They are a bicycle that has an electric motor fitted to the crank (the bit where the pedals are). This is powered by a battery, which is either located on the down tube or on a carrier at the back of the bike. The battery power will vary but they are generally between 400w – 650w.
How do they work?
The motor boosts the power that you put through by turning the pedals. The various power levels are controlled by you from a computer on your handlebars. I have a Bosch motor on my e-bike and the specific model I have has 4 levels. Eco is the lowest and provides me with 55% more power, so my 100% turns into 155%. If I need help on a steep section then the top level, which is Turbo gives me 340% more power. A common assumption is that you do not have to pedal but this is not the case, you just choose how much “assistance” you need.
Ebikes use different types of batteries depending on the manufacturer and type of e-bike. Therefore the distance you will get from one charge will vary a lot. It will depend on a number of variables:
- Your weight
- The terrain
- Level of power you use
- How much uphill you will be doing
- The wattage of the battery
Types of bikes
There are City, Trekking, Hardtail and Full suspension. If you are considering buying an e-bike do your homework to get the most suitable bike for your needs.
This bike is ideal for riding on asphalt - roads and bike paths thinner tyres not such a wide range of gears, the position on the bike is designed for comfort and tends to be fairly upright , may have a rack to carry panniers or basket, will have mudguards to protect you in the rain.
A more robust version of the city bike with all its features just stronger to deal with gravel paths and more gearing to deal with steeper terrain.
This is a mountain bike with suspension on the front to soak up the shocks from riding on rougher terrain the bike frame is solid. The tyres are wider and with a deeper knobbly tread so the grip is good on a variety of rough surfaces, brakes will be hydraulic which have greater stopping power. The position on the bike is more "sporty" so you are ready to deal with whatever the terrain throws at you.
Full Suspension (known as Fullys)
This is an even more beefed-up hardtail having suspension on the back as well as the front. The fully is designed for riding tougher steeper terrain. Interestingly many more people are now riding fullys as they offer a more comfortable ride due to the suspension, the penalty is an increase in weight due to the extra suspension system.