You have just bought your first electric bike or on considering buying one. Either way, you are probably brimming with questions about living with an electric bike. So, in this post, we are going to give you the answers to the most common electric bike FAQs. By the end of this blog, your electric bike knowledge will give you the complete picture of electric bike ownership.
How Fast Can I Ride An Electric Bike?
Electric bikes have a limited assisted top speed. In the UK, the EU and Australia, the motor stops giving you assistance at 25kph (15mph). If you live in the US, the motor assistance is limited to 32kph (20mph). Above this speed, you will feel resistance that stops you from going any faster. Alternatively, the motor will uncouple from the drivetrain, so you are the only thing powering the bike. In either case, you can ride faster when you freewheel downhill.
You can buy electric bikes designed to go faster than 25kph (15mph) due to their more powerful motors. Also, some electric bikes use a throttle to control the motor and will move without the rider pedalling. These can be considered mopeds, depending on where you live. For example, in the UK and EU, you need to have a licence to ride them, and they need to be insured and taxed.
Before buying an electric bike, find out what class of bike you can ride in your area. This way, you will stay on the right side of the law.
Do I Have To Pedal An Electric Bike?
Unless you have an electric bike with a throttle, you need to pedal. The motor engages as you pedal. How much effort you have to put in depends on which level of assistance you choose.
You can take it easy and let the motor do most of the work. Or alternatively, you can get some exercise in and select a lower assistance level.
Do I Need A Licence For An Electric Bike?
Riders over 14 in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, can ride an electric bike on the road without tax, insurance or a licence. Also, you don’t need to wear a helmet by law, but we recommend that you buy yourself a good one.
These laws apply to a ‘standard’ electric bike that you need to pedal. The motor cannot provide more than 250 watts of assistance, and the motor assistance is limited to 25kph (15mph). If you have an electric bike that doesn’t meet these requirements, you need to tax, insure it, and put a registration number on it. You also need to wear a helmet, as they are considered a motor vehicle, just like a motorbike.
The rules are constantly changing, so it is a good idea to see if there have been any updates before you buy your electric bike.
How Long Will A Fully Charged Battery Last?
Many different factors determine how far you can go before charging your electric bike battery. The type of bike you ride, the capacity of the battery, weather, how you ride and the profile of your journey all make a difference.
For example, if you are pretty fit, riding on a flat road on a warm day using the eco mode, you will travel a long way. However, if you are in turbo mode on a hilly route, on a cold day, your battery will deplete more quickly,
How Do I Charge The Battery?
Your electric bike will come with a power adaptor and cable that plugs into the mains. You simply plug the other end of the adapter into the battery’s socket.
Some electric bikes require you to remove or partially remove the battery to plug it in. However, some electric bikes have a socket built into the frame, so you can leave the battery in your bike.
Many electric bike riders like to take their battery into the house or workplace to charge it up. How long it takes for the battery to charge all depends on its capacity. But, you can expect a battery to charge fully between 3 and 7.5 hours. If this is too long, you can often buy a fast charger separately.
Are Electric Bikes Heavy?
Electric bikes are heavier than traditional bikes. The motor and battery add extra weight, but it isn’t usually a problem when you ride. Also, they are often built more substantially than regular bikes to cope with the speed and acceleration.
The extra weight may be an issue if you need to carry your bike up and down stairs or load it onto a roof rack. However, some electric bikes are not much heavier than regular bikes. Some are built to be very portable and even have folding frames, such as the Hongji CD04.
Why Do Electric Bikes Cost So Much?
Cars are significantly more expensive than electric bikes. This also translates to the huge difference in running costs. But, the extra costs associated with electric bikes over regular ones is down to the battery technology.
Electric bikes are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The lithium and cobalt used in them are expensive and rare. But electric bikes need a controller and LCD to manage the motor and battery system, making them more complex.
In addition to all this, the components manufacturers put on electric bikes are often beefier than the ones on regular bikes, making them more expensive.
Are Electric Bikes Cheating?
You can get a great workout on an electric bike, depending on how you ride it. If you select a low assistance level, you have to work hard to get up to speed. But, you will get to the top speed quicker. You can also ride further before you get tired, so you can ride for longer, which means you can exercise for longer.
However, for most electric bike riders, the extra assistance makes riding a bike more enjoyable. They can ride further and not struggle with hills.
Most electric bike rider will use their bikes for shopping, commuting and leisure time. You can carry heavier loads and accelerate from traffic lights easier. They are also great for rehabilitation from injuries while allowing people with mobility issues to get around with ease.
Can I Ride An Electric Bike With A Flat Battery?
Yes, you can ride your electric bike home if the battery goes flat on a ride. Some electric bikes help you manage the battery life very well to squeeze a few extra miles out of them. If you want a workout or have a big downhill ride where you don’t need to pedal, you will be able to switch the motor off completely.
But, riding an electric bike with no assistance will remind you of how heavy it is. The extra weight makes pedalling harder, especially when you get to an uphill section. Therefore, it is a good idea to make sure your battery is topped up before you ride. Also, if you don’t want to make life difficult for yourself, keep an eye on your battery status and adjust your riding style to suit.
What Is The Lifespan Of A Battery?
Lithium-ion batteries can be charged and discharged hundreds of times. But some manufacturers, such as Shimano, state that they can be run down and charged 1,000 times and still perform like new.
However, most electric bike batteries lose some of their capacity over time. The result is a reduction in your assisted range. But, this is not really much of a problem for most riders. The battery will often last longer than the other components on the bike.
You can extend your battery’s life by looking after it properly. For example, don’t leave it in cold temperatures, and if you are storing it for a long time, charge it to 60% to balance the cells.
The minerals inside the battery are very sought after. Therefore, they are desirable for recyclers to reclaim them for mobile phones and laptops.
What Are Watt Hours (Wh), And Do They Matter?
Watt-hours (or Wh) indicates the energy capacity of your electric bike’s battery and gives you a good idea of its range.
The Wh also shows how many watts the battery can continuously provide for an hour. For example, a 250Wh battery can deliver 250 watts of assistance for an hour, 125 watts for two hours, etc. But, real-world riding means that the demand you put on your electric bike’s battery won’t be that consistent.
However, by understanding these numbers, you will be able to get a good idea of the quality of the battery and how far you can ride. Use these numbers to compare potential electric bikes on your shortlist.
These are the most common electric bike FAQs we get. Therefore, we hope that these answers have filled in some gaps in your knowledge.
If you are thinking about buying an electric bike, check out our online store.