Electric Bike Guide

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GUIDE OVERVIEW

LEARN MORE ABOUT ELECTRIC BIKES AND SEE HOW THEY CAN BENEFIT YOUR LIFESTYLE!

In our Electric Bike Guide, we break down some of the best benefits of riding an ebike, and explain the different kinds you can choose from. We’ll also cover how electric bikes work and hope that all of the information on this page helps you discover which ebike and what components will work best for you. Let’s get started.

Why buy an electric bike?

Electric bikes offer many benefits and can satisfy a lot of sought after needs. Check out some of the top reasons why people love ebikes below:

WHO ARE EBIKES PERFECT FOR?

Electric bikes are great for all riders and as long as you want to ride a bike, there’s an ebike for you.

RECREATIONAL RIDERS

Even if you aren’t planning to ride big distances or at top speeds, riding an electric bike can make any trip around the park or neighborhood more enjoyable.

Recreational riders who just want to get some fresh air and exercise love how ebikes help them start riding more often. If you live in a hilly area which makes riding difficult, grab an ebike and start enjoying life on two wheels again.

CITY COMMUTERS

People who ride their bikes to work are some of the most common electric bike users. Whether you already commute on two wheels or you’d like to start, ebikes are a great way to get exercise, avoid sitting in traffic, and cut down on expenses.

 When you can ride 20 miles with ease at a quick pace, the distance to work is non longer an issue. 

MOUNTAIN BIKERS

It’s not just casual riders and commuters that love electric bikes. eMTBs, or electric mountain bikes, can help riders tackle tougher terrain and ride longer trails in less time.

If you want a bike that can help boost you up the big climbs so you can enjoy more downhills, you’ll love expanding your limits with an electric mountain bike.

HOW DO ELECTRIC BIKES WORK?

We want to demystify ebikes so you can feel confident in your purchase. The majority of the mechanical components on an electric bike are the exact same as a non-electric bike, this includes parts like the brakes, the chain, the tires, etc.

The electrical system on an ebike is made up of the motor, battery, display, controller, and sensor. We will briefly go over these electric components with you so you can understand how they work together to create your fun ride!

ELECTRIC BIKE MOTORS

An electric bike motor can be located at either the hub of the rear wheel, at the bottom bracket of the bike by the cranks (what the pedals connect to), or at the hub of the front wheel. These locations each have their advantages and disadvantages.

When you are looking at the details of an ebike's motor, you will see it often described with watts (W). This is a measurement of how much energy the ebike motor can manage. For example some common ebike motors are 250W, 350W, 500W, and 750W. 

The watts of an ebike motor can impact how powerful the ebike feels, like a 750W motor might be considered the more powerful motor, however, the battery and controller also impact how the ebike rides. With this being said, the position of the motor on the ebike, the battery size, and the configurations in the controller may make a 350W motor feel more powerful than a 500W motor. 

REAR HUB MOTOR

A motor that is located at the hub of the rear wheel is called a rear hub or rear drive motor. These motors are the most common and mechanically simple systems. They apply the motor force directly to the rear wheel and keeps it separated from the rest of the bicycle drivetrain (chain, cogs etc.). 

Although this is an advantage that doesn't impact the riding experience, front hub and rear hub motors have more affordable replacement parts.

MID-DRIVE MOTOR

A motor that is located at the bottom bracket by the cranks (or by the pedals) is referred to as a mid-drive motor. A mid-drive motor sits lower than a hub motor, and thus lowers the center of gravity making the bicycle more stable.

Riders who are drawn to mid-drive motors often compare the feel of the ride to that of a regular bike. 

One consideration with a mid drive is that the motor power is being applied to the chain ring by the pedals and transmitted through the chain and cogs on the rear (the drivetrain). Thus the rider has to be more conscious about shifting technique to avoid premature wear on the drivetrain parts. Mid-drive ebikes also often do not have a throttle and only have pedal-assist. 

FRONT HUB MOTOR

When an ebike motor is located at the hub of the front wheel, it's called a front hub or front drive motor. These motors can be useful in applications where a rear hub may not be available, such as on a tricycle or when the rear wheel has an internal gear hub. Like the rear hub system, it keeps the motor forces away from the bicycle drivetrain.

ELECTRIC BIKE BATTERIES

The ebike battery is where it all starts. Located at different parts on the ebike, the battery can come in different sizes. When we say sizes what we are describing is the different power capacities.

The battery capacity can be described in amp hours (Ah) or watt-hours (Wh) along with the voltage (V). Let's briefly look at these descriptions and talk about why this information might be important to you. 

Electric bike displays, controllers, and sensors.

Display

The display will show information to the rider including speed, battery level, pedal assist level, trip distance, and odometer. 

Advanced displays that are more common on high-end ebikes can track your cadence, average speed, and some even display downloaded maps. 

Controller

The controller is typically thought of as the brain to the ebike. The controller is connected to all electrical systems and controls the start, stop, and speed of the ebike. 

Sensor

The sensor is what turns the motor on when you're pedaling your ebike. An electric bike can have a torque sensor or a cadence sensor (some have both although this is less common).

The torque sensor reacts to how hard you're pedaling the ebike and a cadence sensor reacts to if you're pedaling at all.

The cadence sensor will immediately turn the motor on when the pedal is engaged and shut off when you stop pedaling.

The torque sensor is different and adjusts the motor's output according to the force you apply to the pedal. Essentially, if you're pedaling harder it will produce more assistance. 

Ok, I know how an ebike works. What else should I learn?

Good information to know: The different classes of electric bikes.
Class 1, Class 2, & Class 3

A Class 1 ebike has a motor that only engages when pedaling and stops providing assistance at 20mph.

Thanks for reading! If you'd like to learn more, visit the other pages on the Learn section of our website. 

If you have questions or comments regarding the information on this page, we welcome you to contact us via email or give us a call.