid car’s regenerative braking?
It’s rare and the concept doesn’t work very well. A few models of electric bikes include a feature to recharge the battery, usually while you are braking. In those cases the range of the battery can be extended 5-10%, while adding several hundred dollars to the cost. However, due to the design of the motors that provide regeneration, you’ll often find that the bike is harder to pedal if you are using the bike with the power off.
What is the range I can get from a single charge?
How long does it take to charge an e-bike battery?
How many charges can I get out of a battery?
If you usually use your e-bike in pedal-assist mode, combining both pedal power and electric power, you can expect to go 10,000-25,000 kilometers before replacing your battery. That is a lot of kilometers on a bicycle.
How much electricity does it take to charge a battery?
Depending on the capacity of the battery, it will usually take 500-800 watt hours (0.4 – 0.8 kilowatt hours) to charge the battery. Assuming a rate of $0.10/kWh, it will cost you 5-8 cents for a charge that will last you 50 – 80+ kilometers.
MOTOR, SPEED & PERFORMANCE
What is the difference between Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 electric bikes?
This system of classifying electric bikes is being adopted by several provinces and all over the world as a means of regulating electric bikes. The classifications are as follows:
Class 1 – is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling (thus no throttle), and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
Class 2 – is a bicycle equipped with a throttle that can propel the bike up to a maximum of 20mph with the rider pedaling, and may also have the ability to achieve up to 20mph with the rider assisting, without the use of a throttle.
Class 3 – also known as a “speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour.
For all classes, the maximum power output is 750 watts (1 h.p.).
Perhaps the most important aspect of this classification system is how some provinces are treating Class 3 e-bikes. While these bikes are permitted in bike lanes on streets, they can be restricted from shared use paths, such as those in parks and “rails-to-trails” paths that are designed to be shared by cyclists and pedestrians
Should I buy a bike with a mid-drive motor or hub-motor?
What's the difference between a cadence-sensor and a torque-sensor?
A cadence-sensor, perhaps more appropriately called a crank-sensor, delivers a uniform amount of assist at each assist level, regardless of the amount of pressure you are applyng. It is activated just by getting the crank turning. Because a cadence-sensor is not reading your pedal pressure, the power delivery is not quite as smooth or “bike-like”. But it’s fairly easy to adapt your use of the controls to smooth out the power delivery. Some people prefer a cadence-sensor because it tends to provide a great sensation of power without applying much pedal pressure.
The best way to know which type of pedal-assist is right for you is to try them both.
How fast can an electric bike go?
How important is motor wattage? (also – I’m really big, so don’t I need a 1000-2000 watt motor? – or – I want to go fast, so don’t I need a lot of wattage?)
The benefits of a high wattage motor are very overstated. With a properly designed e-bike and e-bike motor, you’ll find that you get far more power than you need with 500 watts or less. There are many 250 watt motors that deliver as much torque as motors that are 500 watts or higher. The design of the motor and the gearing of the bike are far more important than the wattage of the motor.
Higher wattage correlates with higher power consumption, so using a higher wattage motor means you’ll need a bigger battery to go the same distance. The most expensive part of your e-bike is the battery, thus a larger motor, requires a larger battery which leads to higher cost.
As for hauling a lot of weight, we have several 300lbs+ customers that do fine at 250-350 watt motors.
Can I ride an e-bike as a regular bike - without the electric power?
Do I have to pedal?
It depends on the bike. Some electric bikes sold in Canada allow you to operate by simply turning the throttle without pedaling. Europeans have stricter rules, requiring that you pedal – which we support. If you think you’ll get by without pedaling, think again. Even for e-bikes that have a throttle, you’ll need to pedal when going up long, steep hills, although you won’t have to pedal hard. Pedaling is more fun, extends the range of your battery, extends the life of your motor, and extends your own life too.
Is servicing an e-bike any different than a regular bike?
Mechanical parts are the same parts that you’ll see on non-electric bikes. Servicing mechanical parts can be performed at any bike shop.
You might find that your bike parts might wear a little faster than on a non-electric bike – especially brake pads, chains, cogs and tires. But that’s because most people put many more miles on their e-bike.
There is some basic maintenance that you can do on your own, like keeping your tires properly inflated and lubricating your chain.
The electrical parts don’t require any maintenance. If you do run into a problem with an electrical part, you’ll want to go to a shop that has some expertise in servicing e-bikes.
While not really a maintenance task, you do want to make sure that the battery keeps some charge in it. If you don’t, it might discharge to a point so low that you can’t charge it anymore, thus killing your battery – an expensive mistake to make.
EBOLT has a complete service department for both mechanical work and electrical work, with expertise servicing electrical parts for from many different e-bike brands.