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How to Choose an Electrobike

Catalogue

Why should you buy an electric bike? With a fully charged battery, you can travel hundreds of kilometres without much effort. The bike allows you to keep up with your more physically fit partners and friends. Work commute takes less time than it would if you used public transport and electrobikes don’t harm the environment.

Elektrokola
Pros and cons
  • Freedom of movement regardless of terrain, age and sex
  • Eco-travel
  • Easy uphill riding
  • Work commute that lets you stay active
  • Erases fitness differences between partners
  • Riding gets harder on low battery
  • Higher price

Frequently asked questions when choosing an electrobike

How long does an electrobike battery last and can it be replaced?

Each manufacturer lists an approximate number of battery charge cycles. A typical electrobike battery lasts about 800-1000 charge cycles, which corresponds to a 3-4 year long lifespan under normal use.

When buying a new battery, you need to make sure it has the same voltage (24, 36, 42). The battery voltage is generally listed on an info label you can find on your bike. Buying a battery from your bike’s manufacturer is a sure way to guarantee compatibility, but you can also use an alternate battery with the same voltage and similar capacity.

Does an electrobike need any special maintenance compared to a normal bike?

Basic electrobike maintenance is almost the same as with a standard bicycle. You have to occasionally tighten up the spokes and screws, lubricate the chain, and replace the worn tires. Aside from this basic maintenance, you also have to maintain the battery. Generally, the battery should never be stored in freezing temperatures and off-season you should recharge it occasionally to prevent its charge level from dropping below the critical voltage threshold. Deep discharge reduces the battery capacity and lifespan.

Other maintenance and any electromotor and battery repairs should be left to an experienced technician.

Do electrobikes have kinetic energy recovery?

We are sorry to disappoint you, but the answer is no. They are simply too light and the energy they would recover would be minimal. For comparison – regenerative braking can save 20% of energy for a train that weighs hundreds of tons. A two-ton car saves about 10%. An electrobike weighing 100 kg (including the rider) would save only a few percent at best.

Can I buy an electrobike with a 500-1000 W output?

Such bikes do exist, but some countries classify bikes with an output of 250 W and higher as motorised vehicles, which means you would be legally required to register it as an electric motorcycle. Motorcycle owners need to have a proper driver's license, pay motorcycle insurance, and register it as any other motorised means of transport.

Some manufacturers bypass these issues by equipping their bikes, especially mountain electrobikes, with the so-called offroad mode. This mode boosts the engine output to 350 to 500 W and is designed exclusively for off-road use, away from public roads. However, frequent use of this boost mode rapidly reduces the bike range.

I am an athlete. Why would I need an electric bike?

The extra engine coupled with your physical strength allows you to travel really long distances while exercising at the same time. If you don’t live near a bike path, you may have had to use a car to even reach it. Now you can leave your car at home and just ride your electrobike all the way.

How does an electrobike help me?

Most electric bikes have two basic modes – pedal assist and throttle, which means it can help you climb a hill, weave through the city streets, or let you kick back and enjoy a “free” ride when you are tired. You can also turn off the engine entirely and ride it as a normal bike.

Should I buy an electrobike or a motorcycle?

It all depends on what you want it for. For many people, buying an electrobike is a better option. They want to be active while traveling and their trips aren’t thousands of kilometres long. Most electrobikes can last about 50 km in the throttle mode and up to 200 km with pedal assist. And since the electrobike is still a bicycle, it spares you from having to pay motorcycle insurance and register it at your vehicle licensing agency or similar government office.

Overall, using an electrobike costs less per 1 km, even considering the battery amortisation and the initial purchase investment.

How do I sit on an electric bike?

It depends on the type of the electric bike. Commuter and folding bikes let you sit almost upright, since they are not meant for high speeds.

Mountain and cyclo-cross bikes seat you in the so-called neutral sitting position, with your body posed at a 40° angle. It doesn’t strain your back, but it’s also not as leisurely as an upright position.

Mountain electrobikes

  • Powerful engine, suitable for rough terrain
  • Balanced centre of gravity with battery under frame
mountain elektrokolo

Cyclo-cross electrobikes

  • Compromise between mountain and commuter bike
  • Suitable for city and countryside
casual elektrokolo

Folding electrobikes

  • Easy to transport
  • Easy to fold up when boarding public transport
folding electric

Commuter electrobikes

  • Easy to mount and dismount
  • Suitable for older people
Municipal electric bike

Important Parameters

Dojezd

Range

The range depends on your riding style, weight, and the current terrain. An electrobike can have a range from 30 to 200 km, depending on the riding conditions and the bike type. If your bike has a particularly powerful pedal assist mode or even throttle, keep in mind that using it will discharge your battery considerably faster.

Use normal pedal assist mode to get the maximum range.

Rychlost elektrokola

Speed

Electric bicycle laws commonly set the electrobike maximum speed limit at 25 km/h. The law, however, tends to have a 10% tolerance, which is why many manufacturers set a maximum speed of 27.5 km/h. Some mountain bikes have a special off-road mode that enables higher engine output than the law normally permits. However, this mode cannot be used on public roads.

Most developed countries have some sort of a speed limit for electrobikes. In Europe, the most common maximum speed is 25 km/h.

Velikost elektrokola

Bike size

Bike size is essentially the frame height - the distance between the top of the seat tube and the centre of the bottom bracket. The size is determined by your body height. A person 160-170 cm tall has a bike size 17". If you are 170-180 cm, your size is 19". If 180-190 cm - 21".

For more information on how to choose the right bike size, read our article.

Glossary - Electric Bikes

Electric Bike Motor

The standard for electric bike motors is 250W. The main difference therefore is not power, but the location of the motor. It can be placed in the front or the rear hub, or, in more expensive models, on the seat tube.

Off-road Mode

In off-road mode, the electric motor produces many times more power than normal. This is particularly useful when riding on difficult terrain or up steep hills. Legally, however, most developed countries do not permit using the off-road mode on public roads. It also reduces the battery life by up to 90% in prolonged usage.

Battery

Battery capacity is measured in ampere hours (Ah) or watt hours (Wh) and commonly ranges between 300 and 600 Wh. Conventional batteries can be fully charged in less than six hours. The battery lifespan varies from 18,000 to 30,000 km and can cover about 1,000 charge cycles. Specific numbers depend on the manufacturer.

Glossary
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