Electric power assist bikes have been in existence long before the mass production of automobiles began.
Unfortunately, they were quite heavy and so couldn’t quite replace the conventional bike.
In the past decade, however, e-bike technology has made great strides to the point where it offers a sublime experience just like a conventional bike, but way faster.
According to many, the e-bike technology has reignited their cycling passion, after years of trouble climbing hills.
- 1 History of Electric Bikes
- 2 The Legal Definition of Electric Bikes
- 3 The Anatomy of Electric Bikes
- 4 The Basic Concept of an Electric Bike
- 5 Key Components of An Electric Bike
- 5.1 Battery
- 5.2 Electric Motor
- 5.3 Sensor
- 5.4 Gears
- 5.5 Other Regular Bike Parts
- 5.5.1 Rim
- 5.5.2 Wheel hub
- 5.5.3 Spokes
- 5.5.4 Quick-Release Wheel Skewer
- 5.5.5 Fork
- 5.5.6 Head Tube
- 5.5.7 Headset
- 5.5.8 Stem
- 5.5.9 Handlebars
- 5.5.10 Shifters
- 5.5.11 Brake Levers
- 5.5.12 Brake Calipers
- 5.5.13 Top Tube
- 5.5.14 Down Tube
- 5.5.15 Seat Tube
- 5.5.16 Seatpost
- 5.5.17 Front Derailleur
- 5.5.18 Bottom Bracket
- 5.5.19 Crank
- 5.5.20 Chainrings
- 5.5.21 Chain Stay
- 5.5.22 Seat Stays
- 5.5.23 Dropout
- 5.5.24 Cassette
- 5.5.25 Rear Derailleur
- 6 The Popularity of Electric Bikes Over The Years
- 7 Types of Electric Bikes
- 8 What’s The Difference Between Electric Bikes and Electric Scooters?
- 9 Electric Bikes and the Environment
- 10 What Are Some Commercial Uses of Electric Bikes?
- 11 The Future of Electric Bikes
History of Electric Bikes
E-bikes have been around for more than a century and their evolution has been gradual.
Here’s a breakdown of how e-bikes evolved from as early as the 19th century up to date.
The Early Years. From 1880…
Between 1880 and 1890, the pioneer e-bike innovations occurred in America and Europe.
In the year 1881 in France, Gustav Trouve converted a Starley Coventry Level Tricycle with an electric drive.
However, in 1895 Ogden Bolton filed a patent for what most of us would refer to as the first true e-bike.
This was a battery-powered machine that had the hub motor mounted inside its rear wheel, with the battery resting in the frame’s main triangle – which isn’t too different from the position of batteries in some modern e-bikes.
Still within the 1890 decade, more electric powered bike designs – if not what’s actually in existence today – were created and eventually patented.
In 1897, Hosea Libbey invented and patented an e-bike that was driven by a double electric motor which was placed at the bottom bracket, inside the crankset angle.
With the motor separate from the wheel, it meant that the motor could spin faster that the bike’s wheel, and hence the chain gearing could multiply the system’s power density.
In working, it worked on the principles that the Bosch and Shimano STEPS drive systems use today, though the design was less appealing.
In 1897, the British bike brand Humber designed an electric tandem that had an electric motor, four accumulators and pedal power for two cyclists.
And in 1898, a belt-driven e-bike design was invented after which a friction-drive electric bike was patented by John Schnepf.
This was an interesting invention since friction-drive electric bikes have been quite common among many home mechanics.
1930s – 1970s
Most of the buzz around e-bikes before the 20th century was mainly among designers and in the patent offices.
Besides, the increasing popularity of motorcars slowed down the development of e-bikes.
1932, Philips Simplex
By 1930, however, there was mass production of electric-powered bikes, particularly in Netherlands, where e-bikes are still highly regarded up to date.
Production models like the Dutch Junker and Philips Simplex were seen in Europe during the early 1930s.
1970s-1990s Japanese e-bike renaissance
The greatest breakthrough in electric bikes happened close to 4 decades after the first invention when Japanese technology came into the scene.
First came the 1975 Panasonic electric bike that relied on a 24V lead-acid car battery for power, in addition to featuring a drive at its bottom bracket.
In 1989, there came the Sanyo Enacle electric bike which was the first to use NiCad batteries, an idea that was later perfected by the Sinclair Zine, which was technological impression but commercial disaster.
Through the early 1990s, companies like Honda and Yamaha went ahead to refine the electric bike design.
1989, There Came the Pedelec
As the Japanese made their invasion into the e-bike industry, it coincided with what was probably the most crucial development of the modern-day electric bike; the Pedelec, which was later known as Pedal Assist.
In the year 1989, Michael Kutter – a Swiss electric bike pioneer – developed the first electric-powered bicycle where through pedaling action, the motor was activated to assist a rider instead of a rider using the direct throttle control.
The first models for this production were sold in the year 1992 under the name Dolphin for the Swiss company known as Velocity, but unfortunately didn’t survive.
In 1993, there came the Yamaha electric bike which included the currently popular Pedal Assist System (PAS).
In 1995, there came a machine from the Flyer Bicycle Company which incorporated a BB-drive as well as a freewheeling chainring.
Pedal assist is now probably the norm for modern electric bikes and after 1995, more brands and manufacturers came to the limelight.
At this point, there were two drive design types; drives with motors that were built into any of the wheel hubs or advanced drive designs with motors that provided power via the crankset.
However, the overall ride experience across the e-bike market was tremendously improved by more efficient torque sensors, lower weight Li-ion batteries, more efficient drive motors, and longer ranges from one charge.
Up To Date
Since 1995, there has been tremendous growth in the e-bike market with production increasing by close to 35% in the next 10 years.
By the year 2007, e-bikes had made up close to 20% of all the two-wheeled machines on the streets of Chinese cities.
Electric bikes also had a great reception in Europe, mainly due to the highly impressive Bosch drive system that gave a natural riding experience.
To give the e-bikes more capabilities, Bosch introduced the Nylon integrated computer in the year 2014.
This computer was a great advancement since it offered capabilities such as navigation and entertainment systems, some of which are present in high-spec vehicles.
The e-bike market then became highly competitive in 2015 when Shimano, the Japanese component giant introduced an e-bike drive system known as STEPS.
Although the e-bike trend has been found to naturally grow in and around major cities, it is difficult to ignore the fact that electric mountain biking is gaining popularity.
This will truly be a gamechanger for those looking to take their off-road skills to another level.
The Legal Definition of Electric Bikes
According to the law, an electric assisted bicycle is defined as a vehicle:
- On not more than three wheels
- Designed to run on the ground
- With operational pedals for propulsion by humans
- With a rider’s seat
- With an electric motor with a power output of no more than 1,000 Watts and with a propulsion not exceeding 20 mph on level ground.
When it comes to speed, however, it is not pretty clear whether this speed limit is with a 300lb offensive or 98-lb jockey on the seat.
But if the bike’s speed is limited by a governor instead of the motor’s power, then the size of the rider shouldn’t make any difference.
The controller will cut the power immediately the bike gets to 20 mph.
In addition, does this speed account for the extra human power?
What if a bike does 20 mph solely on electric power but reaches 30 mph when a rider pedals more in full throttle?
Most statutes state that a motor should be incapable of propelling your bike beyond 20 mph.
This implies that your electric bike could probably go as fast as you’d like it to provided the motor alone does 20 mph on level ground.
What Motor Bike Isn’t Considered an E-bike?
Electric three-wheelers or two-wheelers that have more power than what’s defined in electric assisted bicycles (faster than 20 mph and allowing more than 1000 Watts of power) are not considered electric bikes under law. These include:
- Motor assisted scooter whose motor can power it to 24 mph on level ground, with more than 1000 Watts of motor power.
- A moped, which is a vehicle with a motor that drives it to 30 mph on level ground and if it has a gasoline engine, not larger than 50cc.
What Difference Does this Legal Definition Make?
The point of having e-bikes that are within the legal definitions of electric assisted bicycles is so that they are treated legally as bicycles instead of motor vehicles, therefore excluding them from insurance, licensing, DMV registration, and other requirements which often apply to motor vehicles.
The Anatomy of Electric Bikes
Simple, convenient, and economical, electric bikes are slowly turning into the world’s most favorite form of transport.
Better yet, electric bikes have greatly revolutionized the idea of environmentally friendly transportation.
These new vehicles come with the convenience of cars but with the simple economy of the ordinary cycles.
The Basic Concept of an Electric Bike
If you’ve ever had dynamo-powered bike lights, then you’ve already tasted the experience of an electric-powered bike.
As you use your legs to pedal hard, you induce a propulsion that causes the wheels to rotate.
As a result, a small dynamo that’s mounted on the rear wheel generates a small electric current that keeps the safety lamp lit.
Now, run the process back and replace the safety lamp with a battery. The battery would produce a constant electric current, driving the dynamo so that it spins like a motor.
As the motor turns, it would spin the wheel, making your bike move without any assistance from your pedaling action.
Well, that’s the same concept behind an electric bike. A battery powers the motor which in turn propels the tires forward, without any pedal assistance.
Key Components of An Electric Bike
The battery is arguably the most important part of an electric bike since it contains the power that drives your bike along.
Usually, an e-bike battery will produce about 350 – 500 Watts of power. In theory, you’d use any type of battery on your bike.
Practically, however, you want to have a battery that stores sufficient power without being heavy – lest you’ll use half your power to carry the battery along which rules out the heavy lead-acid batteries used in cars.
Currently, lightweight Li-ion batteries which are similar to what’s used in computers and laptops are a popular choice, although they are pricier than older rechargeable battery technologies like NiCad.
Your battery should typically give you a riding range of 10 – 60 miles between charges (of course depending on your riding terrain) and a top speed of 20 mph (which is the maximum a majority of countries allow by law).
The electric motor is what provides propulsion for the wheels.
There are usually three types of electric motor configurations and your choice will largely depend on how you intend to use your bike.
Front Hub Motor
Front hub electric motors are arguably the most affordable options due to simplicity and power rating.
Most of these motors come in 250 – 350 Watts which need less copper wire and fewer magnets, ultimately bringing the cost down.
There are 500 Watt and 750-Watt options, but their weight and price also increase.
With no freewheel to construct around, and with a common for dropout of 10 cm, this motor layout greatly simplifies manufacturing and DIY e-bike conversion.
A flat change is also easier to execute when compared to a rear-drive motor.
The main drawback with this motor configuration is the power output. Front hub motors usually have the least power and torque.
Driving the bike’s front wheel by motor and the rear through human pedaling could create a push feel that’s unnatural and which could affect steering.
Although most front motor enthusiasts claim there’s better weight distribution, the truth is that it is canceled out by the possibility of adverse handling effects.
Front hub motors typically perform well in casual pavement riding and urban commuting, where immense power isn’t required.
Rear Hub Motor
Rear hub motors are another great powering option and present a great power advantage to an electric bike since rear dropouts can stand up to more torque and power.
With these motors, power is directly applied to the rear tire making these motors ideal for use with throttle.
On the flip side, rear hub motors are more expensive than their front counterparts since complexity increases with the need for a freewheel.
Besides, variations in rear axle types and dropout spacing could increase the challenge of DIY conversions and probably resulting in broken spokes.
Besides, the weight of a hub motor makes it unsuitable for full suspension, eventually affecting bump performance through the extra unsprung weight. Rear flats are also a great nightmare.
Rear hub motors are a great option for riders looking for more power or those who want to use a throttle.
Mid Drive Motors
Mid-drive systems present several advantages and are largely considered the best option.
First, their energy efficiency is unrivaled, with the capability to push into more than 75 miles per charge in the lowest mode.
And since they are responsible for driving the cranks, similar to a human-powered bike, they give the most natural feeling, making them a great choice for performance-oriented bikes.
The motor’s position on a bike means that full-suspension bikes are not affected by the extra unsprung weight.
And when this is coupled with an integrated or downtube-mounted battery, the additional weight stays central on the bike.
This drive system also lets the motor amplify the effective torque through the cassette gear range, in addition to providing more wheel options. Repairing flats is as easy as on your traditional bike.
On the flip side, mid-drive motors are the priciest and usually need frequent maintenance.
Additionally, these drive systems could exert stress on some bike parts and changing the gear ratios isn’t always an option.
Although some mid-drive motors provide throttle assist, rear hub drives are best suited for this application.
The sensor is another important component in an electric bike. Usually, sensors come in two types: speed sensor and torque sensor.
A speed sensor will instantly engage the motor when you start pedaling, giving you the ride assistance, you might need.
The torque sensor, on the other hand, is smarter and responds with just a little assistance to match your bike’s speed when you’re moving.
This sensor is usually highly responsive and aids with maneuvering and speed.
A majority of electric bikes, just like traditional bikes, have multiple gears which let you adjust the pedaling effort that is passed to the wheels.
Although the principles of using these gears are quite similar, for both traditional and e-bikes, there are some details that make the difference.
In electric bikes, you use the left gear shifter to alter the electric assist levels while the right shifter changes the mechanical gears
E-bike Gears: What Are They?
In e-bikes, gears could be compared to speeds. For instance, a bike with 18 gears is an 18-speed bike. E-bikes usually have 1, 3, 18, 21, 24, 27, 27 or 40 speeds.
The lower numbers show the low gears while the higher numbers show high gears. 1 is the low gear while 24 is high gear.
Shifting gears means moving from one gear to the other, which is typically done by clicking or sliding the shifter on the handlebar.
This way, the chain is shifted onto a different-sized ring (or decreases/increases the electric power output). Upshifting means moving to a higher gear while downshifting means going to a lower gear.
For the mechanical gears, the shifter connects to a cable installed in a protective housing.
As you shift through gears, the cable is loosened and tightened applying less or more force to the mechanism which moves the e-bike’s chain down and up on the chainrings or cassette.
Electric Assistance Gears
Electric assistance levels are usually controlled through a control block that’s mounted on the handlebar, typically on the left side. This block usually has a combination of Down (minus) and Up (Plus) buttons.
Various electrical assist systems have different terminology but basically, there’s low, medium and high assistance with Plus which gives more assistance and Down giving less.
For instance, the Shimano electric assistance system has levels of OFF – ECO – NORMAL – HIGH, while Bosch uses OFF – ECO – TOUR – SPORT – TURBO.
Each assistance system complements by giving more electric power, based on how hard you pedal as well as the assistance level chosen. Bosch, for instance, gives:
- Plus 40% on its ECO mode,
- Plus 100% on its TOUR mode,
- Plus 150% on its SPORT mode,
- Plus 225% on its TURBO mode.
Understanding Gear Numbers
One of the most difficult aspects about understanding gear shifting is the terminology.
Most of the rest is all about practice. Here are some of the terminology you ought to understand.
- Low Gear. Low gear is probably the easiest to use and is ideal for climbing. It often uses the most electric assistance power as well as the largest cog on the rear wheel cassette. In this position, your pedaling will be incredibly easy and you’ll pedal uphill with minimal resistance. You will need to downshift to get to low gear.
- High Gear. High gear is quite hard and is ideal for descending. What confuses many is that the highest assistance gear on a bike is when there’s actually no electric assistance. The highest mechanical gear often uses the smallest cog on the rear wheel cassette and, as a result, pedaling takes more effort so you easily accelerate downhill.
Shifting Gears on an E-bike
For every level of electric assistance, a majority of e-bike models will have several corresponding mechanical gears.
For example, 8 mechanical speeds and 4 electric assistance modes will give up to 32 different speed combinations.
For instance, even on the lowest electric assistance level (ECO mode), when there’s minimal electrical assistance, you can still use 8 different speeds which will be suitable for various terrains.
As you begin cycling with electric assistance, the e-bike motor will instantly start assisting at your chosen preset level.
When the pedaling speed, also referred to as cadence, goes beyond a comfortable level, you should shift your mechanical gears to the immediate hardest setting as you continue to pedal.
Bear in mind that you should keep pedaling as you change gears.
When shifting is performed, the motor will temporarily reduce its power, then restart. This temporary reduction in power is meant to protect the motor, after which it will resume assistance.
Other Regular Bike Parts
Usually made of carbon or aluminum (or probably both), the rim is the wheel’s circular part. Road rims usually have a flat section on the edge to offer smooth braking.
This is the center of your bike’s wheel, and which consists of bearings, a hub shell, and an axle. The hub shell is where the spokes of your wheel attach.
The axle is the section of the hub which allows the quick release skewer to pass through.
When buying wheels, it is important to note that the quality of your hub’s bearing is directly related to the performance and rolling resistance of a wheel.
Spokes usually connect the hub to the rim, and are typically loaded under tension. At the end of every spoke is a threaded nut (nipple), that adjusts the tension of every spoke.
Quick-Release Wheel Skewer
The skewer attaches a wheel to the bike by sliding through the wheel hub’s axle after which it is tightened inside the dropout.
The quick-release lever lets you take the wheel on and off without having to disassemble it.
A bike fork usually holds the front wheel and lets the rider maintain proper steering control over their bike.
Carbon forks have now become common due to their added shock absorption as well as comfort as compared to metal forks.
This is usually part of a bike’s frame and is where the headset and front-fork steer tube fit.
A longer head tube gives you a more upright riding position, and this is usually considered more comfortable. For bikes designed with a racing geometry, the head tubes are usually shorter.
This is the bike component that allows the fork’s steer tube and handlebar to rotate.
The headset usually has bearings which work directly with the inner section of the head tube to create a low friction contact.
The bike handlebars usually connect to the fork’s steer tube through the stem.
A majority of modern road bikes utilize a threadless system which is compatible with a threadless fork and headset design.
Stems are often made in various lengths, all of which alter your position and reach on a bike.
These are also referred to as drop handlebars on road bikes.
Drop handlebars allow for multiple hand positions: in the drops (the curved section), on the tops, and on the hoods (the rubber grip that’s right above the brakes).
These are usually located directly behind the brake levers. However, road bikes that were made before 1990 had their shifters on the stem.
Shifters are often used to control the bike’s gears so as to get the right gear ratio.
The left shifter usually operates a bike’s front derailleur while the right shifter controls the functions of a rear derailleur, moving the chain either down or up on the cassette.
These are usually mounted on the handlebars. On a majority of component groups, brake levers are usually integrated into the bike’s shifting mechanism.
The right brake lever closes the rear wheel caliper and the left lever closes the front wheel caliper.
A majority of road bikes usually have a caliper brake design that’s mounted right above each wheel.
Once force is applied on the brake lever, tension is exerted on the brake cable, causing the caliper to close.
The brake caliper arms extend to either side of your bike’s rim, coming into contact with the rim surface via a brake pad.
This is the part of a bike’s frame which connects the head tube to the seat tube’s top section. Some older models have top tubes that are downward sloping.
However, most modern bikes boast a more compact geometry whose top tube slope upwards.
The design of compact frames is to give room for extra stand over clearance.
The down tube connects the head tube with the bottom bracket shell.
A derailleur cable is usually fitted on the down tube’s underside or, in some modern designs, in the down tube for better aerodynamics.
On older bikes, shift levers might also be mounted on the down tube.
This is the part of the frame that holds your seatpost. A majority of seat tubes usually have mounts for the bottle cage as well as a braze-on mount meant for the front derailleur.
This is a tube that extends from the seat tube section of your bike’s frame and attaches itself to the seat’s rails.
A majority of seatposts usually have maximum and minimum insertion points for purposes of safety.
This is the bike component that moves a chain side-to-side in between chainrings.
The front derailleur is normally mounted using a clamp which matches the seat tube’s diameter and which attaches on the seat tube with a bolt.
This component connects the bike’s crankset to its frame. It usually consists of bearings and a spindle which lets the cranks rotate.
It also fits inside the shell of your bike frame and is the point where the chain stays, down tube and seat tube connect.
This is the part of the drivetrain where pedals attach. Just like the belt of a vehicle, your legs use the crank’s arms to spin and move your bike forward.
The crank is at times called the crankset, which usually comprises the crank arms and chainrings.
These are usually circular in shape and come in various sizes. They usually have spaced teeth that engage the chain. Most modern road bikes typically have two or three chainrings.
The larger chainrings generate more speed for descending or flat surfaces while smaller sizes are used for climbs.
This is the section of the frame which runs parallel to the chain, and which connects the rear dropout to the bottom bracket shell.
Normally, the derailleur cable runs under the chain stay up to the bike’s rear derailleur.
This component connects the rear dropout to the seat tube. A majority of bike frames have parallel tubes that connect right above the rear wheel.
This is also the point on a bike’s frame where the brake caliper attaches.
This is the point on the bike’s frame where the rear triangles and front fork end. In addition, it is where each wheel hub’s axle is connected with the wheel skewer.
Dropouts could be vertical or horizontal, with the former being more common on newer road bike models.
Also known as the cogset, the cassette usually has multiple sprockets which attach to the rear wheel’s freehub body.
It is also the part of a drivetrain which works together with the rear derailleur to give multiple gear ratios. A larger sprocket gives a smaller gear and vice versa.
This is the component which usually attaches to the pivot point on a bike frame’s rear triangle and moves the chain down and up the cassette.
Depending on the model, the rear derailleur components could be made up of carbon fiber, steel, plastic or aluminum.
The Popularity of Electric Bikes Over The Years
The rise in popularity of electric bikes over the years isn’t down to a single factor but rather a combination of numerous factors, all of which have aligned at the perfect time.
Not only are electric bikes good for general health and fitness, the environment and your pocket, they have also come out as a flexible, versatile and trendy mode of transport.
Currently, the worldwide e-bike market is at about 40 million in unit sales, a figure that’s expected to rise by 38% by the year 20204.
But why have e-bikes gained much popularity over the years?
Great Substitute for Smart Cars and Scooters
For many people, electric bikes have come out as a great lightweight alternative to electric cars and scooters in addition to being portable.
They are equally a great alternative to renting a car, offering the flexibility and freedom to get acquainted with your environs.
Going the Distance
Advances in e-bike technology and greater battery life means that electric bikes can now cover up to 70 miles on a single charge.
With the option to choose between multiple settings (ECO, Tour, Sport, Turbo), as well as their corresponding assistance, you can choose the amount of power to apply or ride on “no assist” mode.
Substitute for Traffic Congestion and Public Transport
The use of e-bikes is no longer limited to leisure or holidays.
People are now using their e-bikes all-year round and, with the availability of commuter bikes, people are now moving away from public transport to avoid traffic congestion.
This means that people can now get to work faster while increasing their fitness levels.
E-bikes have Made Cycling Accessible to Everyone
Initially, cycling wasn’t easily accessible to individuals with back problems, cardiac conditions, injuries, prosthetic hips, etc. since strenuous activity wasn’t recommended.
However, e-bikes have now made it possible for people of all ages and with different fitness levels to slowly engage in cycling without much strain, all thanks to the availability of assisted riding modes.
E-BIKES FOR HEAVY RIDERS
Heavier people have always liked using bikes as an easy way to get around. Bikes are easier on the heavy body, your knees and joints. Let’s not forget about the handicapped and the senior citizens. Getting around has been enormously helped with bikes in general.
It is easy to understand that not only the sporty ones want to jump on the e-bike bandwagon.
However, there are things you should consider when choosing the best e-bike for you. Heavy riders should look closely at the specifications, and always check the load capacity of the e-bike.
Heavy riders should remember that it’s not all about the power, but the load capacity.
Heavy riders should opt for buying an e-bike of minimum 300 lb load capacity. Ideally, you would buy a fat bike, which is an e-bike with fat tires, to deal with your weight best.
Types of Electric Bikes
Here are the most popular electric bike types.
- Hybrid Bikes: These are usually a combination of MTBs and traditional road bikes which brings out the best in speed and toughness.
- Electric Mountain Bike: This is an MTB with an integrated motor to assist the rider.
- Folding Electric Bikes: These bikes can be compacted into smaller sizes for purposes of storage and portability.
- Fat Tire Electric Bikes: These usually have tires that are wider than those of conventional bikes, usually more than 4 inches wide.
- Electric Cruiser Bikes: These are built for hitting the beach and their higher handlebars make them comfortable to ride.
- Road/Commuter Bikes: These are designed for light riding and often have narrower tires, narrower saddles, have a forward leaning geometry, and lack suspension.
- Electric Cargo Bikes: These are the minivans of the e-bike world and are used for light loads.
- Electric Recumbent Bikes: These usually put a rider in a laid-back position.
What’s The Difference Between Electric Bikes and Electric Scooters?
There’s really no big difference between an electric bike and electric scooter.
Electric scooters are simply purpose-built machines that have electric propulsion.
Most of these electric scooters are similar to their gasoline cousins with a platform for the rider’s feet as well as a step-through-style architecture.
The only difference is that the powertrain is usually replaced by an electric motor and the drivetrain is absent.
A majority of electric scooters usually have pedals that put them in the class of power assisted bikes.
All electric scooters usually have lead acid batteries embedded in the chassis and which can be charged through a direct power source.
An electric bike, on the other hand, is a bicycle with some added electric propulsion.
All e-bikes usually have pedals and could be used as a conventional bike without disengaging the motor.
Modern-day e-bikes usually come with Li-ion batteries which are lighter.
Electric Bikes and the Environment
Electric bikes have proven to be good for the environment since they usually use electric power as well as human power to drive them forward.
But, how are e-bikes good for the environment?
- Zero Emissions: Running on electric or human propulsion, e-bikes do not release carbon emissions into the atmosphere, unlike cars and motorcycles which run on gasoline. As a result, the use of e-bikes prevents air pollution.
- Long-Lasting Batteries: The easiest way to reduce the carbon footprint is reducing waste sent to the environment. An electric bike produces very little waste since their e-bikes, although will at one point in time need replacement, are long-lasting and could go for years without being replaced. Besides, e-bikes run on Li-ion batteries, which do not contain lead which is dangerous to the environment.
What Are Some Commercial Uses of Electric Bikes?
Besides conventional riding, electric bikes are also gaining popularity for their commercial uses.
Here are some commercial uses of e-bikes.
- Cargo Bikes: Anyone looking to move items from one location to the other could use an electric bike as a cargo bike.
- Food Carts: Coffee and mobile food carts are not changing the notion about fast foods. Electric bikes can now be used as food carts and cafes.
- Postman Bikes: Local mail servicemen are now using electric bikes to deliver mails. Most are fitted with extra compartments hold the luggage.
The Future of Electric Bikes
There’s a lot of wish list for the e-bike future as well as a lot to expect.
In a few years to come, it is expected that the overall weight of electric bikes will come down and there will be improvements in handling/geometry – which is already offering a better riding experience.
In about 5 years, electric bikes will also have a higher level of integration than present, slicker profiles, and probably more technology.
Bike manufacturers are now focusing on connected bikes which will tell them about the rider patterns.
Besides, motors will automatically tune to suspension inputs and the riders’ heart rates to create a better riding experience.
Companies are also working on having internal gearboxes rather than using the conventional rear derailleur or cassette since it will take a lot of weight off the bike’s rear.
All in all, the general consensus is that electric bikes will get lighter, be more user-friendly, and be better integrated.