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You may have heard about or even seen that electric bikes are starting to flood the bike market recently, to the point that some are fearing for the standard bikes fading away from the bike market just like the old penny-farthing bikes and that our fitness and health that we use these bikes for will be at risk!
But no need to fear as all will be explained in this post to answer many curious questions of “what about electric bikes” over standard bikes.
Before I jump into things here, I want to just reassure you that these electric bikes, also known as “e bikes” have not been introduced to replace the power of the human body on the bike, they may be used to assist but still require much of your own efforts and in fact, some will say they are probably going to enhance your exercising efforts!
One thing is for sure, is that these e bikes are growing rapidly in sales over the last couple of years, even to a point that e bike sales were higher than the traditional bike sales over in the Netherlands last year!
Electric Bikes Explained
So lets get into what exactly are these electric bikes that everyone is talking about!
In simple terms, an electric bicycle or “e bike” is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor which can be used for propulsion.
There are many e bikes on the market all over the world which range from e bikes that will have a small motor to help assist the rider with pedal power right up to e bikes with a bigger motor that almost turns the bike into a moped style function.
Because these bikes e bikes still have pedals that will still give the rider the ability to pedal, this is what stops them being labelled as electric motorcycles.
How Do Electric Bikes Work?
E bikes are still used and handled just like a traditional bicycle and will contain the same parts too with handle bars, pedals, gears, etc, but it is just the electric component which is different and they are only designed to assist with human pedaling and NOT replace it.
When I say assist, I mean that when a cyclist on an e bike is tackling big hills, headwind and obstacles, the motor kicks in as you try to push harder to help make these tough challenges a bit more manageable and allow you to travel further without using as much energy.
Yes this is where people start thinking that you aren’t getting as much of a workout on the bike, but if you think about it, these motors kick in when they feel some resistance to you pedaling, such as going uphill, therefore you begin to push harder, you gain some assistance from the motor, so because of this, it encourages you to keep pushing harder, making you go faster, then you end up riding harder than you would and traveling further.
In the end, you would have covered more distance and actually pushed yourself harder, this is why some people will say that these e bikes can actually give you a better and harder workout than a traditional bike.
Different Types Of Electric Bikes
1. Pedelec / Pedal Assist
This type of electric bike is the most common on the market. Pretty much just like I explained above, the rider pedals as normal as on a traditional bike, but with the assist of a motor to increase power to the rear wheel.
The amount of assistance can be controlled by different settings, but assistance can only be delivered to the rear wheel while the pedals are being moved. Different countries will have different legislation on what speeds the assistance will allow the rider to get up to in order to keep these bikes classed as an electric bicycle.
A throttle e bike works pretty much in the same way of motorcycle or scooter, where the motor will be powered by a throttle on the handlebars to deliver assistance to the rear wheel.
These e bikes can be powered by the motor without the pedals moving at all, however these type of e bikes are less popular then the pedal assist bikes due to some laws in certain countries don’t allow these bikes at all. Throttle bikes are more common in the United States and China where there is very little legislation to limit their use.
3. Speed Pedelec
These speed pedelec bikes work pretty much the same as a standard pedelec bike only like the title gives away, these are designed to get up to higher speeds of almost 28mph and therefore are labelled in many areas as a motor vehicle and will require riders to be licensed to ride them.
The Main Components In An Electric Bike
Of course, the motor is the most important feature which turns a traditional bike into an electric bike and there are 3 different types of motors;
Front Hub – These motors are located on the front wheel hub spinning the wheel which gives the rider a feel that they are being pulled.
Rear Hub – Similar to the front hub motor only these are located on the rear wheel turning the rear wheel giving the rider more of a push feel on the bike which gives the rider a more natural feel on the bike.
Mid Drive – Different to the other two motors, these provide power to the bikes drive train instead of a hub and gives the rider even more of a natural sensation on the bike.
To provide electrical power to the motor. These can give you between 20 and 60 miles of riding per charge but different factors can determine how much charge you use depending on the riding style between pedal only, pedal assist and electric only.
3. Drive Train
The mid-drive motors send power directly to the bikes drive train and provides the power and the torque necessary to turn the wheels of the bike manually. Most of these drive trains allow the rider to change gears to make it easier or harder to pedal.
Is An Ebike Worth The Money?
As you can imagine, e bikes don’t come cheap so you would have to stretch out your budget much further than if you wanted to buy a traditional bike.
Having said that, these electric bikes are becoming more and more popular in the cycling world so there is a clue that these bikes must be satisfying to people who have tested these or even bought one themselves making them worth the money they have paid for them.
The cost of course will depend on the type of electric bike you get and also the make and model but they are becoming more and more popular in the cycling world!
I would love to hear from those that have tried one of these bikes out or if you haven’t, it would be interesting to hear what your thoughts are on these e bikes, so feel free to comment below.