Be Sure You Get a Good Fit on Your E-Bike
By Space Coast Daily // August 18, 2022
“Electric bicycles make riding more accessible and appealing to a wider range of individuals.” Riding an electric bike, often known as an e-bike, for the first time might seem like gaining a superpower. That’s because pedal-assist e-bikes expand your two-wheel options: you can keep up with stop-and-go traffic, haul kids or cargo more easily, arrive slightly sweaty at your destination, or simply enjoy a little additional oomph on trips that would otherwise seem too far or too mountainous.
E-bikes are initially classified in the same categories as traditional bikes: mountain and road, as well as niches such as urban, hybrid, cruiser, cargo, and folding cycles. For an excellent summary of basic bike classes, read How to Choose an ebike.
UNDERSTANDING THE THREE CLASSES OF ELECTRIC BIKES
Electric bikes are classified based on their level of motor power, primarily for regulatory purposes. Choosing which type of e-bike you need is an important step:
Class 1: The motor only activates while you pedal and stops assisting at 20 mph.
Class 2: Has a pedal-assist mode with a top speed of 20 mph as well as a completely throttle-powered mode.
Class 3: Pedal-assist only (as class 1), but assistance continues until you reach 28 mph.
■ CLASS 1
The majority of new riders begin with a class 1 e-bike. Class 1 bikes are the least expensive and, from a regulatory viewpoint, the most universally recognized. You may ride one on city streets and numerous bike lanes. This type of e-bike is starting to be allowed on regular mountain bike routes, but access is not widespread, so always check beforehand.
■ CLASS 2
Class 2 e-bikes are usually permitted in the same areas as class 1 e-bikes. Because both classes have a top speed of 20 mph for motor assistance.
■ CLASS 3
Class 3 e-bikes are common among commuters and errand runners. They are quicker and more powerful than class 1 motorcycles (and cost more). The benefit of enhanced quality is that you can keep up with traffic more efficiently. They can also climb higher and carry greater weights. The disadvantage is that you cannot ride on most bike routes or mountain bike trail systems.
Survey access rules before making the final choice of e-bike class. All the following access information comes with the note that regulations, licensing, registration, age limitations, and land-management policies are always changing. For a state-by-state guide to e-bikes, check out People for Bikes’ state-by-state guide to e-bike rules and regs around the country. Also, check with local cities and land management in the areas where you intend to ride.
E-BIKE BATTERIES, RIDING RANGES AND MOTORS
Manufacturers put a high priority on the power plant of each bike. The design trade-off is between performance and riding range. A more powerful engine provides greater speed to keep up with traffic and more torque to climb hills and transport cargo. A more powerful engine also consumes the battery more quickly, lowering your riding range.
When evaluating prospective e-bikes, you’ll see vast riding-range specs, such as 20-100 pedal-assisted kilometers. This is due to the fact that so many factors influence riding range.
Having a large battery helps, of course: Capacity is measured in watt hours (Wh), which is how long a battery can continue to put out 1 watt of power before it drops dead. As a result, motor power is also important: A 500-watt motor coupled with a 500 Wh battery (a common class 3 bike arrangement) consumes more power than a 250-watt motor coupled with a 500 Wh battery (a common class 1 bike setup).
Battery charge time: Most batteries will need three to five hours to fully charge from blank, with large-capacity batteries taking more time. If you want to commute by e-bike, you can purchase additional chargers (or bring your own). Faster chargers are also available.
Battery capacity: Some e-bikes allow bikers to utilise two batteries at the same time. This can extend your ride, and if one battery dies, you have a backup. You may also buy a spare battery to have a fully charged one on hand, or replace your old one when it expires (typically several thousand charges).
Battery installation configuration: Batteries integrated into the frame free up space for bottle cages or a compact bike bag. External batteries, though, are better to charge and replace.
E-BIKE MOTOR LOCATION
Mid-drive motors are on the bottom bracket (the spot where the crank arms connect to the bike frame). Hub-drive motors are housed inside the hub of the rear wheel (some are on the front wheel).
■ MID-DRIVE MOTORS
Many motors use this design for a number of reasons. The pedal assist responds naturally, and having the motor’s weight centred and low helps maintain the ride balanced and steady.
■ HUB-DRIVE MOTORS
Rear-wheel hub-drive motors direct pedal power to the rear wheel, giving you the sensation of being pushed forward. It should be noted that changing a flat on a wheel with a hub drive can be more difficult than changing a flat on a standard (or mid-drive) bike. Front-hub drive motors act similarly to front-wheel drive cars; they also allow for the use of a regular bike powertrain at the back of the bike.
E-BIKE MOTOR TORQUE
If you want to ride up and down hills or haul heavy loads, torque is an important feature to consider. When measured in newton metres (N m), the listed maximum for an e-bike could be anywhere from 40 N m to 80 N m. However, when you modify your pedal-assist settings, your actual riding torque will vary.
OTHER KEY E-BIKE FEATURES AND COMPONENTS
Of course, your e-bike is more than just its engine and batteries. More details to consider while comparing e-bikes are as follows:
■ PEDAL-ASSIST ACTIVATION AND PEDAL FEEL
The more performance-oriented a bike is, the nicer and more adaptable its pedal assist will feel. Ride a few bikes to find one that responds at the pace and intensity that works best for you.
■ PEDAL-ASSIST LEVELS
Most bikes have three or four assist levels, allowing you to conserve battery power (eco mode) or increase speed and torque (in turbo or boost mode).
Many e-bikes now include a variety of integrated accessories:
■ LCD DISPLAYS ON HANDLEBARS
There’s a lot going on with an e-bike, so it’s useful to have a handlebar-mounted bike computer that allows you monitor battery life, pedal-assist mode, kilometres cycled, speed, and more.
■ SMARTPHONE COMPATIBILITY
High-end e-bike electronics can wirelessly link to cell phones. GPS, service records, and extra screen features may be available as applications. Some applications even allow you to open the integrated lock on your bike.
■ BUILT-IN SAFETY
Some bikes come with rear-wheel locks attached to the frame, while others feature locks on the battery that may be keyed to match a bike lock made by a partner company (bought separately).
■ COMPONENT QUALITY
Different pricing levels of e-bikes indicate similarly tiered component quality. Less costly e-bikes are likely to lack high-end features such as smartphone connection, as well as value-priced components. Just like on a regular bike, premium brakes, tyres, shifters, and drivetrains will be more reliable and responsive.
Most e-bike frames are made of aluminium, but more and more options, from carbon fibre to steel, are becoming available. The frame material and design, as well as the size of the motor and battery, are the biggest factors in the total weight. Generally thicker than their regular-bike counterparts, e-bikes overcome sluggishness through their motor support. However, a lighter bike will feel more agile. So, if you’re deciding between two otherwise similar bikes, the lighter model will almost certainly deliver a smoother ride.
BE SURE YOU GET A GOOD FIT ON YOUR E-BIKE
Another truism that applies to both traditional bikes and e-bikes is that the greatest bike for you is one that actually suits you. Before you ride an e-bike out the door, make sure it feels like it was created for you—or, at the very least, that it can be changed to fit you with a few smart component swaps. The most important aspect of getting a proper fit is understanding what size bike frame you need depending on your height.
Himiway is an e-bike manufacturer that is widely regarded as the finest in the world. Himiway produces low-cost, high-performance gravel, road, mountain, cyclocross, urban, and e-bikes. The majority of the company’s electric bikes are sold in Europe, the United States, and Japan. If you really don’t want to go wrong with choosing an Ebike, go for Himiway.