E-bikes are rapidly growing in popularity, with thousands and thousands being sold every year. However, this shouldn’t be considered too much of a threat to traditional bikes.
Bicycles with e-power were developed to take the physical strain out of cycling, and while this is great for many people, if you want a bike to keep you fit, an ‘old school’ human-powered bike is more suitable. Focus bikes, for example, have invested heavily in the e-bike market but haven’t stopped producing a range of well-received traditional models.
Electric Power vs. Human Power
E-bikes can be ridden with or without e-assistance, but the ‘combined’ mode is probably the most popular way of using one. This means that you’ll get e-assistance up to a certain speed, at which point the motor will cut out and you’ll be left to pedal on your own if you want to ride any faster.
This being said, even with e-assistance, you still need to pedal, just with much less effort. This makes riding uphill or carrying a load much easier. As previously mentioned, when you reach a certain speed, the motor turns off. If you stop pedalling and the bike’s speed falls below the threshold, you’ll feel the motor kick in again. You can determine how much help you need while riding an e-bike by choosing a different level of assistance: these range from ‘eco’ to ‘high’ - just choose which one suits you.
In Europe, the motor on a pedalec is required by law to cut out at when the bike reaches 25kmh, after which the rider has to accelerate or maintain the speed using only their own legs.
Many factors affect the efficiency and acceleration of the motor, such as the type of engine, battery level, bike configuration and the driver (weight, riding style and seating position, etc.). It’s therefore difficult to provide any information on acceleration with 100% accuracy.
One of the few drawbacks of an electric bike is charging time and battery life. Batteries differ quite a lot in how long they last, but the maximum time before having to recharge is about 3 to 4 hours of continuous use. However, as technology progresses, batteries are lasting longer. Naturally, this depends on which level of e-assistance you use: the battery will run out a lot quicker when using a high level of assistance. On the other hand, a regular bike is always ready to ride.
To make sure your e-bike is always ready for use, you should charge it regularly. Even if you don't ride the bike for a while, try to maintain the battery well in order to extend its lifespan. E-bike batteries can easily be detached from the frame and connected to a nearby power source.
Advantages of E-Bikes
E-bikes have changed the lives of both experienced cyclists and people who were never previously into riding. Many from the latter group avoided cycling before of poor fitness and the physical strain of riding a bicycle. With an e-bike, this is no longer a factor. For people who don’t want to tire themselves, e-bikes offer a wonderful way of reaching more remote parts of the country and riding further than ever before.
E-bikes are eco-friendly machines that don’t use fossil fuels. Therefore, in ‘greener’ countries, the demand for these bikes has increased exponentially. Although e-bikes aren’t cheap, they’re extremely cost effective in the long run, and the cost of electricity used for a single charge is negligible.
Bikes using electric drive are the vehicles of the future. The fact that the automotive industry is the single biggest investor in the e-bike industry perfectly illustrates this claim. Hopefully, in the near future, cars will no longer be the go-to mobility solution in overpopulated cities, and e-bikes will provide a way to reduce traffic jams and pollution levels.