Electric bikes, which are also known as e-bikes, are regular bicycles with an added battery-powered motor to help you ride the bike without putting up much effort. You can call them a hybrid between a motorbike and a regular bike.
The motor can assist you as you pedal the bike, or you can simply twist the throttle and the bike will move forward like a motorbike without any effort. The pedal assist makes you feel superhuman, and the throttle option makes your bike a motorbike. Some bikes will have only pedal assist feature, and some will have only throttle feature; some modern e-bikes have both features together in one bike.
We are here to help you with understanding e-bike from top to bottom. This is going to be the only guide that you need to understand everything related to this amazing invention called electric bicycles.
Why should you care about e-bikes?
Electric bikes come with their own unique advantages and positive sides to help riders achieve their maximum potential without unnecessary stress.
Simply speaking – they make it easier for everyone to get into cycling (just stick with us to know how do they exactly do that).
E bikes are a technological solution to make your life easier and help you get more of everything related to bicycling and commuting. You can ride further, go higher, travel faster, and have the biggest smile ever when you choose and ride the best e bike for you.
E-bikes come in different shapes and sizes to cater to everyone, be it for leisure riding or profession-based purposes. They can do it all. With e-bikes, the older adults gain mobility and maintain freedom, and the younger crowd who don’t appreciate traditional cycling can harbor this experience instead.
Electric bikes are the future – a blooming industry valued at almost USD 22 billion and predicted that it will reach USD 25 billion by 2025.
Components of an E bike
Just as we have mentioned before, an e-bike consists of a regular bike and added parts to make it what it is. Other than the regular bike part, a typical e-bike has three more important components that make it an e-bike. They are the motor, battery, and a controller. We will try to explain these three thoroughly for you.
The Motor and Sensors
The driving force of your bike comes from a battery powered motor. And the motor can come in different power ratings, ranging from 250W to 1000W or more. However, 750W is the legal limit in the US.
Note that – different states can have different laws regarding that; we will further discuss this in our e-bike laws segment.
A 750W motor will be much more powerful than a 250W motor, but it will consume more energy to run and more money to buy as well.
A 250W motor is powerful enough for day to day rides, but you would want to take it a bit higher to 350W, 500W, or even 750W if you plan to do a lot of steep climbing and challenging riding with your bike.
Hub/mid drive / cadence and other sensors torque sensor/ pedal assist sensor
Types of motor in e bikes
There are mainly two types of motor available for e bikes. One is the hub motor, and the other is mid-drive motor. Some people might even mention friction motors, but they are usually not found in an e-bike; they are found in conversion kits to transform a regular bike into an e-bike.
Hub Motors – are integrated into the wheels. It can be on the rear wheel or the front wheel. They are comparatively cheaper and get the work done pretty well.
However, the motor and battery might create weight imbalance if not positioned properly. Besides that, changing the tires, or removing the wheels can be a mess if you don’t know how to do it right when dealing with hub motors.
Hub motors create a push or pull sensation depending upon in which wheel they are placed. If it’s a rear hub motor, then it creates a push sensation while riding, and if it’s a front hub motor, then it creates a pull sensation.
For casual and daily commute, hub motors are excellent in performance without any major issues. They have been in the market for a long time, and they are proven.
Hub motors usually uses cadence sensors in them. These sensors are cheap and very basic. Just as you start pedaling, it activates the motor to provide assistance. It’s more like a switch.
Mid-drive Motors – are integrated into the middle of the bike, which means – they are placed in between the pedals. Bikes with mid drive motors are comparatively expensive; they provide you a natural and better sensation as you pedal the bike.
Because of their middle placement, the weight balance is much better and they use more sensors to provide calculated assistance to the rider rather than providing fixed torque like the ones with hub motors. If you are putting more pressure and pedaling faster, the sensors will send a signal to the motor to assist with more power. The more expensive torque sensor is used to do that.
Mid-drive motors will have internal gearing to provide you with tailored power output in different situations. Sophisticated characteristics make mid-drive motors more suitable for trail and challenging rides.
Mid and hub both have their own pros and cons. watch this video for better understanding.
Sensors: to simply understand, the two main sensor types are torque and cadence sensors. Torque sensors would be included in better e bikes, while cadence sensors will be present in lower end e bikes.
How do electric bikes work and How to ride one?
As we have mentioned above, there are different types of e bikes. Some will have pedal assist only, some will have throttle only, and some will have both in one bike.
So, let’s see how the bike works and how to ride an electric bike.
E-bike works just like a normal bike. In addition, it can provide assistance through a battery powered motor that makes it effortless for you to pedal the bike. Also, it can turn your bike into a motorbike as you twist the throttle and watch the bike move forward on its own.
You can choose the level of assistance you want from the controller, and the throttle can be of two types – twist throttle on the handlebar, or a simple finger push throttle. The more you use the motor while riding, the faster the battery drains out, and you eventually have to plug it to recharge.
Pedal only – Regular bike mechanism
You can ride your electric bike just like a regular bike without any help from the motor. Depending on the type of controller your bike has, you can set it to “0” or turn assistance off to turn off assistance mode.
Simply ride and cruise your bike any way you want, and you can even change gears of your bike if that function is available.
This helps when you want to get extra exercise or you have run out of battery. A lot of people will go the distance riding just like a regular bike, and then turn the assistance “on” as they feel tired or wanna get back home quicker.
Pedal-Assist – Electric assist mechanism
This is the mode where you feel like a superhuman as you crush through steep hills with ease. The extra assist can help you achieve things that you have never done before.
Simply push a button on your controller situated on your handlebar, and set the level of assistance you want. You will get immediate support from the motor as you start pedaling. If you have a cadence sensor in your bike, the level of assistance will be fixed on each level; the torque sensor on the other hand will provide you more customized support.
You can catch up with your pro rider friend or go the extra distance that you have always wanted, without breaking a sweat. Just turn the assistance level a bit down if you want to get more exercise while you ride.
Electric only – throttle mechanism
This is like a magic conversion; the beautiful aspect of technology. Whenever you feel like just cruising without any work at all, you can use the throttle to override any pedal assistance control. Simply push the throttle, and your bike moves on its own just like a motorbike.
It’s a different kind of feeling to cruise around in a bike and enjoy the nature along the way. Also, if you want to get to your office faster, beating the traffic and not breaking a sweat, the throttle option is a life saver.
Note that – the full throttle mode wears your battery faster, hence you will have to get to charging outlet comparatively quicker. Also, according to the Federal regulations – you can achieve a top speed of 20mph maximum in throttle only mode.
What are the types of e bike? (10 types of E bikes)
There’s an e bike for everything. You name it and it has already been built. There are weird e bikes that you can’t even name or categorize.
We have tried to categorize the top 10 types of available e bikes in the market nowadays.
Cruiser e-bikes are created for relaxed and recreational riding. Hence this type of e-bikes comes with comfortable features like a large padded seat, wider tires, and front suspension fork. Also, the handlebars are set higher for an upright sitting position.
Cruiser e-bikes are meant to be ridden on paved surfaces. Hence they will be not ideal if you are looking for something that can ride on rough terrains or off-road.
Just like the bike suggests, commuter bikes are meant for commuting. If you are running errands or commuting to your office or school, then this is the type of e-bike to go for. Commuter bikes are usually well designed in terms of aesthetics, and they are also meant for paved surface riding. Usually, a commuter e-bike will have larger and narrower tires, along with comfortable seats.
For the adventure seekers, this is the e bike option to go for. Mountain e bikes are built for challenging rides and they are usually more powerful than regular e bikes. You can go almost anywhere and overcome gnarly trails with ease. They feature well grip tires and flat handlebars for greater control on trail riding. Those who want to do off road and take things to next level with their bikes will love mountain e bikes.
Road e bikes are lightweight and designed for speed. Hence they feature narrower built with thin tires. Road e bikes are meant to be ridden on paved surfaces for recreational riding. Those who want to go fast will have a particular liking for lightweight road bikes.
Trikes Bikes ( Tricycles and Pedicabs):
Trikes are three-wheeled e bikes that are more stable and super easy to ride. In most countries, tourists would use pedicabs to be driven around a tourist site. Some people who want to ride with their family also prefer trikes for added safety and comfortable space available. You can go shopping and put stuff in the big basket. These types of bikes are comparatively heavier, but they do come with larger batteries and powerful motors.
A mix between road and mountain bikes is what makes a hybrid bike. For someone who wants to get into both road and mountain bikes can opt for this middle ground solution. Hybrid e bikes feature tires that are thinner than mountain bikes, but not as thin as road bikes. Something in between. You can ride them comfortably on paved roads or off-road conditions since they usually come with a front suspension.
The cargo e bikes are simply brilliant for carrying stuff effortlessly. You’ve got the power and you’ve got the space, all you gotta do is carry the amount you want to. Some cargo e bikes will even allow you carry more than a small car. Then there are long-tail cargo e bikes that can carry around other people including the rider. Grocery shopping and riding a bike with your kids can’t get easier than this.
with big fat tires, the name fat bikes came. Fat tire e bikes are very comfortable and look super cool for some people. Gigantic tires help in shock absorption and they are meant to be ridden on different surfaces including sand, snow, pavement, mud, and other challenging terrains.
They are comparatively heavier because of the humongous tire sizes, but they are super fun to ride as well.
Parking your car and bikes can be a huge hassle sometimes. What if you could fold and take them with you to keep under your desk? Sounds unbelievable right? That’s exactly what folding e bikes allow you to do. Ride them to places and go to the destination, and then you can simply fold them and carry them like simple briefcases. This makes commuting super fun and convenient. However, it might not be a good idea if you have to carry the bike over the stairs. It’s small, but not the lightest thing to carry sometimes.
Moped or mini Bikes:
These are e bikes designed slightly differently. It’s easier and more fun to ride them. The wheel base is shorter and mounting these bikes is a lot easier because of the design. These types of moped like e bikes feature wider tires and motorbike like structures. They are mostly meant for throttle riding. For some people, it’s like getting a motorbike that doesn’t require any paperwork; hence often labeled as “true car replacement”.
Classes of e bikes and LAWs regarding electric bikes
Let’s clarify everything you need to know when it comes to the Laws of e bikes in the United States.
Each state in the US has its own sets of rules and regulations regarding e bikes. The federal law suggests – an e bike can have a maximum 750W motor with a maximum speed of 20mph when solely powered by the motor; in assist mode, you can go higher up to 28mph.
Most of the states have adopted the class system for e bike laws. There are three classes of e bikes in the US in general.
Class 1 e bikes only provide pedal assist and can go up to 20mph. You can of course pedal and increase the speed, but the assist cuts off as you hit 20.
Class 2 e bikes can have both pedal assist and throttle together. You can hit a maximum speed of 20mph in this class as well.
Class 3 is an extended version of class 1 e bikes where you can go up to 28mph with pedal assist and a speed-meter must be equipped.
As of 2020, twenty-six states have adopted the three-class laws regarding e-bikes.
Do you need license for e bikes?
States that adopted 3 class system for e bikes do not require you to have any license. However, each state has their own sets of rules and regulations. You can search online for your particular state to know their own sets of rules.
Some of the states might require you to pay one time fee, have a specific license to ride a moped style e bike, be of specific age, wear helmet, and other conditions.
Everything aside, you should wear proper riding gear, use lights, and reflector for your own safety.
Top Advantages and Disadvantages of an E bike
We will try to give you a proper evaluation of actual advantages and disadvantages regarding e bikes, and then put up a comparison table so that it becomes easier to have a clear picture.
Power, Speed, and Distance:
There are some things that you simply can’t understand through explaining; the experience of riding an e bike is something similar. You don’t know how fun it is until you try it for yourself.
E bikes are just regular bikes with a battery powered motor that can assist you to make you feel like a superhuman. E bikes are super easy to ride and you can set the level of assistance you want from the motor. You can even ride it on full throttle without any pedaling at all (depends on the model of e bike you have).
Because of that extra support, you can go new distance, have more dynamic riding experience, and have the option to do more. It’s easier for the elderly to get back into riding bikes, and it’s also fashionable for youngers at the same time.
On full throttle, you can go up to 20mph, and on assist mode – you can go up to 28mph with an electric bike. Now that’s some wicked speed if you ask me.
Depending upon your battery and bike model, you might need around 3 to 6 hours to charge the battery and then you can enjoy 30 to 100km of range from one single charge.
Going to your office, grocery, or a basic ride around the park can’t get easier than this. Also on the weekend, you can start crushing those big steep mountains like butter with your mountain e bike.
Size and Weight:
Comparatively, electric bikes are a bit heavier because of the extra components added to them (motor and battery). You would definitely need more muscle as you get them on your car rack or transport them for general purposes.
However, you should know that – this isn’t an issue when you ride. The motor assistance makes it up for the weight many times over.
Also, if you need to carry your e bike regularly, then looking for folding e bikes can be a proper solution for you.
Of course, there are issues regarding size and weight of e bikes, but these are nothing that you can’t manage.
Types of e bikes available in market:
Electric bikes offer something for everyone. There are tons of different types of electric bikes available in the market. If you love off-roading, then you can go for a mountain e bike, if you want to do grocery shopping then you can go for cargo e bikes, and there are e bike variants available for all sorts of regular bikes.
Top 10 common e bikes are – cruiser, cargo, commuter, mountain, road, trikes, hybrid, fat tire, moped or mini, and folding e bikes.
Cost and maintenance:
Electric bikes are definitely more expensive; a decent electric bike is going to cost double the price of a good regular bike. However, you are paying what you are actually getting. Besides that, some people would even get an e bike to replace their short commute with a car. Once you compare it to the car cost and long term cost, the electric bike turns out to be a winner.
There isn’t much more to maintenance for an e bike. If you are a cautious buyer and apply the knowledge you have gained reading this article, chances are that you will get a quality bike for yourself. A decent battery and motor will support you for years to come without any problem at all. All the rest are basic bike maintenance.
Laws and riding license:
The manufacturers won’t create something that isn’t permitted in your area. Still, know that – if it’s an e bike under 750W and 20mph top throttle speed, you’d be fine. Different states have different laws regarding e bikes. Sometimes the laws can be a bit confusing if you are a beginner. Hopefully, our law and license section above helped you to solve this issue.
Trend and Community:
E bikes are trendy mostly because of the eco movement all over the world. More to that, getting into biking allows you to connect with new communities and make new friends.
Health and nature:
It is self explanatory that e bikes are eco friendly. They do not contribute to an environmental pollution like cars and other vehicles do. Riding an e bike gives you a different kind of fulfillment for being an environment cautious citizen.
Ultimate e bike buying guide: How to buy an e bike?
Considering few things and having some information in your pocket can help you get the best electric bike for you at the best possible price.
Comparatively, e bikes require heavy investing upfront. Depending upon your need and choice, it can range from 300 US dollars to 6000 US dollars generally.
First thing: You have to understand the reason behind your purchase. What’s your big “WHY” behind it? Take a bit of time and ask yourself that what type of riding are you going to prefer. Look at the section above where we talked about types of e bikes and you will be sure about which type of e bike to get.
If you want to commute to your office then a road bike, hybrid, or commuter e bike will suffice. However, you would want to get a mountain e bike if you want to get adventurous with your bike on off-road terrains.
Second thing: Consider your budget before you finally choose the bike. Initially, you have to pay a good amount to get an e bike, but understand how you are going to save money over time as you use your car less often. Besides that, there are variables that you simply can’t monetarily evaluate; for example – the fun you will get and physical benefits through bike riding.
If you have a low budget, you can’t expect to get a lot of features, and if someone promises that, then it’s better to steer clear from that. However, having a high budget means you get to ask for better features and branded quality parts with a powerful motor, larger battery, and quality derailleur.
Hopefully, you have learned about the components of e bike we have discussed above. This will give you a proper idea of what can increase the price of an e bike and what to look for within budget.
Third thing: Make sure that you get the right size for yourself. Getting the right fit is the key to enjoying your bike riding experience. Different bike brands will come up with their own sizing chart. However, if you know few terms like standover height, seat tube length, and top tube, things would be easier for you. Follow through the bike size chart for the bike you choose and read our detailed guide to know more.
That being said, here’s a basic guide for electric bike sizes.
|Rider’s Height( ft & inches )||Bike Frame Size|
|4’10” – 5’2″||Extra Small ( 13″ – 14″ )|
|5’2″ – 5’6″||Small ( 15″ – 16″ )|
|5’6″ – 5’10”||Medium( 17″ – 18″ )|
|5’10” – 6’1″||Large ( 19″ – 20″ )|
|6’1″ – 6’4″||X-Large ( 21″ – 22″ )|
|6’4″ – 6’6″||XX-Large ( 23″ – 24″ )|
- Consider if you would need a step-through frame or a regular step-over is just fine.
- Go for lithium batteries
- Check if the bike has branded parts from Shimano and Bosch if you are purchasing an expensive one
- Check your state laws and know the rules
Where to buy e bikes in the US?
There are two main places where you can get e bikes. First – a traditional bike shop near you and second is online stores or the bike brand website.
Getting a bike from a traditional bike shop near you means you can get a good look at what you are buying and get better service as they will help you choose what is the best possible option for you.
On the other hand, shopping online means you have access to a variety of options at a click and you save time as well.
Online marketplaces like Amazon have some great affordable e bike options. We will list some of them down below for you.
What are the Best E bike brands in the US?
There are way too many e bike brands popping up here and there. You will find all new designs and inspiration on Kickstarter boasting about how good they are. In reality, not all of them stay very long in the market.
Some of the renowned brands in the US are Schwinn, Trek, Giant, Pedego, Specialized, and Rad power. There are also some affordable brands available on amazon; they are proven and they have been in this market for quite a while now. The amazon brands are – Ancheer, Ecotric, Nakto, Swagtron, and Rattan.
What is the best electric bike?
It’s a question that you cannot answer by referring to one single e bike. The most expensive e bike might not be the best e bike. There are tons of e bike and you simply cannot point your finger towards one.
Depending on your budget and need, you might be able to somewhat understand what is the best e bike for your need. For example, if you have a budget of 1000 dollars and you want a fat bike, then Ecotric fat tire electric bike must be the best choice for you.
Simply speaking, the best electric bike for you will be the one suited to your need and budget.
Reading this whole article will give you enough knowledge to make the best decision in getting the best e bike for yourself.
E-bike maintenance: How to care for your electric bike?
Let’s start with a spoiler – you don’t have to burden extra worries when it comes to the maintenance of your e bike.
E bikes are just like regular bikes with added motor and battery. The motor is usually maintenance free and you don’t need to worry about that a lot. When it comes to the battery, if you choose a decent lithium battery and you follow regular instructions regarding a battery then it is going to last you for a long time. If you ask how long – then the answer can be 10,000 to 30,000 miles.
If you don’t put too much stress on your battery, charge it regularly, and don’t keep it under harsh weather, then it’s going to be all good.
Now let’s get into some details for the sake of routine check.
Cleaning e bike
It’s a no brainer but still worth mentioning that you need to clean your bike regularly to make it look good and work well at the same time.
Make sure you remove any dirt, mud, sand, debris, or anything that does not belong to your bike. You can simply wipe your bike with a dry cloth to clean it or use water and bike wash soap to give your e bike a thorough cleaning. Also, use a degreaser to clean up if needed.
Follow these few warnings to make sure you don’t mess up while cleaning
- Remember to not use aggressive water spray when you are cleaning close to the motor and battery
- Dry the bike properly after a wet wash
- Don’t tweak with wires, cables, or sensors that you don’t understand
- Check for loose nuts, bolts, or any damaged parts
- Don’t leave the battery in harsh conditions like snow, direct sunlight, or rain.
Lubricating e bike
The chain, derailleur, and few hinges need lubricating to work properly. Make sure you do that routinely after a thorough cleaning. Some bikes might need certain oil in particular oil tanks that come with the bike.
Schedule and Manual
Make sure that you follow a proper schedule to clean and lubricate your e bike. If you ride more often, then you need to make sure the cleaning schedule is more frequent.
Make sure to collect the manual that comes with your e bike. Usually, the manual comes with the e bike or you have to download it from the manufacturer’s website. The manual does contain some useful information regarding maintenance that can prolong the life of your e bike.
Find the right E-bike repair shop
Every other bike repairing shop might not be experienced in handling e bikes. Hence getting in touch with a good should be an important beneficial step for you and your e bike. Sometimes you might feel confused and there are things that you might not be comfortable doing. Hence taking help from professionals is recommended.
Few more things to keep in mind:
- Remove the battery first if you fiddle with the motor. If not, then the motor can turn on any time and give you a bad injury in case your fingers get stuck somehow.
- Make sure the sensors are working fine and check the magnets of the speed sensor. You might easily knock them off or lose them.
- Your e bike might show error codes on its display and it’s usually fixable by professionals easily.
- Don’t try spraying any lubricant into the wire ports.
- Also check your brake pads and keep proper tire pressure.
Which E bikes are for women?
There are some bikes specifically designed for women. You can choose from one of them, or you can go for a unisex option. It’s 21st century and you can actually ride any bike that you feel like. It’s just that some e bikes specifically designed for women might give you some customized fit benefits.
Step through frame: this kind of frame makes it easier for women to mount on and off the bike, or ride the bike easily even when wearing a dress. The top tube is bent downward to make it a step-through frame.
Wider seats: wider and lower saddles make it comfortable to seat. This fits women’s bone structure and allows them to rest their feet on the ground comfortably even when sitting on the saddle, which makes it easier to balance the bike. However, performance riders will prefer a narrower saddle since it allows for efficient pedaling to achieve faster speed.
Narrower handlebars: On average, women have comparatively narrower shoulders than men, hence narrower handlebars provide a better fit for the female riders.
Shorter top tube length: Women typically have longer legs and shorter torsos and arms compared to men, hence a shorter top tube makes it easier to reach the handlebar comfortably.
What are the Best E bikes for Kids?
When it comes to exact regular e bikes, there are not many options available for kids. But don’t be disheartened, we’ve got your back.
You can easily find great e-motorbikes for kids on amazon or electric tricycles which are very easy to ride and usually enjoyed by the kids. Other than that, if your child is old enough to ride bigger ones, you can simply order the smaller size of the available e-bikes.
Electric bikes and exercise: Do electric bikes help you lose weight?
A lot of people have confusion regarding this. Can you still get exercise on e bikes and are they good for staying healthy? The short and simple answer is “YES”.
You can exercise using your e bike and you can get a healthier lifestyle as well.
Whenever you feel like getting some exercise done by your e bike, simply turn the assistance to low or turn the assistance off and pedal your bike just like a regular one.
Other than the physical exercise itself, there’s a mental health benefits as well. Getting outdoor, connecting to nature, and cruising with your bike help your mental health immensely.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Do electric bikes charge when you pedal?
Few of the e bikes come with regenerative braking technology. That means, the bike battery charges itself by converting the stopping energy. It might sound fancy, but in real life only adds up to few percentage of charge t0 your battery. Beside that, you will find it harder to pedal those bikes when using with the power off.
Does the bike charge when you paddle?
No, paddling won’t charge the battery of an electric bike. You will have to charge the battery separately when you are not using the bike.
How fast do e-bikes go?
Governments across the globe have limited the speed of e-bikes to 28 mph and some to 20 mph. You can either go at a maximum speed of 28-20 mph when assisted, depending on where you live. However, by pedaling, you can go way faster, as fast as you can drive.
Is it easy to ride an e-bike?
They are very fun and easy to ride. You might need a couple of minutes to undetrstnad what’s going on and you will be just fine.
Can you still get fit on an electric bike?
Electric bikes give you the freedom to have as much or as little exercise you prefer. It is possible to have a healthier and improved life by riding electric bikes. You can get effective results by adjusting the assistance level to cater to your demand.
How Much does an electric bike cost?
It depends on the specifications of the bike you are choosing. The price can range from 300/400 dollars to 10,000/12,0000 dollars. Some affordable e bikes are available on amazon that are not half bad.
Are Chinese E-bikes bad?
It’s not true at all. Just because the Chinese e-bikes are comparatively less expensive doesn’t mean that they are bad. Most of the time you get what you pay for or sometimes more. The renowned Chinese e-bike brands are a great value for money option.
Emotions on behalf of e-bikes
Electric bikes are nothing too new, they have been here for a while now. Hopefully, e bikes are going to take over the future transportation as the battery and motor technology improves further and things get more affordable.
Cars are nice and comfortable but they are way too much to handle when it comes to money and paperwork. For a short commute, getting a car is not the most efficient thing. We are not saying that e bikes are going to replace cars; e bikes are a promising mode of transportation for the world where we have to stay stuck in traffic for hours and the world where we are cautious about the environment.
E bike simply reduces the barrier to biking. It makes it easier for everyone to get into the amazing world of bicycling. E bikes are here to stay and that is why we took the responsibility to inform you about what is e bike and how does it work.
We have tried our best to guide and help you on your new journey with e bikes. Hopefully, you will share your personal thoughts regarding electric bikes with us.