Get to Know the Ins and Outs of E-Bikes – a Technical Analysis of the Three Key Constituents
Sales of electric bikes have been sky-rocketing since the first patent for an e-bike was filed in back in 1895. Here’s why everyone loves them—and why you probably will, too.
The first thing you need to know about electric bikes is that they are here to stay. E-bike sales tripled to an astonishing 95% between May 2017 and May 2018 alone, as per the market research firm NPD Group. According to NPD, the explosive sales growth is projected to continue in the years to come. It is a nearly $65 million industry, and there is no sign of a slowdown.
Some people view e-bikes’ evolution as a threat to their livelihood as if regular bicycles will go the way of the penny-farthing when everyone turns to the electric way of life. You need not to fear: e-bikes are not here to mug us of our human-powered mode of life. They may very well enrich it. Here’s all you need to know about operating these great bikes.
With explosive e-bike sales growth worldwide over the last decade and the projected increase in sales, there has been an overwhelming increment in the number of e-bike options and features. It makes understanding the various constituents of an e-bike the first step in selecting the precise configuration.
Starting with the nitty-gritty, an e-bike resembles a standard bike, but it features several electrical components including a motor, drivetrain and a battery.
There are various components; some which are better suited to retrofit (or electric bike kit) where an ordinary bicycle is transformed to an electric bike, while other constituents need more upgraded design integrations and are used with production e-bikes.
It is the perfect motor system because it delivers more torque than an equivalent hub motor and, since it is centrally located, it dispenses weight more uniformly over the bike. It works incredibly with a bike’s gearing system. As the motor drives the crank arms, instead of the wheel, and the sensor, it is exceptionally better at measuring the amount of input from the rider. Thus, it enables automatic adjustments to match the speed of pedaling and therefore providing a slicker experience.
The mid-drive motor design is the trendiest and most popular system for the pedal-assist production bikes since it provides riders with un-endless benefits as compared to a hub motor.
Electric bikes consist of motors which are either installed at the center of the frame, the mid-drive motors or on one of the hubs, the hub motors. An e-bike’s motor location determines how the bike functions.
Front Hub Motor
The front hub motor is the most straightforward and limited motor installation. They are only commonly used with throttle systems; they do not work well at offering you aid based on rider input (pedaling), and they also have issues with traction as most of the weight on a bicycle is at the rear wheel.
Moreover, cornering while accelerating is challenging when the drive unit is in the front wheel.
Front hub motors are not a popular e-bike system, and they are typically found on low-priced electric bike kits as one can easily add them to most customary bikes.
Rear Hub Motor
Most rear hub motors provide you with both the throttle and pedelec option and can be ameliorated (as part of an electric bike kit) thus making them the trendiest and most sorted-out choice for electric conversions. They are limited as they form a patchy weight distribution with the motor in the rear wheel which affects handling but, they are reasonably-priced and less noticeable than other motor types.
The mid-drive motor design is triggered by pedaling, making it perfect for a pedelec. It is an e-bike system where the motor is placed at the center of the bike frame and assimilated with the cranks and bottom bracket.
E-Bike DrivetrainsIf you are new to the bike world, you have probably heard the term ‘drivetrain’ being bandied about by ‘in-the-know’ bike enthusiasts. So how does this part work?Well, the drivetrain offers the rider the power and torque to manually turn the bike’s wheels. A drivetrain powered by a mid-drive motor acquires power directly from the engine which allows the chain cranking easier. Most drivetrains enable the rider to swap gears (upsurging or reducing the resistance).
E-Bike BatteriesEvery e-bike model has a rechargeable battery, lithium ion, made up of multiple battery cells interconnected within a robust and high-quality case. With various technological improvements coming up on a daily basis, it means that the batteries in production are becoming lighter and smaller.However, they still contribute to most of the weight on an electric bike. Whatever e-bike battery brand you opt for, make sure that they possess a management system that safeguards the battery from extreme temperatures and overcharging.
Types of BatteriesE-bike batteries are one of the most vital features of an electric bike. Without a great one, you will not be heading anywhere soon! Moreover, with the e-bike battery technology evolving rapidly, it is tricky knowing which type of battery is best. Well, worry not. There are two popular battery types: the rack-mounted and the down-tube.
Rack Mount BatteryYou mount this type of battery on the back of a bicycle, and it mostly doubles as a place for panniers and extra storage. However, as one amounts it above the rear wheel, it can cause some handling issues, thus making cornering and moving the e-bike by hand more challenging.It is a flexible system that offers a place to fit the battery on almost any bike frame.
Down Tube BatteryThe downtube is the most popular mounting location for a battery. It involves the tube going from the front of the bike and down to the crank.The placement puts the battery weight low on the bike thus refining the handling. It is also the perfect option when it is in combination with a mid-drive system as the motor is situated directly behind the battery.You can mount a down tube battery on top of a regular round tube integrated into an oversized tube.
Battery LifeThe battery life of any e-bike rests on a variety of factors including the battery size, the bike’s weight, the terrain one covers, and lastly, the rider’s weight. With that in mind, if you have a newer battery model, then you need to expect it to last you at least 35 – 40 miles.As for the lifetime of a battery, it all depends on how often one uses it. Most great manufacturers offer cover for two years, and a good rule of thumb. So, an impressive battery needs to last you around 1000 charge cycles which would be 37 000 miles of riding.
Charging an E-Bike BatteryYou can load an e-bike either from the mains power socket, or, as seen with most new models, you can remove it from the bike, thus making it easier to find a plug point.A full charge takes between three to four hours, and one can partially charge it in about an hour or two without damaging the battery.Newer batteries, however, do not need to be fully discharged before recharging.
Selecting an E-Bike- The Prime Configuration and Price Points
Archetypally, a mid-drive motor with a geared drivetrain and down tube battery is the picture-perfect configuration for an e-bike since has the least impact on handling and provides you with the best performance. It is undoubtedly the reason why it is the most popular combination of sound quality production e-bikes.
Higher-end ebikes, on the other hand, tend to be lighter, they offer more reliable battery life and better control over speed, and they have the best build quality.
E-bike tech is evolving at a rapid rate, and the latest improvements carry a price premium. However, in most cases, the price is overstated due to the e-bikes brand.
Prices vary substantially, and for most commuters, a mid-range e-bike will be more than sufficient. For a mid-range e-bike, with impressive features, by a reputable brand, the price should be around $1500. When picking out an e-bike; compare the various elements, battery life and build quality of the bike to make sure that you get the perfect deal.