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How far can electric bikes go?

An electric bike's range is how far you can ride on one charge. The issue is the best way to assess electric bike range.  All electric bikes have an advertised range. However a lot of the time these ranges are incorrect and often exaggerated with some ranges being advertised as four times greater than the reality. 

Some e-bike models we've reviewed have a manufacturer-claimed range of around 118 mph (190km). Which never turns out to be the case in real life use.

This is why we've created a guide to help you find out the legitimate range of an electric bicycle. 

Some factors you should consider:

When you think about it, it is impossible for electric bike range claims to be completely accurate.  There are too many factors which make it differ from person to person. These include:

  • The rider’s weight
  • The level of assistance the rider chooses
  • What terrain they’re cycling over
  • How much luggage they’re carrying
  • The speed at which they’re going
  • How hard they’re pedaling
  • The number of times they stop and start (hill starts, for example, will drain a lot of power)
  • Wind conditions and temperature (They’ll get roughly 15% more range on a sunny day than they would on a cold winter day)
  • Tire pressure, softer tires will always be less efficient
  • The type of battery and how old their battery is
  • The size of the bike’s motor
  • The speed at which they’re going at

Remember, you should always consider what the bike is designed for.

For example, Fat tire electric bikes, which are awesome in snow and on the sand,  have a shorter range as they have a larger resistance, due to the increased contact area with the road (fat tires you know). Beach cruisers and hybrids have a medium range, whereas thin wheeled city bikes would have the longest range due to reduced weight and lower rolling resistance (thin tires).

Radrover from below

Big fat tires means reduced range

Juiced Bikes CrossCurrent Air1.

Sleek, lightweight design means improved range

If you choose to engage without any assistance whatsoever because you are on a flat surface and you're feeling powerful, your electrical bike range is as far as you can go before you tire out -- that for some people might be 200 miles and for others 20.  Now on the other hand, if you decide to use the maximum level of assistance constantly, on uneven, hilly terrain, you will use up your battery charge pretty quick.

And when for example, you’re using a lithium battery, instead of a nickel-cadmium battery, you will keep going a lot more than if you have a nickel-cadmium battery, as lithium batteries have a higher energy density.

Battery size vs. Motor Power

Your battery size and your electric bike motor need to be a good match to get the optimal range. In general, you’ll want to be looking for a setup where the battery capacity in watt hrs is equivalent to the motor capacity in watts.  This type of setup is good because the motor won’t strain the battery, thus allowing you to achieve optimal range.

You ought to be able to get at least one hour at maximum assist with this kind of setup.

Battery Capacity is your Most Important Factor

Most people usually want to go for the most powerful bike motor they can get their hands on; however, motor power only really affects pull off speed and up-hill efficiency and doesn’t do much for you regarding range.

What you’re after, when it comes to electric bike range, is battery capacity.

Powerfull charged battery.


Battery capacity is most commonly measured using Watt-hrs.

When you're taking a look at adverts for electric bikes, sometimes the battery capacity is simply stated in amp-hrs. However, this does not give you a proper representation of the battery’s actual capacity because what you’re looking for is watt-hrs.

Watt-hrs are measured using the simple (amp-hrs x volts) formula. Here's a quick example, for those of you who like math:

Let’s say we have three different bikes, Bike A, B and C.

  • Bike A has a 20 AH x 24 Volts battery,
  • Bike B has a 10 AH x 48 Volts battery,
  • Bike C has a 6 AH x 24 Volts battery.

Using the watt-hrs formula, you’ll see that Bike A and B have the same battery capacity at 480 watt-hrs. Therefore, they will perform in a very similar fashion.

Bike B will be better at faster acceleration and uphill climbing at the expense of some energy. Bike C however, at only 144 watt-hrs, will have nowhere near the same range Bikes A and B have.

Bearing all that in mind will help you to evaluate manufacturers' advertisements and claims regarding their batteries.

In general, you want a battery with a minimum of 200 watt-hrs.

Are You a Light Weight?

How much you weigh is also an important factor when it comes to electric bike ranges, whether you are a heavier or a lighter person makes quite the difference. The bike itself may weight around 40 to 60 pounds, but an average person is sure to weigh a lot more than that, that’s why your weight is one of the most important variables regarding bike range.

Bike manufacturers try their hardest to make their bikes 1-2 pounds lighter, but the fact of the matter is most people can afford to lose that weight in no time.

It’s not just your weight that you need to account for; there’s also the weight of any items you’re carrying with you. If you’re traveling light with just your personal belongings, or even with a small backpack, there won’t be much of a decrease in range. 

Pretty cyclist

However, if you’re carrying heavy luggage battery power will be drained faster making your bike range shorter.

So for example, if your daily commute consists of up-hill terrain, you’re going to be needing more range. If you know you’ll regularly be carrying heavy baggage, towing a child, anything that adds on additional weight, you’re going to need a bike with a bigger range.

As with most products, the advertised range claims will be slightly exaggerated. However, you’re likely to be still getting what you paid for.

If you purchase an inexpensive electric bike, you will notice the underwhelming range and performance. If you are strapped for cash, a cheaper and more effective option could be to get an electric bike conversion kit, as you then use your old bike, and simply install the motor and battery. These kits are compatible with numerous modern bikes.

Bear in mind that battery capacity is still the most crucial factor when it comes to bike range. While weight is an important variable, the real difference in bike ranges comes from the battery capacity, which is why, if bike range is important to you, it’s best to get a good quality battery with as many watt-hrs as possible.

The bottom line is, the manufacturer claims for electric bike ranges are only just paper claims, this doesn’t mean that they are inaccurate. However it is important to do your research, you shouldn’t have to take it in on blind faith.

Bottom Line -- Do Your Due Diligence

Due to the way these bike ranges are calculated, it’s reasonably safe to assume that the actual range is lower than what the manufacturers are advertising it to be.

Advertised ranges are based on laboratory conditions, and you’re not going to be cycling in a laboratory, you’ll be cycling in the real world, where terrains can be hilly inconsistent and bumpy and the weather windy.

Moreover, the manufacturer has a lot of space to make up whatever they want to regard range considering there is no International Standard for calculating bike ranges. This is because of the many factors surrounding the electric-bike ranges.

So if you take into consideration that there is no standard to control electric-bike manufacturers, you can see why it is essential to do your research.

How do electric bikes work?

What is an Electric Bike?

A wizards tale or a functioning Innovation in commuting, what Exactly is an e-bike? 

Cycling: More than a means to an end.

Why do we use this archaic means of getting around in the first place? When cars, buses, trains - hell even our own two legs offer an option to get where we need to? The answer is pretty simple, lets break it down.

Cycling is an awesome way to get around a big city, it's economic, good for your health but it's not without its wants.  If you have a long commute or a commute with steep inclines you’ll leave yourself tired, sweaty and all-around drained in most cases. However, since the introduction of the e-bike, many of these problems have been solved for commuters, and now a means for transport with the added health benefit of traditional cycling has arrived!.

So for the newbies out there who want to get into the world of versatile travel but have no idea how this wizard cycle works, we have created a guide and provided an info-graphic to help educate those who have their interests perked.
E-bike horizon

E-bikes vs Regular bikes: How do they stack up?

Most often people ask, “you know, how does this bike even work?” or “ how much is it and how do you decide which one you want to get?”. Well, let's get stuck in and illuminate these queries!

Why do you ride that that electric bike versus a regular model? So let us just start out with the main reasoning we cycle in the first place. I ride my bike to work back and forth every day in part, because a bicycle doesn't require insurance, doesn't require gas and doesn't require expensive parking. It's good for general health, and it is a great social means to hang out with friends. For all those reasons I enjoy the best parts of being a cycling commuter, but over time if you ride every single day you begin to feel the cons of this ‘almost’ perfect transport.

Getting hot and sweaty on your way to work, feeling drained of general energy on hot days with a long cycle ahead and basic pains and strains from constant muscle fatigue are the most dissuading things about cycling. For a good reason too, it sucks (haha)!

I discovered electric bikes a couple of years ago, and it sounded amazing (as do flying cars), but as with all relatively new (and real) technology, it was tricky because there are so many options, they seem very expensive, and I wasn't quite sure where to start.

So let us talk a little bit about the electric bike and why it makes so much sense.

So this is my hypothetical electric bike (for discussion sake) it's a full suspension mountain bike with big tires and what that does is it smooths out my ride.

Now, this bike was not cheap, it was around the $4,000 mark, but that’s not that the standard. Electric bikes come anywhere from $600 up to $10,000 depending on what you want, and you’ll be able to justify the cost.

Because I ride it every single day, and again I don't have to use gas now since it uses electricity, I can monitor my charging costs, and the cost for charging it like this day-to-day is less than 10 cents, which I mean is super cheap!  

The battery it just fits right on to the downtube, and it works on any standard wall outlet, so I can bring this to work if needed. It feels great knowing you’re able to charge on the go and that parking the bike inside where I work, is safe and very convenient. E-bikes are relatively light to boot so carrying it up some stairs isn’t a massive chore either.

Let's go through my typical commuting day, it's a beautiful morning, and we're in Oslo Norway. It’s a tad bit chilly this time of year (haha), and my commute distance is around 13-15km, should I want to head over to my coffee stop. I’m going to cover that distance in an amazingly short amount of time and of the big benefits of riding E-bike or an electric car, is that you're tapping into a source of energy that gets cleaner and cleaner over time.

Here in Norway, the collective conscious of staying clean and being unattached to the fossil-fuel guzzling transport means of old isn’t a question or bother, people just make the move, and it makes things like E-bikes, so simple to get behind. Since fossil fuels don’t come into the equation when the community use ‘clean’ transport, you don’t create smog and other pollution-like elements that so your lungs don’t have to take the permanent hit of exhaust fumes we all know and hate!

 I used to live in LA and also lived in San Francisco and parking, just as you well know is always a horrific hassle. More services are emerging like a car-to-go and so on, but personally, I like to have a vehicle that I can hop on anytime, and that's what this is right here.

The Inner-workings: Functionality in motion

Attached below from Evelo, is a brilliant info-graphic on E-bikes portraying very clearly on how they work. Take a look before we continue on!

The Components and Modes: 
So, as illuminated in the info-graphic above, E-bikes come with 3 standard modes. Pedal only, Pedal Assist and Electric only.

The great part is if I want to avoid a hot or humid days commute, coming into work looking (and smelling) like a swamp I can just switch the mode to electric-only. The mode provides the awesome flexibility one needs, allowing you to now sit back and take a break and let the motor put the grunt that you would normally have to! Keep the throttle engaged, and you’ll fly along until you decide to either start pedaling again or to stop altogether.

E-biking and the Law: Where does it stand?

Electric bicycles are still a relatively new concept in both the united states and the rest of the world. Therefore there's a good deal of confusion regarding how the law perceives them.

Federal law sees E-bikes as the same class as traditional bicycles, provided they fulfill two conditions: (1) the highest top-end speed in the "electric only" mode is 20 mph, not including if you yourself exceed that limit by peddling. (2) The engine power has to be no longer than 750W. Every bike we at electric-biking.com review and recommend of course all meet these standards.

Thus, electric bikes don't require a unique registration, permit, or insurance to function. Furthermore, they enjoy the very same privileges as regular bikes, for example being permitted to travel in accessible bicycle lanes. However, different nations or countries have their particular requirements, regarding electrical bike usage. While many follow the standard lead, some do change.

For those who have questions about the way electrical bicycles operate in your area or country, contact with us, and we'll guide you in the right direction. For your security, we strictly urge the use of helmet, lights, and reflecting equipment, even if the law doesn't expressly require them you just can’t take that chance!

Get More from us!

Now that your eyes are open and the Electric biking world is at your finger tips, its time to dive in! 

Here at the Electric Biking Home, we offer tons of reviews, guides and tutorials, be sure to check them out!

If you think you're ready for a great new commuting partner we would recommend taking a look at our Best Fat Tire E-bike review page. See what takes your fancy from the best we have to offer! 

The Advantages and Disadvantages of owning an Electric Bike

The Pros & Cons of Electric Bikes

The best of both worlds? Lets dissect the pros and cons of owning an E-bike.

Fun Fact:
Did you know that E-bikes turn people into daily cyclists?
Only 55 % of bikers rode their standard bike once a week or more before purchasing an e-bike.
After upgrading to a shiny new electric bike, this number to 93 percent.
Even the few (6%) who had never ridden regular bikes as adults were now cycling weekly or daily.

Well, in recent decades, the number of bicycles around the world has been multiplying. The traditional bicycle has always been an environmentally friendly mode of transport with many other advantages over other forms of short to medium range transportation.

The brightly shining star that is bicycle transportation is only eclipsed by e-bikes which have taken the world by storm.
In this article, you will learn the reasons about why we here at electric-biking.com are so infatuated with electric biking.

What is an E-Bike

An electric bicycle is equipped with an electric motor which is partially (or completely if you are lazy) responsible for the bike's propulsion. The power of the engine can range from 150W to 1000 W. The maximum speed achievable by an e-bike ranges from 25 to 50 km / h.

More about the engine later...

You should note that the weight of your typical e-bicycle is around 40 kg, and can be as heavy as 70 kg depending on its type and design. Meaning your electric bike will be considerably heavier than a standard bicycle.

Let's take a look at the most common types of e-bikes:

Factory - electric bicycles, which were assembled in the factory, have a particular frame design, with which the battery can be mounted in it.

Collected independently - are a normal city bike converted into an electric bike with the help of installed various parts, namely: motor, battery, charger, control unit, and speed controller. Assembly of such a bicycle can take only a few hours. If you decide to make an electrical bike from an ordinary bicycle yourself, you can buy a conversion kit that will make it possible to make a dream come true.
For the convenience of storage, electric bikes can be foldable.

Before diving into the advantages and disadvantages of electric bikes, a quick history lesson is in order.

Interest in this form of transport arose in 1990, preceded by the development of powerful lithium ion batteries and, light high power electric motors. This interest in electric bicycles peaked in the US in 2002 and as early as 1998 in China and Japan.

To date, the production of e-bikes is dominated by manufacturing giants in North. America, China and, of course, the Netherlands.

Ok, let's get to the juicy stuff. Let's list the advantages and disadvantages of electric bicycles?

Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Bikes

smile-o

Pros

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    Allows seniors or those physically unable to far travel longer distances
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    The downtube battery keeps weight low and Enhances balance
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    It is compact and requires very little maintenance
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    Allows you to travel faster than a regular bike(especially when going uphill)
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    Easy to maintain, it's just an ordinary bike with an added battery and motor
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    Very useful for commuting quickly and avoiding traffic
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    If the battery is empty, you can just cycle normally 🙂
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    High mobility & versatility - overcomes off-road, dirt, snow
meh-o

Cons

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    It's heavy, which makes it difficult to store and very difficult to pedal up a hill if you run out of battery power
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    Short battery life and long charging time, should you buy a 10 Ah 36 V battery, you are likely limited to around 50 km (36 mi)
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    Double the price of a standard bicycle

In Closing:
When compared to their fuel guzzling counterparts we can see that that electric bikes have some distinct advantages.
Even after factoring in the downsides, we here at electric-biking.com feel that we are doing you, our dear biking enthusiast, a great disservice if we don't urge you to go out and try an e-bike.

You will love it, it's like a moped, but you don't need a license. Plus you can still get a great workout should you wish to combine your horsepower with the motor. Yes, you can pedal to help the motor out.
Factor in the ease of maintenance, quiet operation, environmental friendliness and bragging rights and and and...

Still, these types of bicycles are still not so common in most of the United States and Canada as they are in the rest of the developed world. Since the number of ordinary cyclists is growing every year, it's just a matter of time for growth to spread to these regions just like it has in mainland Europe.

Get More from us!

Now that you know a little more about the good and uglier side of things, we hope you see what amazing options the E-Bike opens up. Its a whole new world out there and no body better than we here at Electric-Biking to show you what's what!

Should you want to dive right into the thick of things and perhaps purchase a new E-Bike, we'd suggest taking a gander at the Best Electric Beach Cruisers where we trim down some fine options and provide in-depth reviews.

If you'd rather play it a little slower, browse through our review hub over at Electric Biking Home and take your time digesting things, good luck out there!

Why you should consider an electric bike conversion kit

Why you should consider an electric bike conversion kit

Make the informed decision and get more from your bike. 

Toying with the idea of buying an electric bike motor kit? Here are some things you ought to know..
You probably have a thousand and one reasons why you love your regular bike, but you have also noticed that a growing number of cyclists (some of them are even your friends) have started converting their bicycles into electric ones. By simply buying an electric bike kit with its own motor and battery, its not a complex operation.

This is understandable. E-bikes do not only offer the same benefits as regular bikes but give added perks too, lets dig in!

electric bike motor kit

Note that all of the kits in this review are over 250 W, which is fine if you're in the States, but technically not allowed in Europe, but we won't tell on you if you decide to order and install one. :=)

Get More from us!

If you've got the taste for some E-bike conversion, take a look at our review page for the Best E-bike Conversion kits and get stuck in!

If you're not all that hyped for converting a bike yourself, take a look at some ready-to-go E-bikes on our top beach cruisers review page and see what bikes we have shortlisted as the best buys around!