How Do Electric Bikes Work?
An electric bike has a powerful, battery driven electric motor that drives either the rear or the front axle. The battery is usually mounted somewhere on the frame and is easily removed for charging or replacement.
Clearly, it is a good idea to carry a spare battery, as it doubles your range and eliminates the dreaded "range anxiety".
Range depends on a number of factors, including the power and capacity of the battery, the terrain (hills consume battery faster, for example) and the type of riding you do. Most electric bikes work by assisting your pedal movement as you're riding. You still have to do put some effort into it. The motor cuts in when your speed drops below a certain level, giving you that extra push.
When you are looking at electric bikes on sale, look for a light frame and a heavy duty battery.
As a guide, a 36V 10Ah battery (360Wh), which is a very common capacity for an electric bike, will take you 50km (around 30 miles) using the highest level of assistance or 100km (around 60 miles) using the lowest level of assistance. Obviously, carrying a spare battery potentially doubles this.
You won't get pedal-assist beyond 30 km/hr (around 18 mph).
Some electric bikes have a throttle, so you don't have to pedal at all, and some have both throttle and pedal assist.
The electric bike's battery can be recharged from a normal power point. Typical recharge time is four to six hours so this is another reason to have a spare battery. Most manufacturers recommend that you don't run your battery down fully.
Electric Bikes on Sale: What to Look For
Higher Watt Motor
The more powerful the motor, the more torque. This means greater take-off potential from a standing start. Depending on local legislation, the motor will probably be set to a maximum of 250W, but a 350W motor limited to 250W will give greater torque than a 250W motor.
Motor Driving the Front Hub
This can be really important, particularly for frail or elderly riders. In the unfortunate event of a puncture, It's relatively easy to remove the front wheel for maintenance. The rear wheel is already difficult to get at with a complex derailleur setup and adding a motor to it makes things even more difficult. Rear hub motors can be quite complex for maintenance.
The battery adds a lot of weight to an electric bike. So when you're looking at electric bikes on sale, take the total weight, including the battery, into account. You may have to push the bike if it gets a puncture and you're unable to repair it, or up a hill if it runs out of charge. Another good reason to carry a spare battery. Or spend a bit more and get a bike with a lighter frame and running gear.
Most electric bikes have lithium-ion battery packs with 8Ah-14Ah capacity, and voltage from 24V-36V. They range from 200W-250W.
Electric bikes only get you so far before needing a recharge. Some claim up to an impressive 100km (60 miles) between charges but most give a broader range because it depends on a number of variables.
Hills, headwinds and carrying a lot of weight drain the battery further, and using a throttle drains the battery more quickly than a pedal-assist system does. Typical recharge time is four to six hours.
You can expect the battery to last for about 500 charges, and replacements cost between $395 and $550. Budget for a replacement every three years or so.
Does the thought of getting a puncture, taking the wheel off the bike, breaking the tire away from the wheel, removing the tube, replacing it with the spare that you always carry, inflating it with the pump you also always carry and then reassembling the whole thing - freak you out?
If so, you might like to consider investing in a set of puncture-proof tires.
There are broadly two ways in which tires are made puncture-proof. The first, which is more properly called puncture-resistant, is a layer of material such as Kevlar that is fitted between the tire and the tube. It will deflect minor damage but isn't strong enough to resist penetration by a serious intruder such as a sharp nail.
The second way is to replace the air-filled tube with a solid polymer. You can drive a nail through this without deflating the tire. You lose something in comfort as the tire is not as pneumatic as one with an air-filled tube.
If you are investigating electric bikes on sale, there are many puncture-proof and puncture-resistant tires to choose from. Your best guide to what might suit you are the reviews from actual users.
There are many accessories that can enhance your cycling pleasure, but start with a high quality, comfortable helmet as it's a legal requirement in most jurisdictions. But even if it weren't, you should have one. It's a safety essential.
Check out the full range of helmets available from Amazon at the best prices here:
Other accessories you should consider include:
- Lights. A headlight is a necessity if you are going to do any riding at night. A taillight is a necessity at any time. If you ride on the road, have your taillight on in flashing mode, to ensure that you are visible to motorists coming up behind you. This is particularly important if you are riding into the sun.
- Wrap-around photochromic sunglasses are just fabulous. They react to the light falling on them and transition from totally clear to very dark. Great for changeable weather or just for starting your ride in the early morning or finishing at dusk.
- Locks. You spend a lot on your e-bike, even if you bought it from electric bikes on sale. Don't risk it being stolen.
- A pump. Unless you have puncture-proof tires, a pump is essential to get going again after a puncture.
- Mudguards and a chain guard are useful if you ride in rainy weather, especially if you ride to work.
- And if you take your bike shopping or touring, there are many racks and panniers to help. Just bear in mind that they all add weight, so don't get them unless you have a definite use for them.
Amazon has a huge range of bike accessories. Check them out here:
Click here for the best range of Electric Bikes on Sale from Amazon.