WHAT HAVE E-BIKES EVER DONE FOR US?
An electric bike is a great way of getting around and can mean that you’ll arrive at your destination more comfortable and less hot and tired than if you ride a pedal-powered bike. But the addition of a motor and the large capacity battery needed to power it means that there’s the potential to do a lot more.
E-bike system makers like Luchia have been clever at integrating other functionality into their e-bikes to make them even more useful and user-friendly.
Here’s a run-down of functionality that some e-bikes provide. In general, it’s the high end e-bikes that provide the highest added value and not all provide everything. It’s worth checking to see if an e-bike that you’re interested in has the functions that are important to you.
ASSISTANCE ON THE FLAT
The most obvious benefit of riding one of the best electric bikes is the extra assistance from the motor. That means that you can ride faster or just more easily on the flat. In most countries, assistance cuts out at 25km/h (15.5mph).
For many riders, that means that assistance is always on, except for downhill runs when they may be travelling faster than this. They may be freewheeling downhill, so the motor will cut out in any case.
If you’re consistently riding at over 25km/h, you’ll not get any assistance. On the other hand, you won’t be draining the battery and so you’ll get more range from your e-bike. The extra weight of the motor and battery shouldn’t make much difference to how hard it is to ride on the flat and most motors offer little or no resistance when not active.
ASSISTANCE ON HILLS
Where the motor comes into its own is when you need to climb a hill. The extra assistance available makes climbs a whole lot easier; you can choose how much easier by selecting the assistance level provided by the motor.
There’s an associated benefit of arriving at the top of a climb in better shape, as you’ll not feel so much need to stop or to ride easy to recover, so you’ll be able to press on and cover more ground more quickly.
Just how much assistance is available is determined by the motor’s torque; the motor’s power output is usually limited to 250 watts for road-going e-bikes.
The assistance provided by the motor means faster acceleration too - particularly useful when setting off from traffic lights or stops. It’s also useful when you’re carrying a load, as it makes getting going that much easier, making an e-bike a great option for shopping trips.
If your aim isn’t so much to get help getting from A to B, but to enjoy a longer recreational ride, the addition of a motor means that you can ride further with less fatigue. Many e-bikes can manage 50-plus miles on a charge - some much further - so places that might have been out of reach on a conventional bike will be reachable. You’ll feel fresher towards the end of your ride too. Fitter riders travelling at over 25km/h might manage significantly more than the quoted range.