If you’re considering an e-bike (electric-assist bike), you might be feeling a little intimidated or anxious about what all the different numbers and terms mean. Don’t worry… riding an ebike is, well, just like riding a regular bike. It just has a little boost! It takes some adjusting to, and the vocabulary around it can be a little confusing, but we’re here to help. Let’s dive into some of the most commonly asked questions about ebikes.
How fast can my ebike go?
It depends on which class of ebike you got. As Bosch explains in this great post, there are 3 accepted classes of ebikes.
- Class 1: eBikes that are pedal-assist only, maximum assisted speed of 20 mph
- Class 2: eBikes that also have a maximum speed of 20 mph, with throttle-assist
- Class 3: eBikes that are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, and a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph
What kinds of ebike motors are there?
There are two common types: hub-based motors that are in the rear wheel, or bottom bracket ones that are between where your pedals attach to the bike frame. Generally, the bottom bracket ones are more sturdy and long-lasting.
Do I still have to pedal an ebike?
Most ebikes won’t go for very long (or go very fast) if you don’t at least help out a bit by pedaling along, though if your bike has a throttle, then yes, technically it can move without you pedaling. But the point of an electric assist bike is to help riders go farther with less effort… while still going for a bike ride!
How far can my ebike go on one charge?
Most ebikes can get around 50 miles of riding with a fair amount of electric assist on a single charge, but the more you pedal and power it yourself, the longer your battery will last. Ideally, you should pedal without using the e-assist when it’s easy (or you’re not in a rush) and reserve using the battery power for when you need help up a hill, or when you suddenly remember that conference call you need to be online for in 10 minutes.
Are ebikes legal where I live?
Generally, ebikes are legal in most places… but there may be some rules around them that you should know about, since sometimes they can be classed as vehicles rather than bikes, or only allowed with certain speed governors. Rad Power Bikes did a great post about ebike laws around the world that’s a great starting point! If you want to get more in-depth, People for Bikes has an entire spreadsheet that’s updated regularly explaining laws state by state.
How do I use the ebike throttle… and what does that even do?
An ebike throttle is typically on the handlebar and can be regulated with your thumb. It does exactly what you’d expect a throttle to do: Gives you more boost when you press it. Ebikes with throttles allow you to better modulate your speed, or at least, to control how much e-assist your bike is giving you.
Are ebikes harder to ride than regular bikes?
Absolutely not! However, there is a bit of a learning curve and it can feel disconcerting to turn the throttle and suddenly be speeding down the street, so as you adjust to your new ebike, maybe test it in an empty field or parking lot. And of course, be careful as you get used to it: It’s easy to suddenly be at speeds much higher than you’re used to traveling on two wheels!
What kind of ebike options are there?
Basically, almost every bike now has an ebike alternative. There are great road and gravel ebikes, e-mountain bikes capable of shredding on downhill terrain, e-commuter bikes that look more like slick singlespeeds (like this one from Bird), and e-cargo bikes that let you tow around groceries and kids with ease.
How do I lock my ebike properly?
Removing your battery and bringing it inside with you is a great way to insure that your battery doesn’t get stolen (though some ebikes come with battery locks). More than that, though, it insures that no one can grab your bike and blaze away at 28MPH! Of course, make sure you’re using a burly Sold Secure Gold-Rated bike lock to lock your frame and wheels to something that cannot be moved as well. Otherwise, just stick to your usual best commuting practices and you’ll be fine!
Are ebikes covered by Simple Bike Insurance?
Great news! Your new ebike is absolutely eligible for protection from Simple Bike Insurance, with prices as low as $8 per month. Check out your options right here and get a free instant quote to start protecting your ebike ASAP.