Jack Explains – E-bikes!
The first of a series of blogs from Chichester's Jack Ingram
E-Bikes, love them or hate them. They’re here to stay. Electronically assisted bikes are probably the most misunderstood topic within the cycling industry.
Why do people buy them? Who is buying them? How long does the battery last? Isn’t the weight an issue? How fast do they go?
Truth is there is no stereotypical E-biker. They are just like any other cyclist. Young, old. Experienced or inexperienced. Everyone can and does enjoy them which is part of their beauty!
E-bikes can broaden the horizon for you and smash your limitations to allow you to boldly go where you have never ridden before. For less experienced riders, it can allow them to go further. For more experienced riders, it also allows them to go further… Basically, you can ride further with less effort. That doesn’t mean it’s a free ride. You still have to pedal, all the E-bikes have a varying amount of assistance in which the ride can choose how much assistance they have. This can range from “off” to what some call “turbo”.
The battery life is a huge variable. Terrain, gear selection, rider effort, tyre choice and pressure, mode selection, rider weight and effort are just a few things that will effect the range of an E-Bike. Some brands like Shimano have got around this so called “range anxiety” by creating apps like their E-Tube Project which helps you fine tune what the motor is doing, much like a map for a car or motorcycle.
Another useful resource is the range Calculator on Bosch’s website. It enables you to input information regarding your weight, riding style, terrain and riding mode and gives you an idea to how long the battery will last. This of course, is only really applicable to Bosch powered bikes.
The bikes vary in weight a lot, especially when looking at various disciplines. For example a full suspension mountain bike in comparison to a hard tail city type bike. Once you are riding the bike with any kind of assistance on the weight pretty much disappears and only becomes apparent during slow tight manoeuvres or super steep technical off-road terrain. The only time the weight can become an issue is lifting the bike over fences or putting it in or on your car. Some brands such as Thule, have remedied this issue by producing mini ramps to load your bike easier. Avoiding roof type racks would be good move for most people.
So enough of the boring stuff, how fast do these bad boys go? Well in the UK they are restricted to 15.9mph. Which off-road, is plenty. E-bikes must also be pedal assist to avoid being classed as a motor vehicle. This means the motor only kicks in whilst the rider is pedalling. Now do you see how it’s not cheating? Inevitably, some riders will be able to ride faster than this off their own steam. That’s fine too, you can ride beyond the speed restriction of the bike. You just won’t receive any more assistance from the bike. This is why so many brands are bragging about “zero drag” systems. Because once the motor cuts out, it’s beneficial to have as little friction as possible to help you push harder.
Still confused? Why not drop us an email, call us or visit one of our stores in the south. Visit our store locator for contact details.
Here’s some inspo for you courtesy of Specialized and World Champ Peter Sagan.
Jack works in our Chichester store, is a fully qualified Retul Bike Fitter and whilst he rides all disciplines, it’s safe to say his heart belongs to mountain biking.
Check out Jack’s Instagram for more inspiration to get out on your bike.