There are many questions that come about, before and after you purchase an ebike, when i go for a ride ( just about every single day ! ) i get asked a variety of questions. The following are the most popular , and the list will grow !
How Fast ?
According to the law in ONTARIO, CANADA ! , an electric assist bicycle should not propel you over 20 mph ( 32 km/h ).
But, depending on your location, your needs, your situation, and good common sense, speeds of up to 40 mph + ( 65 Km/h ) can be achieved !
How Far !
This is a very tough question to answer, without going into MANY DETAILS , the average E-bike ( Electric Powered Bicycle ) will travel 20 miles ( 32 km ) on a charge.
If you pedal or not, weigh a little or a lot, climb hills or stay on level ground, with or against strong winds, how much battery " ah -amphour" you carry.. this can translate into 10 miles or 50 miles !!!
Buyer beware, many places and vendors will give numbers that are " Optimal " .. ask questions, and do your research.
How Much $
Again, many factors come into play here, expect anything from 400 $ to 1200 $ or more.
Look online and compare prices, check E-bay, Ask questions ! And you will find 100's of different kits, complete bikes, parts, opinions, and everything in between, in all price ranges. As with anything, you usually get what you pay for !
A big factor in the price will concern BATTERIES !
Support is something you want to have, nothing worse than having something wrong and not be able to fix the problem. Rock bottom prices often means no support...
Do I Need A License And Registration ?
No, ebikes are considered Bicycles, and do not require a license, registration, plates, etc. You should however, wear a Helmet ! and respect the rules of the road. Ontario requires you to be 16 years or older to ride an ebike.
How Long Will It Last ?
Good news here, Brushless hub motors last a long time.. i have seen reports of 10,000 kms + and still going strong. Some electric motors have "Brushes" and some are " Brushless " .
Brushed motors have carbon brushes that need to be replace once in a while ( your power tools, car starter, etc.are brushed motors). They produce a bit of noise when they run from the friction between the carbon brushes and the insides of the motor.
BrushLESS motors do not have any friction or parts that wear out except 2 bearings, one per side. These bearings are the same type used on motorcycles, and will last a VERY long time, and are cheap to replace. Chances are you will never replace them in your lifetime.
Batteries however, do have a limited life. check the BATTERIES ! section for details. The rest of the system should go on with simple battery replacement.
How much does it cost to recharge ?
Depending on the battery type and AH rating etc.. expect aprox 5 cents of electricity for a charge. Many places i have gone will gladly let me plug-in while i eat at restaurants, even if i canot get a full charge, a partial charge does extend range.
How Much Maintenance Does It Require ?
Ebikes require very little maintance other than regular bicycle stuff, cleaning your chains, brake pads, tires etc. The motor and controller are sealed and require nothing from you. Unlike a car or motorbike, no oil changes, air filter cleaning, carb tuneups.. etc.
Do I Need To Pedal All The Time ?
No. Pedaling is optional in most cases. The motors come in 2 versions, " Instant Start " and " Pedal First ", as the name implies, the Instant Start system will go as soon as you hit the throttle, and the Pedal First system will require you to pedal to 5 km/h before the throttle will work, then you can stop pedaling and enjoy the ride..
On both systems, pedaling will increase range, and be healthy, good practice with ebikes is to pedal from a dead stop no matter what. Accelerating requires more energy than maintaining speed.
Depending on your choice of motor, terrain, battery and controller, ( and your weight !! ) you may not have enough power to climb the steepest hills and will have to pedal in order to make it, but going up a hill at double your usual speed and half the effort is a real thrill !!!
Can I Ride In the Rain ?
Rain, as much as i hate to ride in the wet, it happens. Try and avoid torrential rains if you can, but the system can be weather proofed to an extent. I have not yet had a problem with rain, and i have been thru a few storms. The only problem i am currently aware of are certain model throttles.. Some have LED's for battry charge state that can short out in the rain and make the motor go, I do not intend to carry these models for that exact reason. Anyone using LED throttles should also use E-BRAKES that cut the motor power when brakes are applied.