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Many people have heard the term electric bicycle, but they don’t know exactly what it is. Upon hearing this term, you may be thinking of a motorcycle or a scooter. However, an electric bike is actually quite different.
Imagine what a regular bicycle looks like and then add several different components to it. Electric bikes will have a battery, a motor, and a control panel. They work together to create an electric bicycle.
If you’re looking for a green way to travel that won’t require a ton of energy, an electric bike may be the perfect option. They can make getting from A to B quicker and less exhausting. There are different designs when it comes to electric bikes. Choosing the perfect one to suit your traveling needs can be tricky until you genuinely understand what makes an electric bike shine.
How Electric Bicycles Work
An electric bike will have pedals and handles that work the same as a regular bicycle. You will be able to ride your electric bike while pedaling or using non-human power. This means that if you want to spend some time pedaling on the straight paths and then use the battery-powered feature for going up against large hills, you can. You can take longer adventures without feeling so exhausted or needing to take a lot of breaks.
Many people are surprised how versatile using an electric bike can be. They have come a long way and provide the user with the tools they need for lengthy or arduous adventures. The ability to switch between using your own energy to using the batteries is very convenient. You’ll be able to get great exercise while pedaling your bike, but you won’t have to kill yourself if you’re not ready to face challenges like large hills or headwinds.
3 Key Components of an Electric Bike
While your electric bike is made up of a variety of different components, there are three that you need to be aware of. Your electric bike is just like a regular bike, but the extra elements will work to make it operate without pedaling. Let us look at the different components that make an electric bike different from a standard pedal bicycle.
As you probably already know, a regular bicycle doesn’t have a motor, but an electric bike does. It’s an essential feature. You may come across several different types of motors when you start to look at electric bikes.
The first type of motor that you will see is a front hub motor. This is located on the front tire of your bike, and it will propel you by spinning the tire. When you’re riding on an electric bike with a front hub motor, it will feel as if you are being pulled forward. This works the same as a vehicle that is front-wheel drive.
The second type of motor is a rear hub motor. This is going to propel you forward by spinning the back tire rather than the front tire. They will be pushing you forward rather than pulling you. Many people feel that this is more comfortable and natural. This is especially true if accustomed to riding a standard bicycle.
The last type of motor is the mid-drive motor. It’s going to send power to the bike’s drivetrain rather than one of the hub wheels. It’s located at the center of the bike and provides a truly natural riding sensation for the user. Most people prefer a mid-drive electric bike as compared to the other two types.
The drivetrain on your electric bike is what provides the torque and power that is required to turn the wheels. One of the reasons that people prefer mid-drive motors is because they send energy directly through the drive chain. This makes cranking the chain simpler. Pretty much all drivetrains will allow the rider to change gears while they’re in motion, and this is going to impact how simple or complicated it is for the user to pedal.
The battery that will be on your electric bike should give you somewhere between 20 and 60 miles worth of travel for every charge. Your style will affect how long your battery lasts. Three different styles will impact how long and how far your battery is going to go.
The first riding style is pedal only. You ride this electric bike just like you would a standard bicycle. You, the rider, will be powering the bike the entire time; obviously, you’re not going to have to worry about your battery power if you’re only pedaling.
The second riding style is pedal assist mode. The motor will be activated when the pedals are in motion. This will give the rider a decent workout but provide them with a bit of a power boost, making their ride easier to handle. The power of the battery will kick in and make accomplishing tough bike rides less complicated.
The last riding style is electric only. The rider would not be doing any work at all, and it will take a toll on the battery quickly. You simply twist the throttle, and your bike starts moving. It won’t require any assistance from the person riding it. This is effective if you’re feeling exhausted and just don’t have the energy to pedal. You will notice that your battery drains rather quickly while riding in this mode.
Choosing the Perfect Electric Bike
Because there are many electric bike options with many different features, it can be difficult to find the perfect fit for your riding situation. There are a variety of aspects that you should consider before you make your final decision.
When going to purchase an electric bike, make sure to consider:
• The Motor: After you peruse a few bikes, you will realize that motors have different power ratings. You may find that some are as low as 200 Watts, while others are 1000 Watts or more. In the United States, the legal limit for an electric bike is 750 Watts. However, there may be different rulings in your state, so it’s advantageous to check out the regulations before picking which electric bike is right for you.
When you start to think about your electric bike’s wattage, think of it like horsepower. The larger the number, the more weight the bike will be able to handle easily. A larger motor will use up more battery power, which means you won’t be able to go as far with a powerful engine. A lower wattage motor will travel farther, but it will not carry the same weight capacity as others.
More often than not, you will see electric bikes use a hub motor. This is when the motor is located on one of the wheels. When in use, it will push or pull the bike along. This is a solid system, but because it’s not connected to the bike’s gears, it’s not as sufficient on Hills or rough terrain. These types of motors are going to work best while using your electric bike on relatively smooth pavement.
Earlier, we stated that most people would prefer a mid-drive motor, and that’s because it’ll handle different terrains and large hills more easily. The mid-drive motor does expend less battery energy, which will allow you to go farther while riding it. Additionally, this type of motor will switch gears as it’s connected to the drivetrain. Your power will be better, and the handling is also improved. Handling is better because of the positioning of the motor. It’s low on the frame, and the weight of it will be centered.
• The Battery: The battery on your electric bike will affect the style, weight, and range, making your battery choice critical. The battery used will play a significant role in how well your bike works. More often than not, you’ll find batteries that fall into one of two categories.
The first type of battery is a sealed lead-acid battery. This is a standard battery for electric bicycles and scooters. While you’ll still find many electric bikes using SLA batteries, it’s becoming a bit less common as technology has advanced. One of the true advantages of this type of battery is how inexpensive it is, but it also has several disadvantages. They are quite heavy and will reduce your riding range. They also don’t last as long as other battery types, and you’ll likely need to do more maintenance with them. On top of all that, they don’t hold battery life for a long time and will require you to charge them immediately following use.
The other type of battery that you are likely to run into will be lithium batteries. Many people are familiar with this type of battery, as they’re used in a variety of different things like cell phones. The life span of a lithium battery is exponentially better than a sealed lead-acid battery. They’re also lighter in weight and maintenance-free. If you’re someone that likes to head out on long riding adventures, finding an electric bike with a lithium battery is probably the best way to go. They’re going to cost you more money than an SLA battery, but the lifespan is much better, which means you won’t need to replace it nearly as frequently.
• The Controller: The last aspect you’ll need to consider is the controller. There are a variety of styles that will allow you to operate your electric bike in different ways. The controller is typically located on the handlebars, and there are two main types.
The first type is a pedal activated system. As you press down the pedals, the electric motor will make it easier, and you won’t need to engage a throttle. You can adjust the level of assistance that you require by using a controller that is mounted to your handlebar.
The second type of control is a throttle-based control. The throttle will either be pressed by your thumb or twist it to activate the electric assistance. Depending on the electric bike you choose, sometimes engaging the throttle is the only thing that you’ll have to do. After engaging the throttle, you will be able to ride without the worry of pedaling.
Overall, if you’re someone that loves to ride a bicycle, investing in an electric bike may be an excellent decision. They are straightforward to use and also simple to maintain. They provide you with the ability to enjoy a bike ride without overexerting yourself. With all of the great options, it’s merely finding the one that suits your specific style and taste. You need to consider the things covered here to ensure that you know what you’re getting into and how your electric bike will operate.